29 December 2009

Product warnings on snus. A true WTF moment. 29 Dec 09.


As snus is making it's way to the US, you're going to see alot more product warnings on the cans/products themselves, and some of them may throw you off a bit. Some of you may see me used the term, "Harm Reduced Tobacco" alot when talking about snus. Well, I do that for a reason.

We have several articles as well as questions to commonly asked snus questions for those of you new to snus, or curious about snus itself and truly how "safe" or "harm reduced" snus is. The medical community has even embraced snus in many articles/stories about it, and have accepted it as an alternative to cigarettes.

Snus & Health Articles Articles about snus, and it's effects on health, it's safety, and it being used AS AN ALTERNATIVE to cigarettes.

Snus FAQ Lars Erik Rutqvist, Vice President Scientific Affairs, MD, PhD, was kind enough to supply answers to commonly asked questions for this in depth, informative FAQ.

That being said, that was the rational, calm part of this post. Now, I want to go into a rant. Forgive me.


The labels on cigarettes are accurate. A bit more intense, yes, but accurate. It has been proven that cigarette smoking causes cancer, and has no positive health benefits whatsoever. Smoking truly does kill. Deny it as we may have over several years, the general consensus of the world around us is that smoking is bad. No getting around it - facts are facts. I will not try to do debate that, or beat that dead horse - because as an ex smoker, I know how smokers feel about smoking, and I don't want to anger anyone, especially this early in the morning that close to a cigarette break and lunch time.

That being said, the warnings on snus just plain piss me off. No easy way to say it, but that's how it is. "This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes." Are you serious? Really? Well, let me speak on that. I smoked for about 8 or 9 years. And when I was a smoker, my quality of life gradually decreased, I was putting others around me in harms way with second hand smoke, I could no longer do alot of the things I liked doing because smoking caused such a negative impact on my life. When I quit earlier this year thanks completely to Swedish Snus, my health improved. I firmly believe without any doubt that snus is a safe alternative to cigarettes.

Jonathan Foulds, MA, MAppSci, PhD, said in an article in HealthLine, "...if you want to continue to enjoy tobacco but want to use a less harmful product, then switching from cigarettes to snus makes sense - but only if accompanied by cessation of smoking." In another article in USA Today noting "The Lancet", "We should not delay in allowing snus to compete with cigarettes for market share," Dr. Jonathan Foulds of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Dr. Lynn Kozlowski of the University of Buffalo said in analyzing two studies published in The Lancet. In the same article, "For a smoker, quitting all tobacco use is best, but failing that, switching to snus is a good idea," said Dr. Peter Hajek, professor of clinical psychology at Queen Mary University Hospital in London. Hajek was not involved in either study.

What about the cancer label? I know some of you may be a bit thrown off/confused about that one. Lars Erik Rutqvist, Vice President Scientific Affairs, MD, PhD, commented in one of our articles, "...during my time as a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, I was one of the initiators of a large-scale epidemiological study of the risk of oral cancer associated with snus. We found no increased risk among snus users (who on average had used snus for about 20 years). Later on, other Swedish studies confirmed our results which prompted the European Union to order a removal of the cancer warning from the snus cans. My research group at the Karolinska also noted that, based on extensive epidemiological research, many prestigious institutions, for instance, the Royal College of Physicians in London, concluded that using smokefree tobacco in general, and Swedish snus in particular, is associated with substantially lowered risks of tobacco-related disease compared to cigarette smoking." Another study on snus tracked roughly 280,000 Swedish Men over the course of a 20 year period, and found that snus did not increase the risk of oral cancer. Other studies have gone on to find no connection between snus use and oral cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Those are facts. Okay, so we have all these health articles, studies, comments by doctor, and cold hard facts.

Okay, okay, so wait a minute. DOCTORS are saying GOOD things about snus? Wait, wait...but...the government/FDA says it's bad and isn't a safe alternative to smoking? Okay, confused yet? Welcome to Chad's WTF moment of the day. These warning labels don't make sense. The ones on cigarettes - deserved. The ones on snus? WTF! Frustrated yet? Good. You should be. I know I am. Although doctors will agree, and the studies will show, snus is a great harm reduced form of tobacco that can help you quit smoking. I will preach that and scream it from the mountains until I'm blue in the face. Snus is a better alternative to cigarettes. Those who have quit smoking with snus would agree, because they have all seen the health impact after quitting smoking and switching to snus. That's how it is. I find it very audacious for the FDA/Gov't to put these labels on snus without any research into what it is, and what it does.

I will close with a really interesting piece of information from the Surgeon General.

"How Quickly Do the Benefits of Quitting Start?"

* "Just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and
pulse rate drop to normal and the body temperature of your hands and
feet increases to normal."

* "A mere 8 hours after your last smoke, the carbon monoxide level
decreases and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal."

* "Just 24 hours after your last cigarette, you substantially lessen
your chances of having a heart attack."

* "Two days after your last cigarette, you will notice that your
ability to taste and smell is enhanced."

* "Three days later, your breathing should be noticeably better
because your lung capacity will be greater."

* "Your circulation will improve and your lung functioning will
increase up to 30% within two weeks to three months after quitting."

* "Between one month and nine months, the cilia in your lungs will
regenerate, allowing your body to clean your lungs and reduce
infection."

* "One year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is
half that of a smoker."

* "Five years after quitting, your risk of stroke is reduced to that
of a nonsmoker."

* "Ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half
that of a continuing smokers. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat,
esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases."

* "Fifteen years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease
is that of a nonsmokers.

I really enjoyed reading that when I first saw it, because I could see my body going through similar things. Now, using snus to quit smoking would bring on alot of these benefits, so tell me, is snus a better alternative to cigarettes? I firmly say YES, without any hesitation.

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