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 other nicotine containing products like ZYN).
Swedish Match is committed to displacing cigarettes by continuing to develop and to commercialize other alternative sources of nicotine – which will undoubtedly improve public health. Although nicotine has the potential for addiction, the individual and the societal harm is caused by the way nicotine is most commonly delivered. Nicotine, just like caffeine, is in general terms safe to use. Cigarette smoking is the dominant delivery device of nicotine, and it causes death and diseases among users, due to the combustion of tobacco.
In line with our vision of a world without cigarettes, one objective is to increase the awareness of the positive role that snus and nicotine pouches without tobacco can play in improving 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 sixteen unwanted constituents of which only three are regulated by the Swedish Food Act. For a list of constituents and current levels, please visit the Company’s website.
During 2017, Swedish Match has stepped up its efforts in relation to its nicotine pouch product ZYN which does not contain tobacco and which takes our commitment to reduction of potentially harmful constituents one step further.
Product attractiveness among adult users of tobacco
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. Product appeal is highly important in order to successfully encourage people to switch from cigarettes to other nicotine containing products with favorable risk profiles. These types of products can also go a long way in reducing or potentially eliminating smoking initiation. Consequently, modern nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) are available in appealing flavors and formats. The same logic is applicable for other harm reduction products such as snus and ZYN; the more appealing a specific product is, the more likely it is to be used by smokers. It is encouraging that the public dialogue that the FDA will initiate on flavors in tobacco products will include the role that flavors play in encouraging cigarette users to switch to harm reduction products.
During the year Swedish Match has continued to launch new products appealing to cigarette consumers. In addition to our expanded efforts on ZYN we have launched a range of all white snus products under the G.4 brand in Norway with the aim of reaching cigarette consumers who have previously rejected snus. Just like for ZYN, the three unwanted constituents regulated for snus under the Swedish Food Act are below detection level in the G.4 products.
In Scandinavia, Swedish Match defines success of product attractiveness by tracking the share decline of daily smokers among total daily tobacco users. In Sweden the share of daily cigarettes smokers among daily tobacco users has dropped dramatically over the years and was 45 percent in 20161) (at the release of this report, the official statistics have not been published for 2017). In Norway the share of daily cigarette users dropped to 48 percent in 20172) (55 percent in 2016). 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 containing pouch products.
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 prematurely.
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. During 2017, we have continued with our efforts to receive Modified Risk Tobacco Product status for snus in the US. If such status is granted, we would be allowed to make approved claims about the relative risk between snus and cigarettes which would better educate US smokers.
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 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 our consumer surveys show that in the general population in Norway and Sweden only 66 percent and 62 percent respectively have identified snus as posing a lower risk to health compared to cigarettes. In the US, this number is 11 percent which highlights the scale of public misconception of relative risk.
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 Nicotine policy which firmly states that all tobacco (and nicotine-containing) products shall only be sold to adults of legal tobacco age in each market, and who are 18 years of age or older. This means that we shall not direct any marketing, advertising or promotion of tobacco or nicotine containing 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.
1) Source: The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten).
2) Source: Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå).