Snus is pasteurized tobacco that usually comes in a pouch resembling a small teabag placed under the upper lip, seeping flavor and nicotine into the gums.
Existe também uma marca: Onico, a nicotine-free brand that uses flavored vegetable fibers to imitate the taste of tobacco.
A public smoking ban, the unpleasantness of nipping outside for a cigarette in Swedish winters, and marketing by industry leader Swedish Match AB have led more women to try snus.
The European Union bans snus products in most of its member states for health reasons, such as the risk that the product may be an easier gateway than cigarettes for young people to become hooked on tobacco products. Sweden got an exemption from the ban when it joined the bloc in 1995. The only other legal market in western Europe for the product is Norway.
For decades, snus was the stuff of blue-collar Swedes, who appreciated being able to keep their hands free at work and still get a nicotine buzz. Swedes started grinding tobacco and mixing it with water, salt and spices in the 1800s.
Still, at an operating margin of 44.1 percent last year, snus was more than twice as profitable for Swedish Match as cigars, the company’s second-largest business line by sales.
Swedish Match contends that its home nation’s cancer rate has fallen because of snus, and has won some support from local politicians. The ban on snuff exports to other EU nations is “absurd” and should be abolished, Trade Minister Ewa Bjoerling said in an opinion piece on Nov. 28 in newspaper Aftonbladet.
Snus is at least 50 percent less likely to lead to heart disease than cigarettes, and unlikely to lead to lung cancer, the EU committee report found. However, the World Health Organization has said all forms of tobacco products are “addictive, harmful and can cause death,” and it would need more studies on health implications of snus before making new recommendations on its use.
With a 16 percent smoking rate, Sweden has the lowest percentage of people consuming cigarettes in western Europe, according to WHO statistics. About a quarter of all men in Sweden consume snus daily, the Swedish Institute of Public Health estimated in a study in 2005.
Among the converted, Lennersten said one major advantage of snus is that it doesn’t make clothes smell of smoke.
“Just remember to brush your teeth a lot, otherwise you’ll look like an old hag,” she said.
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