Nicotine labeling of Swedish Match products
It is important to Swedish Match that Sweden’s one million snus users know what they are consuming and what the product contains. Therefore all of our snus cans have a list of ingredients that also states the weight per portion pouch. In the past the nicotine content was also stated as a percentage on our snus cans, because we consider the nicotine content to be relevant consumer information.
In May 2016 the EU Tobacco Products Directive was implemented in Swedish law, and Swedish snus producers have not been allowed to state nicotine content on snus cans since then. We think that this is unfortunate and that it makes things worse for consumers, but we have no choice but to comply with applicable regulations.
The nicotine content of all of our snus products is still available on our website where we show our product line: http://snus.swedishmatch.com/.
Nicotine content and nicotine absorption
The nicotine content of snus is not the same as the nicotine absorption, which can vary from person to person. In addition to users’ individual traits, the nicotine content, pH value, moisture content and shape of the portion pouch are important, as well as the amount of time the pouch spends in the can and how many pouches or large portions the snus user chooses to take.
The perceived strength of the portion pouch is not solely determined by the nicotine content — it is also strongly influenced by taste and aroma. The nicotine content of Swedish Match’s products varies from 0.75 percent to 2.0 percent, which is due to the use of different tobacco blends for different recipes. Nicotine is not artificially added or removed during production of Swedish snus. The product’s nicotine content is equivalent to the nicotine content of the tobacco used to make it.
A portion pouch of General Portion Original Large (PSOL) weighs 1 gram and has a nicotine content of 0.85 percent, a pH value of 8.7 and 51.0 percent moisture content.
A portion pouch of Göteborgs Rapé Portion White Mini (PSWM) weighs 0.5 grams, with a nicotine content of 0.80 percent, a pH value of 8.7 and 52.5 percent moisture content.
A portion pouch of Catch Dry Licorice Portion White Mini (PSWM) weighs 0.3 grams, with a nicotine content of 1.5 percent, a pH value of 7.5 and 26 percent moisture content.
Nicotine is only absorbed through the buccal mucosa when using snus. Catch Dry Licorice (PSWM) has a higher nicotine content than the others in the example, but at the same time it has a low moisture content and relatively low pH. Moisture content and pH value are important to nicotine absorption. The extraction of nicotine diminishes with a low moisture content, while a high pH value increases the extraction of nicotine from the pouch and thus nicotine absorption via the buccal mucosa.
Thus the target value for nicotine content stated on our website is not what determines how much nicotine is absorbed by an individual user of snus. On the other hand, nicotine is the active substance in snus, and it is important to Swedish Match to provide consumers with a way to compare the size of the dose of nicotine in each portion pouch. The nicotine content of loose snus from Swedish Match is also stated as a percentage. A larger portion pouch yields a higher dose of nicotine compared with a smaller pouch, provided that the moisture content and pH value are identical.