The Origin of Snus and What it is Today

Most people are familiar with cigarette, tobacco and snuff, but not everyone is aware that there is such a thing as snus. For those who haven’t heard about it yet snus, sounds like “snoose”, is a type of smokeless tobacco which is considered as a traditional product in Sweden. They are currently being used as an alternative to cigarette smoking or Nicotine Replacement Therapy. But what exactly is it and where did it come from? Here is a quick look at the origin of snus.

From Snuff to Snus

The origin of snus can be traced back to the 16th century when Europeans started cultivating and using tobacco for medicinal purposes. The pulverized or powdered tobacco leaves were called snuff and was consumed through nose inhalation. According to accounts French diplomat Jean Nicot recommended snuff as a migraine remedy for Catherine de Medici. It was said to have been effective in treating the migraine which propelled the popularity of snuff among members or the court and affluent French citizens. It quickly became a trend in neighboring European countries including Sweden. Around the 18th century the Swedes began producing their moist version of the powdered tobacco, the snus. This time powdered tobacco is no longer inhaled but simply placed in between the gums and the upper lips.

What is in a Snus?

The main component of snus is tobacco leaves. As such, it is important for potential users of snus to be aware of the health implications and risks of using it. In order to make snus, tobacco leaves are air-cured before being grounded. It is then mixed with salt and water and processed. Once processed you can simply take a pinch of the moist powdered tobacco and place it under your upper lip. These are called loose snus and were packaged in elegant tin cans. During the 1970’s the snus portion was introduced. Here the powdered tobacco is enclosed in mini pouches like tea bags. This made it easier and more appealing for people to use.  

Modern Snus

Snus, whether loose or portion, are still packaged in nice tin cans. In this aspect manufacturers did not stray much from the origin of snus. The difference is consumers have more options today. There are original, white, and sting-free variants for those who opt for portions. They are also available in mint, vanilla, cherry, bergamot, and strong tobacco flavor. Another good development is the strict regulations in manufacturing, particularly those made in Sweden, to ensure product quality and safety. Although, snus can’t be considered as safe because of its tobacco content, it is considered a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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