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Snus (rhymes with “goose”) is a moist powder tobacco product, containing about 50 percent water, which is placed between the cheek and gum. It is a form of snuff that is used like smokeless tobacco, but it’s different because it doesn’t require the user to spit.

Snus is usually made in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but is now being test marketed in the United States and several other countries.

Types of Snus

picture of snus

There are two main types of snus.

The first type is loose and requires the user to portion out a "pinch" for use.

The second type, and more common variety, is prepackaged in small bags made from the same material as teabags. It is easier to handle than loose powder.

Health Effects of Snus Use

Snus is also different from smoking tobacco and other smokeless tobacco products because it is heated using steam and not fire. Not using fire means that it contains a lower amount of nitrosamines, a known cancer-causing agent. Snus also contains more nicotine than cigarettes, which means it could be even more addictive.

The negative health effects of snus are similar to smokeless tobacco use because it’s a product that is placed in the mouth. These risks include developing lesions in the mouth, gum recession and cancer of the mouth or tongue.

A study published in the medical journal The Lancet in 2007 found that using snus doubled the risk of developing pancreatic cancer among its users. Research shows that many snus users also smoke, so it has been hard for researchers to study the impact of snus use alone. The Lancet study, however, was able to study those people who are non-smokers but use snus.

Since snus is still a fairly new product to the United States, there haven’t been many studies done on the health effects of using snus over a long period of time or as a substitute for smoking. More research is now being done to determine the effects of snus use over time.

Snus Use in the U.S. and Globally

Snus was originally created in Sweden to combat a high smoking rate, and as a result, about 12 percent of the Swedish population currently uses snus. The use of snus in other countries increased as a result of the passage of their indoor smoking bans.

Currently, there is no information available about the number of Americans that use snus. The product is still being test-marketed and is not yet available in every state, as other tobacco products are.

Marketing Snus

There are various snus products on the market and many cigarette companies are now making and selling snus. These products include Marlboro Snus from Philip Morris USA, and Camel Snus from Reynolds American Tobacco Company.



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