Vaping News

Nicotine Is Not A Culprit

Planet of the Vapes has always encouraged smokers to use the quit product that works best for them, and snus is a product that seems to be unfairly blocked because it contains nicotine

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Bengt Wiberg is a man on a mission and that task is to change opinions about tobacco-free nicotine pouches. Through the ‘EU for snus’ initiative, Wiberg is attempting to challenge the European Union’s “unscientific” approach to snus that “favours politics over science”. It is a fight being replicated in Canada by retired anaesthesiologist John Oyston.

Bengt Wiberg says: “If more people used nicotine the way we do in Sweden, we could save many lives from premature death each year. Nicotine itself does not cause cancer. It’s the smoke and tar in cigarettes that are harmful.”

The Stockholm-based economist identified in 2018 that the European Union’s opposition to tobacco-free nicotine pouches was grounded in politics rather than being based on research evidence.

Bengt highlights that all informed researchers, such as Professor John Britton, recognise that nicotine poses no more risk than the caffeine in a cup of coffee; it is addictive but not harmful – and certainly not carcinogenic.

If you can’t quit nicotine altogether, at least switch to less harmful alternatives than smoking,” Wiberg states.

He believes that removing the snus ban would entail politicians accepting they’d made the wrong decision originally and maintaining the block allows them to avoid acknowledging their error.

“Sweden stands out because we have the lowest rate of all tobacco-related cancer forms and the lowest mortality from tobacco-related diseases in the world,” Bengt Wiberg points out by way of tobacco-free nicotine pouches’ success.

In Canada, Health Canada deliberated on pouches for two years before authorising the sale of one brand (to be sold in both pharmacies and convenience stores). Health charities sprang into action waving their arms in the air and the Health Minister is now being pressurised to reverse the decision.

In a letter, retired anaesthesiologist John Oyston says that Health Canada was right to open up a further opportunity to help smokers find a way out from dangerous tobacco addiction.

They all know smoking is bad for them, and they have almost all tried and failed to quit several times. They need to try something new,” Oyston says.

“Health Canada determined that the … pouch was safe and effective, and could be marketed as a nicotine replacement for smoking cessation. They approved it as a natural health product, which means it can be sold in convenience stores, in supermarkets and in gas stations, where cigarettes are also sold. Three flavours were approved (compared to five flavours for Nicorette gum).

“It is unfortunate that the only category in which nicotine pouches can be marketed is one without a legal minimum age for sale. Health Canada must have been aware of this but failed to do anything about it. This has created a huge backlash from medical charities. They are so concerned about tobacco companies being able to sell any form of nicotine to youth that they seem to have failed to notice that these products can be genuine life savers for adults who smoke.”

John Oyston is urging the Canadian government to implement legislation that age restricts pouch sales – not to ban them completely.

Given Sweden’s experience, why do other countries continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to alternative, reduced harm nicotine products?

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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