Norwegian Dental Professionals Could Help Young People Avoid Snus Addiction
Snus, also known as snuff or smokeless tobacco. Tobacco contributes to 90% of oral cancer diagnoses in the world. Smokeless tobacco is used worldwide, and contains the same harmful chemicals and carcinogens that smoked tobacco has.
While many oncologists note that smokeless tobacco won’t help wean people off their tobacco use, many Nordic countries still believe it can. Advice from dental healthcare professionals could change public opinion on snus usage.
What is Snus and What Does it Do?
Snus, rhyming with “goose,” is a moist, fine tobacco powder, mainly made in Sweden, that goes under the top lip. It doesn’t require spitting like chewing tobacco, and there’s no risk of second-hand smoke inhalation, unlike with cigarettes. Snus was used as a way to reduce the negative health effects of smoking and to eventually get people to stop their tobacco usage.
Snus usage in Norway has helped people to cut down on smoking, and some Norwegian teenagers haven taken up snus instead of smoking cigarettes. But while snus may be less risky than cigarettes, it’s still not safe. Snus contains the addictive compound, nicotine, which is what causes people to get hooked on it. Quitting snus is still as unpleasant as quitting smoking, resulting in headaches, cravings and nausea, but as it can have more nicotine and other harmful compounds (like nitrosamines) than cigarettes, it’s certainly worth doing.
What Norwegian Dental Professionals Can Do
Young adults have steadily increased their snus usage in Norway over the past 20 years. In 2017, 32% of men and 22% of women between the ages of 16 and 24 used snus daily. People below the age of 18 in Norway are entitled to free dental care, leading a recent study to suggest that the attitudes of public dental health professionals could reduce the chances of young patients using snus in south-eastern Norway.
The study found that dental hygienists, the people on the frontline of advice about the best dental health practices, were the most effective at informing and supporting snus cessation or prevention in Norway. However,87% of dentists and 58% of dental hygienists were not familiar with the intervention practices used to prevent and stop tobacco usage. The study suggests that dental hygienists and other dental health professionals could be a key resource is stopping young people from picking up a snus habit, preserving their overall health and longevity. While snus usage is on the rise among the Norwegian youth, the first method to decrease that trend is the free public service these professionals offer. It simply takes education among all parties to achieve that outcome.
Snus can be a hard habit to quit. However, dental professionals can help young people avoid addiction in the first place. With more education, dental professionals can help keep the Norwegian youth healthy.
This article is written by our contributor, Karoline Gore, to be shared with the esteemed readers of Norway Today. Karoline is a freelance writer and editor.
© Karoline Gore / #Norway Today