It's interesting. When I wrote my first FAQ on Snus over a year ago, I was able to answer this question very shortly and simply. But today, especially in America, there are so many people trying to redefine REAL Snus to meet their own agenda's that I have to actually sort it into distinct categories in order for you to be an Informed Consumer. That's a key part of our mission here at SnusCENTRAL.org: for you do be an INFORMED consumer.
After that, it's your personal choice; but unlike the recent revelation that there is no practical health difference between Regular Filtered and Light Filtered Cigarettes (it was just marketing), you will be able to make an informed choice when it comes to snus.
It's Critical you understand this because when it comes to Snus, what you DON'T know CAN KILL YOU!
About 99% of Americans, myself included (unless you of Swedish Ancestry) never heard of snus before 2006 and thought it was a new invention by R.J. Reynolds with the original Camel SNUS and Philip Morris USA; first with a snus product called Taboka which morphed into today's Marlboro snus.
But the major surge in interest in Snus in the United States today is because, unlike other oral tobacco's, NO spitting is involved with snus, so the generic product named snus is very discreet, unlike especially Cigarettes. (that's a term we'll be using a lot at SnusCENTRAL.org...discreet).
Today, there are effectively three different categories of snus: REAL Swedish Snus, American Snus, and Swedish-Style Snus. Beyond the common elements mentioned below, there are huge differences between all three types in terms of quality, value, quantity, harm reduction (that's the word the lawyers make us use.) What it means is some snus is a lot safer to use than others. But no tobacco product is completely safe, so if you haven't started using tobacco products at all, then don't start using any snus.
If you do smoke Cigarettes or use American Chewing Tobacco or Dip and want a greatly "reduced harm" ,greatly reduced cancer risk alternative you can enjoy anywhere, anytime, completely discreetly, then you want to know the True Facts about Snus.
If you want to quit tobacco altogether, some doctors have been very successful using Swedish Snus as a tool for those who can't or won't tolerate nicotine gum, patches, or pills. Detailed studies and resources are located on SnusCENTRAL.org documenting this. Anything and Everything Snus-related: it's Centrally located on this website.
REAL Snus was invented by the Swedish over 200 years ago; many say earlier. There are different versions of the story going back before 1500 AD but every one pretty much agrees on the 200 year mark through the present. Snus is actually the Swedish word for snuff. The Swedish not only invented, but make the largest selection, best tasting, and most "reduced harm" tobacco product on the planet. Snus and Sweden were synonymous....until 2006 and the birth of American "snus".
That's unfortunately why we have to start with the very basic similarities of the generic products called snus and build from there. THIS IS CRITICAL because all snus IS NOT created equal.
That's WHY SnusCENTRAL.org was formed: to strip away the misrepresentations, the falsehoods and confusion rampant on the Internet and in certain product marketing so that, if you chose to learn more about and/or use a snus, you would at least know what you were putting into your mouth.
It's to separate propaganda and marketing from FACTS. It's why the US FDA requires food manufacturers to clearly list the amounts of sugar, sodium, fats, carbohydrates, and the like on every food product.
It's why in 1970 the Swedish version of the FDA began strictly regulating the snus manufacturing process by classifying snus in Sweden as a food product. This caused Swedish Snus manufacturers to alter their base recipes, manufacturing process, additives and ingredients, and most important, required all Swedish Snus Manufacturers use a proprietary Steam Pasteurization Process.
Thus, Swedish-made Snus was now UNIQUE and became the ONLY Government Required/Legally Mandated/Certified "Reduced Harm Tobacco Product" on the market to this day. SWEDISH-MADE Snus is 98% SAFER than CIGARETTES. Swedish Snus: no other.
That is why SnusCENTRAL is in favor, in principle, of the US FDA regulating tobacco products, INCLUDING American "Snus" so long as their motives concerning snus align with, and are for the same reason as Sweden did in 1970.
So lets begin with the all-encompassing generic definition of all new products Americans will suddenly see labeled "Snus". These are the ONLY things ALL American-Made "Snus's" have in common with Swedish Snus:
- It is an oral tobacco product that comes in a pouch of some sort.
- It is designed to be placed between the lip and the gum.
- It does not require spitting.
- It comes in different tastes and flavors.
- They may have some amount of nicotine in them
- They are called "snus". Snus is a smokeless tobacco but it is NOT in the same family as Chewing Tobacco, Dip, or as Camel has coined "Smokefree Tobacco"
Snus also comes as a loose tobacco product which is formed either by hand or with a tool into a "pinch". The "pinch" also goes between the upper lip and gum to the left or the right side. SOME American snus manufacturers offer loose snus, but not the majority. DO NOT confuse American Chewing Tobacco or Dip with loose snus. If an American Manufacturer is marketing what they call a loose snus, the word "Snus" will be clearly visible on the package.
That doesn't stop Big American Tobacco from trying to ASSOCIATE itself with Swedish Snus, though. Here's a couple of reasons why:
- The cancer-causing elements found naturally in tobacco are called TSNA's. In being required to meet Sweden's Strict Food regulatory standards, Swedish Snus has the lowest to virtually NO TSNA's!
- American snus manufacturers are not required to meet any TSNA standards or publish them.
- Nicotine is not a carcinogen. It does have an effect on the cardiovascular system, the pancreas, but most importantly, nicotine is highly addictive. Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or cocaine. The Swedish release the amount of nicotine each snus has. Big America Tobacco doesn't. This allows them to use less nicotine forcing the consumer to either use more of their snus or continue smoking and using snus. Marlboro and Triumph snus have already been exposed as doing so.
- Cigarettes contain between roughly 8% to 18% sugar. Thus each cigarette gives the smoker a "sugar high" as well. This could very well explain why many smokers have a reduced appetite and if trying to quit smoking, gain weight. This, combined with the nicotine addiction, make it so incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for many people to quit.
- There is a TASTE controversy between Swedish and American Snus. People accustom to the natural flavorings of Swedish Snus find American Snus "Sickly-Sweet", or "Candy-Like". Many Americans who started with and have used an American Snus for any significant amount of time find Swedish Snus "not sweet enough" at first.
- HOW MUCH SUGAR is in "American Snus"? We don't know. I'll bet diabetics like myself would sure like to know. The FDA does not require that information to be released OR the amount of nicotine.
Read the other FAQ's in this section comparing Swedish Snus to American Snus to get a more detailed picture.