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[...] Snus wasn’t a new product; the pouches of tobacco that users tuck into their cheeks or lips, where they slowly release nicotine, had been around since the 17th century. But snus had fallen out of fashion and been replaced by combustible cigarettes.

At the time, Sweden, like many other countries, had a smoking problem. Forty percent of men smoked. But as sales of snus picked up, smoking rates plummeted. By the year 2000, Sweden was the only industrialized nation to achieve the World Health Organization’s goal of reducing adult smoking to less than 20 percent.