A confidential document from the EU Commission´s Health Directorate leaked today has all of Sweden in an uproar. The document describes banning all flavors in tobacco products including Swedish Snus in the upcoming EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
“It would mean the end of Swedish snus,” said EU Parliamentarian Christofer Fjellner bluntly.
Fjellner's statement was echoed by Patrik Hildingsson, Swedish Match AB Vice President of Group Public Affairs-EU. “This would mean the end of Swedish snus as we know it today. For us, this affects our entire portfolio – a number of flavors that have been used for more than 200 years.”
The world may be ending 21 December, but in the world of Swedish snus 2012 has been a year of plenty. New snus products and even new brands from Skruf AB, Swedish Match, Fiedler and Lundgren, GN Tobacco, Gotlandssnus, and Danish snus giant V2 Tobacco have added 18 new offerings at the SnusCentral.com Snus Store since New Year's day!
This trend shows no sign of slowing. In the case of Swedish Match, two new very significant additions to their product portfolio are arriving soon.
The upcoming release of a new Goteborg's Rape' flavor caught me completely by surprise. For centuries there was only one flavor: Goteborg's Rape'. In 2006, Swedish Match added Goteborg's Rape' No 2; a lingonberry flavored snus. There have been Goteborg's special editions and recently, a 250 gram kardus package, but no new flavors.
I'm very eager to experience Goteborg's Rape' Lime for a couple of reasons. I'm told lime is a very difficult flavor to get right in a snus. Knowing Swedish Match wouldn't release anything they were not happy with, especially under the venerable Goteborg's name, I anticipating this to be one unique and special snus.
I also wouldn't be surprised if Goteborg's Rape' #2 changed names by Week 18. Since the new Goteborg's is called "Lime" instead of "#3", GR' Lingon or GR' Cranberry would make a lot more sense than maintaining a GR' #2 product name. The SnusCIA is pretty convinced this will happen but we'll have to wait and see at this point.
General Long Extra Strong Portion snus will also finally be available via select snus eStores soon. It was released in February as an over-the-counter product in Norway but that's pretty much the only place you could buy it.
V2 Tobacco, Denmark's largest snus manufacturer, announced their new state-of-the-art snus factory came on-line earlier this week. I visited V2 in August 2011 and toured both the original factory and the shell of the new factory. Seeing the new factory in production now is just stunning. Pictures of my August visit to Silkeborg and the pictures of the new V2 snus factory taken this week are all on our SnusCentral Facebook Page under Photos.
The new V2 snus factory measures 2400 sq meters/25,883 sq feet. V2 also bought a larger portion of adjacent land for future expansion. I saw the prototype of one of their new production lines during my trip.
To start with, the new factory has four production lines: 2 by Merz, 1 by Hauni, and 1 loose snus line. Each line is 18 meters long and cost approximately $1.8MM per line. Before the snus makes it's way to the lines, closed system automated grinding and mixing machinery takes the raw tobacco and converts it to snus. All V2 snus continues to be steam pasteurized.
Like the Swedish Match Gothenburg snus factory, from start to finish, everything is automated so human hands never touch the snus or the cans. The only exception is when it it comes to loading the sealed rolls into the master carton. V2 packs the master cartons by hand as a final quality control step.
As outfitted today, the new V2 snus factory has a production capability of around 40MM cans per year.
The first new V2 snuses which will be produced at the new factory are Nordstrommen Brandy Alexander loose snus, Offroad Coffee Supreme portion snus, Thunder Coola ES loose, Thunder Cool Mint ES portion, and Thunder Orange ES portion snus. Production of the existing Thunder, Offroad, and other V2 brands are also on the production schedule.
The new V2 snuses will start being released end of January/early February.
What I'm really interested in discovering is considering the massive upgrade from the original factory, how will the taste and quality of the V2 snus produced in the new factory compare to the old? Will the same snus recipes created on the latest advanced machinery taste the same or even better? Considering consumer feedback on the Thunder Chrome series, will moisture levels be more consistent? Will the occasional can with burst portions become the very, very rare cans with burst portions?
Logically, the answer to all the above will be a resounding 'yes'. When Swedish Match took over production of 1847 snus from PMI and the Rocker factory, The new 1847 taste was all the best of the old version with none of the bitterness PMI 1847 was sometimes criticized for. If Swedish Match had been able to continue using the classic metal 1847 cans, I strongly believe 1847 would never have been de-listed. The switch to plastic cans for production line necessities was just too radical for 1847 users at the time.
I still believe that if 1847 were reintroduced in late 2012 or early 2013, can memories will have faded and a whole new generation of snusers would embrace Philip Morris 1847 as an excellent product.
