But if you stuck with it, suddenly they were enjoyable. Suddenly you craved them. That's nicotine. All people are different and so are levels of nicotine addiction. There are those "non-smokers all week who smoke 2 packs at the bar while drinking...and then don't smoke again until the next time they go drinking: a week, a month or even a year later". (I used to hate them....I was jealous, actually).
Then there are the nicotine-addicts like me whose hands start shaking after a while if I can't get my nicotine-fix. The rest fall somewhere in between.
Nicotine is not a primarily a psychological addiction: it forms neural channels directly to the pleasure center of the brain. When deprived of nicotine, the brain will rebel. So long as the brain gets it's nicotine, it over-rides things like taste-buds. It is one of the most addictive substances on the planet.
Lets also establish that nicotine is not a carcinogen. It does have an effect on the cardiovascular system, the pancreas, and obviously the pleasure centers of the brain, but it is not classified as a cancer-causing agent. That doesn't mean its good for you; just that it's not a carcinogen.
If you are not nicotine-addicted now, don't start using snus unless it's nicotine-free Swedish Snus, just to fashionable. If you don't use heroin or cocaine, then don't start now either for the same reason.
But for those who are nicotine-addicted from cigarettes or other tobacco products, Swedish snus is the least harmful delivery method of tobacco delivered nicotine on the planet.
Snus is an oral tobacco product. 8 mg. of nicotine is the oral equivalent of one cigarette. But since it is absorbed orally, it lasts longer in the body than inhaled nicotine.
Swedish Snus Manufacturers disclose their nicotine levels. Regular Swedish Snus has 8 mg. of nicotine. Strong (also known as Stark or Sterk) Swedish Snus generally have 11 mg. of nicotine. Extra Strong (Ekstra Stark or Sterk), a 2008 development, has up to 16 mg. of nicotine.
These classes were created based on consumer focus studies. While Swedes, surprisingly, prefer the regular nicotine content; Norwegians and especially Americans wanted Strong; and finally Extra Strong snus.
American snus manufacturers; also generally cigarette manufacturers as well, did not want their brand-loyal cigarette smokers giving up cigarettes for snus....not yet. The wanted them using both products which meant more money for them.
Camel SNUS is the only American "snus" manufacturer who will publicly (and did so to me in both writing and over the phone) allege to have 8 mg. of nicotine. I only say allege as, unlike Sweden, American "snus" manufacturers are not required to certify their ingredient content. But until proven wrong, I'll take them at their word.
Marlboro "snus" was discovered by researchers to be 20% lower in nicotine than Swedish Snus. And Mr. UNZ of SnusCENTRAL.org broke the exclusive story that Triumph Snus, marketed by Lorillard, lowered it's nicotine and has only 4-5 mg. of nicotine.
The researchers in the Marlboro Study were so incensed that they called on Phillip Morris USA to cease calling their Marlboro product snus! Their study and the exclusive story on Triumph Snus being low nicotine are here on SnusCENTRAL.org: where we provide the FACTS.
Since American snus manufacturers are not as of yet required to disclose much of anything about their "snus" products content, it is unknown how much nicotine the their products contain.
The bottom line is that with Swedish Snus, you know exactly how much nicotine each portion contains because the Swedish Government requires it.
American snus (with the possible exception of Camel) gives you no nicotine content information. By keeping the nicotine levels low, they force you to supplement their snus with cigarettes, use more of their overpriced American Snus than you would Swedish Snus to maintain your accustom-to nicotine level, and to prevent the unthinkable (to Big Tobacco): using snus as a way to stop smoking and ultimately using all tobacco products!
Even today, Doctors are starting to use Swedish Snus in smoking cessation programs as they find it more effective than nicotine gum, patches or tablets.
For those cigarette smokers who chose, or more likely,are too nicotine-addicted to quit, your brain knows exactly how much nicotine it wants and how much you are taking in (or not). You will use less Swedish Snus than American because the taste lasts longer and the nicotine level is at least 8 mg. You are now able to make an informed decision based on FACTS, not Slick Marketing..
The Snus Guru
November 30th, 2008