Swedish Match accused of adding substance to moist snuff (snus) to purposely increase user dependency and in turn, boosts sales..

October 26, 2009 - Tobacco company Swedish Match has been accused of adding a substance to moist snuff or 'snus' to purposely increase user dependency and, in turn, boosts sales of their products.

Public health minister Maria Larsson will now look into the need for rules to force tobacco companies to disclose data on nicotine in snuff. This after hard facts revealed yesterday that Swedish Match to put a means of snuff, which, according to scientists is increasing nicotine dependence. Minister Larsson, is concerned about the Swedish Match adding substance to increase dependency.

Since 2005, the company has introduced eight new snus products with higher than average nicotine levels. The usual level for snus is eight milligrams per gram. In one product, levels have almost doubled that figure. Last year, for example, a new 15 milligrams General-snuff, a new 13 milligrams Red Lacket-snuff and a new 12 milligrams rough snuff. Measurement data from the U.S. indicates that large sellers Portionssnus General and Ettan contains over 80 percent nicotine-free. pH-adjusting additive substance E500 in snuff - it increases the amount of so-called free nicotine, the type of nicotine which scientists are [agree is] most addictive.

”Certain consumer groups have shown demand for a high nicotine content,” the company’s production director Torbjörn Åkeson explains.

Allegations that the company adds a substance, known as E500, to purposely increase the amount of so-called ‘free’ nicotine – which increases dependency – are presented in a new report by investigative news programme Kalla Fakta.

Swedish Match deny the use of the substance for such purposes.

”We use it to stabilise the pH value in snus and have done so for 200 years,” information director Henrik Brehmer told the programme.

”There is no secret substance in snus.”

Brehmer rejected an assertion by Harvard School of Public Health Professor Greg Connolly Swedish Match is deliberately using the substance to addict consumers.
"In a study in 2008 he concluded that we are manipulating the pH value, something that we consider hugely speculative," Brehmer said.

”It never led to demands from any authority that we need to change something.”

There are around one million snus users in Sweden - population of nine million. Last year Swedish Match sold products amounting to four billion kronor.

Swedish Match may be concerned that the demand for snus in Sweden has been going down. The number of men using smokeless wet snuff (‘snus’) tobacco has fallen from 22 to 19 percent, while snus use among women has remained stable over the last five years at about 3 to 4 percent. (Sweden - Regular tobacco (including SNUS) use falling..)

Reference: Swedish Match under fire in secret snus substance investigation, The Local (Swedish News in English), 10/25/2009; Swedish snuff more addicting?, UPI.com, 10/25/2009; Fortified snuff creates more dependence, Göteborgs-Posten (GP)(major daily newspaper in Sweden), 10/25/2009; Breakin News: Nicotine Found in SNUS, Swedish Angst, 10/25/2009.

E500 - pH adjuster?? -