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What is snus?
What is snus?

What is snus?

Snus, sometimes referred to as Swedish snuff, is a tobacco product containing nicotine which is placed behind the upper lip. The nicotine is released in the saliva and absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. Snus consists of finely ground tobacco treated with a saline solution and sodium carbonate. After, it is either fermented or pasteurised in different heating processes and finally flavoured with various scents and aromas. Snus is especially common in Sweden, but it is also popular in other countries such as Norway.

Snus in Sweden

There are two types of snus in Sweden: in portions or loose. The portioned variety comes in small, packaged sachets that can be placed directly under the lip. You can either choose snus in dry pouches called “White” or in slightly moist, brown sachets which get their colour from the mixture they contain.

The loose snus is slightly different since you must pinch and portion it yourself before placing it under the lip. That means you can decide the size of the snus yourself. The loose variant of snus has a long history in Sweden, but nowadays the pre-packaged portions are the most common.

Nicotine in snus

Snus contains nicotine, which is an addictive substance. Nicotine in snus is absorbed through the oral mucosa and it affects your brain. As a result, you will feel a craving to continue consuming snus.

How much nicotine does snus contain?

The nicotine content of snus varies depending on factors such as the manufacturer and brand. Snus has a nicotine content of between 3 mg to 45 mg per portion, of which 8 mg is the most common one. Only 10-20% of the nicotine in snus is absorbed through the oral mucosa and enters the bloodstream. Consequently, 1-2 mg of the nicotine enters into the bloodstream from a portion with a nicotine content of 10 mg. There is also snus without nicotine, which is often also tobacco-free. These are also pre-packaged portions that you place under the upper lip. They contain, among other things, plant fibers, flavorings and aromas.

The history of snus

The snus made in the past was called snuff or nasal snuff. It was a dry snus which was inhaled through the nose. This began already during the 16th century in countries such as Spain and France. Later, the snus came to Sweden and by the end of the 18th century there were several tobacco plantations around the country. During the 19th century, snus for the mouth was introduced. This is the type which is used today. Nowadays, Sweden does not have its own tobacco plantations for industrial production of snus, but imports everything from other countries such as China, Brazil and the USA.

The difference between snus and IQOS

There are significant differences between snus and IQOS. Snus is a tobacco product that you place under the upper lip, whilst IQOS is used together with heatsticks and is a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes. What snus and heatsticks have in common is that both contain tobacco and nicotine.

What is IQOS?

IQOS is an electronic product that heats up tobacco instead of burning it. The tobacco is heated up in a controlled way to a temperature avoiding combustion. As a result, only vapour and no smoke is created. You get the tobacco flavour and the experience of smoking a cigarette without fire, ash and smoke smell.

Read more about IQOS on our more aout IQOS page.