A recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that Camel Snus is relatively as effective as nicotine gum in helping smokers quit smoking. Titled, “Randomised clinical trial of snus versus medicinal nicotine among smokers interested in product switching,” the study was conducted by Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and the Oregon Research Institute.
Interestingly, the US which lags behind the UK in terms of harm reduction where it comes to vaping, is in this case one step ahead and has categorised snus as “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
The researchers recruited some 400 smokers who wanted to switch to snus or nicotine gum in order to quit smoking and ultimately found no significant differences in smoking cessation effectivity between the two. “The results showed no significant differences between those assigned to medicinal nicotine vs snus in amount of product use, levels of cotinine attained, the extent to which the product substituted for smoking and rates of avoidance of cigarettes or any nicotine containing products. Furthermore, there were no differences in suppression of withdrawal from cigarettes.”
In line with findings like these and evidence from Sweden, the only EU country which allows snus, the NNA had issued a press release calling on policymakers to lift the counterproductive EU-wide ban on the product. Interestingly, the US which lags behind the UK in terms of harm reduction where it comes to vaping, is in this case one step ahead and has categorised snus as “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
“It is inexplicable why the EU continues to perpetuate the ban on European smokers choosing to switch to snus, not only is the sale of snus permitted in the USA but they have now allowed one company to make the undisputed claim that “using snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis”, the difference in approach could not be more stark, and it is the EU which is being reckless with its public’s health, not America,” said the NNA’s snus expert, Mark Oates.
Some hope at last
However, added the NNA, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health was recently asked whether the UK government would consider conducting an assessment on the effectivity of the ban on snus.
“The Government will consider in due course reviewing the position on snus, and whether the introduction of this product onto the UK market would promote a proportionate approach to managing risks, one which protects the young and non-smokers, whilst giving smokers access to products which may reduce harm,” responded Churchill.
The NNA believes that this answer indicates a change in stance. “This contrasts with previous answers on the subject from the Department of Health – notably during Steve Brine’s tenure – which indicated that no research evidence was even being collated.”
The charity added that the UK government has recognised the benefit in embracing tobacco harm reduction and has therefore pledged to “maximise the availability of safer alternatives to smoking” in its ongoing Tobacco Control Plan.