Effects of Snus on Health
Snus is tobacco, and tobacco is a carcinogen, a substance that accelerates changes in genetics that may lead to cancer. Nicotine, however, is not definitively labelled a carcinogen; however, it is known to cause developmental defects in pregnant women and young children, as all substances have their pros in terms of physiological effects, too.
Negative effects of Snus
The adverse effects of Snus are a broad topic, as tobacco and nicotine have strong, general physiologic effects. These Negative effects are more severe in developing fetuses and children, so pregnant women must stay away from tobacco and nicotine. Nicotine and tobacco are associated with a vast list of adverse effects, from stillbirths, decreased lung development, immune system compromise, and cancer all the way to stroke, schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
1. Snus Causes Oral Cancer
Tobacco use as Snus may cause oral cancer; this is due to the changes in the oral mucosa that tobacco can cause; these changes can become malignant and begin to spread to other nearby parts of the body via the blood like the oral cavity or the pharynx and the oesophagus (the food pipe) and the upper section of the stomach.
Snus has even been linked to other cancers farther down the digestive system, such as the pancreas, the colon, the rectum and the anus. The prospect of prostate cancer is also increased, especially in the case of loose non-Swedish Snus over a prolonged period of use.
These malignant (spreading cancer) effects are caused by the compounds "Tobacco specific Nitrosamines", a big word describing carcinogenic substances found only in tobacco, Nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and 4-(N-Methyl-N-nitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) as well as the NNK degradation product 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) are the most potent of these subject and are blamed for much of the carcinogenic properties of tobacco. The highly active compounds cause sudden erratic changes to the cells in your mouth due to a need to react with your cell's metabolic systems, causing irreversible damage to these metabolic systems and leading to the early stages of cancer.
With all this said and done, it is essential to mention the multiple studies done which conclude that Swedish Snus is explicitly not associated with increased oral cancer in men, primarily when used in reduced duration and frequency; this association does not apply to Indian, Afghani, Pakistani and other Asian forms of Snus which are known to increase the risks of oral cancer.
2. Cardiovascular Effects
Snus also, unfortunately, has been associated with adverse Cardiovascular effects; in this case, both tobacco-specific Nitrosamines and Nicotine are to blame. Snus, including Swedish Snus, is associated with increased blood pressure and increased mortality rate due to myocardial infarction or stroke. This effect has been linked to the agitating effect of Snus on the blood vessel wall lining. This endothelium causes the vessel walls to harden and lose their elasticity, which results in the body becoming unable to regulate the width of its vessel to maintain a steady blood pressure. This, while being a significant physiologic issue, does not mean Snus can directly cause a heart attack, aneurysms and Heart valve disease; it does still mean Snus increases the risk of a stroke. The stiffening effect of Snus on blood vessels has been known to be more significant in women than men. Along with blood pressure, Snus also increases a user's heart rate, which can result in a lower time to exhaustion and, in people with older age, palpitations. Although not directly linked to Cardiovascular Effects, it is evident that increased tobacco-specific nitrosamine levels for long periods over several years can cause metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
3. Addiction Potential
Snus contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance to which the body can become physiologically dependent. This is due to the ability of nicotine to dilate blood vessels to the brain, which helps increase concentration, simultaneously, nicotine triggers the release of dopamine, a neurologic chemical associated with the feeling of satisfaction and content.
Nicotine triggers significant amounts of dopamine release, which the brain gets used to and quickly begins to depend on for users to feel satiated. When nicotine is withdrawn, this can cause irritation, anger and irritability as the user tries to fight or suppress their 'nicotine cravings'; the brain's dependence on the now withdrawn dopamine and increased blood flow due to nicotine creates a sense of urgency, intense desire and frustration. This is why Snus and tobacco are associated with temporary improvement of depression and anxiety; nicotine satiates the user and reduces stress due to the anxiolytic properties of nicotine.
Snus is also associated with non-affective psychosis, an umbrella term that refers to temporary disorganized thinking, disoriented behaviour, delusions and sometimes even hallucinations. There are even associations between Snus and schizophrenia, but this connection, despite being backed by statistics, requires more research.
Some Positive Effects of Snus
Snus use (mainly nicotine) has been associated with increased concentration and physical performance, the material performance to be discussed later. Snus, when used for the first time over after a break from use, can cause heightened concentration and focus due to increased blood supply to the brain, an effect of nicotine. After prolonged usage, this effect wears off and turns into a dependence on Snus (nicotine) to concentrate. Snus has also been associated with benefits in Parkinson's disease patients as it helps reduce involuntary neurologic activity. Snus has even been associated with improved genital hernia recovery. However, this claim has little medical evidence to back it up and requires further research.
Snus has an overall positive benefit on public health.
Snus has been said to be good for public health, and while this is accurate, it does not mean Snus is good for you individually. Snus improves overall general health by reducing smoking; smokers can switch to Snus, which is better for respiratory health; smoking can be much worse for health as this Nicotine Delivery method uses combustion, which creates carbon monoxide, a compound that can significantly decrease blood oxygen levels and simultaneously cause neurological damage. Smoking also delivers tar and other by-products of combustion into lungs and blood vessels, creating a greater risk for cancer, emphysema, bronchitis and more health concerns. The heavy coughing resulting from mucus secretion in a smoker's throat and irritation of the tracheal wall is also avoided as users switch to Snus.
The non-combustion-based nicotine delivery method of Snus reduces the overall number of carcinogenic substances that a consumer is exposed to, with the only significant cancer-causing substance exposed to the user being tobacco in the oral mucosa.
Snus is a viable option for smokers looking to quit smoking; it can be used to satiate the 'nicotine craving' while reducing overall harm. Substituting cigarettes for Snus in Sweden alone reduced the number of smokers by 5%. Big numbers. It has also been predicted that 200,000 fewer EU citizens will die of tobacco-related diseases, and future lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers will be significantly reduced.