Online trade of Snus as well as Gutkha (Indian variety of smokeless tobacco-ST) should be banned. WHO FCTC must have a special focus on this deadly threat of oral cancer to millions.
Professor Chitta Choudhury Director, International Centre for Tropical Oral Health, UK
Nitte University Dept of Oral Biology Genomic Studies | Cen Oral Dis Prev Control, Mangalore, India.
NOT PEER REVIEWED I refer to the report "How online sales and promotion of snus contravenes current European Union legislation, published recently in Tob Control 21 January 2012. Like Snus, the online trade of Gutkha (Indian variety of Smokeless tobacco- ST) is gaining popularity as well as in several outlets in the UK. If you visit some of the shops in East and north-west London or in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Leister (where SE Asian immigrants are living) you can easily find many shops displaying various brands of Gutkha sachets. As a member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, (NICE, UK) stakeholders on Smokeless Tobacco control for SE Asian Migrants , I joined in a meeting and raised the question of why we can't stop such trade,likewise Snus. But the fact is that there is no strong legislative support to ban this trade. There is no doubt that online trade of ST products (not only Snus, also Guthka) is on rise. Anyway, the results of a database search regarding online sales and promotion of Snus revealed that online vendors are targeting non- Swedish EU citizens. Such online trade may also cross more distant borders, reaching Asia, Africa and Gulf countries. Of course, such business is against the EU regulation. The Snus is banned in the UK and EU countries, but not the Gutkha. We don't know why Gutkha is not banned in EU. In this context, I refer one of our discussions published in Tob Control 9 Nov 2010, suggesting that Snus and quid (eg. Gutkha) consumption is a risk factor not only for the occurrence of Oral Cancer, but also for development of Metabolic Syndrome http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/19/4/297/reply#tobaccocontrol_el_3489 In my opinion, we require a clear-cut and focused directive of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that specifically addresses Snus and Gutkha. If we can not control online trade of Snus, it will be a bad situation, because the web-based trade crosses the border very quickly, not only in EU but also other parts of the world. The disturbing fact is that Sweden is a signatory of the FCTC yet the Swedish Government is getting revenue from this online Snus trade.
Professor Chitta CHOUDHURY | Nitte University & Int'l Centre of Tropical Oral Health, UK Director, Centre for Oral Disease Prevention & Control, NICE Stakeholder on ST control for SE Asian Migrants in the UK.
Conflict of Interest: