US FDA confirms snus is less dangerous than cigarettes

Snus from Swedish Match will be the first tobacco product ever to be designated as “less risky” in the US following a historic decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We see it as a scientific recognition for the research that has been conducted on Swedish snus,” Swedish Match spokesperson Patrik Hildingsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Swedish Match started the process of applying for permission to market snus in the US as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes back in 2014.

Lower risk of cancer and heart disease

Just over five years later, the historic announcement finally arrived that eight of Swedish Match’s “General” brand snus will receive Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) designation.

The decision allows the company to market snus in the US using the following language: “Using General Snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.”

“Today’s action demonstrates the viability of the pathway for companies to market specific tobacco products as less harmful to consumers,” said Ned Sharpless, Acting FDA Commissioner.

FDA gives snus special status in US

The decision is seen as an important milestone in tobacco regulation in the United States. This is the first time the FDA has chosen to classify a tobacco product as less risky, or so-called “reduced-risk tobacco”, the AP news agency reported.

“I think it’s interesting that at a time when tobacco regulations are getting tougher and tougher, the FDA chose to give us this special status,” Hildingsson told Aftonbladet.

Patrik Strömer, Secretary General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers, welcomed the announcement as a major step forward for public health in the United States and for the introduction of the principle of harm reduction in tobacco regulation.

“Hopefully, authorities in other countries that currently ban snus but allow more dangerous cigarettes will now review their tobacco regulation,” he said.