Difference between Swedish and American Snus
Swedish snus, manufactured by Swedish Match, is a moist to semi-moist, ground, oral smokeless tobacco product. It is made from selected, mainly air-cured tobaccos, water, salt and flavorings. Snus is produced in a proprietary heat-treatment process that complies with food standards.
The moisture content of the product ranges between 30 and 60 %. Packaging forms vary: loose snus, which is sold in 50 g cardboard or plastic cans and portion-packed snus which is sold in three packaging varieties.
The vast majority of Swedish snus users place the snus in the upper vestibular cavity of the mouth. Swedish snus is regulated by the Swedish Food Act. Except for Sweden, snus has been banned since 1992 in the European Union countries. The legislative background for the ban is Art. 2.4 of Directive 92/41/EEC.
The Article 2.4 defines those smokeless tobaccos that may not legally be sold in the European Union. Since snus is widely used in Sweden, the Swedish government obtained permanent derogation from the ban on certain smokeless tobacco products as part of the terms under which Sweden joined the European Union. Snus and harm reduction strategies
Swedish snus is a moist form of smokeless tobacco which is usually placed under the upper lip, and which does not result in the need for spitting. It is sold either as a moist powder known as loose snus, or packaged into pouches known as portion snus. Snus is often mildly flavored with food-grade smoke aroma, bergamot, citrus, juniper berry, herbs and/or floral flavors.
Most Scandinavian snus is produced in Sweden and regulated as food under the Swedish Food Act. Many Swedish manufacturers have even implemented their own quality standards on top of the already very stringent regulations for food products, in order to ensure quality.
The most commonly known for this is of course GOTHIATEK by Swedish Match - a quality control system that follows each production from seed to finished can.
Swedish snus is made from air-dried tobacco from various parts of the world. In earlier times, tobacco for making snus was laid out for drying in Scania and Mälardalen, Sweden. Later, Kentucky tobaccos were used. The ground tobacco is mixed with water, salt, an alkalizing agent (today this is sodium carbonate), and aroma, and is prepared through heating.
After the heating process, food grade aromas are typically added. In Sweden, snus is regulated as a food product and, for this reason, all ingredients are listed on the label of each individual package (can) of snus. Moist snus contains more than 50% water, and the average use of snus in Sweden is approximately 800 grams (16 units) per person each year.
About 12% of the population in Sweden use snus. Unlike dipping tobacco and chew, most snus today does not undergo the fermentation process, but is instead steam-pasteurized.
Although steam-pasteurization is remarkably complex, it has the advantages of inhibiting the growth of bacteria that facilitate the formation of tobacco-specific nitrosamines, while preserving the desired texture and mouthfeel of the snus. The absorption of nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, from snus depends on the level of nicotine in the snus and the pH level in the box.
A voluntary quality standard for snus products has been introduced (Gothiatek) that sets maximum levels for certain controversial constituents including nitrosamines, heavy metals, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Most manufacturers of Scandinavian type snus adhere to this standard.
Snus is sold primarily in Sweden, Faroe Islands and Norway, and has more recently been introduced to South Africa and the U.S. It can be found in places frequented by Scandinavian tourists, such as Murmansk in Russia or Chania in Greece. It is illegal in the rest of the European Union. It is sold in small tins which, in the earlier years, were made of porcelain, wood, silver, or gold.
Portioned snus usually comes in plastic tins of 24 portions, containing about .75 to 1 gram of snus each, while loose snus is mostly sold in wax coated cardboard containers with plastic lids (similar to dip snuff), at 42 g (50 g before 2008).
Mini-portion and medium-portion snus are increasingly popular formats. Most of these products come in tins containing 20 portions, of either 0.65 or 0.5 grams each for a total of just under 13 or 10 grams, particularly with those for whom concealing their use of smokeless tobacco in places is of utmost importance.