Young Danes buying illegal chewing tobacco online

Authorities out to curb use of social media as a market for unlawful sales

Chew, spit, snuff, snus, dip. Depending where you hail from, there are loads of nicknames for chewing tobacco.

And while its usage in Scandinavia is traditionally associated with Sweden and Norway, it’s becoming more popular than ever in Denmark.

A recent report from Odense Municipality revealed that one third of Danish youngsters use, or have tried, chewing tobacco, with many purchasing the illegal product online via social media sites.

Now the authorities are looking to crack down on illegal chewing tobacco sales in Denmark by monitoring social media sites like Facebook.

“Initially we are targeting the open groups, and that has led to six police reports,” Jan Møller Mikkelsen, a spokesperson for safety technology authority Sikkerhedsstyrelsen, told DR Nyheder.

“And we will continue on with the closed groups, where chewing tobacco is being sold. It’s an area that we take very seriously because the law is very clear: it’s illegal to sell chewing tobacco in Denmark.”

READ MORE: Smokeless tobacco growing in popularity in Denmark

Chewin’ at the bit
Furthermore, Sikkerhedsstyrelsen has controlled the sale of chewing tobacco by 56 Danish and foreign websites, although that strategy has yet to yield a case involving the illegal sale in Denmark as of yet.

But the problem extends beyond cyberspace. Sikkerhedsstyrelsen assumed responsibility for controlling the sale of illegal chewing tobacco last summer and has since carried out 142 control visits to kiosks and shops.

On those visits, the authority found illegal chewing tobacco in eight shops, and those cases have now been transferred to the police.