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Public Health (18-02-2008)

Smokeless tobacco products are addictive and hazardous to health, scientific committee concludes

Smokeless tobacco products are addictive and hazardous to health, a scientific committee concluded.

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) in its opinion on smokeless tobacco products addressed their health effects and addiction potential. Furthermore, it examined the role of these products in smoking initiation and cessation, as well as the possibility to extrapolate the experience and use patterns from countries permitting the use of oral tobacco to other EU-countries, where this use is currently banned.

According to the opinion, which was published today after a public consultation, smokeless tobacco is addictive and withdrawal symptoms are broadly similar to those seen in smokers. Smokeless tobacco products contain various levels of toxic substances and these products are carcinogenic to humans.

The Committee also stated that on the available evidence it is not possible to draw conclusions as to the relative effectiveness of smokeless tobacco as an aid to smoking cessation in comparison with established therapies. Moreover, trends in prevalence of smoking and use of oral tobacco are not predictable, as no extrapolation can be derived on the use of oral tobacco in countries were it has not been used before.

SCENIHR provides the Commission with an updated and useful assessment in order to manage health risks in a responsible way according to its competences.

The opinion can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_013.pdf