Monday, 10 October 2011 13:57

Beyond Extra Strong: Thunder RAW Frosted Ultra Strong Snus

Written by Larry Waters
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V2 Tobacco publicly announced they are launching their highest nicotine snus series to date; Thunder RAW Ultra Strong Snus, during Week 44. The first flavor to be released as a RAW Ultra Strong portion will be the popular Thunder Frosted recipe.

Thunder Raw Ultra Strong SnusThe Thunder Raw series of snus will contain 21mg/gr nicotine. While V2 Tobacco is not the first or the only snus manufacturer to meet or exceed the 20mg /gr nicotine level, they are the first to classify a snus of this strength Ultra Strong. GN Tobacco's EXTREME snus series and Swedish Match's Lab Series 06 are marketed as Extra Strong although both are 20mg/gr+ snuses. A little snus history demonstrates why this is significant.

Modern Extra Strong snuses appeared in 2008. Nicotine strengths at the time were broken down into two categories: Original and Strong/Stark/Sterk. The new Extra Strong snuses were categorized under the Strong category at first by manufacturers and Swedish snus eStores. This worked for a while until the number of Extra Strong snuses and their widely varying nicotine strengths led to consumer confusion, especially among those new to Real snus.

No common standard was ever established by the snus industry and still has not been. The gold standard of strong snuses; Swedish Match's General Onyx, was rated at 11mg/gr of nicotine. Swedish Match never advertised Onyx as a Strong snus, though. forced the issue after my August 2008 article discussing Onyx as the first snus shop to categorize General Onyx not only as a Strong Snus, but as a White Portion/Black portion snus.

As time went by, snuses with 10mg/gr to 14mg/gr nicotine were generally called Strong snus while anything above that nicotine level was considered an Extra Strong snus.

This worked fine when GNT was the only manufacturer making 20mg+ nicotine snuses. With Swedish Match and V2 now joining super high nicotine club with no doubt more snus manufacturers planning to do so in the future, the disparity between nicotine levels in the Extra Strong snus category is following in the footsteps of the 2008 Strong snus category.

By introducing the the concept of Ultra Strong, snus users will ultimately have another visible break-point when determining if the nicotine level of a particular snus meets or exceeds their needs. Maybe even Skruf AB will ultimately be forced to declare Xtra Stark as either an Extra Strong or Ultra Strong snus.

Skruf publishes the nicotine levels of their products on an undefined scale of one to four. I still consider Skruf snuses among my favorites, but I really would like to know how Skruf Xtra Stark compares apples to apples against other snuses in terms of nicotine.

The latter brings up a related issue which sources at the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC) tell us the snus industry is beginning to address: standardizing published nicotine levels of portion snus either by gram or by portion across the industry.

Nicotine Content: What does it mean in Portion Snus?

Before weight-based taxation skyrocketed out of control, the universally accepted weight of a single original portion of snus was one gram. When a snus was listed as having for example 8mg nicotine, that meant either a portion or one gram of the same snus in loose form was rated at 8mg.

Today, few portion or white portion snuses still weigh one gram each. This begs the question; when a manufacturer calls their product a Strong Snus or Extra Strong Snus, is that designation tied to the portion regardless of weight or is the nicotine rating based on strength of one gram of the snus used?

Today, each manufacturer is free to classify the strength of their snus by their own definition. I'm glad ESTOC is beginning to address this and I hope they quickly agree on a uniform standard. While nicotine strength is only one factor by which a snus consumer can make an informed snus purchase, it is becoming increasingly significant as more Ultra Strong snuses are appearing.

As portion weight continues to be forced lower by punitive taxation, this issue even brings into question whether some of today's portion snuses classified as Strong and especially Extra Strong really are from the consumer standpoint. The snus consumer should be able to easily establish the proper nicotine category any given snus falls into without using a calculator. For those of you old enough to remember, only a car's highway gas milage was originally published by car manufacturers. Today, both city and highway gas milage are required and both differ significantly from each other.

I blame not the manufactures so much as the Governments involved for consistently and punitively raising the tax on snus and smokeless tobacco based on weight.

If the Swedish, Danish, and American Government's intention (to name just three) is to price snus and smokeless tobacco beyond the means of consumers, the nicotine dependent will be forced back to cigarettes...and quickly to less expensive black market cigarettes.

This would be an example of Big Government succeeding beyond their wildest expectations. In other words, they are endangering the public health, driving up health care costs, fueling organized crime, and causing tens of millions of their citizens to become tobacco criminals with their simplistic, pandering, and ideology-driven "solutions" .

Is it any wonder why those trumpeting the decline in cigarette smoking in the US conveniently overlook the huge increases in smuggled cigarette use? My birth State of New Jersey is just the latest State to report 40% of the cigarettes its residents smoke are illegally smuggled and untaxed. Other States have reported even higher levels of black market cigarettes.

The US Postal Service is going bankrupt. While this is primarily due to a completely unrealistic pension funding formula imposed upon it by Congress, the PACT Act which forbade the USPE from delivering tobacco products was certainly a significant blow to their bottom line. UPS certainly isn't complaining about the tobacco shipment monopoly the PACT Act handed to them.

Is it any wonder why the world is in the financial and social chaos it is today? Why US unemployment is still at post-Depression record highs and the Government reported that median incomes in the United States fell for the first time in almost 50 years? Why the likelihood of some EU nations defaulting on their debt is now considered a question of "when", not "if"?

The answer is simple: the lunatics are running the asylum. God help all of us.

Enjoying my REAL snus while I can still afford it,Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States


Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for

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