I have shamelessly cut and pasted this from Chris Snowdon’s blog, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist. Snus are tobacco and hence nicotine based pouch like a tiny tea bag which you rest between upper lip and gum. The nicotine is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Illegal in the European Union except Sweden, which in my opinion sums up the ‘quit or die’ or ‘its not about health’ position of the anti smoking, now anti nicotine, mainly tax payer paid charlatans.
It is Clive Bates’ the former head of ASH ‘s comments that I find most interesting. Here is the background.
Norway, a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and not subject too EU law currently also allows snus. The net effect is that, particularly amongst men Norway has some of the lowest lung cancer (LC) rates in the world. For example the LC rates per 100,000 per year are for Belgium, Denmark and the UK are 69.9, 45.2 and 42.9. Norway and Sweden is 32.7 and 22.6. Anti nicotine campaigners suggest that snus cause mouth, oral and esophageal (MOE) cancer, however as you can guess the facts do not match the spin. MOE in Belgium, Denmark and the UK is 7.7 per 100,000, 7.0 and 5.0. Norway and Sweden 4.5 and 4.3.
Chris’ piece was about a discussion between Sir Richard Peto and Dr. B. MacGibbon, who have been Principal Medical Officer, Division of Toxicology, Environmental Pollution and Prevention, Department of Health and Social Security, London about Skoal Bandits a form of snus which set up a factory in Scotland in 1985. Peto and MacGibbon were discussing the merits of snus.
Clive Bates was head of ASH from 1997 to 2003. I have checked the URLs and they are indeed his blog. It is a devastating critique of the anti nicotine groups, it is strongly worded.
- Clive Bates said…
- Dear Chris – I write as former director of ASH (the one based in London: I was director from 1997-2003. I am now no longer involved in public health and these are my personal views.The public health community does know about smokeless tobacco and harm reduction, or it should know as it is their responsibility to understand what they are doing. There is plenty of evidence and sources available to those prepared to approach the issue with an open mind. In fact a debate has raged on this subject for some time and continues to this day – with many protagonists on both sides. The denial of evidence, warped logic, weird ethics and rejection of common sense has been extraordinary to behold. My concern now is that the EU is considering a new tobacco directive to replace the one that bans oral tobacco in the EU outside Sweden. Despite the reality that illiberal, self-defeating measure is deeply harming to health and civil liberties, as far as I can see no-one is lifting a finger to do anything about it. There is now the opportunity of the new directive to replace the ban with a regulated market in reduced-risk smokeless tobacco.
Just so you can see that the public health community has never been united in its view on this, here are a few posts from me on smokeless tobacco and harm reduction:
Killing by the million: and that’s just the health campaigners “If there is a reason to be a Euro-sceptic, then this is one of the strongest – deliberate denial of access to products that are much lower risk to people that are addicted to nicotine.”
Saying stupid things with fake sophistication – a critique of ASH Scotland’s position statement on smokeless tobacco: “jaw-dropping in its idiocy”.
Mass killing machine making lots of money “One danger is that fussy, insular and instinctively authoritarian public health people will continue down the evidence-free path of blocking these developments and insist that for smokers it has to be ‘quit or die’. On the other hand, and more positively, tobacco companies may see smokeless products as a way of doing business with less death and disease and persuade regulators that they needs some regulatory tweaks to make it work – for example it is still impossible to tell smokers the truth about relative risks, and much public effort go in to obscuring it.”
Useless scientific advice from the EU including a submission to the committee evaluating smokeless tobacco, and a more complete critique of what they were doing and how they were going about their work.
The European Commission continues to rely on the work of this committee to justify its stance in favour of banning lower risk products, yet the terms of reference, the assessment and its interpretation were all thoroughly flawed and easily discredited.
21 April 2012 10:30
I can also recommend Chris’ follow up blog that there is pressure within the EU and Norway to restrict or ban snus. What a disgrace.