More Norwegians sniff at cigarettes, preferring snuff

A woman shows portions of snus, a moist powder tobacco product that is consumed by placing it under the lip. — AFP pic
A woman shows portions of snus, a moist powder tobacco product that is consumed by placing it under the lip. — AFP pic

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OSLO, Jan 19 — More Norwegians use “snus” — a form of snuff particular to Nordic countries — instead of cigarettes for their nicotine fix, official figures showed for the first time yesterday.

The preference for snus in Norway, is certain to revive debate over the health effects of the product, a moist powder tobacco that is popped under the lip.

Though its sale is illegal across the EU, it is manufactured and used in Sweden, which has an exemption, and Norway, which is not an EU member.

According to Norway’s statistics office SSB, 12 per cent of Norwegians used snus daily in 2017, compared with 11 per cent who smoked cigarettes every day.

Under Oslo’s ambitious anti-tobacco policy, Norway became one of the first countries in the world to ban smoking in public places in June 2004.

Cigarettes cost around €11 (RM53.27) a pack, and Norway adopted neutral packaging last year.

Cigarette smoking has halved since 2007, when daily smokers made up 22 per cent of the population.

But snus consumption has taken off, steadily gaining on cigarettes. In 2016, 12 per cent were daily smokers while 10 per cent used snus, which cost a little over nine euros a box.

The product, which became popular in the 18th century, has become a target for tobacco-busters.

In November, the government won a lawsuit against Swedish producer Swedish Match which refused to sell its snus in neutral packaging. Swedish Match has appealed the ruling. — AFP-Relaxnews

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