We might start by stating that we are in no way condoning or promoting the use of Tobacco products but when you find that a truly Scandinavian tobacco product, SNUS, is being made in Thailand with success it is worth writing about.
For those of you that are not familiar with SNUS it is a moist powder tobacco product. It is consumed by placing it under the upper lip for extended periods of time. In Scandinavia many variations of SNUS can be found. Lloose SNUS that must be packed by the user before use (called “Prilla” in slang) or sachet type SNUS is pre-packed. The demand for loose SNUS has been largely replaced by portioned varieties. Many users of SNUS today prefer the discrete nature of the latter. The nicotine content of SNUS varies between brands, with the most common strength being 8 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco. The producers of SNUS also cater to many different “tastes”.
It is said that the origins of SNUS was discovered because of a Christopher Columbus voyage across the Atlantic. A monk who travelled with Columbus to America saw Indian priests draw up a powder into their noses. This powder included tobacco. In the 19th century, Swedish producers began to manufacture moist snuff (SNUS) placed under the upper lip which did not require spitting. It became known as SNUS. The brand “Ettan” (Swedish meaning “number one”), was first registered in 1822 and is the oldest brand of SNUS still sold. In 1919, 7,000 tonnes of snuff was sold in Sweden, an impressive peak which amounted to 1.2 kg per Swede!
With World War II, smoking increased sharply in Sweden and the number of SNUS users decreased. At the end of the 1960’s reports that smoking was harmful to health, lead to SNUS being returned as the most popular tobacco product. In 1998 sales of SNUS reached an annual consumption of 5,350 tonnes. Today one million Swedes use SNUS and in 2000 Swedes used 6,200 tonnes of SNUS of which 45% was the portioned variety. When Sweden and Norway joined the European Community, exemptions for the legal production and use in these countries were granted after much campaigning from SNUS lovers.
In 2008 an expat Swede, missed his SNUS in Thailand and started Viking Snus with Svenskt Snus Co., Ltd as the production company. This Swede, Göran Andersson lived with his Thai wife Nantakan in Pak Chong, between the cities of Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. He passed away two years ago.
Swedish SNUS is typically made from ground tobacco mixed with water, salt, and an alkalizing agent. Today this agent is sodium carbonate. Viking Snus sells SNUS with natural ingredients and their tobacco is grown without pesticide. The tobacco is the highest quality of a five grade scale applied in Thailand. Their SNUS only contains; tobacco, sea salt, spring water and spices. No chemicals are added and the SNUS can be stored for four months in a refrigerator.
After a year of struggling to explain SNUS to local authorities, the Company received permission in 2007 to sell Svenskt Snus throughout Thailand. Selling SNUS in Thailand is prohibited unless the product contains 100% Thai ingredients. The company sells many varieties including Svenskt Snus Pouch, General and even a Thai Ettan. Khun Nantakan continues to provide desperate SNUS lovers with Thai SNUS by mail in Thailand and sells to Swedish businesses. For more information on Thai Snus go to: http://www.vikingsnus.nu/english.html