The sale of snus, nicotine pouches, have multiplied in recent years and it’s now estimated that one third of young people use snus, RÚV reports.
At the beginning of 2019, 64 kilos were imported per month and in July last year, twelve tonnes were imported. It is estimated that about 116 tonnes will be imported this year.
Consumption has increased sharply in the youngest age groups and there is little difference in use by gender.
22% of high school students use snus and about a third of Icelanders aged 18-34 use snus daily. The use of mouth tobacco halved in recent years.
Lára G. Sigurðardóttir, doctor of public health sciences, explained on the TV show Kastljós that nicotine is one of the most well-known addictive substances and has various effects on the body.
She stated: “It releases adrenaline which raises blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, which gives a little kick. But it also passes into the brain and affects the well-being area of the brain by releasing dopamine.
The brain does not reach full maturity until people are around 25 to 30 years old. So there are still a lot of nerve connections forming in the brain. It causes temperament changes, lack of concentration and affects learning ability and sleep.”
Stricter selling rules
As of now, there are no advertising restrictions on snus, unlike tobacco and alcohol. This means that snus can be shown in shops and doesn’t have to be hidden away.
This is soon to be remedied, as the Minister of Health has submitted a bill that will make it forbidden to advertise the pouches and keep them visible, except in specialty stores.
Viðar Hafsteinsson, an expert at the Office of the Medical Director of Health, says that it is very important that the bill is approved in this parliament so that it will be possible to work against increased consumption.
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