Is snus a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes?
Hannah - So, what are the relative harms of nicotine containing products? Are patches more dangerous than e-cigarettes? Is snus safer than smoking? We crack into the data with Professor Nutt.
David N. - Hello. My name is David Nutt. I'm a Psychopharmacologist from Imperial College in London and I'm also Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.
Weíve recently done quite a detailed analysis of the relative harms of different nicotine and tobacco containing products. We use this new technique of multi-criteria decision analysis. This is our analysis to try to understand relative harms of drugs and to make more rational, sensible decisions throughout what we do with drugs including tobacco.
Hannah - Well, heís perfectly placed to provide the answer to this Question of the Week then!
David N. - Some people often say that snus as itís known in Sweden and it is popular in Sweden, is that safer than cigarettes. Recent data suggests that snus is about 20 times safer than cigarettes. There are many reasons to this. The first is, itís actually especially prepared form of tobacco that has taken out most of the carcinogens that are added to tobacco and cigarettes to make them smoke better. The second, it that smoke does not get into the lungs or carbon monoxide that damages the heart.
Hannah - So, snus is considerably safer than smoking cigarettes, but what about electronic cigarettes which vaporise nicotine and deliver it to the lungs?
David N. - So, these also look to be very much safer than conventional cigarettes and possibly, even safer than snus itself.
Hannah - And what about the passive risk of e-cigarettes for those around the smoker?
David N. - The current situation with e-cigarettes is that we think they have a much lower propensity to affect other people as well as for the user. They havenít been extensively studied, but you certainly donít get the contamination of the air, the carcinogens that you get from smoked cigarettes. Whether there's enough nicotine floating around to actually cause a degree of pharmacological action on, people in the vicinity is not yet known. Iíll be surprised if they have anything like this bigger problem as what passive smoking is to current cigarettes.
Some years ago a Texas judge ruled that a cigarette is an inherently defective product since it is not essential to life in the short term, and its only known longterm effect is to kill you.
Snuff. And most illegal drugs. Compared with alcohol and cigarettes, most banned substances are pretty harmless to others. alancalverd, Tue, 24th Sep 2013
I found the distinction between snus and dipping tobacco (also known as snuff in the USA) to be quite interesting.
Same applies to a careless driver, drunk who falls downstairs, failed suicide, prat with chainsaw, broken leg....but we don't ban cars, beer, razor blades, garden tools, skis....
My point was that people who intoxicate themselves do harm others in the process,
How did we get so far off of tobacco?
Unfortunately some of us do, indeed, enjoy smoking. It's unhealthy and antisocial, without a doubt, so many non-smokers don't enjoy smokers. Good on 'em; it's not my favorite characteristic of old Skyli either. Habit and Addiction are a very nasty and tenacious mix.