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Smoking Down; Snuff and Snus Use Up

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Smoking Down; Snuff and Snus Use Up

Snuff

Photo: Wikipedia.

Fewer Icelanders aged 18 and older now smoke than did in 2012, or 11.3 percent compared to 14.2 percent, according to an announcement on the Surgeon General's website. Most of the reduction has occurred among younger people, while the highest rates of smoking are found among those in their 40s and 50s.

At the same time overall use of snuff and snus, a type of moist finely-ground tobacco similar to American dipping tobacco, has gone up, in particular among those younger age groups that now smoke less. While use has gone down or stayed the same for those aged 25-34, 35-44 and 45+, it has grown significantly for men aged 18-24. That rate is now 23 percent, but was 15 percent in 2012.

The sale of snus is prohibited in the European Union, and within the European Economic Area, but many Icelandic users purchase it while traveling in the Scandinavian countries, which are exempt from the ban on the basis of its cultural significance there. Others utilize 'neftóbak,' a type of ground tobacco similar to snuff, both of which are traditionally snorted rather than placed under the lip, for the same purpose.

Overall snuff and 'neftóbak' use has grown from 1.9 percent to 3.4 percent, and hovers around 10 percent for men aged 18-44.

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