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Phillip Morris International (PMI) had bought Swedish Match, a company known for its snus and tobacco pouches. Swedish Match is an interesting tobacco company - it is a tobacco company that doesn’t produce cigarettes. Instead, Swedish Match focuses on snus and nicotine pouches. But what are snus, and how can they affect vaping in the long run? Let’s start with the basics.
Snus is a kind of tobacco product. They are a form of tobacco from Sweden, and are pronounced like moose but with an s instead of an m. Snus are basically small teabags filled with tobacco. To use a snus, it is placed in the mouth between the gums and the lips.
One of the reasons snus are popular is because their immediate side effects are generally less offputting than cigarettes or chewing tobacco. Snus generally do not create as much odor or spit as chewing tobacco or traditional cigarettes. Some snus are even flavored with menthol, spices, or fruit flavors.
What are nicotine pouches?
Nicotine pouches are very similar to snus, and can be seen as a specific type of snus. Instead of being filled with tobacco leaves, nicotine pouches are filled with a non-tobacco substance, and nicotine is added to the pouches to give them a similar effect as snus. The most well known nicotine pouch is Zyn, which is also manufactured and produced by Swedish Match.
What’s notable about snus is that they are a product that has already gone through the Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process, and the FDA has given them the status of a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP). This means Swedish Match’s snus are legal to sell in the U.S. market and can be advertised as a safer alternative to smoking. Though snus were not well known at the time their application was approved, they could become more popular if Phillip Morris decides to invest in developing them. Swedish match even has a notable fruity flavored snus approved through a Marketing Equivalence Order - Timber Wolf Pouches Peach was approved in December 2019, and is a snus flavored like peaches.
Though Zyn doesn’t seem to have a marketing approval order at the moment, an application has likely been submitted as the FDA has not sent out any warnings regarding Zyn. Additionally, nicotine pouches using synthetic nicotine would not have needed to submit a PMTA until the law changed so that synthetic nicotine was also included in the definition of a tobacco product. If the PMTA was submitted much later than most, it is possibly still in the PMTA process.
Most obviously, snus are another option for former vapers who are still looking for legal, flavored alternatives to cigarettes in the US.
Additionally, they may become relevant in legal cases in the FDA. An example is that flavored snus are likely banned by California law, but have been legally authorized to be sold by the FDA.
With rising popularity also comes negative attention as well. Though snus and nicotine pouches are growing in popularity, none of the brands or products have become nearly as popular as Juul or Puff Bar was. Despite FDA approval, there are already groups such as Truth Initiative that are pushing for harsher legislation that will target snus as well. It is possible there will be legislation passed regulating snus that unintentionally affects vaping as well.
Snus are not nearly as well known as many other tobacco products. They are worth considering as an alternative, and worth keeping an eye on due to how they could change the legislation regarding tobacco products.
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