The Game is Afoot

You may have noticed that I’ve been talking about Snus a bit recently. It appears that I’m not the only one. Now, if you do a search on Aunty Beeb for mention of Snus, you won’t find very much from the last twelve months. In fact before the most recent (junk) article, the last time Aunty Beeb mentions Snus in an article dates back to May 2015 when there was quite a bit of a to do about a certain EU official and a teeny bit of bribery.

EU anti-fraud agency Olaf had earlier delivered a report asserting that Mr Dalli had held unauthorised secret meetings with tobacco industry representatives.

Secret meetings? With an EU Official? Those never happen do they!

Y’see, fellow eminent blogger Dick Puddlecote picked up on the recent Beeb article (I’ll shamefully admit I missed it first time around), and he’s noticed (as did I when I saw the date) something incredibly suspect:

What looks suspiciously like a well-timed piece of trademark tobacco control junk science to muddy the waters in the run-up to a CJEU challenge of the EU snus ban was – as can be expected with a study negative about nicotine – embraced warmly by Nanny Beeb.

Naturally. Of course, Aunty Beeb is quick to point out when things are “bad” for us Proles (as is the Telegraph), but it is a little bit daft to write an article that is – for want of a better word – utter bollocks, from start to finish.

Researchers in Sweden have issued a warning over snus – the country’s favourite nicotine hit – challenging claims it is a risk-free alternative to smoking.

Have they indeed? What about this cute little gem? Or any of the other studies that have been submitted to the CJEU and the US FDA by Swedish Match? It is of course well known, as purported by one Professor Michael Russell, that “people smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar”, so by that statement; any nicotine consumption that doesn’t include combustion is a good thing no?

So how come, in light of the weight of evidence that states pretty emphatically, Aunty Beeb can publish an article claiming the Snus leads to Type 2 diabetes?

Consider this for a moment:

It has been suggested that moist snuff (snus), a smokeless tobacco product that is high in nicotine and widespread in Scandinavia, increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Previous studies are however few, contradictory and, with regard to autoimmune diabetes, lacking. Our aim was to study the association between snus use and the risk of Type 2 diabetes and latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood (LADA).

Rasouli et al 2016

Fancy that! It’s already been studied! Funded by the Swedish Medical Research Council, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life & Welfare, AFA Insurance Company, The Swedish Diabetes Association and the Norwegian University of Science & Technology.

Of course, having such a diverse funding source doesn’t necessarily eliminate any conflicts of interest, but you’d think that if the Swedish Diabetes Association were involved that they’d want to know the truth right?

Well, guess what was found in 2016?

The risk of Type 2 diabetes and LADA is unrelated to the use of snus, despite its high nicotine content. This opens the possibility of the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes seen in smokers may not be attributed to nicotine, but to other substances in tobacco smoke.

Unsurprising really.

Source: International Diabetes Federation

That’s quite something isn’t it? Sweden has a lower T2 diabetes percentage than the EU at a smidge under 15% of the population. Incredible isn’t it? Especially when you consider how many Swedes actually use Snus:

Graphs courtesy of Clive Bates

You’d think with such a rate of snus use in men, there’d be an equivalent (or even slightly causal) rate of type 2. Clearly Aunty Beeb is anxious to start sounding the alarm bells as they have done before. Uncanny isn’t it?

A salient point raised by fellow blogger Puddlecote highlights just how ridiculous this article (and its associated “study”):

The risk is even more negligible when you consider that Diabetes UK doesn’t even list smoking as a risk factor on its website, so why anyone should be concerned about snus being equally benign is anyone’s guess.

Quite. But then, this analysis comes from some of the same authors – from Sweden’s premiere anti-tobacco junk science factory – that declared there was no link between snus and diabetes in last year’s study.

As for this rubbish:

“The current picture in Sweden is that snus is not as dangerous as smoking, and there is some evidence for that too – but importantly, there haven’t been that many studies on Swedish snus.

“Our results suggest you should leave both snus and smoking alone if you want to reduce your risk of diabetes.”

Maybe, just maybe this Dr Sofia Carlsson – a researcher at the aforementioned junk science factory – would be more than aware of the body of literature on snus, including an 805 page review on the product.

But then, as we’ve seen with vaping, positive news doesn’t get the clicks. Who cares if it’s junk?

As Puddlecote says “the establishment that plays together, stays together”.

Quite.