We receive many questions about various topics. Here you will find a selection of the most frequently asked questions.
What are smokeless tobacco products?
Smokeless tobacco products are found worldwide and there is considerable variation. Taste and aroma are primarily determined by the choice of tobacco, cultivation climate as well as drying and manufacturing methods, but also by essences, additives and flavoring.
Smokeless tobacco products can be divided into three categories:
1. Oral snuff – moist snuff
2. Nasal snuff – dry snuff
3. Chewing tobacco
Consists of ground or grated tobacco, salt and water. The category can be divided into three sub-categories, modern Swedish snus, traditional American moist snuff and other oral snuff.
Modern Swedish snus – is world unique and manufactured in a completely closed, hygienic and highly technological process that was developed by Swedish Match. It consists of air-dried ground tobacco, water, salt, flavoring and taste additives and is pasteurized in a heat-treatment process, which produces very low levels of harmful substances. Since our Swedish snus is classed as food, it must be stored in a cold place. Swedish snus is placed under the upper lip.
Traditional American moist snuff – is made from grated or ground tobacco and is placed under the lower lip. The American snuff is fermented, which means that it matures at room temperature.
Other oral snuff - In various places in the world, there are local variations of moist oral snuff. They are frequently strong and mixed with different ingredients, which make them very different from the Swedish snus and American moist snuff.
The nasal snuff that is available is a dry, strongly aromatic ground tobacco powder that is inhaled into the nasal cavity and is used in certain parts of Europe. Nasal snuff is also available in semi-moist form.
Chewing tobacco is available as coarsely cut tobacco that is kept in the cheek and occasionally chewed, or chewed off from “ plugs or twists,” which are either chewed or placed under the lip or cheek.
What is Swedish snus from Swedish Match and what is the difference from other snuff?
Swedish snus is world unique and has its origins from the end of the 18th Century. Unlike nasal snuff, which is inhaled through the nasal cavity, oral snuff is moist to facilitate using in the oral cavity. Our snus is made from ground tobacco and used under the upper lip, compared with American moist snuff, which is also available in grated form and placed under the lower lip. It contains selected air-dried tobacco variations, water, salt, softening agent, conservatives and flavoring.
The uniqueness of Swedish snus, manufactured by Swedish Match, is that we have very high quality demands. We have ensured this by following our GOTHIATEK® quality standard. The distinguishing qualities are:
- Choice of raw materials: To ensure compliance of very high demands on raw materials, a number of chemical analyses are performed during the manufacturing process. This guarantees that harmful substances are discovered in time.
- Manufacturing: The largest fundamental difference between Swedish snus and other snuff is the preparation process itself. Swedish Match’s snus is manufactured through a proprietary developed heat-treatment process – a pasteurizing method that eliminates most of the bacteria that are naturally found in dried tobacco. The preparation occurs with full control of process conditions and process hygiene aimed at providing the snus with a longer shelf life. On the other hand, traditional American snuff is fermented.
- Legislation: In Sweden, snus manufacture and its usage fall under the Food Act. Snus is therefore subject to the same control as food. The National Institute of Public Health is the supervising authority for warning texts on tobacco products and manages the ingredients reports that all tobacco manufacturers must submit annually, in accordance with applicable EU directives. Marketing and sales issues fall under the Swedish Consumer Agency.
- Cold storage. We recommend cold storage for snus for best shelf life.
- All snus operations within Swedish Match in Scandinavia are quality and environmentally assured in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 and 14001:2004.
Is the grinding degree/grain size significant to the taste?
Swedish Match grinds tobacco meal into three different grain sizes - coarse, intermediate and fine. The finer the tobacco, the easier it is to form a pinch. The grain size also affects the taste and nicotine absorption. Large particles in the snus provide more taste and quicker nicotine absorption.
What is GOTHIATEK®?
GOTHIATEK® is Swedish Match’s own quality standard for Swedish snus, which we created due to lack of international standards for smokeless tobacco products. The name is trademark protected.
The standard imposes stringent requirements on products and manufacturing aimed at ensuring a high and lasting quality. The standard also means that we have very low content of harmful substances. Read more about GOTHIATEK®.
Where does Swedish Match manufacture its Swedish snus?
We manufacture Swedish snus in Gothenburg and Kungälv, north of Gothenburg.
How is Swedish snus manufactured?
Swedish Match manufactures Swedish snus according to GOTHIATEK® our quality standard for Swedish snus. The standard imposes stringent requirements on products and manufacturing aimed at ensuring a high and lasting quality.
