Saturday, 22 August 2015 15:46

Atakan Befrits: Snus is not a serious public health problem

Written by Atakan Befrits
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Atakan BefritsIt is time for Karolinska, the Public Health Agency and the National Board of Health to do the right thing and explain how there are near zero snus-related negative health issues actually in Sweden. Inform and leave the adults free to make their own health decisions....

Sweden has a unique responsibility to the world to rectify a 40-year old mistakes and potentially save hundreds of millions of lives. It is neither the tobacco itself, or nicotine that kills. It is the fire gases from tobacco smoking, or poor tobacco mixed with other dangerous carcinogens, which kills and destroys health.

According to the WHO, one billion people this century will die of smoking with current developments. Broad international knowledge that a 99% less hazardous tobacco use is quite possible, inexpensive and furthermore proven in Sweden for 100 years. Snus has all the prerequisites to save hundreds of millions of lives worldwide.

• Snus in Sweden used by 300,000 people to replace smoking; it saves about 3,589 lives a year and causing up to 11 cases of cancer overall (Wickholm 2005)

• Snus in Sweden is used by 700,000 people who never smoked, as a mild stimulant and addictive stimulant, it results in more than 24 cases of cancer per year, according to a Swedish study from 2005 (Wickholm)

• The total maximum of 35 cases per year have been for a hundred years not attracted the attention of healthcare and damage of snus is thus so low that they are not meaningful measurable (National Board of Health 2014)

• If the entire Sweden (ten million) took snus daily and no smoking, we would have about 12,000 fewer deaths from smoking in Sweden, while snus would cause a total maximum of 350 cases of cancer per year and no other measurable serious injuries

• Cancer warning was removed from snus in Sweden in 2001, when not even the 35 cases per million mentioned above could be coated with evidence-based science according to the EU

• The Public Health Agency of Sweden has actively (2015) sought to influence the FDA to not allow the removal of the cancer warning on Swedish snus sold there

• Risk reduction of continued tobacco use if you are switching from cigarettes to snus is only 99.7% according to the figures above.

• A completely life-snus causes substantially lower risk than only 3 months of smoking or continued smoking

Is it then reasonable to Sweden, nationally and especially internationally, continues to push the line that snus is a serious public health problem, when it just clearly is not it? Would not it be better to consult with our public health authorities to maximize the benefits we can have with snus (e-cigarette) to smokers, while minimizing the use of snus among those who otherwise never would have started with tobacco or nicotine?

The government ordered in June 2013 an investigation at National Board of Health, the Public Health Agency and the Karolinska, the total cost and damage of total tobacco consumption in Sweden.

The report from the National Board could not show a single digit as evidence that snus is a serious public health problem, but that about 12,000 die from smoking each year in Sweden. Can any reasonable person draw any other conclusion than that the damage was below measurable levels relevant to human health?

Snus is not harmless, but definitely not a serious "public health problem".

Atakan Befrits

CEO of Baykus Dumansiz
Economist, entrepreneur and international commentator on matters
concerning "Harm Reduction" in the tobacco area

[This article was originally published in DN.Å  Reprinted with permission of the author]


Read 2532 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 October 2015 00:30

1 comment

  • Comment Link Larry Waters Sunday, 23 August 2015 02:13 posted by Larry Waters

    A clarification of the 2005 Wickholm Study should be noted. Simply put, Seppo Wickholm made the only Swedish cancer calculation ever based on a theoretical model which assumed every snus user who ever died of cancer contracted cancer due to snus.

    A few weeks after this study was published, Wickholm was hired by Nicorette as a medical advisor.

    Nicorette as well as other Big Pharma nicotine gum smoking cessation products have an abysmal track record.

    Only 8% of cigarette smokers who used nicotine gum to quit cigarette smoking were still smoke-free after one year. That's a 92% failure rate.

    Please keep this in mind when weighing the "value" of the 2005 Seppo Wickholm study.


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