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Snus dangers – and how to help

Snus has become the nicotine source of choice for many in the Nordic countries.

In Norway, we also have the app “Slutta” (Quit) that is especially designed to help people stop smoking or
using snus.

New research shows that the easiest way to help and encourage patients to stop using snus is underutilized. Only about 1 in 10 dentists and 4 out of 10 dental hygienists, in a recent study, were familiar with the minimal intervention method. This despite the fact that the method has shown considerable effect.

Snus, a moist tobacco product, has grown in popularity over recent years. It is especially prevalent among young people in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Many perceive it as a safe alternative to smoking. It is however, not without adverse effects on health.

Adverse health impact

Several studies have shown snus to cause changes in the oral cavity. This includes gum recession and changes in the oral mucosa, often causing red or white areas.

In 2014, a report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health concluded that snus also has serious adverse effect on the user’s over-all health. Among the dangers presented was an increased risk of certain forms of cancer, stillbirth, and increased mortality after myocardial infarction or stroke.

Three easy steps to stop use of tobacco

The minimal intervention method consists of three steps:

  1. Ask the patient about their tobacco use.
  2. Ask about their experience with the use. Are they experiencing any ill effects?
  3. Ask if they would like to quit. If they do, make an offer of support.

The offer of support may include information about the help their personal physician can offer. If they are worried about craving snus or gaining weight, there are prescription drugs that can help during treatment.

The health professional can also have a motivational chat, or refer the patient to any of the several online support systems available. In Norway, we also have the app “Slutta” (Quit) that is especially designed to help people stop smoking or using snus.

Snus has become the nicotine source of choice for many in the Nordic countries.

Snus has become the nicotine source of choice for many in the Nordic countries.

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Read more:
Tanner T., et al., 2019, “Prevention of snus use: Attitudes and activities in the Public Dental Service in the south eastern part of Norway.” https://doi.org/10.1002/cre2.171