Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A couple of weeks ago there was a segment on 60 Minutes about Swedish Snus which is a smokeless tobacco product. It kind of looks like a tiny tea bag that the tobacco user tucks up between the gum and cheek. It doesn't cause all that spitting that chewing tobacco does, it doesn't smell and it is really undetectable that a person has the tobacco in their mouth.

It has been used in Sweden for many years and has proven to be significantly safer than smoking and is currently being marketed as a tool to stop smoking. Because some of the people in the US that 60 Minutes interviewed are using Snus and still smoking, there has been some criticism of the story.

Doctors at the American Council of Science and Health say “They accurately described the facts about smokeless tobacco as a harm reduction method: that it’s a substance that addicted smokers can use to get nicotine without inhaling the deadly products of combustion in cigarette smoke,” says ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Dr. Karl Fagerstrom appeared on the segment describing the Swedish experience with snus. Swedish men in particular have switched from smoking to snus with resultant dramatic declines in smoking-related disease.”

Dr. Ross continues, “Unfortunately, the makers of snus are prevented by law in the U.S. from telling addicted smokers about the benefits of the product in helping them to quit; therefore, tobacco companies making smokeless tobacco have to market it as a dual-use product -- e.g., by highlighting the ability of smokers to use smokeless tobacco when they cannot smoke, such as in airplanes or meetings. We, however, are not bound by that proscription.” (Emphasis mine.)

All I know is that my husband has been a heavy smoker since he was 13 years old (he is 57 now). He smokes imported tobacco which he rolls into unfiltered cigarettes. His mother, a smoker, died of esophageal cancer when she was the age he is now. I have seen him try to quit 4 or 5 times.

Within days of receiving his first order of Swedish Snus, he is not smoking. HE IS NOT SMOKING. He is still a nicotine addict, but it appears that it is the delivery system that has always been the most dangerous aspect of the habit. And while he has never smoked in the house, it is definitely the most obnoxious part of smoking for me. The smell on his clothes, etc. is something I have never gotten accustomed to.

I am so glad we were watching 60 Minutes that night, I think it may make a real difference in my husband's health and longevity. I hope many more people try the product, which is easily purchased from Sweden (the American versions are, as usual, not of the same quality and variety.) He is enjoying trying the different "flavors" and styles and getting to know the variety of smokeless tobacco products which are available.


hokgardner said...

My husband has been a smoker since he was 14. He's quit and restarted many times.

Three months ago, he switched to an e cigarette, which is huge in Europe, and he hasn't had a cigarette since. The e cigarette uses water vapor and liquid nicotine, no tar, no formaldahyde, none of the stuff in cigarette smoke.

But you can't buy them here in the US and they aren't allowed to market them as a smoking cessation product.

mkosboth said...

I think if it works, it is worth it. My mother had smoked my whole life, until two summers ago when she had a heart attack. The good news is she survived and only had to have a triple bypass. And she is still not smoking. The bad news it took a heart attack and a triple bypass to stop her from smoking. I say good for you Mr. Brightside!

J said...

I love reading stories like these.

It truly is the smoke that kills!

What is so great is that your husband has found something that works for him.

I am excited and happy for you both.

My husband and I bought our electronic cigarettes almost a year ago,we stopped smoking the first day.

And @ hokgardner We buy our supplies from many,many American sellers.
If you google electronic cigarette forums many forums will pop up dedicated to the subject.

Walker said...

Amazing! Why didn't anyone tell me?

Lisa said...

Wow! I'm glad you caught that segment. It seems a much better idea than the hit or miss successes of just trying to quit no one's own.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm for anything that reduces smoking--I've last too many people to lung cancer.