In order to achieve our high quality demands, we use only quality tobacco, specially selected for its aroma and taste properties and chemical composition, in which we strive for as low levels of harmful substances as possible. We operate research cultivations in several countries aimed at cultivating the best possible tobacco raw material. Important characteristics such as processing capabilities, chemical structures and tastes, vary depending on seed types, cultivation locations and climate, the position of the leaves on the plant, cultivation processes and drying methods. The tobacco is analyzed more than five times during the manufacturing process to ensure our high quality demand and chemical composition.
The manufacture of Swedish snus in accordance with GOTHIATEK® comprise three primary moments, grinding, preparation and packing.
- The dried tobacco leaves are ground into tobacco meal. The grinding grade or grain size varies depending on the snus brand. One tobacco recipe may contain as many as 30 different types of tobacco grades, which is the name for raw tobacco based on type, country of origin and the position of the leaves on the plant.
- During preparation, tobacco meal is mixed with salt and water. The salt is added for the flavor but also to extend the keeping qualities of the snus. After which, the snus mixture goes through a heat treatment, a pasteurization aimed at neutralizing microorganisms and give the snus a longer shelf life. This is traditionally known as sweating. The process is completely sealed and the quality control is rigorous.
- The mixture is then cooled and other ingredients such as flavoring are added.
- Finally the snus is packed into cans after the portion-packed snus is filled into portion pouches and the adequate moisture grade is assured.
Why are Swedish snus cans round and not square?
At the beginning, snus was placed in paper packets or in oval cans. When the cans were developed in the middle of the 1960s, the current can was created, and it was purely a design matter. Tobacco & Tändsticks museum at Skansen in Stockholm has previously oval cardboard boxes. For more information please contact The Tobacco & Match Museum or at +46-8-4428026 .
Why are the Swedish portion-packed snus packed in plastic cans and the loose snus in cardboard cans?
The cardboard cans are the original, traditional snus packing. Today, it is manufactured of recycled paper and used for loose snus. Since portion-packed snus is more sensitive to drying out than loose snus, it requires a tighter can. This is why portion-packed snus is packed in a plastic can.
What types of plastic are used in the packing for Swedish snus?
All plastic cans and plastic lids for both Swedish snus and American moist snuff are made from polypropylene. Rolls of cans are mostly shrink-wrapped in polyethylene. At complete combustion, only carbon dioxide and water remain from these plastics. All coloring agents in the plastic are approved for food packaging. The plastic cans and plastic lids are therefore recyclable, #5.
Why was the cancer warning removed from Swedish snus?
Since there are no research results that prove a connection between snus and cancer, the EU decided to remove the demand for the cancer warning on Swedish snus in 2001.
What does Swedish snus contain?
Swedish snus is manufactured from selected tobacco varieties, various salts, flavoring and moisture-preserving substances. In Sweden, snus is classed as food. Only food-approved ingredients are used in snus and the manufacturing occurs in premises that are hygienically suitable for food production.
Swedish snus includes mainly the following ingredients:
- Cooking salt – gives taste and has a preserving effect
- Sodium carbonate – a basic pH-regulating agent that transforms into bicarbonate in snus.
- Food-approved moisture-preserving substances such as glycerol and propylene glycol
- Flavoring – gives the various brands their specific character.
Which flavoring does Swedish snus contain?
We add a variety of flavors and aromas to snus, like licorice, lemon oil, and rose oil. These are all approved food additives by the Swedish National Food Administration (like the USFDA) and follow the Swedish Match Ingredients Policy. However, the exact recipes are business secrets, of course.
Which material is used for the pouches in portion-packed snus?
The material used for the portion pouches, according to GOTHIATEK®, is the same as used for paper teabags and is made up of cellulose fibers. The paper is approved for use with food by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration). The binding agent used in our paper pouches is actually a business secret of our suppliers. However, we do know that this binding agent has no animalic additives.
How much nicotine does Swedish snus contain?
Swedish snus has a total nicotine content of about 0.75 - 2.0 percent. Most snus under GOTHIATEK® produced by Swedish Match has a nicotine content between 0.8 - 1.2 percent. Of the total nicotine content in snus, it is the “free” unbound nicotine that is most easily absorbed by the oral mucous membranes. On average, only about 10 to 20 percent of the nicotine content in a snus portion reaches the bloodstream. Nicotine content for each snus product is specified on http://www.svensktsnus.se/.
How many people use Swedish snus?
There are over one million Swedes who use snus regularly. Of these, about 80 percent are men and 20 percent women. That’s about 26 percent of all adult males and 6 percent of adult women in Sweden are regular snus consumers.
The average snus user consumes about three and a half cans every week. But naturally, this varies widely.
How long does the nicotine from a pouch of Swedish snus last?
