What exactly is Snus? A brief history of Snus.

December 16, 2020

Snus is a moist powder smokeless tobacco product originating from a variant of dry snuff in early 18th-century Sweden. It is placed inside the lip (between the lip and gums) for extended periods, as in sublabial administration. Snus is not fermented. Although used similarly to American dipping tobacco, snus does not typically result in the need for spitting and, unlike naswar, snus is steam-pasteurized.

Snus was invented in Sweden hundreds of years ago as a method of preserving tobacco. Then, over time, it became a comparatively cheaper form of consumable tobacco in the country. Now, there are mostly two types of snus available in the market: the original Swedish and the relatively new American variation. Swedish authority regulates snus as a food product under the Swedish Food Act and regulates additives and other contents that go into production. However, in America and elsewhere, the production ingredients mostly depend on the manufacturers. Swedish snus has a distinctly heavy tobacco flavor, compared to the American snus which, in most cases, are sweet in flavor.

Snus variations & packaging

Different brands market their snus with different strengths of tobacco. Traditionally, the most common strength has been 8mg of nicotine per 1g of tobacco. In recent times, however, stronger snus has become available containing 11mg, 22mg, or sometimes even 45mg of nicotine per 1g of tobacco. Commercial snus comes in two major variations: Loose and Portion. Loose snus comes in a moist powder form that is consumed mostly by experienced users, whereas Portion snus comes in mini paper-bags for convenience, otherwise containing the same moist tobacco powder. The original portion, the traditional type, is packaged in moist bags, and the White portion is packaged in dry bags and thus releases slower.
  • Loose snus is a moist powder that can be portioned and packed into a cylindrical or spherical shape with the fingertips or a purpose-made cylindrical device. The end result is often referred to as a pris (pinch), buga, prilla, or prell (slang). Some users (usually long-time users) simply pinch the tobacco and place it under their upper lip (farmer's pinch or living snus). Over time, the demand for loose snus has been replaced by portioned varieties. Many users of snus today prefer the discrete nature of the latter variety.
  • Portion snus is packaged moist powder in small teabag-like sachets. It comes in smaller quantities than the loose powder but is considered more convenient and discreet than loose snus.
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