Is Swedish snus a good alternative to smoking in Thailand?

Can snus be the snooze button for smoking?

IMAGE: Via Snushus website

With approximately 106,000 people in Thailand succumbing to smoking-related illnesses annually, people are exploring alternatives in pursuit of a safer option. And for many, the answer is Swedish snus (pronounced snoose and rhymes with goose), a traditional Scandinavian tobacco product that comes in small pouches. Unlike cigarettes or vapes, you pop one of these pouches between your upper lip and gum to release the nicotine. It’s like a tiny teabag of cigarettes – no smoke and oh-so discreet.

Snus isn’t a new invention, it has actually been used in Sweden since the 18th century. Now, as the debate over better alternatives to traditional cigarettes rages on, it’s quickly gaining popularity in Thailand with brands like Haypee offering a wide range of types and flavours. Some use snus because it’s seen as less harmful, others choose it for the sneaky factor. But is it truly a good alternative to smoking in Thailand? Here’s what you need to know about Swedish snus.

What is Swedish snus?

Swedish snus is considered one of the earliest novel tobacco products since it predates other alternatives like electronic cigarettes, nicotine pouches, and heated tobacco by several centuries. This smokeless tobacco product is made from ground tobacco, which is heat treated (pasteurised) along with salts and water, alkalised with soda, and then flavoured with natural ingredients and aromas before being portioned and packaged in tiny tea bag-like pouches. Snus is also available in loose form without the pouches.

In Thailand, Swedish snus brands like Haypee infuse their products with various flavourings such as berry, lemon, mango, coconut, bergamot, and liquorice to enhance the taste.

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So, how do you use Swedish snus and how does it work?

Instead of burning, you use Swedish snus by placing the small pouch between your upper lip and gum to release the nicotine. It will then be absorbed by your mouth’s mucus membranes and transported into the bloodstream.

The time you keep the snus in your mouth depends on your tolerance to nicotine and your personal preference. You can keep it in your mouth for an hour if you want a stronger nicotine effect. But for a milder experience, consider removing it after just a few minutes. Once you’re satisfied with your snus, simply remove the pouch from your mouth and dispose of it in the waste bin.

Although Swedish snus is typically placed in the upper lip, it can also be placed in the lower lip without altering its effects.

What makes Swedish snus different from other oral tobacco products?

What makes Swedish snus unique and different from other oral tobacco products is its pasteurisation process. The tobacco used in snus goes through a similar pasteurisation process as milk. It significantly reduces TSNAs (Tobacco-Specific-Nitrosamines) that are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Plus, the process also neutralised the microorganisms in the tobacco to keep it fresh.

People often get snus and snuff mixed up since the two oral tobacco products sound similar. However, they’re actually two different products. Whilst snus is pasteurised and placed in the lip, snuff is a dry tobacco product cured by fire and is typically sniffed.

Snus is perhaps more similar to nicotine pouches, but they’re also not the same. The key difference lies in their composition: snus contains tobacco, whereas nicotine pouches use nicotine salts. As for American dipping tobacco, although both are placed in the mouth, snus generally doesn’t induce excessive salivation. Therefore, you don’t need to spit while using it.

Is Swedish snus less harmful than traditional cigarettes?

Studies on Swedish snus are still ongoing. However, some researchers suggest that snus is a potentially less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes because its pasteurisation process reduces cancer-causing substances known as carcinogens. Another study indicated that snus carries only five per cent of the harm associated with cigarettes.

Dr Thomas Westin, a head and neck cancer specialist and associate professor at the University Hospital of Sahlgrenska in Gothenburg, Sweden, explains in an interview with Haypee that there’s yet to see a direct connection between Swedish snus use and head and neck cancer patients, despite its widespread use in Sweden.

Moreover, Sweden also has one of the lowest amounts of lung cancer incidence and mortality rates in Europe, according to data from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Health Rankings. This may be attributed to the use of Swedish snus. Yes, snus still contains nicotine, so it can still lead to addiction and has its share of risks. But it’s the other chemicals in smoking tobacco that increase your risk of lung problems. Since snus doesn’t involve burning, it doesn’t produce harmful tar and numerous carcinogens present in cigarette smoke.

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks also found that snus use led to an overall risk reduction of nearly 100 per cent for respiratory diseases like lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia. Additionally, it reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by at least 50 per cent and decreased the risk of oral and pharyngeal, oesophagal, and pancreatic cancers by at least 50 per cent compared to cigarette smoking.

Still, Swedish snus, just like any other adult stimulant, should only be used in moderation. Less harmful doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

Can Swedish snus help you quit smoking?

Dr Thomas Westin suggests that Swedish snus could be a viable alternative for people who are struggling to quit smoking. Snus is credited for its role in reducing smoking rates in Sweden, with over half of Swedish snus users being former smokers. Additionally, a study conducted in Norway further supports this notion, indicating that Swedish snus use was helpful for people who successfully quit smoking.

Where can you find Swedish snus in Thailand?

Finding Swedish snus in Thailand used to be tricky, often leading people to resort to the black market. Fortunately, those days are gone now with the arrival of Haypee, a Swedish snus brand that provides a reliable and legitimate source for snus enthusiasts across the Kingdom.

Haypee offers a vast selection of Swedish snus. You can find everything from traditional tobacco flavour to tutti frutti and spearmint. Plus, their snus comes in a variety of sizes, nicotine strengths, and pH values. With all the details clearly outlined on Haypee’s website, exploring and selecting the perfect snus option for your preference is very easy.

The best thing about Haypee is that they manufacture all their snus locally in Thailand using Swedish traditional methods. They use Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) in the manufacturing process to mirror the standards upheld in the food industry and organisations like NASA. Moreover, they also hold all the necessary licences and certifications to provide you with peace of mind regarding the authenticity and safety of your purchases.

But aside from quality, Haypee’s local production also allows them to offer competitive prices. By eliminating the need for costly imports and reducing overhead expenses, Haypee offers an alternative that won’t break the bank, making Swedish snus more accessible and affordable than ever before in Thailand.

To learn more about their locally manufactured Swedish snus and make a purchase, visit Haypee’s website.

Swedish snus is only available for individuals aged 20 years and above.

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Cita Catellya

Cita Catellya is a journalist and writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter 5 years ago, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence. Cita writes in both English and her native Bahasa Indonesia

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