New report reveals snus use patterns in Sweden

A new report on snus use from Sweden’s Central Association for Alcohol and Drug Information, CAN, shows that approximately 17 percent of the Swedish population used snus in some form in 2019. 

Since 2013 CAN, has been responsible for annual reports on total tobacco consumption in Sweden.

The latest report is based on the registered sales of cigarettes and snus, as well as weekly telephone interviews with a total of 18,500 randomly selected Swedes. The latest report shows the development up to and including 2019.

Last year, an average of 17 percent of the population used snus in some form. While 14 percent used snus daily, 3 percent used snus more sporadically.

A full 99 percent of the snus consumed in Sweden was purchased and taxed in Sweden and one percent was purchased while travelling.

Nearly 8 out of 10 snus users snus daily. And about one in four men (26 percent) has used snus in the past month, compared to 8 percent of women.

The CAN study shows that 7 percent of Swedes smoked daily in 2019 and as many smoked sporadically.

The study also shows that the new law on tobacco and similar products that came into force on 1 July 2019 does not seem to have affected Swedes’ smoking habits. Comparisons of the first and second half of 2019 show no significant changes.

Snus use stable in Sweden

The proportion of snus users has also been relatively stable since the Swedes’ tobacco habits began to be investigated. However, the proportion of Swedes who smoke has decreased somewhat. In 2019, about 8 percent of Swedes smoked.

“An interesting question is whether the positive development with reduced smoking is related to the widespread snus use in Sweden, which has been suggested by some researchers (eg Lund & Lund, 2014). However, the trends observed in this study do not indicate a clear connection — smoking and snus both decreased during the same period. Thereafter, snus increased at the same time as smoking was stable. This observation is thought-provoking, but the connections need to be analyzed in more detail in order to be able to draw more certain conclusions,” CAN’s authors write.

Patrik Strömer, Secretary General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers, hopes more people see the connection between Sweden’s relatively low proportion of smokers and the fact that Sweden, as the only EU country, allows the sale of Swedish snus.

“It’s difficult to claim that current policy is successful. The only thing we can be sure of is that if more people use snus and fewer people smoke, it’s good for public health — and that current policies don’t lead to such a result. If Sweden were to drop the taboo on harm reduction, we could save many lives every year,” says Patrik Strömer.