Larry Waters Reports!

Larry Waters; known by many names including Mr. UNZ

Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States


Larry WatersAs Swedish and Scandinavian snus use by Americans continues to grow, I'm receiving more questions and noticing more posts on snus forums equating the quality of snus by the amount of nicotine it contains. People talk of "moving up" to the extra high nicotine Extra Stark / Extra Strong /Ekstra Sterk snuses as though it is a right of passage to being a real snus user. In large part, this comes from American-style snuses like Camel SNUS, Marlboro Snus, and the others intentionally having very low free nicotine levels. Their marketing was and with some American snus manufacturers still is to encourage their cigarette smokers to use snus as an accessory to cigarettes; not as a replacement. Counting test marketing, for all practical purposes Big American Tobacco-style snus has a rich history going all the way back to 2006. Just 5 years ago as of this writing. That's it. We're talking pre-iPhone but not pre-internet, pre-telephone, or pre-electricity.

In the 200 years of Swedish snus history, the extra high nicotine snus category didn't really exist until 2008. It was not created to satisfy the demands of snus users in Sweden. About the only two brands of stark snus; strong snus in English, which were noteworthy up until then were General Onyx and skruf Stark snus. In the case of General Onyx, Swedes purchased it because of the taste: Swedish Match marketed Onyx and still does as the top of the line product in the General Snus family. Nicotine information was available but Swedish Match never highlighted or called any attention to nicotine in their marketing of General Onyx.

Saturday, 26 March 2011 09:47

EU Swedish Snus Ban!

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Swedish Snus Store Shut Down by Snus Ban

UPDATE #2 -  29 MAR 2011: The Swedish snus eStore owned by Snus World Wide AB has been shut down and its assets seized.  At the time of this writing, we're told a cancer organization in Finland filed suit against the Swedish snus store for allegedly selling snus to customers in Finland. This cancer organization apparently won the suit.

Latest information is that Finland presented the findings to Swedish Customs.  On Tuesday, March 22nd, the Swedish Customs Service and local Police raided the facilities and seized them along with the inventory and other contents.  Snus World Wide AB's bank accounts were simultaneously frozen.  The company website has been locked down; displaying only the message "Maintenance - will be back online Tuesday, 29th March 2011. We have been unable to reach management for a comment as of yet.

Thursday, 24 February 2011 10:35

Marlboro Sticks and Skoal Sticks coming says Altria

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Altria announced yesterday that it will be introducing Skoal Sticks and Marlboro Sticks into Kansas test markets in March 2011..  In doing so, Altria continues on its course of do whatever Reynolds does even if we don't know quite why.

A fuming Matt Myers of CTFK....we think.Anti-all-tobacco extremist groups like CTFK/ACS/AHa/ALA are in an uproar.  They had declared victory when Reynolds announced they were pulling the Camel Dissolvables from their two test markets.  Mission Accomplished, Matt Myers of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids!.

The victory was short-lived as Reynolds then announced they would start marketing the Camel Dissolvable products in two new test markets - Denver and Charlotte.  And now Altria stumbles into the dissolvables marketplace with Marlboro Sticks and Skoal Sticks.

In a story published earlier this week, David Howard of RJ Reynolds spoke to me about the Camel smoke-free productsCamel SNUS, Camel Orbs, Camel Strips, and Camel Sticks.  The last three are dissolvable tobacco products.  During this interview, Howard became quite animated over the continued use by anti-all-tobacco extremists of descriptors like Chewing Gum, Mint and Candy when bashing dissolvable tobacco products.

"Camel Dissolvables are only for and marketed to adult tobacco consumers.  We make that very clear in our advertising and point of sale materials.  The products are clearly labeled with all required tobacco warning labels, are sold from behind the counter like other tobacco products, and can only be sold to adults legally of age to purchase tobacco products in that State", Howard stated.

Those same extremists wasted no time in making the same charge against the new Altria dissolvable products coming out under the Marlboro and Skoal brand names.  Ironically, Big Pharma; the makers of nicotine chewing gum which come in flavors such as Cherry, White Ice Mint, Fruit Chill, Cinnamon Surge and FreshMint, petitioned FDA to force the removal of Camel Dissolvable products from the market last year.  Their hypocrisy is striking, yet sadly familiar.

Leading Anti-Cigarette/Pro-Reduced Harm Tobacco Products Advocate Bill GodshallBill Godshall, Exective Director of Smokefree Pennslyvania, has long been leading the charge to reduce and eliminate cigarette smoking by providing smokefree alternatives to existing smokers.  As Bill's position exhibits common sense and compassion for the nicotine-addicted, many of his former anti-cigarette allies have shunned him in horror.

In an interview published today by Richard Carver in the Winston-Salem Journal, Godshall summed up the fear of the anti-all-tobacco extremists quite simply.  "The reason anti-tobacco extremists falsely claim that dissolvable smokeless products are target marketed to youth is because they don't want adult smokers to switch to these far less hazardous alternatives."

As to the perpetual use of the words candy, mints, and gum by these same extremists, Godshall had this to say, "Anyone who truly desires to reduce youth tobacco use would never call these products candy, as doing so encourages youth usage."


