About snus

THE HISTORY OF SNUS

Smokeless tobacco products have existed in different cultures around the world, for thousands of years. Within the segment, the types of products vary significantly, reflecting local tastes and traditions.

The birth of smokeless tobacco
In Europe, smokeless tobacco products emerged during the 16th century. Before tobacco usage had been dominated by pipe smoking. Then the fashion changed, led by the French Court. At that time, the French Court of Louis XIV (Louis le Grand) was regarded the leading court in Europe. As Louis XIV and his court turned away from pipe smoking and replaced it with nasal snuff, the view on how tobacco should be enjoyed rapidly changed across the European continent. The royal and noble establishments in other European countries were eager to reflect the lifestyle and extravagance of Louis XIV and his court.

The price list from the company’s early days reveals that chewing tobacco was available both as “Smalskrå”, “Presseskrå”, “Skipperskrå” and “Mellemskrå”. The snus range included black rapé and a yellow variant. Both snus variants were produced as loose snus. This is a tobacco product where the consumer has to form a small ball of snus before placing it in their mouth. This type of snus has also enjoyed high popularity among all social classes.

The price list from the company’s early days reveals that chewing tobacco was available both as “Smalskrå”, “Presseskrå”, “Skipperskrå” and “Mellemskrå”. The snus range included black rapé and a yellow variant. Both snus variants were produced as loose snus. This is a tobacco product where the consumer has to form a small ball of snus before placing it in their mouth. This type of snus has also enjoyed high popularity among all social classes.

Smokeless tobacco comes to Denmark
In Denmark, the first sign of this development can be found at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen. In the castle, a tapestry shows “Erobringen af Landskrona” (The conquering of Landskrona) in 1676 with 2 officers practising the noble art of nasal snuffing.

Over the following years, the snus using habit spread to all social classes. The German writer Johan Cohausen describes the situation in 1720 as follows:

“All classes use snus. From the highest to the lowest. Sometimes I have been astonished to observe, how noblemen and lackeys, woodcutters and messengers, street sweepers and porters take their snus tin out with a confident gesture and place their fingers in it. Both genders use snus, because fashion has spread to the ladies: the noble ladies began, and now the washerwomen imitate them”

Moliere and tobacco
The French writer Moliére also noticed the important role of tobacco and stated in 1665 “Qui vit sans tabac, nést pas digne de vivre” – he who lives without tobacco lives a life not worth living.

The use of snus was now so wide spread that Samuel Johnson wrote, in 1773:

 “Now pipe smoking has gone out. To be sure, it is a shocking thing, blowing smoke out of our mouths into other people’s mouths, eyes, and noses, and having the same thing done to us.”

Smokeless tobacco thrives
During the 18th century, chewing tobacco and loose snuff gradually replaced the former leading role held by nasal snuff. It was therefore natural than when Georg Gundersen established Assens Tobaksfabrik in 1864, he turned to the production of smokeless tobacco products.  Chewing tobacco and snus were produced in different forms.

Today snus consumption in Sweden is significantly more widespread than cigarette smoking – and the difference is growing year by year. Snus is now not only enjoyed by males but to a growing extent also by females. In fact the growth rate among female snus users in Sweden now exceeds the annual growth rate of the male snus users. Important growth rates for snus are also seen in neighbouring Norway, where more and more consumers switch from cigarettes to snus. In particular portion packed snus is gaining popularity.

Today snus consumption in Sweden is significantly more widespread than cigarette smoking – and the difference is growing year by year. Snus is now not only enjoyed by males but to a growing extent also by females. In fact the growth rate among female snus users in Sweden now exceeds the annual growth rate of the male snus users. Important growth rates for snus are also seen in neighbouring Norway, where more and more consumers switch from cigarettes to snus. In particular portion packed snus is gaining popularity.

Snus under pressure from cigarettes
In the 19th century, the use of snus however came under significant pressure from the rising popularity of cigarettes. Particularly after World War II, the dominance of cigarettes over smokeless tobacco products was pronounced in many countries.

Snus makes a comeback
In Sweden however, the growing concern over the implications derived from cigarette smoking and the prevalence of portion snus products in the early 1970´s revitalised the snus trend. Snus has regained its position as the preferred form of tobacco enjoyment on the Swedish market – taking over the earlier number one position held by cigarettes.

Why snus is becoming popular
The statement made by Samuel Johnson (mentioned previously) is still very valid and is one of the many reasons why snus is becoming the preferred way to enjoy tobacco on several markets now.

The popularity of snus versus cigarettes can thus be attributed to the following key benefits:

  1. Extensive research confirms snus to be significantly less harmful than cigarette smoking
  2. Snus is socially accepted compared to traditional smoking
  3. Snus can be enjoyed everywhere – also where smoking is prohibited
  4. There are no issues regarding second-hand smoke
  5. Portion snus is easy to use and more aesthetic than loose snus

Portion snus is the modern choice
Today, AG SNUS combines the very latest technology and research findings with the tobacco know-how inherited over the last 146 years of snus manufacture. We see portion snus as a modern way of tobacco consumption overcoming many of the shortcomings associated with cigarette smoking.

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