Precisely how long it would take to extract all the nicotine from a pouch is impossible to say, however, studies have shown that between 20 to 40 percent disappears after a half-hour.
How does a snus user absorb nicotine?
The nicotine from snus is transferred to the blood via the oral mucous membrane, which occurs slower compared with cigarette smoking, where the nicotine is absorbed in the lungs. The difference in nicotine absorption is due to the snus being basic and cigarette smoke is acidic.
How much does the average consumer use in Sweden?
The average snus user consumes approximately 3.5 cans/week, but there are large individual variations.
How do you read the date?
The date codes on the bottom of the can show its ‘Best before’ date. The label ‘Best before 03 06 2011’ indicates the contents are best before June 3, 2011.
Other symbols state manufacture date and production machine and are intended as information to the plant in order to trace manufacturing equipment in the event of irregularities during production.
What is the best way to store Swedish snus?
Snus is perishable and must be stored in a refrigerator for best shelf life. When stored correctly, the shelf life for moist loose snus is 14 weeks, for moist portion-packed snus 20 weeks and for the dry assortments (CatchDry) 30 weeks. For longer storage, we would recommend freezing, which is excellent up to one year. Then, we recommend that the cans be vacuum-packed in airtight freezer bags. Snus in cardboard cans should be thawed in the refrigerator so that the condensation does not undo the glued seams in the cardboard can or the label on the outside of the can.
Can Swedish snus be frozen?
Freezing snus is just fine up to about one year, preferably wrapped in airtight freezing bags to ensure the snus doesn’t dry out. If you have loose snus in paper cans, you should remember to thaw the cans in the refrigerator to avoid condensation forming on the can (this can dissolve the glued edges of the can or label). However, it is best to store snus in the refrigerator.
Can dried Swedish snus be remoistened?
Whenever the snus has dried out, it has been stored against our recommendations. And, the taste and aromas characteristics have changed irrevocably, so you can’t re-moisturize the product. It’s always best to store it properly in the refrigerator from the start so prevent the snus getting dry.
What happens to Swedish snus that becomes old?
Most often old snus just dries out and looses much of its aroma and flavor. There is a very small risk that it will start to mold. Snus is not normally unhealthy when it gets too old but still, just like any food, if it smells bad, don’t use it.
We always label the snus cans with a ‘Best before’ date. When you keep it refrigerated, snus will usually stay fresh much longer than that date.
Why is there an age limit for Swedish snus?
We follow Swedish regulations, which stipulate that the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco products is 18 years of age.
Can Swedish snus be purchased directly from you?
No, Swedish Match’s distribution centrals in Gothenburg and Stockholm only distribute products to retailers, which imply customer number, registered company and registered for corporation taxation. However, our mail order department, E-commerce, supplies private persons abroad with snus, but only in the markets where we do not have established sales or are prohibited from selling snus due to legal reasons.
How and who decides the consumer price for Swedish snus and why does it vary?
Unlike cigarettes, free pricing applies with regard to snus. This means that the producer is not allowed to give any price recommendations for trading, which in turn means that it is the individual retailer who decides the consumer prices. This is also the explanation to possible price variations between different stores and chains.
The specific taxation system, with high prices that exist for cigarettes, was decided by the EU and consequently does not apply to snus.
Do you manufacture Swedish snus in accordance with GOTHIATEK® for the American market?
Swedish Match manufactures its Swedish snus in accordance with GOTHIATEK® standard for the US out of its factories in Sweden. The largest of these Swedish snus brands available in the US is General. Information about the availability and location of our brands is published at www.generalsnus.com. If you can’t find the brand you want, go online to order your favorite.
In which countries is Swedish snus in accordance with GOTHIATEK® available?
Swedish snus in accordance with GOTHIATEK® is available in Sweden, Norway, Russia, the US, among other markets.
Why is Swedish snus not available in Finland or the rest of Europe?
Due to the EU snus trade ban, which was introduced in 1993, Swedish snus is not allowed to be sold in Finland of other member countries, with the exception of Sweden. In Sweden’s negotiations regarding membership, a permanent exemption was granted from the ban. A corresponding exemption was granted in Norway in the EES agreement. Finland has never requested any exemption from the snus ban.
How can I become an agent for Swedish Match’s Swedish snus abroad?
Swedish Match receives daily requests pertaining to export of snus to different countries around the world. In order to do an adequate assessment, we would need to know more about the market in question. Please send a brief summary of your idea containing the points listed below. We will then contact you for possible further discussions.
- Is there a tradition of using snus today?
- Is it legal to sell snus in the market (many markets have bans against different tobacco products)?
- Why is the market interesting?
- Which target groups are attractive in the market?
