As often, it is a celebrity who launched the fashion. It was enough for a footballer from the France team to show up with a box of “snus”, a tobacco in a sachet to be sucked that you slip between the lip and the gum, for social networks to ignite and that young people want to imitate him.
If the phenomenon is known among athletes, this product is nevertheless prohibited in France and in the European Union since 1992, with the exception of Sweden where it is designed and marketed. Buying “snus” – chewing tobacco, in Swedish – therefore remains a bit complicated for a teenager. But another similar product is much more accessible.
Since last fall, sachets of white nicotine-based powder, which unlike “snus” do not contain tobacco, have been on sale in tobacconists “under the misleading qualification of snus/snuf”, indicates the National Committee against Smoking (CNCT). The industry “takes advantage of a certain legal vagueness around nicotine products and maintains the confusion to mislead the consumer and hope to influence the regulations around these products”, explains the association in a press release published on January 5.
A hard drug that makes you very addictive
The objective of the manufacturers is to surf on the “snus” effect to seduce young people. “The nicotine sachets are sold with different flavors to attract them and make them enter into addiction, warns Professor Yves Martinet, president of the CNCT. The doses can go up to 20 mg, depending on the brand, against 1 to 3 mg for a classic cigarette. However, we know that nicotine is a hard drug that makes you very dependent. It is more difficult to quit nicotine than heroin,” recalls the specialist. Once trapped, this young audience is an easy target for other products and in particular the “puff”, a disposable electronic cigarette, whose consumption is “exploding” among teenagers.
Beyond the risk of addiction, the consumption of nicotine sachets can have “consequences on the brain development of young people and their intellectual abilities”, warns Professor Martinet. This kind of product can also cause cardiovascular problems and fetal malformations in pregnant women. »
The “snus”, he, “can cause cancer of the pancreas, due to the passage of tobacco in the digestive system, and leads to lesions of the mucous membranes in the mouth as well as an irreversible retraction of the gums”, alert for its part the Alliance against tobacco in a message on twitter. Not to mention that “snus” also contains nicotine and therefore also “rapidly addictive”.