What is snus? I will try to illuminate the territory for you.
Snus is a tobacco product made of dark tobacco. The tobacco has been grinded to powder. The Indians used snus and it came to Europe during the 16th century. In the beginning snus was used as medicine for example migraine. Snus as its known today had been used in Sweden since the late 1700s.
Swedish snus is a moist to semi-moist, ground, oral tobacco product which is used behind the upper lip. Swedish Snus exists in two packaging formats, loose Snus and portion packed Snus. Both forms exist in different flavour varieties. There are numerous different brands with different flavours. to get the different flavours they mix different tobacco. I like General snus, but I use to change brand time to time. When I have used General for a long time it doesn't taste any thing. Then it's nice to use Grov snus or Ettan.
The main ingredients in snus are tobacco (what a surprise), water and salt.
Sweden is regulated as food products in Sweden and thus the snus factories had to comply with the same rules as the food industry.
How to use snus. Pictures by Sue
1. Open the tin and stick your thumb and index
finger in to the tin.
2. Wedge the snus by pressing your fingers
and lift the wedge out of the tin.
3. Put the snus between your gum and lip.
4. The snus making a bump.
This is how to recognise a "Snusare"
You have snus in small bags as well so it's easier to use. But I don't like the bagged snus.
When I'm abroad people always asking:
- What is that you putting under your lip?
Well, after many years of meeting people wanting to try I'm answering:
- That's Swedish Marijuana
First time you use snus you get very dizzy like you are drunk. Well, not the Americans, they love it. They use chewing tobacco in USA and they have a kind of snus called Copenhagen and some other brands. Poor quality and it's terrible to use, so when they try Swedish snus they love it.
I have also seen people that had to lie down after trying it for the first time.
One time in Kuala Lumpur I was in a bar drinking beer. One guy asked if he could try some and I said yes. I had the bagged snus (yeah, I know. But I got the wrong kind delivered to me by mistake). So it was easy for him to use.
- Wow, very good, he said. Do you have some more?
Believe it or not but snus is good for your teeth. I went to my dentist because I was worried about my gum. My gum was bleeding and more and more of my front teeth are uncovered due to wear on the gum. I thought it was because of my snus.
- You are brushing your teeth to much, maximum 2 times every day, she said.
- What about the snus?
- It's good for your tooth's, you had not have a hole in your tooth's since you started with the snus, she said.
I was happy when I left. And it's true, I had not had a hole since I started to use snus many years ago. Now I can enjoy my snus with no worries.
17th of February 2005 and I gave up snus. I went to the hospital to get some nicotine plaster. The Doctor wanted to give me plaster for 3 months. I wanted to have 1 package. If I haven't managed to give up after1 week I can as well keep using the snus.
Well, I got a prescription for the strongest plaster and when I got home I put on one plaster and I went to bed. I woke up with the plaster and I didn't wanted any nicotine when I woke up.
Otherwise the first thing I do when I woke up was to look for my snus. well, after 3 days I gave up the plaster and I was snus free. Well, I thought about snus every day for almost a year.
Well 3 plaster, hmm, actually I used 4. 2 weeks later I was on the airport and I was in the check in queue. There were a few people in front of me and I really got irritated.
- What is this?
- This is the ticket, they answered at the check in desk.
- Passport? Do I need passport?
- Can we sit together at a window with a table between us? (They been travelling with train for sure)
- What is this?
- What is a boarding pass?
What is a gate?
HEY! I dove down in to my bag and I ripped open a nicotine plaster and I almost chewed the darn thing. But after a few minutes with the plaster I was relaxed again.
28th of April 2007 and I reactivated my account at Swedish Match. I will have them to send snus to our company in Texas. 29th of April 2007 I'm facing an 17 hours flight over the Pacific and I got 2 cans of snus of our 1st Engineer.
Well, after dinner I reactivated my account at Swedish Match and I will pick up snusning again. Our 1st Engineer gave me 2 cans, enough to last me the 17 hours on my flight tomorrow.
Well, it all started yesterday when our 1st Engineer complained that he was down to his last can with snus.
- I don't know how to make it until I'm back in Sweden.
Well, he had been on and on about on how experienced he is on travelling around the globe and now this. Experienced traveller and globetrotter and now out of snus, unheard of.
- I don't understand. When I was using snus I knew how much I used every day and I filled my portable home with snus and I never ran out of snus, I said.
