Is there a better alternative to smoking?

According to history, cigarettes originated in Mexico and in Central America. This narrow cylinder typically containing tobacco, which is rolled into thin paper for smoking, has been in circulation since the 9th century. In the 19th century, the adverse health effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke were discovered and the link between smoking and lung cancer was identified by the German doctors.

Despite the many pieces of evidence linking cigarettes to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and more, many people are still into it. In fact, the widespread smoking of cigarettes in the Western world is largely a 20th-century phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, there's this a moist powder smokeless tobacco product called snus. Originating from a variant of dry snuff in the early 18th-century, it is placed inside the lip for extended periods. It comes in flavors such as mint and wintergreen. You don’t burn snus neither spit it when you use it.

According to medical professionals in Sweden who are knowledgeable about tobacco, snus is less harmful than cigarettes. A representative from the American Lung Association has also the same observation stating that compared to cigarettes, snus seems less dangerous.

In Sweden, snus has been associated as something that has helped lower smoking rates, wherein more than half of Swedish snus users are already ex-smokers. It was also proven to reduce the chances of cancer among Swedish.

Same situation in Norway, where snus has helped cut down on smoking. People either used it to help them quit cigarettes or as an alternative to cigarettes if they hadn’t successfully quit.  Some Norwegian youth have also taken up snus instead of cigarettes so the health risks is less than that of cigarettes.

How did snus become less harmful than cigarettes?

Snus doesn't emit smoke, thus preventing the dangers caused by second-hand smoke which is said to be more dangerous. And since snus is not inhaled it does not affect the lungs as cigarettes do.

Snus was also proven to release "cleaner" nicotine than cigarettes. Snus tobacco undergoes the method of pasteurization. It kills off nitrites, especially tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) which are one of the primary carcinogens found in tobacco. When tobacco is fermented such as that in cigarettes, higher quantities of TSNAs are present.

Snus is being refrigerated after production, and it resists fermentation. Unlike tobacco stored at room temperatures which undergoes fermentation even after it's been packaged. Refrigerated snus shows no increase in TSNAs but tobacco stored at room temperature for six months increases TSNA levels by 30 to 130 percent.

Let's face the fact that, smoking will never end and smokers will never be lost. Smoking has long been part of tradition and culture. No matter how much harm it does, there will still be a lot of people who wouldn't care, but if we will give them a less harmful alternative such as snus, then that would make a big difference.

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