Wednesday, 23 February 2011 12:02

Second-hand Snus revealed by US Dept of Defense

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The author reading the Snus Daily NewsThe US Department of Defense press release hyping tomorrow's "Great American Spit Out" event, began with this statement: "Using smokeless tobacco—spit, dip, chew, snus, etc.—can pose a stinky, unsavory obstacle to sharing a kiss with a loved one, parent, child or sweetheart. Surgery to treat oral cancer, which has been linked to smokeless tobacco use, can remove parts of the face, tongue, cheek or lip, severely damaging one’s social desirability, not to mention the telltale bulging cheeks, gunk stuck in teeth, permanently discolored teeth and spitting cups--hardly date-bait." Snus and etc. users now spread the Kiss of Death to all their loved ones through Second Hand Snus!!

How did  Matt Myers and the other anti-all-tobacco zealots miss this one?  Where are their press releases; the demands for FDA to "save our children" from the deadly oral transmission of second hand snus?  Why hasn't the CDC in Atlanta launched a bio-hazard alert?  Why hasn't anyone funded Greg Connolly or one of the other anti-all-tobacco "researchers" to conduct one of their so-called studies highlighting the snus Kiss of Death?

Your author and friend of the nicotine addictedThere are a number of tobacco and CPG trade shows held for the industry each year. One of the long-time staples has been the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE). I attended TPE 2009 in New Orleans and TPE 2010 in Las Vegas. I was disappointed by TPE 2010 and made no secret of it. My article at the time, Tobacco Plus Expo 2010 - An Underwhelming Experience, was fairly blunt but intentionally incomplete. I'll explain why shortly.

Perhaps the biggest bombshell at TPE 2010 was the formal announcement by long-time TPE supporter The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) that they were withdrawing their involvement and support of TPE. Instead, they were launching their own show; The NATO Show, beginning in April 2011. The official reason for this was that NATO felt it was in the "best interests of their members". Other issues aside, NATO's frustration was best demonstrated by TPE 2010 and validated by the agenda and tone of TPE 2011.

In a conference call with the tobacco industry (and me) earlier today, FDA announced they would begin to enforce the Substantial Equivalence provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA). Essentially this means that any tobacco product including cigarettes, snus, snuff, ryo tobacco, and any other product which was not commercially available in the US as of Feb 15 2007 and/or has been "changed" by the manufacturer can be pulled off the market by FDA as of March 23, 2010. In order to prevent this, manufacturers selling tobacco products in American stores must comply with the TCA and FDA rules by completing and submitting one of the following prior to March 23, 2010:

  1. Submit to FDA a pre-market application under section 910(c) and obtain an order authorizing marketing of the new tobacco product (section 910(c)).
  2. Submit to FDA a Substantial Equivalence Report and obtain an order finding the product to be substantially equivalent to a predicate tobacco product (section 910(a)(2)).
  3. Submit to FDA a request for an exemption from the Substantial Equivalence requirements and obtain an exemption (section 905(j)(3))

FDA stated in its Guidance Document that "All new [post-February 2007] tobacco products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are subject to these provisions. Currently, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) regulates cigarettes, roll-your-own, and smokeless tobacco products. However, the law permits FDA to deem other tobacco products to be subject to the Tobacco Control Act through rulemaking."


Monday, 21 February 2011 00:00

RJ Reynolds - The State of Tobacco in 2011

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The author deep in thoughtRegardless of your (or my) opinion of the product Camel SNUS as compared to Swedish Snus, there is no denying that Reynolds American and their RJRT division have been largely responsible for introducing the word  "snus" into the American vocabulary.  Looking back, the evolution of Camel SNUS presents a good mirror of public and government attitudes in the US as well as a peek into the possible future for American tobacco lovers.

In January 2006, there was no Camel SNUS and I was still a cigarette smoker.  Like almost all Americans, I had never heard of Swedish snus.  My local tobacco store of choice, Up in Smoke, may have sold General Snus in 2006, but it was never called to my attention or even noticed.

The important thing is that Up in Smoke was selling General Snus in the summer of 2007.  That's when I received a coupon in the mail for the first version of modern Camel SNUS and later that day, heard of Swedish snus for the first time.  The rest is snus history, although not uniquely mine.  Most American users of Swedish Snus first heard of snus because of Camel SNUS and to a much lesser degree, Altria's Marlboro Snus.

Monday, 20 December 2010 20:27

Click Swedish Snus is back!

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Snus Lord Larry Waters (maybe...could just be a random graphic)Back in 2001, Swedish Match launched Click Portion Snus in India. Don't worry; it tasted absolutely nothing like Chaini Khaini.  Click Snus was REAL snus and was a huge success.  On Feb 21st 2003, Click Licorice Portion Snus was added to the line-up.  The Click brand was becoming such a success that Swedish Match decided to take Click international.

The Click brand was launched in Russia and plans were made to launch Click Snus in Japan.  Back then, Swedish Match's entry into South Africa, Russia, and India was the talk of the international tobacco industry and Click Portion Snus was the star.

While Click Snus was made at the Gothenburg Factory under the same GothiaTek standards the other Swedish Match snus products were held to, it was never released in Sweden.  Click was created to be a Swedish snus product for emerging world markets.

Fast forward to 2010: Swedish Match and Philip Morris International continue their joint venture designed to use PMI's clout, Swedish Match's products and snus making expertise to enter new global markets as a much more aggressive/significant force to be reckoned with.  As for the Click brand name, 2010-2011 brings back a great snus with a very unique product launch schedule.

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