Advertisement
Editorial

Tobacco Substitutes: Harm Reduction or Smokescreen?

  • The PLoS Medicine Editors
  • Published: July 31, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040244

Reader Comments (4)

Post a new comment on this article

Why I Use Snus

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:19 GMT

Author: Tom Martin
Position: Communications Operator
Institution: US Government
E-mail: navyblueblood@bellsouth.net
Additional Authors: None
Submitted Date: January 13, 2008
Published Date: January 15, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

I am a 55 year old white male. I started smoking cigarettes when I was 12 years old. I have quit smoking several times, the longest period being 10 months. I was diagnosed about 5-6 years ago with a "slight case" of emphysema. I have wanted to quit smoking since my mid to late 20's.
I quit smoking about 5 years ago for about 10 months, using the nicotine "patch". When I quit smoking without a nicotine substitute I become extremely depressed. I have not sought help for that.
It is required of me to attend smoking "cessation" classes if I want the government (Tricare) to pay for my cessation medication/supplements. I attended a cessation class in April 2007, because I wanted to try Chantix. There were about 10 others in my class. Chantix worked for about 8 people, but not for me and another guy. He complained of nausea; I still had withdrawal symptoms as if quitting "cold turkey". I was very disappointed.
I tried again on August 2007, this time once again using the "patch". I was okay at first but then I wanted to smoke. Working two jobs and other stressful events caused me to think about smoking. I started smoking again after about 9 weeks, starting on a Friday.
I went through that weekend "sneaking" cigarettes when I could, so my wife and kids wouldn't find out that I started again. On that Tuesday, I picked up a pack of cigarettes while on my way in to work. I was very depressing for me to smoke again. I thought to myself "Maybe I'll try 'dip'. At least I won't be putting smoke into my lungs".
I went to the Navy Exchange on the base where I work, and saw a friend that "dips" snuff. I asked him to help me select a snuff for me to try. We went to the counter where the tobacco is sold, and he told the lady that I was trying to quit smoking. She said to me "Why don't you try 'Snus'?" I had never heard of it before.
To make a long story short, I have been using Snus since that day. I researched it and found that the Swedish have been using it for over 200 years, and that it contains considerably fewer carcinogens than cigarettes. I also found out that the Swedish use Snus more than cigarettes, and they have the lowest rate of cancer in the EU.
I have no desire to smoke when I use Snus. I am not putting cigarette smoke into my lungs. Because it is spitless, my wife has no idea that I am getting my nicotine "fix" when I need to. She thinks I'm still nicotine free, and this significantly reduces the "nag" factor.
Some negatives are that I'm still consuming carcinogenic matter. I don't like the idea of that, but at least it's not exacerbating my emphysema. Also, sometimes it feels as if I have taken too much, perhaps leaving it under my lip for too long. I get "jittery" and my short-term memory is impacted.
I am not employed by, nor do I receive any remuneration in any manner whatsoever from the tobacco industry. I do not trust the tobacco industry either, but I must admit I don't think they are aggressively promoting Snus because it is limited in availability because it is in a "test market" status in America. If they actively promoted Snus during a "test market" then the results of that test would not be accurate.
Thank you for considering my article.

No competing interests declared.