Chewing tobacco and snus - inconspicuous, but effective.

Chewing tobacco and snus - inconspicuous, but effective.

During our many years of work with young people, we also encounter various types of drugs, whether prohibited or tolerated. The most common are alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine products. In addition to cigarette smoking, the use of chewing tobacco or snus is also very common. It is approximately equally common, but less noticeable since it is applied under the upper lip, where it is usually not visible. The user also does not smell it and can use it almost anywhere and anytime.

Chewing tobacco is known mainly as small pouches filled with moist tobacco, which contains a variety of additives that are dangerous and harmful. These include nitrosamines and carcinogens, which are possible triggers for many types of cancer. There are many brands and types of chewing tobacco. Typical for chewing tobacco users is frequent spitting due to the release of the additives.

Snus is also known as small pouches, similar to chewing tobacco. Unlike chewing tobacco, however, it does not contain tobacco, but synthetic nicotine, which also contains harmful additives. Snus users do not spit like chewing tobacco users, as snus is pasteurized with steam. Studies show that snus is the “healthiest” way to use nicotine.

The addiction that is difficult to overcome

Chewing tobacco or snus have in common that they contain nicotine, which is addictive. It is absorbed through the oral mucosa and gradually penetrates the brain, where addiction is created as easily as smoking. Even easier, because it contains up to 5 times more nicotine than a regular cigarette. Tobacco addiction is classified as a disease by the International Classification of Diseases. Nicotine meets key criteria for addiction, including compulsive and unwanted use and repeated attempts to quit.

Why is it harmful?

Even though chewing tobacco and snus cause lung cancer the least out of all nicotine products, they can cause many other types of cancer – gum, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, stomach, etc. – as well as many other serious illnesses. These products cause increased tooth decay and periodontitis, as well as life-threatening cardiovascular disease. The possibility of overdose is also dangerous, as they are much stronger than, for example, cigarettes. Some users even use two “pouches” at once to make their lips look symmetrical and not show that they have them applied.