Sunday, 28 February 2010 23:56

An Open Letter to the American Tobacco Companies

Written by Mick Hellwig
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Dear Tobacco Sirs and/or Madam(s),

If you are considering making a product called “snus”… Don’t! Please do not follow the path of RJ Reynolds, Phillip Morris USA and the rest. Do not market a product called snus altered to fit American tastes and Marlboro Snus isn't even close to being REAL Swedish Snus.intentionally very low in free nicotine.

Many hundreds of thousands of Americans like snus as it has been made for over 200 years. If we wanted sweetened, flue cured, oral tobacco we already have a wonderful thing called dip, snuff, or more accurately American smokeless tobacco.

Snus should not be sickly sweet. Snus should be either a tad salty or a lot salty depending on other flavorings. If you want to make American style smokeless tobacco, then do that and call it what it is. What I have seen from you on the American market so far is not real snus, regardless of the name on the can/tin/stupid plastic envelope.

If you plan to make “snus” at least buy as much advice, training and equipment from people in Sweden who have been making pasteurized real snus since 1822.  Denmark is a good role model too.  Then follow through and don’t screw it up in practice as is the case today.

Give us REAL Snus or Don't Even Bother Trying

I understand with current regulations and tax increases your market shares and sales are dropping. I also understand the desire for your company to survive these changes and the attempt to adapt.  So adapt. Stop listening to the tobacco industry dinosaurs who knew the business "back when". They may have known the business in the 70’s or 80’s, but from all the signs they sure don’t know it now.

Everything about our world has changed. This is the age of the Internet. I can order real Swedish snus from Sweden. 20 years ago if you had made a product and called it snus, most customers would have no idea what it was supposed to be.

RJR Camel SNUS is not REAL Swedish SnusNow Camel SNUS has led 1,000’s of people to search Google for “snus”. What did we find? We found the history and traditions of real snus. We found the differences in the safety of Swedish manufacturing methods. We found that the Swedish government regulates the ingredients in snus, requiring them to be food safe.  This is quite unlike what our own FDA will do to tobacco products by eliminating flavors and nicotine. Well, maybe not eliminating nicotine but reducing it to a level that the difference won’t matter.

We also found that due to the Swedish methods of pasteurizing the tobacco TNSA’s are reduced so low that the Swedish Government does not require cancer warnings on the cans. Personally I don’t care about a silly government warning on the cans. I do care about knowing that anyone who makes snus lives up to the standards of the Swedes. You won’t even have to say it’s a “safer” or better product. Snusers will know the difference.

I know of two American tobacco companies that claim to make snus the “Swedish way”;  UNTIL you press them for specifics. Then they hem and haw like a politician up for re-election being asked to state a clear position.

I’m very sure if asked the top guys from V2 Tobacco how their tobacco is processed they would tell you in very certain terms , without giving away company secrets, how their production lines work. I know this because they already have. Unlike the guy from an American company who has to pause in mid answer to think of how to best frame his response so as not to be called a liar later when the truth comes out.

There is a traditional way of making real snus. Just as there is a traditional way of making a bullwhip. One could make a bullwhip out of papier-mâché, package it in a fancy box, get the States to tax it by weight so it will cost less than leather bullwhips,  and call it improved.  But in use, the bull and more importantly the cowboy will likely notice a difference.

The point of this letter is to say:  Stop and think about what you are doing. Please do not make sweetened, fire/flue cured, fermented oral tobacco and call it snus.

Please do not insult the taste buds of American snus users. Please do not lie to us about production methods. We will find the truth so ignore this advice at your own peril.  

Swedish and Scandinavian real snus manufacturers have figured out how to make a great tasting absolute least harmful tobacco product in the world.  They give the consumer more AND make a profit doing it.  Stop reinventing the wheel to suit yourselves and your 'smoke when you can/snus when you can't' agenda.  Do the right thing this time; for the health of American snusers and the future health of your companies balance sheets.


Mick Hellwig


SnusCENTRAL founding member and Camel SNUS hater

Read 3542 times Last modified on Saturday, 09 November 2013 03:08

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