Even though the site is called Kill the CAN, we realize that our nemesis is nicotine. As such, we’ve got folks on our forums that are battling not only the can (dip), but the pouch, cigarettes, nicotine gum, cigars, etc. In recent years a new foe in our fight for freedom has popped up: Swedish Snus. If you’re not familiar with the product, here’s the description per Wikipedia:
Snus (/ˈsnuːs/; Swedish pronunciation: [snʉːs]) is a moist powder tobacco product originating from a variant of dry snuff in early 18th century Sweden. It is placed under the lip for extended periods of time. Snus is not fermented and contains no added sugar. Although used similarly to American dipping tobacco, snus does not typically result in the need for spitting and, unlike naswar, snus is steam-pasteurized.
The other day, forum member Snot joined the forums and posted an introduction. Here’s an excerpt:
“I was a dipper for over 25 years then actually stopped for about 4 months in 2010. I started again using Swedish snus and have been using that until I quit 8 days ago. Days 1 – 3 of my quit were pure hell. Insomnia, headaches, depression, constipation, craves. Suffered from some mild depression on day 2.”
I was never a “snuser” so I was intrigued. We often hear from a variety of folks how much “safer” Swedish Snus is. I asked Snot if he would talk to differences between his stoppage / withdrawal from dip in 2010 vs. this time when he’s quitting Swedish Snus. Here is his response:
I stopped back in 2010 and it was very hard to do in the beginning. Took me a couple of tries but once I got a month in it was much easier. I stopped primarily for health reasons. So, when I heard about snus and the supposed safety of it I was intrigued. The research does seem to imply that snus is safer than cigarettes or American smokeless tobacco.
But there are two big caveats to consider (and that I chose to ignore at the time):
1. The research is minimal – very minimal – and, although all showed no increase in mouth or throat cancer, one study did show an increase in pancreatic cancer among snus users.
2. Most of the research was funded by the Swedish snus companies.
Well, that didn’t stop me. So I started snussing. I immediately discovered a few things that made me realize how snus can be way more addictive and “dangerous” than American dip.
- No need to spit. No spit cups, no spills, no gross smells. You can snus anywhere, anytime.
- If you use the pouches (and most snus users do) then there is no mess at all. The tins come with a convenient lid for storing used pouches. I could pop out an old pouch and pop in a new one in seconds with no mess and no one around me really knowing what I was doing. Which leads to…
- No one knows when you are snussing. The pouches are small and go in the upper lip so unless you smile real big no one will see it. There is no smell, no juice. I snussed at work and no one knew. I snussed at home and no one knew. I could snus and eat with no problem. This is what I mean by “dangerous.” I was snussing way more often than I was dipping because I could get away with it.
So the addiction is stronger than when I was dipping. I’d dip maybe 6 or 7 pinches a day. I had a snus in my cheek almost all the time. So, quitting this time seems harder. The physical withdrawal symptoms seem about the same but the craves are way more intense now IMO. Thankfully, the Smokey Mountain pouches are very close to snus in size and taste and serve as good substitutes.
Bottom line is that snus is scary stuff but it lacks many of the “nastiness” of American dip. Maybe it is “healthier” than American dip. Doesn’t matter because it still is nicotine and can still fuck you up. I had high blood pressure for years. In the past week my blood pressure is normal. Gee, I wonder why that is!
I fucking hate nicotine – all forms of it. It is evil, pure evil.
So there you go… directly from the mouth of someone who’s quit both products. I’m not entering into the discussion of harm reduction here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Being addicted to something sucks. It takes time away from life, family, etc. Swedish Snus may be “safer” (though that’s debatable) but it seems pretty clear to me that it’s not any easier to break free from.