More young people in Sweden are using both white snus and e-cigarettes, according to the CAN survey “Självrapporterade rök- och snusvanor 2003-2022” (“Self-reported smoking and snus habits 2003-2022”).
A large proportion of teenagers in the country also report that so-called tobacco-free nicotine products are easily available even if they are under 18 years old.
The survey looks at the tobacco and nicotine habits of Swedes, with around 18,000 people aged 17-84 responding each year.
In 2022, around 20% of the population had used either tobacco snus or so-called white snus at least once in the past month, with around 16% indicating that they were daily users. Snus use is most common in the youngest age group of 17-29 years and decreased with increasing age. When looking only at the use of white snus, the youngest age group was also dominant. The use of white snus had also increased slightly from 2021.
Among e-cigarette, or vape, users, 4% of the population had used it at some point in the past month. However, unlike snus users, the majority were more occasional users, i.e. they did not use it daily. On the other hand, there was a marked increase among young people and the use of vape, where the proportion who “vaped” in the last month increased from four percent in 2021 to 14 percent in 2022.
Around 12% of the population reported smoking regular cigarettes in the last month, with around 7% reporting daily smoking. Cigarette smoking has declined since 2003 and continues to decline slightly.
In a Novus survey of young people’s attitudes to tobacco, commissioned by A Non Smoking Generation, 65% of young people aged 14-18 said that it is easy to get hold of white snus if they are under 18. Furthermore, 63% said that e-cigarettes were easy to obtain if they were under 18. About one in four young people also say that they often see advertisements for these types of nicotine products on social media and that a major reason for wanting to try such products is that they are presented as less harmful to health than traditional tobacco products.
White snus and e-cigarettes are marketed as tobacco-free but contain nicotine, the main addictive substance in tobacco. However, the nicotine is still extracted from the tobacco plant, which has led to debates about whether white snus, for example, can actually be called tobacco-free.
It was last year that a new law on so-called tobacco-free nicotine products was introduced, including a ban on marketing the products to people under the age of 25. However, according to the survey, the products are often marketed with appealing flavors such as candy and the like, and around 50% of young people aged 14-18 years say that these flavors make them more likely to try the products. The survey shows that around 96% of nicotine users start at a very young age.