Well, I'm a nice guy and I pulled a few strings and he will soon have 3 rolls of snus delivered to him. I also told him about Swedish Match's service to deliver snus world wide.
His voice changed from unpleasant to smooth in 0,1:
- Can you please show me how to order snus online?
Well, even though he claims to be an experienced traveller and snusare he didn't have a clue on how to get snus abroad. Well, it took us 2 minutes to set up his account at Swedish Match and he gave me 2 cans. I ripped one can open right on and I had a snus under my lip in a jiff.
I used to order snus to Thailand but since EU banned snus it is forbidden to import snus to Thailand. But in 2011 I decided to try. I had to go to the Custom Post Office to get my parcel. And I had to pay a dollar because I had asked for extended storage time. This was the first time, all my other parcels have been delivered to my door and I have had to pay 20 cent for the service. I order my snus from www.mysnus.com and I haven't had any problem so far. Knock on wood.
When I started to use snus there was one kind of General snus, and now 2012 there are so many kinds of General snus. The General can looks almost the same as when I started to use snus. But there is one big difference, the lid was made out of brass. Today the lid is made of plastic. The only one I was interested in to try was the General - Extra Strong.
Well, I found the below interesting information and videos on Swedish Match's web page.
The History of Snus
It was 1492 when Christopher Columbus and his men
stepped ashore on Hispaniola Island in the West Indies – what is today
known as Haiti. Native Americans greeted them with various types of
gifts, including 'a few dried leaves that they consider highly valuable'
as Columbus noted in his logbook. While there, the Spanish explorers
noted how the island natives would roll these dried tobacco leaves
inside corn leaves, light the rolls and inhale the smoke. These rolls
were called 'tobago'. Apparently, Christopher Columbus liked what he saw
and took several tobacco plants back to Europe.
1400 – 1500: The Early History of Snus
While the first contact Europeans had with tobacco was when Columbus
and his men witnessed the Native Americans smoking it in 1492, it was
their second journey that they attribute to the beginning of snus. A
monk in Columbus' party, a man by the name of Ramon Pane, noted how the
native Carib priests inhaled a tobacco powder through a reed. Modern-day
researchers agree that the powder probably contained more than just
tobacco, but, in any case, the idea for snus and snuff was introduced
and had a significant impact on the use of tobacco in Europe.
Spanish and Portuguese sailors continued to bring tobacco plants to
Europe after the voyages of Christopher Columbus. By the mid-1500s,
doctors in Lisbon started to use tobacco medicinally, planting it in
their gardens, believing that tobacco could cure several diseases
including syphilis and cancer.
Snus Becomes Popular in Europe 1500 – 1600
During this period, Jean Nicot was the French Ambassador in Lisbon,
where the use of medicinal tobacco was growing. Jean Nicot developed an
interest in the plant and by the 1560s was cultivating it in his garden
in Lisbon. He is credited with spreading the use of snus to the rest of
Europe. The Swedish naturalist and doctor, Carl von Linné, used the
ambassador's name to give the tobacco species its scientific name,
The story is told that when Jean Nicot learned that the French Queen
Katarina de Medici suffered from chronic headaches, he advised her to
crumble tobacco leaves into a powder and inhale it nasally. On following
this prescription, the Queen is said to have recovered fully. This
'miracle' cure soon became popular among French courtiers.
Snus Comes to Sweden 1600 – 1800
At this time, the French Court and Paris fashions were setting the
trends in Europe, so it didn't take long for nasal snus to become
popular throughout the continent. The earliest record of snus in Sweden
appears in a customs document from 1637 that lists snus being imported
from Borgå in modern-day Finland.
By the 1700s, using nasal snus was nearly de rigueur among the ladies
and gentlemen of the aristocracy. The snus can was a required
accoutrement for any self-respecting upper class gentleman. It had to be
luxurious and handled with a carefully stipulated elegance. The cans
were small masterpieces in gold, silver or other exclusive materials,
and quickly became a popular gift.
In Sweden, the tobacco industry bloomed in the 1700s. Tobacco was
grown widely in the southern region, where Jonas Alströmer, who was
credited with making potato use mainstream, even began large-scale
cultivation of tobacco. By the mid-1700s, tobacco was grown in more than
70 Swedish towns from north to south.
New Habits 1800–1900
The French Revolution brought about the end of the upper classes
which in turn led to the end of nasal snus. Napoleon, a heavy snus user,
brought it back for a while, but after his fall in 1815, snus quickly
became passé, and even politically suspect. The burghers that came into
power started smoking cigars.
