Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Norwegian Cancer Registry says Finland has better results than the rest of Scandinavia but without e-cigarettes?

I was looking for an article I knew I had seen earlier where the Norwegian Cancer Registry was encouraging us to listen to real science instead of the scientist at SIRUS, because I wanted to write a post on that. But I couldn't find it any more. Looks like it has been removed for some reason. But I found something else that I found interesting: http://goo.gl/lDjo1W
In this article, on the Norwegian Cancer Registry's web-pages, dr. Tom K. Grimsrud writes about statistics regarding lung-cancer in Scandinavia. He says that the governments has done a good job in preventing that young people starts smoking, but still the rate of lung-cancer is still to high. He says the rate is slowly decreasing for men between 50 and 60 but among older people the rate is still rising. So to stop this, we need not only to prevent that young people starts smoking, but we also have to get the older ones to stop. And then he says that Finland has managed this, but Norway is still behind. This graph is shown to illustrate this:

That is good news for Finland, and I really thing dr. Tom K. Grimsrud is on the right track here. Getting people to stop smoking is just as important as preventing people to start. I mean, this is one of the main reasons I advocate for e-cigarettes, they are a fantastic opportunity, especially for long time smokers. I think that the longer you smoke the more addicted you get, not only to nicotine but also to the ritual of smoking. In addition to that, the pressure from your surroundings to stop smoking gets lighter by age. People start giving up on you and think it is more important that you stop smoking the younger you are. But our dr. Tom here doesn't like the e-cigarettes much. He even says that Finland has managed this without the use of e-cigarettes and snus (Swedish smokeless tobacco). But how can he say that? There is no reference to any source for this information. And Finland, as far as I know, have the same laws regarding e-cigarettes as we have in Norway (http://whatsupfinland.org/english/electronic-cigarettes-are-on-the-rise/), which means you can order e-liquid with nicotine from abroad for personal use. And the graph shown here shows that Finland managed this before 2008, at which point snus was still legal in Finland (I think it was banned in 2010).

I totally agree with dr. Tom K. Grimsrud on that it is important to take a look at older groups as well. It's great that he puts this on the agenda. And I don't mind agreeing to disagreeing regarding the way to get there. But I don't think it's right saying that Finland has done this without the use of e-cigarettes. There is, as far as I've been able to find out using google, nothing that indicates that e-cigarette use in Finland is less than the rest of Scandinavia. I think dr. Tom K. Grimsrud should present some kind of evidence before making such a claim. When doing it this way, throwing out claims without any source reference, it looks as just badmouthing e-cigarettes, and using irrelevant data to do so. Any comments by people who know the Finish vaping society and market better than me are more than welcome.

10 comments :

  1. Just correction. Snuss was banned in Finland 1995 when Finland joined to the EU. How ever there are lot's of people who are using snuss and they are getting it fron black market or from ferries to Sweden.

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    1. Thanks for the correction. Is this a complete ban or are you allowed to buy from Sweden and bring into the country. I think I read it was allowed to import it from Sweden until 2010, but I can't find the article right now. Is this correct?

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  2. You can import from Sweden or from a ferry from Sweden 30 boxes (usually 3x10) for you personal use only. In 2010 government tightened import restrictions by banning ordering from Sweden by mail so now the only legal way to buy snuss is to go to Sweden and import by yourself. Even gifts are considered illegal.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info. Do you know if there is any research or statistics on snus usage in Finland before and after this restrictions have come into place? Has users stopped using snus because of it or has the black market managed to supply the users?

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    2. Recent official statistics of tobacco products in Finland are from year 2012 http://www.julkari.fi/handle/10024/110551 Use of snuss 2000 - 2005 and 2008-2012 is described in tables 19 and 20. Search for snus.

      2,2% of Finnish 15-64 years old uses snus daily and it has been quite stable recent years.

      According to those stats use of e-cigs in 2012 was only 1%.

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    3. Thanks for that. It's interesting to see that among the youngest group (15-24), the usage drops a bit in 2011 after they tightened import restrictions in 2010, but then in 2012 it actually goes up again and is then higher than it was before. This would be the group most likely to go to the black market as well, as they are the weakest group economically. So it looks to me that by tightening the restrictions they have managed to create a fully functional black market AND made snus more attractive to young people. I think the same thing will happen if e-cigarettes are over-regulated as I wrote about earlier in this post: http://goo.gl/KxKzJa

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    4. Funny thing is polices and custom officers are also using snus and they very well know where to buy that but since it's their own interest as well, the black market remains in good shape. Occasionally there is some shops get's confiscated but it is not even monthly.

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