Snus vs dip - differences between Swedish and American snus

Snus is one of those products that can be quite confusing to the novice. The original snus was created in Sweden in the 19th century, when improvements were made on the snuff that the French were using for a hundred years (give or take) previously. Snuff was a dry, very fine tobacco powder that was actually inhaled. You can see this used in popular culture if you've never seen the product before, via Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds,” where Brad Pitt's character, Aldo Raine, opens his snuff tin and takes a snort. (No, it's not cocaine, as many initially speculated.)

Swedish snus is also a tobacco powder, though not as fine, and it's usually portioned out into pouches. And you can also find loose snus. Of course, this differs from other variants of snus, such as what the Americans call “dip,” that's more of a minced or pulverized, moist tobacco product that's used pretty much the same way minus the pouches. However, the Americans also have portioned dip and also their version of snus.

Ah, are you confused yet? Yeah, it can seem a little all over the place if you're not a snus user. So, to clear things up, let's just leave the dip out of it and stick strictly with the different kinds of snus: Sweden's original version versus America's take on it.

What is Swedish Snus?

* Sweden's snus, whether pouched or loose snus, is characterized by a strong tobacco flavor. Even with brands that are labeled as some type of mint or another flavor, the tobacco is very prevalent in the original product.

* This snus also contains rather high levels of nicotine. You can find brands which contain around 4 to 16mg of nicotine per serving.

* There are a wide assortment of snus flavors and many companies which produce the product. Though the EU is attempting to make it a lot harder to get a hold of snus, with plans for a ban still in action, the variety of snus in Sweden is a variable smorgasbord.

* The original snus from Sweden comes in portions that are significantly larger than American portions. Where America's snus is a designer product for those a little put off by dip, Sweden's snus is for legitimate tobacco connoisseurs.

What is American Snus?

* As mentioned, America's snus is much more of a designer product, so not only do fewer companies produce it (with Camel being the most popular), but you also won't find a lot of different kinds of snus.

* The portion sizes are smaller and thus the nicotine content is less than Swedish snus. At the most, you'll find 4mg of nicotine per pouch.

* Although advertised widely as spitless tobacco, American snus has a bad reputation for causing heartburn and gastric distress when swallowed. Most who use American snus also keep a spit receptacle handy.

* American snus is much sweeter than Swedish snus. While Sweden's product has a lot of tobacco flavor, American snus focuses much more on the other flavors to hide the tobacco.

While advertised similarly and sharing a name, you can see that there are quite a few differences between the two countries' snus products.