Tobacco smoking was first introduced in Europe with Columbus’ return, during the 15th century and cultivated in Portugal shortly thereafter. Today, more than five hundred years later, 1 in 5 people in the world smokes tobacco cigarettes. This has made some rich, some broke and some dead. Only in the last few decades however has there been a lot of talk about the health hazards that smoking poses (some actually believed tobacco to be medicinal at first!), thus new alternative nicotine products emerged, yet again leaving some rich, some broke and some dead (chantix-champix). Yet smokers still have the choice between the lesser of evils, in the health sense.
Swedish snus (pronounced snoose), also known as moist tobacco, has been around for several hundred years and recently reintroduced to the American market. It is a thumb sized tea bag-like pouch that is placed under the upper lip. The tobacco inside releases nicotine into the bloodstream through saliva that mixes with it, but unlike with dip users don’t need to constantly spit. Snus has been praised in Sweden as a less harmful and safer alternative to smoking since it releases less cancer-causing nitrosamines and has lower risk of Cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure, as well as no additional risk of lung cancer since no smoke is present. Sweden, a country where nearly half the male population was addicted to smoking during the first half of the 20th century, now shows that only 15% are smokers and about 25% are snus users, and this is a country with a life expectancy of 81 years of age. Snus is heat-pasteurised but still moist when fresh. Use of the fine ground tobacco product is popular among blue collared workers who are addicted to nicotine but prefer a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes given the reduced health risks in terms of developing certain types of cancer associated with smoking tobacco. Snus or loose snus is made of tobacco, water, salt and flavor additives. According to BioMed Health only about 5% of swedish women use snus on a regular basis.
Another increasingly popular and relatively new alternative to tobacco is e-cigarettes. Ecigarettes are here to stay: Blu Cigs one of the most popular electronic cigarette brands sold was recently acquired by Lorillard, Inc. and that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When major brand tobacco corporations are starting to purchase small (comparatively) businesses, it means there’s something worth pursuing here. More people are becoming aware of the dangers of smoking tobacco and the switch to e-cigs just makes sense to them. The nicotine delivery devices work by evaporating a water-glycerin-ppg solution carrying the stimulant. The e-cigarette market brings in about $350 million dollars annually to their producers making them a growing contender for the best alternative to smoking.
The latest in nicotine addiction is lozenges, a non-dissolving pill, created by Altria of Richmond, Va. It costs slightly less than a pack of cigarettes but the health effects are yet to be discovered. A pack of 16 lozenges containing 1.5 mg of nicotine each should last a few days, but unlike with ecigarettes, the motion of smoking isn’t there thus making them a less effective mimic to tobacco smokes.