What is Snus and why is it on Rishi Sunak’s mind?

In the last few years, it has become an inescapable fact that vaping amongst children in the UK has become a very prevalent problem. With the general election soon on the horizon Rishi Sunak recently came out in collaboration with LADBIBLE to introduce his new restrictions on tobacco products. Not only Vapes are being targeted however, Snus is a popular nicotine pouch placed on the inside of the gums. It’s often a lot stronger than vaping as the nicotine is dispersed straight into the bloodstream. Its traditional users are people trying to quit smoking or vaping however there has been a sudden rise in its use amongst teenagers and sports professionals. 


Traditionally used in Nordic countries, such as Sweden and Finland, this small nicotine substitute is also not only highly addictive but also branded as being a much safer alternative to other tobacco products. The fact of the matter is that it probably is much safer than inhaling toxic chemicals straight to the lungs but saying something is safer than vaping is a lot like claiming you’re a better driver than a five-year-old in an F1 car, it just doesn’t mean all that much. 


So, it’s clear to see how and why Snus could be the next public health scare similar to ELF BARS and other cheap vapes but what are the real health risks? Snus is obviously highly addictive and in the countries mentioned previously use amongst all ages is extraordinarily high, with nineteen percent of all males in Sweden saying they use the pouches every day. With that said, the crackdowns have already begun with health minister Andrea Leadsom recently saying: “Nicotine is highly addictive – and so it is completely unacceptable that children are getting their hands on these products, many of which are undeniably designed to appeal to young people.”


This isn’t exactly a black and white issue however, despite snus having a longstanding prevalence in Sweden where it originates, the research on the substance can be conflicting. Many news organisations have claimed that there are links between snus use and mouth or throat cancer however the National institute for health in Sweden claims: “neither oral or pancreatic cancer which have been linked to other smokeless tobacco sources are associated with snus”.


Another part of this debate is about where the statistics on snus come from and how seemingly a lot of people pick and choose their evidence to fit their argument so here is both of the main studies that people reference. Saman Warnakulasuriya’s article in Science directly points at how “The evidence from my study is that the use of tobacco is the major risk factor for oral cancer and potentially malignant lesions of the mouth is clear ”. The counter evidence to this study is mentioned in the article from the national institute for health in Sweden claiming that most studies and importantly Warnakulasuriya’s study was conducted using snus found in Asia which is very different that the snus found in Sweden and the EU. 


In summary, Snus is a highly addictive nicotine substitute that’s popularity has rapidly risen across the UK. Despite its use in Sweden for decades more research needs to be done in order to reach conclusive evidence as to how dangerous Snus can bae for the body. Rishi Sunak seems to side with the notion that Snus should be a controlled substance, or at least more than it already is, as time passes we will have to see what this Conservative  government does in order to crackdown on their perceived problem with these small nicotine pouches. 


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