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 Swedish 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 2018, Swedish Match has taken significant strides in increasing the presence and availability of its nicotine pouch product ZYN which does not contain tobacco and which demonstrates our commitment to being at the forefront in offering a modern and safe alternative to smoking.
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 various 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 (US Food and Drug Administration) has initiated, highlights the role that flavors play in encouraging adult cigarette users to switch to harm reduction products.
Swedish Match has continued to expand its offerings of new products appealing to cigarette consumers. During the year, the ZYN portfolio in Sweden has been broadened to include new slim varieties. ZYN is an all-white pouch product and Swedish Match’s first nicotine pouch product without tobacco. ZYN represents a further step in Swedish Match’s work to reduce unwanted constituents in its products. No traces of the three unwanted constituents regulated by the Swedish food standard for snus can be found in ZYN. In addition, we have increased our 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 Sweden and Norway, 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 cigarette smokers among daily tobacco users has declined over the years and was 39 percent in 20181). In Norway the share of daily cigarette users increased to 50 percent in 20182) (48 percent in 2017). In North America, snus and nicotine containing pouch products categories are small but growing. Swedish Match defines success in terms of volume growth of its snus and nicotine containing pouch products.
|Product attractiveness among adult users of tobacco||2018||2017||2016|
|Share of daily cigarette smokers among daily tobacco users in Sweden1), %||39||45||45|
|Share of daily cigarette smokers among daily tobacco users in Norway2), %||50||48||55|
|Volume growth of snus and nicotine pouches without tobacco in North America, %||87||65||24|
1) Based on a survey done every other year (latest in 2018). Source: The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten).
2) Source: Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå).
Openness and transparency
Most 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 those who find it difficult to quit 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 about 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 2018, we have submitted an amended application to the FDA for our snus products to receive Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) status in the US. The claim in the application for which we seek approval is “Using General Snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema and chronic bronchitis”. If such MRTP status is granted, we would be allowed to communicate this claim which would better educate US smokers.
As far back as in 2001, Swedish Match decided to make its GOTHIATEK® quality standard available to its consumers and other relevant stakeholders. Levels of unwanted constituents in finished products are disclosed. Swedish Match only conducts limited scientific studies on its own but monitoring and compilation of scientific advancements are continuously conducted in a systematic manner. A summary of relevant scientific evidence on snus is also available on our Company website.
We define the success of our openness and transparency efforts by annually assessing consumer understanding of relative risk between snus and cigarettes in our home markets. In 2018, our consumer surveys show that in the general population in Sweden and Norway, 68 percent and 62 percent respectively have identified snus as posing a lower risk to health compared to cigarettes. In the US, this number is 12 percent which highlights the scale of public misconception of relative risk.
|Consumer understanding of relative risk between snus and cigarettes1)||US||Sweden||Norway|
|Snus presents less health risks than cigarettes, %||12||68||62|
|Snus presents equal or higher health risks than cigarettes, %||68||27||29|
|Don’t know, %||20||5||9|
1) Swedish Match consumer perception study.
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 and other nicotine containing products which are intended for adult use only. Certain other consumer groups are also deemed vulnerable.
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.