The use of snuff – or “mouth tobacco” at it is known in Icelandic – is increasing among young men, and the substance itself has almost three times as much nicotine as its Swedish equivalent.
Vísir reports that 15% of Icelandic males between the ages of 18 and 24 use snuff. While tobacco intended for oral use is forbidden from sale in Iceland, inhaled snuff is still legal, and is used orally, as demonstrated above.
The importing of snuff has increased from 11.7 to 25.5 tonnes between 2003 and 2010. This does not necessarily set Iceland apart – snuff is popular in many Nordic countries, especially the Swedish “snus” tobacco, which is used throughout Scandinavia. However, snus contains about 0.75% nicotine. The snuff sold in Iceland is by contrast 2% nicotine.
Viðar Jensson, a tobacco prevention expert with the Directorate of Health, says he considers the situation “very serious,” as this could lead to a great many young men ending up with powerful addictions to the substance.
Despite more commonly held misconceptions, snuff, like other forms of tobacco, is carcinogenic and generally toxic.