New US study confirms that smokers have faulty perception of snus

A new study from Rutgers University has revealed that a large proportion of smokers in the United States mistakenly believe that snus is as harmful to their health as carcinogenic cigarettes.

“It’s a serious failure for everyone who sees smoking as a problem,” says Patrik Strömer, Secretary General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers.

In 2018, the international research collaboration Global Burden of Disease published a report which found that 6.3 million people died annually due to smoking. In addition, another 900,000 have died as a result of second-hand smoke. At the same time, it was found that the researchers could not find any deaths caused by snus.

This information seems to have escaped American smokers.

A new study from Rutgers University, published in Addictive Behavior, reveals that most American smokers believe that snus is as dangerous to their health as cigarettes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 percent of American men use some form of smokeless tobacco.

‘Admit that snus is good for smokers’

The study included 256 smokers who answered questions about how they perceived the health risks of different forms of tobacco products. More than 75 percent of the participants smoked daily and about 20 percent had tried some form of smokeless tobacco.

The results show that about 45 percent of those surveyed had the misconception that snus is as dangerous as cigarettes. They also believed that snus causes lung cancer, heart disease, and oral cancer.

“Authorities in the US were slow to classify Swedish snus as a less harmful product. But now the FDA can contribute to better health by telling it like it is  – snus is good for smokers! Unfortunately, we also see in other countries that anti-tobacco lobbyists equate smoking with snus,” said Patrik Strömer.

Smoking leads to increased risk for oral cancer

Of those surveyed, almost 40 percent also answered that they believed snus users were at greater risk than smokers of developing oral cancer. A belief that is completely false.

“The results continue to show that the public has not understood that tobacco products that are smoked bring increasing health risks compared to non-smoking tobacco products,” said researcher Olivia Wackowski.

“It is also remarkable because the use of Swedish snus has no proven link to oral cancer. Unlike smoking, which leads to a clearly increased risk of oral cancer.”

The report also says that people who want to quit smoking should be informed about switching to snus as an alternative, as doing so would greatly reduce health risks.

“Sweden has less than half the EU average when it comes to tobacco-related deaths. If the rest of Europe were to smoke and snus as we do in Sweden, approximately 350,000 people would survive every year,” said Anders Milton, doctor and chairman of the Snus Commission to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.