In Sweden, snus is now more popular than cigarettes, and consumption is steadily increasing in other countries as well. Snus is often described as a less harmful alternative to smoking and many former smokers use it as a cigarette substitute. But how dangerous is snus really and what are the health consequences of its consumption?
We want to show you the negative consequences and explain what exactly is in snus and how it should be used. In addition, we will show you a few snus products that are actually suitable as an alternative to cigarettes.
What's in snus?
Snus is traditionally composed of water, salt, flavorings and tobacco. The tobacco is finely ground leaves that are packed either loose or in paper bags (portion snus). The snus nicotine content varies depending on the product, there are even snus brands that do without tobacco completely. The tobacco-free pouches with nicotine are called All White Portion and are considered even less harmful than tobacco snus due to completely eliminated tobacco. Since most products contain nicotine, it is by definition an addictive substance.
In smokeless products containing tobacco, 28 carcinogens have been detected, compared to more than 60 carcinogens in cigarettes. Snus from North America also contains nitrosamines, a chemical compound that can cause cancer in high concentrations. Snus from Sweden, however, does not contain nitrosamines because production is regulated by the Food Administration and these ingredients are banned. Perhaps because of this, no scientific links have yet been proven between Swedish snus and cancer.
Since the product is placed under the upper lip when consumed, snus is often associated with negative effects on oral hygiene and oral health, especially since every snus consumer feels some impairment from the gums. When the product is moistened in the mouth, the nicotine enters the bloodstream and develops its effects there.
Snus and oral health
A study by the University of Bern has examined the effects of snus on oral hygiene in more detail. The most common diseases include leukoplakia and squamous cell carcinoma. Leukoplakia is a white discoloration of the oral mucosa that in extreme cases can turn into cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin tumor that is malignant. Since snus from North America may contain nitrosamines as mentioned earlier, there may be a link between oral cavity cancer and North American snus. However, at this point in time, there is no statistically detailed study that proves this connection - as there is not for Swedish snus.
In the mouth, the use of snus can further lead to periodontal diseases such as periodontitis, recession and caries. Because the snus pouch is in direct contact with the teeth and gums, snus can discolor the teeth. Some first-time snus users report that their gums burned after snus consumption. With years of consumption, gums can become inflamed and recede. Thus, much importance should be placed on proper oral hygiene.
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Consumers using snus every day were found to have higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, this effect of snus was not permanent and went down again when the subjects stopped using snus. There is not enough data yet on the long-term consequences - but the Swedish health statistics speak for themselves: the lowest lung cancer rate in the world, as well as non-increased oral cancer rates compared to other nations.
How does snus compare to cigarettes?
Both cigarettes and snus contain nicotine. Nicotine is addictive in any case and can cause damage to health. Since the combustion process can take place in snus, fewer harmful substances are released than in cigarettes. The potential for harm is therefore lower with snus, but this does not mean that consumption is completely harmless. Snus, like other stimulants, should only be consumed in moderation. Furthermore, the use of snus eliminates the risk of passive smoking.
Since snus pouches are made of cellulose, they can be biodegraded. So for the environment, snus is definitely more beneficial than smoking.
Those who plan to quit smoking can try snus products without nicotine or without tobacco. All White pouches do not contain any tobacco and do not stain teeth. Among the well-known brands are edel, VELO and White Fox. The completely nicotine-free product comes from the edel brand. Edel Weiss CBD Mint contains neither nicotine nor tobacco and is an excellent cigarette substitute.