Swedish Match Snus Prices
In an email received 01:31 AM GMT-6, Swedish Match Northern Europe's Manager of On-Line Sales, Markus Ersmark, confirmed that Swedish Match would be raising prices across all their snus brands and SKUs effective June 7th 2010. He didn't spell out the reason for the increase, but did answer one of our questions by stating the exchange rates of the Euro and the Dollar were not involved.
Markus did stress that Swedish Match had no intentions of reducing the amount of snus in their regular portions to less than the current one gram per portion weight.
Although the decision for the price increase was a business one, I see Markus as the bearer of bad news: not the instigator of it. You should too.
Truth be told, Markus Ersmark and Joakim Blom ARE the face of Swedish Match to most American users of Swedish snus. They both have gone out of their way time and time again to keep in touch with American snus authors, bloggers, forums, and American Swedish Match snus users in general.
They pioneered personal interaction between Swedish Match AB and their customers by first requesting their own section on SnusCENTRAL.org to respond directly to user questions. Their success here allowed them to replicate this interaction on another snus forum. Both are keenly in-tune with the American market and snus consumer. Today, their ever increasing responsibilities, navigating the new and convoluted waters of the American War on Tobacco, and static staffing model has slowed their responses down, but they insist on keeping their section alive.
Both are honorable, innovative, and represent Swedish Match at it's best. There is no credible person in snus-using America who can not point to them specifically as the front-runners of Swedish Match's snus brand building building efforts to date.
I say all this for a reason. No one likes price increases by manufacturers. They happen. No one likes having their favorite snus discontinued and Swedish Match has hit us with Claq Qui and 1847 by PM in somewhat rapid succession. In reacting to all this, don't let your anger or disappointment cloud your comments to the extent that you forget the good Swedish Match has done and the wonderful people who work for them in Sweden. The do give us Ettan and Grovsnus and General...and my surprising new delight; Kronan Portion. Never forget Kardus! But God help them if they ever de-list General Ekstra Sterk or Onyx though.......
Skruf Snus Prices and Availability
After being at first unsuccessful in reaching skruf Business Intelligence Manager Jesper Svensson, my call was routed to skruf Snus AB CEO Andrew Cunningham who was in-transit to the office at the time. We had a short but enjoyable (for me, at least) conversation which ended with his commitment to have Jesper contact me. I'm told the Stockholm morning traffic demands close attention to the road so I'm grateful Mr. Cunningham spoke with me for as long as he did and didn't wind up crashing into anything.
Shortly thereafter, I received the first of two calls from Jesper. I asked him my questions during the first call and he asked if he could call me back after receiving approval to answer them. Fifteen minutes later, after being beaten within an inch of his life, he called me back despite his broken jaw being wired together and told me the following:
As to skruf raising their prices in June, he replied that he was unable to comment at this time. Being the canny journalist which I am, I took this as a 'yes'. As to skruf lowering the weight of their portion snus below one gram per portion, he also replied he was unable to comment at this time. This was not a video conference call so I am assuming Imperial Tobacco "security personnel" were pointing guns at either him or his family while we spoke.
What Jesper did confirm was the one thing I hoped he wouldn't. skruf Snus AB has not submitted product information and ingredients to FDA as required for a tobacco product to be registered and available for sale legally within the United States after June 22nd. I told him my understanding was that snus not compliant with The Tobacco Control Act could not even be purchased from a Swedish Internet Snus Store let alone a brick and mortar store by anyone in the US.
He paused and I believe I heard the sound of a semi-automatic handgun slide being racked to chamber a round. Jesper carefully replied that Imperial Tobacco and skruf Snus were hopeful Americans would be able to continue enjoying skruf snus after June 22nd. Now fearing for Jesper's life, I interjected quickly that just because skruf Snus AB had not supplied the information to FDA as of today, they could always do so later in the year or even next year. He quickly agreed this was possible. We chatted a little further before the phone was ripped out of his one remaining hand by Imperial Tobacco Security and the call ended.
SnusCIA Director UNZ advised me in the future, these types of questions should be asked of Jesper covertly in an alley or at a discreet table in a lower class nightclub. In the meantime, I placed a quick order with our Snus Store for more skruf everything for my freezer stock. Publishing deadlines be damned....I needed more skruf in-transit before June 22nd!
V2 Tobacco Snus Prices
In a more relaxed conversation, Patrick Vogel of Denmark's V2 Tobacco happily announced that V2 was not only maintaining their pricing through June, but had no plans of increasing wholesale pricing for the rest of 2010. The Vogel brothers have always been snus-rebels and were enjoying the fact that they were holding their pricing.
Gotlandssnus on Pricing and Availability
I spoke with both Jimmy Karlsson and Daniel Sundgren concerning Gotlandssnus/Jakobsson's Snus wholesale pricing. Daniel stated that Gotlandssnus had no plans to raise the wholesale price of their products in the immediate future. Both Jimmy and Daniel were busy with their US over-the-counter distribution plans. Jakobsson's Wintergreen is the first of their products designed specifically for the American market. I confessed that wintergreen is not my favorite flavor...in fact I usually can't keep a portion of any manufacturer's wintergreen snus in my mouth for more than a minute without spitting it out.