The original V2 snus factory has been completely emptied. It will be literally blasted into rubble by the Danish government sometime in the very near future. We will have pictures and maybe even video of the demolition when it occurs.
As to my favorite V2 snuses, I can't wait to taste them all over again!
Enjoy your snus!
LARRY WATERSSwedish Snus Ambassador to the United StatesReporting for SnusCENTRAL.org
Swedish Match today announced the the upcoming release of new General Snus, Goteborg's Rapé Snus, and the first Catch Collection snus for 2012.
On Week 5 (begins 1 Feb) and GR' Kardus will be released.
Åre, Sweden is one of the top ski resorts in the world, named #1 by Condé Nast Traveller in 2008. My only attempt at skiing resulted in chaos, mass panic, and ultimately my smashing into a retaining fence. I'll buy the Goteborg's Rapé Åre Edition to impress folks at the ski lodge while describing my past Olympic Ski medals as I sip brandy while wearing a phony cast on my leg.
The Goteborg's Rapé Kardus Edition is 250 grams of loose Goteborg's Rapé wrapped in the traditional 'letter snus' or 'kardus' style. It will be available for several months.
In the General Snus brand line-up, General Strong Mini White Portion Snus will become available in Week 6 (begins 6 Feb). As the name states, General Strong Mini White will come in cans of 20 half gram white portions arranged in the unique Swedish Match star formation.
V2 Tobacco announced that effective 28 December 2011, they had stopped producing the Thunder Chrom (Chrome) Long + Portion Snus Limited Edition Snuses. V2 sources commenting on condition of anonymity since they are not authorized to talk about anything to anyone, stated lower than projected sales were the primary reason for discontinuing the Chrom Series. Of the five Thunder Chrome offerings, only Frosted will continue to be produced in a Long + portion.
I believe it wasn't the flavors as much as the nicotine level and perhaps the moisture content of the long + portions themselves which accounted for the weakness in demand. With no other alternatives, 12mg/portion nicotine was not a popular enough strength by itself to popularize a flavor.
Reynolds American launch a new series of Camel SNUS print ads today sure to ruin Christmas for the FDA. Like their previous incarnations, these ads promote Camel SNUS as a way for cigarette smokers to quit cigarettes....without quite crossing the line FDA has drawn when it comes to telling the public the truth about snus as a reduced harm alternative to deadly cigarettes.
How long Reynolds will be able to get away with truthful pro-snus advertising will be in doubt in 2012. FDA is in the public comment phase of the process to impose new and more deceitful rules concerning among other things, the advertising of snus and other modified risk tobacco products. I have no doubt that muzzling Reynolds and protecting ineffective Big Pharma so-called smoking cessation products will be at the top of their agenda when the new advertising rules are written.
Convenience Store Decisions published an article on the new Camel SNUS ad campaign earlier today which is worth reading. Below are the three new ads in all their glory. Well done, Reynolds! Merry Christmas, Dr. Deyton.
Smoke-Free for 4 1/2 years thanks to Swedish Snus,
LARRY WATERSFORMER Smoker; CURRENT Swedish Snus UserReporting for SnusCENTRAL.org
FDA has extended the time for public comment on the sale and advertising of tobacco products via the Internet, smart phones and other non-face to face methods. Today, I'm on my soap box calling for your attention and action while there is still time.
ACT NOW and tell FDA it is your right to be able to legally purchase tobacco products like our friend Swedish Snus, over the Internet just like any other legal product.
Age Verification of non-face-to-face tobacco purchasers and Signature Required delivery are and have been the law of land since the PACT Act and Tobacco Control Act went into effect. "The children" are protected the same or better than those purchasing wine or other alcoholic beverages remotely.
FDA needs to understand that killing nicotine alternatives to cigarettes which ARE effective and up to 99% safer for smokers is bad public health policy and and just plain bad public policy, period.
- Tell FDA to pay attention to the FACTS concerning nicotine alternatives to cigarettes instead of the bumper sticker rhetoric of the Anti All Tobacco Extremists.
- Tell FDA to finally put the rights and health of American legal tobacco users above the lobbying and profits of Big Pharma.
- Tell FDA to stop hiding the facts inconvenient to their anti-all-tobacco zealotry and recognize that informing the adult public; not spewing propaganda tailored to their personal opinions, is part of FDA's mission and responsibility.
FDA's anti-all tobacco/anti-snus extremism will cause millions of American smokers to die before their time and cost our already overburdened health system trillions of dollars unnecessarily. Stand up for your rights as a legal adult tobacco user and tell FDA to stop trying to limit your purchasing options and range of available products.
