Snus – A Harm Reduction Product


Unlike chewing tobacco, which may contain additives like slaked lime and areca nut, and cigarettes, snus is made solely from tobacco and does not cause any of the well-known health risks of smoking, such as cancer. Snus is considered to be a harm reduction product and its widespread use in Sweden, which is believed to have led to the replacement of both tobacco smoking and other varieties of smokeless oral tobacco, is one of the reasons that men in that country experience some of the lowest rates of smoking-related deaths in Europe.

Snus and Society: How Cultural Perceptions Shape Its Use

Heysnus is placed between the upper lip and gum, where it is held for long periods of time, rather than inhaled in a puff as with other smokeless products. A few experimental and epidemiological studies suggest that regular snus users have a higher risk of developing pre-malignant lesions in the oral mucosa (leukoplakia, gingivitis, and erythroplakia) but those results were not statistically significant after adjustment for variables such as age, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, dental hygiene, and other confounding factors. The development of these lesions is reported to disappear upon cessation of snus use.

In addition to its harm reduction benefits, snus can also be used as a substitute for cigarettes when trying to quit smoking. A recent study found that 45.8% of smokers who tried to quit with snus were successful, which was significantly more than those who successfully quit using nicotine gum or other non-tobacco aids.