Improve public health
Our goal is to eliminate cigarette use and tobacco related morbidity and mortality by offering smokers attractive sources of nicotine for recreational use (such as Swedish snus and tobacco derived nicotine containing products like ZYN).
The scope of this focus area is the entire value chain.
Nicotine, just like caffeine, is in general terms safe to use. Although nicotine has the potential for addiction, the individual and the societal harm is caused by the way nicotine is most commonly delivered. Cigarette smoking is the dominant delivery device of nicotine, and it causes death and diseases among users, due to the combustion. Swedish Match is committed to displacing cigarettes by continuing to develop and commercialize other alternative and clean sources of nicotine – which will undoubtedly improve public health.
Product quality and safety
The objective of Swedish Match’s quality standard GOTHIATEK®, applied to our snus products, is to eliminate or reduce harmful or potentially harmful constituents, naturally found in tobacco (and other common crops), to a level that meets comparable food standards. The standard sets maximum levels in finished products for fifteen unwanted constituents of which only three are regulated by the Swedish Food Act.
During 2016, Swedish Match incorporated three additional constituents into the GOTHIATEK® standard as well as further strengthened the limits for two others. For a complete list of constituents and current levels, please refer to the Company’s website.
Product attractiveness among adult users of tobacco
Product appeal is highly important in order to successfully encourage people to switch from cigarettes to other nicotine containing products with favorable risk profiles. Consequently, modern nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) are available in appealing flavors and formats. The same logic can be applied for snus; the more appealing a specific snus product is, the more likely it is to be used by a former smoker. Swedish Match’s snus and the effectiveness of using snus as an alternative to the traditional cigarette have had an unprecedented impact on the tobacco consumption pattern in Scandinavia and in turn on tobacco related morbidity and mortality. Cigarettes smokers are, however, not a homogenous group and there is no such thing as “one product fits all”.
At the core of Swedish Match’s research and development efforts is the consumer, i.e. adult male and female smokers. Behavioral, sensorial and other needs expressed by smokers are carefully assessed and incorporated in our product development processes. ZYN, a tobacco derived nicotine containing product, is Swedish Match’s latest innovation based on insights about smokers. During the year we have expanded our distribution of ZYN in the US and we have launched the product in our snus stores in Sweden.
In Scandinavia, Swedish Match defines success of product attractiveness by measuring share decline of daily smokers among total daily tobacco users. In Sweden the share of daily cigarettes smokers among daily tobacco users was down to 45 percent in 20161) (48 percent in 2015). In Norway the share of daily cigarette users was down to 55 percent in 20162) (57 percent in 2015). In North America, snus is still a very small product category compared to other tobacco categories and Swedish Match defines success as volume growth of its snus and nicotine pouch sales.
Openness and transparency
A majority of smokers are unaware of the wide differences in risk profiles among various tobacco and nicotine containing products. The consequence is that smokers are left only with the option “quit or die”, and far too many of them will die.
Consumers are seeking and have a right to factual information about product options available to them. That implies that manufacturers, including Swedish Match, must be open and transparent about what we know of our products including scientific findings regarding health impact. We should communicate this to consumers where we are legally allowed to do so. We should also encourage authorities to give factual and unbiased information about the relative harm of different tobacco products and encourage regulators to regulate tobacco products differently based on their risk profile.
Already in 2001, Swedish Match decided to make its GOTHIATEK® standard available to its consumers and other relevant stakeholders. Levels of unwanted constituents in finished products are disclosed. Although Swedish Match does not conduct scientific studies on its own, monitoring and compilation of scientific advancements are done continuously and in a systematic manner. A summary of all relevant scientific evidence on snus is also available on our Company website.
Swedish Match defines the success of our openness and transparency efforts by annually assessing consumer understanding of relative risk between snus and cigarettes in our core markets. In 2017 Swedish Match will implement a uniform method of tracking awareness of relative risk and will report on these numbers.
Protecting vulnerable consumer groups
All products are not for everyone and some consumer groups should not use certain products. This is particularly true for tobacco products which are intended for adult use only. Certain other consumer groups are also deemed vulnerable.
Swedish Match has an Under 18 No Tobacco policy which firmly states that all tobacco products shall only be sold to adults of legal tobacco age in each market, and who are 18 years of age or over. This means that we shall not direct any marketing, advertising or promotion of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 or if any higher age restriction applies locally. To prevent the use of tobacco and nicotine by underage persons, we are committed to educating, informing and cooperating on an ongoing basis with retailers, distributors and public officials.
A total abstinence from all forms of nicotine is advised to pregnant women for the entirety of gestation as nicotine may impact pregnancy outcomes including lower birth weights.