The term snus refers to a tobacco product from Scandinavia, intended for oral use. It is already widespread among athletes and sportsmen, who hope that taking it will speed up their reaction time and reduce nervousness.
In this article, we want to take a closer look at the ingredients and effects of snus and tell you whether snus can be called a drug.
What are the ingredients in snus?
Snus has consisted of ground tobacco, salt, various flavors and water for decades. Traditionally, snus is packaged loose, such as the oldest variety Ettan Snus. However, snus is now also available in practical nicotine pouches, which are made of cellulose. These are also put under the upper lip when consumed and develop their effect there.
The snus nicotine content varies depending on the variety, strong varieties can contain up to 45 mg/g nicotine, slightly strong have on average 5 to 10 mg/g nicotine. Among them, there are also varieties that are completely free of nicotine. However, there are also very questionable products mainly from the East, which endanger consumers with nicotine contents of over 100 mg/g. Snushus strictly rejects such products and explicitly warns consumers against them.
A special type of snus are the All White Pouches, which have become popular in recent years, such as the products of the VELO and edel brands. These contain nicotine, but are completely without tobacco and do not stain the teeth.
The effect of snus
In the mouth, the ground tobacco is moistened by the saliva and through the mucous membranes the nicotine enters the bloodstream and finally the brain. Nicotine increases the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes positive feelings in the body.
Because of this effect of snus on the body, it is often used among athletes as a stimulant. Snus can reduce negative emotions for a short period of time while boosting the production of adrenaline. Snus or nicotine is not yet on the list of banned stimulants in sports and can still be taken by athletes.
Harmfulness of snus
Since almost all types of snus contain nicotine, snus can be addictive. Not too much is known yet about the damage snus causes. However, snus is often associated with gum disease, inflammation of the mouth, cardiovascular disease, and cancer risk in the mouth and pancreas. Scientific evidence on these consequential harms is still scarce.
If too much snus is taken, first-time users in particular risk nicotine poisoning. Snus should therefore always be enjoyed in moderation and people trying snus for the first time should start with a low nicotine level.
Legality of snus in Europe
In Europe, with a few exceptions, there is still a ban against the sale of snus, but not against its ingestion. In Sweden, the country of origin, snus can be sold legally and is more widely used there than cigarettes. Besides Sweden and Norway, Switzerland is the only other country in Europe that has legalized the sale of snus.
In Switzerland, snus can be legally sold and ingested since May 2019. Switzerland decided to take this step because the health risks of snus are much lower compared to cigarettes. After Switzerland, other countries may also allow the sale in the future.
Conclusion: Is snus a drug and does it get you high?
By definition, drugs are substances that cause changes in consciousness and are addictive. Since snus contains high amounts of nicotine, depending on the variety, it can lead to dependence if consumed regularly. Since consumption triggers a high, snus can be said to make you high.
Despite the potential addiction, they remain a less harmful alternative to cigarettes. When consuming snus, there is no combustion process and less toxic substances are ingested than when smoking. In addition, it also eliminates the risk of secondhand smoke and is better for the environment, as the nicotine pouches can be biodegraded.