The European Union banned the sale of snus in 1992 after a World Health Organization (WHO) study found links between oral use of snus in American and European citizens and the development of cancer. After this ban, EU people lost access to snus; only Sweden and Norway were exempt. Later, the WHO tobacco committee acknowledged the inconclusive nature of the study but for mysterious reasons, the EU-wide snus ban remains in effect to date. However, in recent times, as EU countries are moving towards reducing cigarette smoking, calls for lifting the snus ban is getting stronger as a comparatively better alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Why quit smoking? Can snus help?
Globally, smoking is still the most popular form of tobacco consumption. In addition to causing direct respiratory and cardiovascular damages to smokers, it also hurts the well-being of other people around by second-hand smoking, especially pregnant women. Apart from these health issues, smoking is also known to increase fire hazards from open flames. On the other hand, most of the popular smokeless tobacco alternatives require spitting, which is again a public nuisance. European data shows that Sweden, being the birthplace of snus, actually has the lowest tobacco-related mortality rate among all the EU countries because about one-third of Swedish ex-smokers now use snus as an alternative tobacco source.
Snus is a better alternative
Snus is an air-dried, pasteurised and smokeless form of tobacco that, unlike many other similar tobacco products, does not even need spitting out. Due to its pasteurisation, snus gets rid of ammonia content in air-dried tobacco, which is a harmful substance for the human body. Snus also does not affect respiratory and cardiac health while fulfilling the nicotine requirement of its users. It still remains a mystery why the EU banned snus, but smoking is still legal despite snus being the better and safer of the two. In the wake of today’s reality, it is high time for European legislators to legalise snus as a better alternative to smoking.