- Are you established in the market today, if so, how and from when?
- If you are not established in the market, how do you intend the introduction of snus will proceed?
- Have you considered that snus is a product that must be stored in a refrigerator?
Swedish Match Scandinavia Division
SE-118 85 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 658 0200
Fax: +46 8 668 3522
Is Swedish snus available in Norway?
Norway is not a member of the EU and is therefore not included in the EU’s snus ban.
Is it the same snus in Sweden and Norway?
Yes, the products are manufactured in the Swedish plants just like all snus in our portfolio, according to the exact same recipes. There are varieties and brands produced in Sweden made especially for the Norwegian market, catering to local preferences. An example of this is Lab Series 01/02.
Why is there no Swedish portion snus available in Denmark?
In Denmark, only loose snus is allowed. In connection with the snus ban introduced in the EU in 1995, Denmark and Sweden received one exemption for traditional snus products. Since portion snus is regarded as another tobacco product in Denmark, it was banned.
Is it permissible to take Swedish snus abroad?
In a few countries in the Middle East, snus is not allowed to be imported. Normally, bringing snus for private consumption is not a problem. For security reasons, you should inquire at the country’s embassy.
Complaints about Swedish snus?
In order for us to analyze the snus and confirm the reason for the irregularity, we would like you to send the entire can with remaining content to us. Please enclose name, address, telephone number and reason for complaint and state whether you are over the age of 18 and we will reimburse you.
Consumer contact, Complaints
SE-401 21 Gothenburg
For more information, please contact Swedish Match, Consumer contact:
Sweden: 0200-113 114 (toll free)
Norway: 800 800 89 (toll free)
From other countries: +46 8 658 01 00
What is moist snuff?
Moist snuff is a form of oral tobacco with high level of moisture. It can be divided into three groups: Swedish snus, traditional American moist snuff and other moist snuff. It is commonly marketed in loose or pouch form. While Swedish snus is pasteurized and put under the upper lip, American moist snuff is a fermented product is usually placed under the lower lip. The different products also differ in taste.
How long has moist snuff been available in the US?
Moist snuff has been used in the US for a long time and similar to chewing tobacco the first use of moist oral snuff is difficult to determine. A probable explanation is that snuff was introduced to US by the many Swedish immigrants. Since the early 19th century products of the type currently available in the US have been made and sold.
What moist snuff brands does Swedish Match sell?
Swedish Match produces four brands of moist snuff, Timber Wolf, Red Man, Longhorn and Renegades which are available in a number of different flavors. These products are sold throughout the US.
How is moist snuff produced?
Moist snuff is manufactured from aged dark air cured and dark fired tobacco blended to give the desired flavor, texture, and body to the product. This tobacco blend is cut to size, either fine cut or long cut, brined and then fermented. After the fermentation is complete the product has the final flavorings added and is packaged in loose form or in portion packs for distribution and sales.
What is the difference between moist snuff and Swedish snus?
The main difference is that Swedish snus is pasteurized and produced in accordance with GOTHIATEK®, but differs also in choice of tobacco and ingredients. Only air cured tobacco is used in Swedish snus.
What types of tobacco are most common in moist snuff?
The most commonly used tobacco in moist snuff products are air cured and dark fired tobaccos.
What types of ingredients are used in the manufacturing of moist snuff?
Moist snuff typically has salts added to flavor the product and to control the water activity. In addition, natural and artificial flavorings are added to achieve the desired taste. All of the components used by Swedish Match are approved for use in food.
How is moist snuff used?
A portion of the product is placed behind the lower lip - and is held there and the nicotine is extracted and taken up by the tissues inside the mouth. Occasionally, the product is moved to renew the flavor and refresh the surface for nicotine extraction.
How should moist snuff be stored?
Moist snuff should be stored in a cool dry place.
It should be stored away from heat sources to avoid discoloration of packaging.
Avoid storage temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius) as this will cause package and product degradation.
Which products are sold in the different markets?
The Swedish Match moist snuff products are sold throughout the US. Moist snuff can in general be purchased in other countries but it is not legal to sell it in the EU due to the ban.
How do I complain about moist snuff products?
Our packaging contains the phone number and mailing address for use in reporting a complaint. To register a complaint or express any comment regarding the product please refer to the following information:
Swedish Match US Division
Two James Center
1021 East Cary Street, Suite 1600
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: +1 804 787 5100
Fax: +1 804 225 7000
The information that you will need to provide are your name, address, phone number, description of the problem or comment, product name and code date. If product is available for return, you will be provided shipping material and instructions to return any unused product for further analysis. This will allow a thorough and rapid evaluation of your concern.