Swedish Match, the world's largest manufacturer of Swedish snus, was very busy in October. By themselves, the individual announcements were note-worthy but combined together as a one month snapshot, they form a completely different picture on a much grander scale. No moss has had time to grow on the trees which make up the Swedish Match forest in October.
Odens Extreme Swedish Snus series was the first snus to break the 20mg/gram nicotine content barrier; taking snus users from Extra Strong to Ultra Strong. As of this writing, the Extreme snus series by GN Tobacco (GNT) reigns as the highest nicotine Swedish snus available at 22mg nicotine per gram of snus.
I haven't discussed Odens Extreme except in passing until now for a few reasons. While high nicotine snus is very popular in Norway and the United States, EXTREME seemed more a novelty more than a trend. While the number of Strong and Extra Strong snus offerings has continued to grow across the market, GNT had remained a solo player in the Ultra Strong snus arena.
V2 Tobacco publicly announced they are launching their highest nicotine snus series to date; Thunder RAW Ultra Strong Snus, during Week 44. The first flavor to be released as a RAW Ultra Strong portion will be the popular Thunder Frosted recipe.
The Thunder Raw series of snus will contain 21mg/gr nicotine. While V2 Tobacco is not the first or the only snus manufacturer to meet or exceed the 20mg /gr nicotine level, they are the first to classify a snus of this strength Ultra Strong. GN Tobacco's EXTREME snus series and Swedish Match's Lab Series 06 are marketed as Extra Strong although both are 20mg/gr+ snuses. A little snus history demonstrates why this is significant.
Modern Extra Strong snuses appeared in 2008. Nicotine strengths at the time were broken down into two categories: Original and Strong/Stark/Sterk. The new Extra Strong snuses were categorized under the Strong category at first by manufacturers and Swedish snus eStores. This worked for a while until the number of Extra Strong snuses and their widely varying nicotine strengths led to consumer confusion, especially among those new to Real snus.
No common standard was ever established by the snus industry and still has not been. The gold standard of strong snuses; Swedish Match's General Onyx, was rated at 11mg/gr of nicotine. Swedish Match never advertised Onyx as a Strong snus, though. SnusCentral.com forced the issue after my August 2008 article discussing Onyx as the first snus shop to categorize General Onyx not only as a Strong Snus, but as a White Portion/Black portion snus.
On Friday, August 12th, my favorite snus store offered for sale two new long portion snuses from the Swedish Match Lab Series; 05 Strong White Portion and 06 Extra Strong Portion. By Monday, September 18th, the Lab Series 06 was sold out and Swedish Match was not shipping or accepting reorders.
It turned out that 06 Extra Strong Portion was going back to the Lab for a make-over. Availability of 06 version 2 was estimated at best, three to four weeks; at worst "in October".
I was puzzled and potentially embarrassed by this development. I first tried the Lab Series 06 in late August during my trip to Scandinavia. Admittedly, I was over the legal alcohol limit at the time but I thoroughly enjoyed 06. The portions were moister than is typical for the Lab Series but I assumed that was to enhance the free nicotine level. Swedish Match rated 06 at 20mg/portion total nicotine; their strongest snus to date.
Even sober, I found myself really liking 06 as I finished the can over the next three days. I had not tried the 05 strong white long portion version yet since our SnusCIA Agent in Copenhagen forgot to bring me a can during my visit. He has since been reassigned to our field office in Yemen, but that is another story for another time.
On Monday, September 12th, FDA informed the tobacco industry, anti-tobacco groups, and interested parties that they are preparing to consider rules which will further regulate non-face-to-face sale and distribution of tobacco products (e.g. E-commerce). Equal focus will be paid to the advertising, promotion and marketing of tobacco products sold via non-face-to-face exchange.FDA admits in this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) that the enactment of the PACT Act effectively satisfied the requirements of the Tobacco Act by requiring positive age verification and adult signatures for accepting tobacco product deliveries. Their alleged concern is whether these are enough to prevent minors from illegally obtaining tobacco products, particularly by category.
The anti-all-tobacco extremists are in something of a horrified uproar that while cigarette smoking rates are falling in the US, almost 50% of those quitting are switching to snus and other smokeless reduced harm tobacco products. It doesn't matter to anti-tobacco profiteer Matt Myers in particular that reduced harm cigarette alternatives are at least 90% to as much as 99% less harmful to smokers than cigarettes.
It doesn't matter to the anti-all-tobacco extremists that the other 50% who stop smoking using patches, gum, or pills overwhelmingly return to cigarettes within a year....unless they finally discover snus or other smokeless alternatives.
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