News; Nov 21, 2016 9:07 AM CET

Put the used pouch in the garbage

According to information published by the Swedish Water & Wastewater Association on November 17, an amount equivalent to 1,100 tons of snus is thrown in the toilet bowl every year. Swedish Match therefore wants to appeal to all users of snus, which total over a million Swedes, to always use the garbage can.

Snus principally contains water, flavoring substances, salt and plant material in the form of the tobacco plant, which is a member of the same botanical family as the potato plant. The material used for the actual pouch is the same as in teabags and is predominantly made up of cellulose fibers. It takes quite a long time for the pouch material to decompose, which is why it is important not to throw the used pouches in the compost or in the toilet, instead they should be thrown in the garbage. All of Swedish Match’s cans of portion snus have a lid on them, which is meant for storage of the used pouches, so that they do not need to be thrown away on the street, in nature or in the toilet.  

In the past few days, the Swedish Water & Wastewater Association also warned that cadmium from snus causes problems at the wastewater treatment plants. According to the Swedish Water & Wastewater Association’s own estimates, the overall content of cadmium emissions from snus in Sweden is approximately 455 grams. As a comparison, it can be noted that the cadmium content in 100 grams of fish and shellfish is equivalent to the content of just over 70 portion pouches.  

“Snus should not be thrown in the toilet but in the garbage. Like other crops, snus contains a series of different substances that exist in the natural plant kingdom, one of which is cadmium. It can be good for the consumer to know that since 1971, snus has been subject to Swedish food legislation, which has clear limits on what the product is allowed to contain. For instance, the limit on the cadmium content in normal food is 300 percent higher than the level allowed in snus,” says Patrik Hildingsson, VP Communications and Public Affairs at Swedish Match.

“What many people don’t know is that Sweden has the most stringent quality regulations for snus in the world. In principle, there are two substances that the consumer wants to avoid: nitrosamines and benzo[a]pyrene, which have shown in animal studies to potentially be carcinogenic at excessive levels. Thanks to the legislation and the quality work that is conducted, the content of these substances is extremely low in Swedish snus. To reach the same quantity of these substances that is present in a piece of meat wrapped in bacon, you would literally need to eat all of the pouches contained in around 40 cans of snus. Just as with everything else, it is the quantity you consume that constitutes the actual risk,” says Patrik Hildingsson.     

Tobacco is member of the same botanical family as the potato and tomato plant, and like tomatoes and normal potatoes, contains nicotine albeit in a larger quantity. Otherwise, the chemical composition is not entirely unlike that of heavy metals, etc. Since a few years back, Swedish Match publishes information on its website about the substances that can be found in the primary product by respective brands and types of snus. This is where the consumer can check for themselves what exactly their brand contains as well as the content in relation to legislation or recommendations for other foodstuffs.  

“With help from our 85 employed chemists and laboratory engineer quality controllers, we conduct a total of over 300,000 quality tests every year in our state-of-the-art laboratories to ensure that we stay within the limits stipulated by our own quality assurance standard GOTHIATEK® and Swedish food legislation. We have nothing to hide and instead want to encourage consumers, regulatory bodies and politicians to study the quality of snus. I warmly invite everyone to visit our website and read exactly what the product contains,” says Patrik Hildingsson.      

A few other comparisons:

  • One pear contains as much formaldehyde as fifty-four cans of snus or 1,296 portion pouches.        
  • The quantity of agrochemicals in snus is a hundred times lower than what is allowed in strawberries.
  • Seven and a half cans, or 180 pouches, contain the same amount of arsenic as 100 grams of rice.
  • Three cans of snus, or 72 pouches, contain the same amount of chromium as 100 grams of fruit or vegetables.
  • Seventeen cans of snus, or 408 pouches, contain the same amount of volatile nitrosamines (known carcinogen) as 100 grams of fried bacon.

Facts about snus and foodstuffs: