The use of chewing tobacco has increased substantially in Iceland in recent years, especially among young men. It’s 24 percent among 18-24 year-old men, according to RÚV.
The Icelandic Cancer Society’s annual March initiative, called Mustache March (Mottumars) brings awareness to this problem. The effort is dedicated to the fight against cancer affecting men. Its goal is to increase public knowledge of the dangers of tobacco use and encourage men to quit using tobacco.
Many Icelandic men use the month of March to grow a mustache to bring attention to the initiative.
Tobacco is the cause of most types of cancer in the world. Every year, about 140 Icelandic men are diagnosed with cancer attributed to tobacco use, and about 90 men die annually for the same reason, according to the Icelandic Cancer Society.
Despite extensive preventive efforts in recent years, 14 percent of Icelandic men still smoke, 9 percent of them daily.
Not only has the use of chewing tobacco increased substantially, but also the popularity of e-cigarettes. Their use has increased in schools where tobacco use was minimal. More than a quarter of 10th graders (15-year-olds) have used e-cigarettes and half of students aged 16-20, while that rate is 5 percent among adults.
According to the Cancer Society, much has been accomplished in the fight against tobacco use, through education and preventive efforts. All tobacco use is harmful and addictive, and more work is needed to fight it. Research shows that increased preventive efforts and education can prevent up to half of cancer cases.