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Alternative to cigarettes unrolled 

Jump to full article: The Times of India, 2002-02-23


PUNE: International tobacco group Swedish Match, which rolled out its ‘mystery alternative to cigarettes and gutka’ in Mumbai as a test-marketoperation last year, has decided to appoint a panel of medical experts to conduct India-specific studies on the product.

Patrick Hildingson, director (new business development) of the USbased 1.1 billion company, also welcomed senior oncologists and other experts from India to have a detailed discussion on the effects of the product on smokers and gutka users. The company which on Friday formally introduced this product in Pune is now launching the product in Bangalore, and has similar plans in Ahmedabad and Lucknow soon. “It is as the safest way to consume tobacco,” Hildingson claimed, adding that although 20 per cent of Swedish men use snus, “Sweden has one of the lowest rates of cancer in the world.”

He emphasised that snus is not carcinogenic. Disagreeing with this claim was Dr C.B. Koppiker, noted cancer specialist in Jehangir Hospital who told the Times of India, “Any form of tobacco when metabolised gives rise to carcinogens. . .

Hildingson said that Click, better known as snus (pronounced as snoos) has been successful in converting smokers in Sweden, where 50 per cent of snus users are former smokers. According to him, it isn’t nicotine itself, but the delivery of nicotine in combination with a multitude of combustion products that causes most deaths associated with tobacco use.

“Although we have a series of scientific studies showing that use of Click does not increase the chances of oral cancer in a person, we want to clear all doubts in minds before going ahead full stream with the product,” he said, justifying the decision to conduct India-specific studies. . .

According to Bish Mukherjee, CEO of the Indian subsidiary, subsequent studies have shown that the carcinogenic effects of snus were not as serious as previously thought and the EU accordingly passed a proposal earlier this year to remove cancer-warning labels from snus packaging in Sweden.

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