Most intriguing, Daniel stated that Jakobsson's Classic Portion and Gotlandssnus Flader (Green to us Americans) were being seriously considered for introduction into the US market in late 2010 or 2011. I was surprised to learn that the folks at Gotlandssnus were not fond of their snus being referred to by label color; Green, Yellow, Grey. They wanted the descriptive flavor to be what each snus was known by. I suggested if that was their goal, they would have to translate the flavors into English for the American market.
There would certainly be advantages to this, although in the US, color-coded packaging; especially for cigarettes, is so ingrained that FDA banned it by June 22nd, insisting on Tombstone graphics/black on white only. Fortunately, they were taken to Court over this. The Court ruled that FDA was (again) overstepping it's bounds and an injunction is in place preventing colored graphics from being eliminated. This and many other FDA decisions are and will be bouncing around court rooms for years to come.
I reached out to my old friend; now famous on SnusCENTRAL.org, Joakim Nilsson, JTI Communications Manager Nordic. I received the following official JTI position from him seconds ago; “After looking into the matter I can confirm that JTI Sweden does not have any plans to raise the prices on the products in our snus portfolio for the time being. Our long-term strategy is to continue to invest in the success of our brands.” Now if JTI could only figure out how to legally market their excellent Swedish CAMEL Snus in the US without Reynolds' lawyers filing suit against anything and everyone remotely involved......
SnusCENTRAL and our Position on all of this....
REAL Swedish Snus was the ONLY product which enabled me to quit a 35 year cigarette addiction. I'm still a nicotine addict but I like nicotine. It's no more dangerous than the caffeine in coffee and a lot less dangerous then an "energy drink". In fact, Swedish/true Swedish style snus is at least 98% less harmful to a smoker than cigarettes are. My latest physical exam confirmed my lung capacity is actually superior to that of an average non-smoker of my age. My lungs are finally clear of tar and as pink as anyone's can be with evil, snus-banning Iceland still allowing its volcanoes to poison our atmosphere.
I am far from alone in gratefully acknowledging how Swedish Snus has literally saved my life. Helping other smokers find salvation through REAL snus is my mission and why there is a SnusCENTRAL.org in the first place.
Sadly, in the name of protecting "the children" from cigarettes, the current President and Congress has passed legislation which will do the exact opposite. Forty Five Million US cigarette smokers will sicken and die unnecessarily because of The Tobacco Control Act, The PACT Act, and the anti-all-tobacco extremists at FDA and BATF. All of this coming together at roughly the same time plus price increases on top of punitive tobacco taxes on smokeless tobacco is discouraging to Swedish Snus users and those wishing to quit cigarettes to say the least. I would go as far as to call it legislative genocide against nicotine-addicted Americans by extremists and our very Government.
Snusers across America are stocking their refrigerators and freezers hoping to weather the chaos FDA tobacco regulation and PACT restrictions are already causing. SnusCENTRAL YouTube has produced videos on how to inexpensively vacuum pack snus for long-term storage. Numerous articles, forum posts, and FAQ's offer advice on surviving the coming Snus Apocalypse. Our humble Snus Store has been buying every special we can and passing it along so that people's snus-dollars will go farther.
Today, I say enough is enough. We will not go quietly into the nightmare of dangerous pharmaceutical snus imitations and under-nicotined American snus designed and marketed to complement cigarette smoking; not replace it.
Earlier, I instructed our snus store to lower its pricing on skruf and Swedish Match products. Our wholesale cost hasn't gone down; the profit which keeps the SnusCENTRAL Experience alive has been cut. I will continue to reduce prices as much as humanly possible. When the price increases do come, SnusCentral.com will absorb as much of them as we can and still keep the lights on.
If you are a fan of skruf Snus products, stock up for PACT and beyond before the portion size falls under one gram. Our intent concerning SnusCentral.com is to stay legally active and selling in the American market after June 22nd and PACT Day on July 1st. If that turns out not to be viable.....I'm really not concerned with that right now. My only concern is helping as many people as possible discover REAL snus and to be able to purchase and freeze as much of it as possible based on whatever their budget is before the Snus Apocalypse in Amerika.
I will NOT go back to cigarettes. I will NOT take pills which cause otherwise sane people to commit suicide or become clinically depressed. I will NOT chew under-nicotined gum or wear a body full of under-nicotined patches. And I outright REFUSE to replace my Swedish Snus with the ineffective, cynical, and cruel joke that is American snus today. I AM committed to doing everything in my limited power to make sure you don't have to either.
Running on nicotine and outrage,
LARRY WATERS and the SnusCENTRAL Intelligence Agency
Fighting the War for your Snus