Tuesday, 10 November 2015 14:18

Snus Psychology at Work in The Lab at Swedish Match

Written by Larry Waters
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Psychology has always played a major roll in product development and marketing.  Words like bigger, stronger, faster, better, and safer are only a few of hundreds of examples.

The LaB 22 - Denist approved if dentist's were allowed to approve any tobacco productRead the active ingredients list on a bottle of Listerine.  There is only one:  alcohol.  I get more oral health benefit from a couple of fingers of whisky and more enjoyment too.

Smokers who have switched to Swedish Snus have long been motivated by snus having the about the same risk factors as French Roast Coffee.  In the 45 years since modern Swedish snus has been regulated as a food product by the Swedish National Food Agency (think FDA in US terms), there have been no documented cases of Swedish snus being directly responsible for tooth lose, gum disease, or oral cancer.

This peace of mind has made the transition from smoking to Swedish snus easier, especially for US smokers who have never used oral tobacco or who have a negative impression of smokeless tobacco through American snuff and chewing tobacco.

The mad scientists at Swedish Match took snus psychology to a new level a few months ago by introducing two snuses which potentially improve tooth and mouth health:  The LaB 22 Slim White Mint Portion Snus and The LaB 24 Slim White Mint Licorice Portion Snus.....

Snus for Stronger Teeth and a Healthier Mouth

The Lab 24 is good for your teeth but your dentist can't admit that.The LaB 22 and The Lab 24 snuses introduce two new ingredients to the brand:  Xylitol and Fluoride.

According to WebMD, Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine.

Xylitol is widely used as a sugar substitute and in "sugar-free" chewing gums, mints, and other candies. As a medicine, xylitol is used to prevent middle ear infections (otitis media) in young children, and as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes.

Most relevant to this conversation, Xylitol is added to some chewing gums and other oral care products to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth.

Fluoride is considered to be a micronutrient for human health, necessary to prevent dental cavities, and to promote healthy bone growth.  There is a tin foil hat crowd who beginning in the 1950's, believe fluoridated water is a communist/government plot in mind control.  I only mention this so the comments section won't be filled with conspiracy posts.

The salt in Swedish snus raises the pH in your mouth making it inhospitable to many forms of bacteria.  Now add to that xylitol which further prevents tooth decay and fluoride, which not only prevents tooth decay but strengthens and rebuilds tooth enamel, and snus users can now feel proactive in their dental health with these products.

Snus Test Subject Larry Waters

In judging how effective xylitol and fluoride were as a snus marketing strategy, I used myself as the perfect test subject.

When I used to smoke, I never smoked menthol cigarettes.  The overwhelming number of snuses in my rotation are tobacco-centric in flavor.  I usually have a can or two of mint snus in my chiller, mostly to use as a palate cleanser or as a bed-time snus.

In the case of The LaB 22, the mint flavor is peppermint which is much less desirable to me than spearmint.  Taking it a step further with The LaB 24, the concept of a licorice/mint snus was particularly unappealing.  I like licorice snus but with mint added and peppermint to boot?  Ugh.

My current regular strength mint snus of choice was Skruf Mynta.  Part of that is snus psychology too.  Skruf Mynta Ecological uses strictly organic tobacco and the flavoring is derived from crushed mint leaves. 

I'm no anti-GMO radical, but the all-natural nature of Skruf Mynta appealed to me.  Beyond the taste, I'm sure at some level this all-natural combination pushed some buttons in my brain.

More out of a sense of duty to snus users around the world than any real desire, I added a can of both LaB 22 and 24 to my September order.  I put off cracking the cans as long as I could but finally opened The LaB 22 can.

The LaB 22 taste was fine for a peppermint snus with hints of vanilla.  People who enjoy mint snuses will probably enjoy LaB 22 quite a bit.  The portions were comfortable and both 22 and 24 are technically strong snuses at the lower end of the scale with 1.15% nicotine.

Normally, I would have used a sufficient amount of portions to review the snus and disposed of the rest.

In the back of my mind was always the xylitol and fluoride though.  I practice proper dental hygiene but we switched to bottled water from our foul tasting tap water decades ago.  Bottled water is not fluoridated.

I am a chain-snuser and when I nap, I'll often do so with a portion inserted.  My go-to nap snus was now LaB 22.  It was somehow comforting to know my teeth and mouth were benefiting as I slept.  I also used more of the LaB 22 during the day than I normally use any mint snus.

To my surprise I found that I had finished the can of LaB 22 much quicker than I ever did with my preferred Skruf Mynta. 

A day or two later, I opened The LaB 24 Mint Licorice snus.  To be frank, I never intended to open it at all.  Originally this was just going to be for my snus can collection.  Mint and Licorice?  I think not; at least for me.

Swedish Match has always made a great licorice snus so I wasn't concerned with that flavor.  When I put in the first portion, I was put off by the mint burn...but I kept it in and continued to go through the can.  Xylitol and fluoride; improving my oral health instead of just not hurting it:  this was always in the back of my mind.

CONCLUSION

In short, I overcame my personal aversion to both flavor profiles because of those two ingredients.  The extra nicotine helped too but the drivers were xylitol and fluoride. 

My next can of mint snus will be Skruf Mynta Ecological but will it taste as good to me after LaB 22 and LaB 24?  More importantly from a marketing standpoint, will I order my normal amount of Skruf Mynta next time or will I cut back in favor of LaB 22 and 24?

Snus Psychology is alive and well in the secret labs of Swedish Match.  In my case, it worked like a charm.  I'm now using two snuses I never would have normally ordered.

Better living through chemistry and enjoying my snus!

Best Regards/Bästa hälsningar/Med venlig hilsen,Great Seal of the Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States

LARRY WATERS

Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org

 

Author's Note:  Any and all health claims in this article come from me
and the sources noted because we can.  Swedish Match is not making
any health claims about anything so move along, FDA.

 

Read 2382 times Last modified on Saturday, 21 November 2015 19:07

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