In Sweden, political developments coincided with changes to snus
habits in the country. By the 1800s, Swedes started placing a pinch
under the upper lip and many farmers grew tobacco for their own snus
This widespread use led manufacturers to begin larger production of
local varieties of the moist snus. Well-known firms included Petter
Schwartz with the Röda Lacket brand and Willhelm Hellgren with the
Grovsnus brand. But the most widespread brand was Ljunglöfs Ettan.
The factory that produced it, on Badstugatan (today's Sveavägen) in
Stockholm, had roots in the tobacco business dating as far back as
1695. In 1822, Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf took over the company and
made it Europe's leading snus factory.
Nearly all of the Swedish snus manufacturers in the 1800s arranged
their product assortment according to quality designations, such as No.
1, No. 2 and No.3. Strategically, Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf launched
his number one as a separate brand, becoming the first to successfully
launch a nationwide quality brand product – Ljunglöf's Ettan (The
Number One) – which set its own standard.
Emigrants Take Tobacco Back to America 1846 – 1930
Over one million Swedes emigrated across the Atlantic in the great
migrations between 1846 and 1930. These Swedes brought with them their
own customs and habits, including their tradition of using snus.
Actually, snus was so common among Swedes that in the neighborhoods
where they lived, the main street was often referred to as 'Snus
Boulevard' by other Americans. Snus had become a part of the Swedish
New Era in Swedish Business 1915
By the beginning of the 1900s, the Swedish national government was
looking for ways to fund defense spending (as the First World War was
underway), as well as to finance the first pension system that had been
recently enacted. A decision was made to nationalize the lucrative
tobacco industry to raise their funds. After 250 years of open markets
for snus, the Swedish tobacco monopoly was introduced in 1915 and
operated by the company AB Svenska Tobaksmonopolet (which was later
dissolved in the 1960s).
Snus consumption increased significantly, reaching its peak in 1919 –
when over 7,000 tons of snus were sold. This meant that for the Swedish
population of a little more than six million, annual consumption was
nearly 1.2 kilos per person!
In the following years, additional tobacco products were marketed and
the popularity of snus suffered. In particular, American cigarettes
gained in popularity after the First World War.
Modern Day Snus 1970 onwards
As news reports began to focus on the health risks of cigarette
smoking, snus regained some of its popularity. Additionally, the
introduction of the first portion-packaged snus in the 1970s, was a
vital step toward expanding the consumer base of snus users. New
taste varieties and formats continue to add excitement to the growing
Watch Swedish Match's exciting move “The story of Swedish snus”
From seed to can
From a tiny tobacco seed, a journey that has been
refined for nearly two hundred years begins. From cultivation and
harvesting to production and packaging, Swedish Match has combined
traditional know-how with the very latest scientific understanding to
produce the highest quality products possible. Swedish snus follows GothiaTek® standards, the quality assurance
guidelines that Swedish Match has developed for all its products.
The Tobacco Plant
The tobacco plant is a tall herb that produces large sticky leaves
with white to pink or yellow flowers. The seedpod contains thousands of
small seeds – so small that you only need three grams to plant an entire
hectare (say, one and a half football fields), which will then produce a
harvest of up to three tons of tobacco.
There are thousands of varieties of tobacco plants, offering a nearly
unlimited variation in color, aroma, flavor, texture, and levels of
nicotine and sugars. But, tobacco products are primarily made from two
species of tobacco plant: Nicotiana Tabacum and Nicotiana Rustica. The
biggest difference between the two is that Tabacum grows taller and has
larger leaves – and the flowers vary from white to pink, while Rustica
grows thicker, stickier leaves and has yellow flowers. Tobacco is a
hearty plant that can grow in many climates and soils, although it can't
survive cold or excessive rain. It takes about two months to fully grow
(up to two meters high) and each plant can produce 20 to 30 leaves.
Some snus recipes include as many as 22 tobacco varieties. Where this
tobacco is sourced varies from year to year, depending on how harvests
develop around the world. Weather, wind, and other factors greatly
influence the quality of each harvest. Tobacco is grown in over 130
countries and Swedish Match buys tobacco from many of these, including
Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Pakistan, India, the
Philippines and South Africa.
