An outright ban on mouth tobacco – also known as snuff – is a distinct possibility, as far as the Minister of Welfare is concerned.
As reported, more and more Icelanders – in particular, young males – are using mouth tobacco. Snuff use has increased by 25% from 2009 to 2011. This translates to 30 tonnes sold last year alone. Even this does not paint a complete picture of snuff use in Iceland, though, as much of it is smuggled into the country. Customs estimate that they have seized some 100 kilos of snuff that others attempted to smuggle into the country, and that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the total amount being smuggled in.
About one-fifth of Icelandic males between the ages of 16 and 23 use snuff orally. Use of snuff has, in fact, reached the point where it is pretty much as popular as smoking among certain demographics.
Vísir now reports that Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson finds the trend a worrying one. He believes the response should be to greatly increase the tax on mouth tobacco – which likely would not have much effect on smuggled tobacco – or make it illegal altogether.
These are just possibilities for now, however, and the ministry is planning on taking a closer look at the situation before any legislation is introduced to parliament.