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If, as was by now apparent, the use of moist snuff did not cause disease, the prohibition of snus was not merely arbitrary, it was perversely counter-productive. Estimates varied, but it was certain that many smokers would switch to snus if given the chance, with all the reduction in lung cancer and heart disease that would accompany it.

This was not wishful thinking. Sweden was living proof. In 1976, its male smoking rate had been an unexceptional 40%. Thereafter, snus consumption more than doubled as the hazards of smoking became widely acknowledged. By the end of the century, Sweden’s smoking rate was the lowest in Europe. [...]