Growing tobacco is still a craft. It takes a long time to learn the
skills, and the profession is often passed from one generation to the
next. Swedish Match has developed its own quality assurance standards
called GothiaTek®, to ensure that all of our products are the highest
quality snus in the world – with control checks throughout the entire
production process. For example, the guidelines for tobacco growers
include such details as the distance between the rows and how the
harvested leaves must be hanged to cure in the right way.
Additionally, Swedish Match has a program to improve the quality control of the seeds used.
Samples of the product are taken from the time the plant is put in the ground
until the tobacco is ripe. These samples are tested, either on site or
at the Swedish Match laboratories in Stockholm, to ensure the highest
tobacco quality, guarantee that the level of natural impurities does not
exceed limits set in the GothiaTek® standards, and ascertain there are
no traces of fertilizers and pesticides. By strictly following the
standards outlined in the GothiaTek® standards, Swedish Match manages
Cultivation – Step by Step
Tobacco seeds are very small: three grams is enough to grow a hectare
which gives a harvest of up to three tons of tobacco. To ensure that
the roots do not grow together, seeds are separated and mixed with
water, sand, or ash and then planted in hotbeds or cold frames. After
six to eight weeks, or when the plants have reached ten centimeters in
height, they are planted in rows out in the field. This is often still
done by hand, but can also be mechanized. The next important step is
'topping' the flowers and suckers (extra leaves that tend to grow from
the base of leaf stems). The suckers are picked throughout the season
since they can 'steal' valuable energy and nutrients from the plant if
left in place.
The tobacco plant can grow as high as two meters. The leaves are
ready to harvest after about two months when they start to yellow at the
edges. There are two primary methods for harvesting – depending on how
it will be used. Either the whole plant is harvested or each leaf is
picked separately. The harvested tobacco is tied together and hung on
long poles to be racked up in barns for curing.
How Snus is Made
Swedish Snus made according to GothiaTek® standards has three main
stages: grinding, preparation, and packaging. Each stage is vital in
creating the level of quality that Swedish Snus is known for.
Tobacco's Path through the Mill
The cured tobacco leaves are separated, dried and then fed into a
mill where the whole leaves are ground into fine grains. Granulation
varies in fineness from fine to coarse ground. Pre-set amounts of each
granulation are sent to a blending silo, where the tobaccos are mixed
together. The final blends are forwarded to a storage silo, and from
there the snus is sent for preparation. Each tobacco variety is stored
in an individual silo.
Snus is made in batches in a sealed blender using a
computer-controlled process – allowing it to be prepared around the
clock, every day of the week. The tobacco powder is first weighed, then
transported to the blender where water and salt are added in a continual
stirring motion. The tobacco is then heated to eliminate impurities in a
process traditionally called 'sweating,' but which is now more like
pasteurization. Once that is completed, the snus blend is cooled and
additional ingredients are added.
Packing for Consumption
Once approved for quality, the snus is now ready to be packaged to
hit the market shelves. The process varies for Lös (Loose) and
Packing Loose Snus
Packing machines automatically fill each can with the snus blend. The
filled cans are weighed to ensure the right volume and then sealed with
a lid. The sealed cans are processed further for proper labeling. They
are then packed in rolls of 10 each, wrapped in plastic and then packed
Packing Snus in Portions
Packing portion pouch snus requires more complicated equipment. Each
portion is measured and then poured into a long cylinder of the pouch
material (cellulose fiber) before the ends are clamped, sealed and the
pouch is cut. The portions are then packed into plastic cans, the lid
sealed, and weighed, before being labeled, packed in rolls and then in
Time for the Snus to Ripen
Snus coming off the production line doesn't taste like the snus you
buy in the store. That's because it needs to be stored in refrigeration
for several days before being sent to market. Refrigeration is important
for the snus to ripen and take on its proper characteristics and
Snus Packaging Materials
The paperboard cans for loose snus are made within the snus factory,
while we buy our plastic cans from suppliers. Loose snus is packed in
paraffin-coated paperboard. The paper cans use two qualities of paper,
one for the sides and another for the bottom. The lids are made from
To ensure maximum freshness, portion snus is packed in polypropylene
plastic cans. As portion pouch snus is packed in smaller amounts, it has
a tendency to dry out more readily. The polypropylene cans help to keep
the snus fresher longer.
Watch Swedish Match's exciting move “From seed to can”
Watch Swedish Match's exciting move “Manufacturing”