A row has erupted over snuff tobacco in Norway after a state researcher said the government should be promoting it as a way of stopping smoking.
Health officials have dismissed the criticisms of Karl Erik Lund, however, saying the substance, known as snus in Norway, is highly addictive and can cause cancer.
Mr Lund, of the state institute for alcohol and drug research SIRUS, told Aftenposten newspaper that Norway should start being honest with its people by telling them that snus is “much less dangerous” than smoking.
Dr Maja-Lisa Løchen, a professor of preventive medicine at the Univerity of Tromsø, however, told the newspaper that she was “furious” that they had given the story “so much space”.
“No research has documented that using snus is an effective way to stop smoking,” Dr Løchen told Aftenposten. “On the contrary, some smokers can wind up using both forms of tobacco.”
Løchen added that users, who usually place the snus under their lips to absorb the nicotine, also risk contracting other forms of cancer. She added that the health ministry would not be recommending the product.
Snus is banned in many European countries but has a long tradition of use in Norway and Sweden where it is still legal