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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Snus: Letters from Sweden on Swedish Snus #1

I recently received some emails from a Snus user in Sweden. Normally, I would read and file them, or ask the recipient if I could post as an anonymous comment.

These letters were so interesting, though, that I replied, asking if could post them (removing his last name and email address). Thankfully, he agreed.

They have snus information I didn't know and a perspective you won't find, especially in the United States. So here is Swedish Snus letter #1. I have not corrected the spelling or grammar as I want to keep it authentic: and his English is much better than my Swedish!
Hello, and thank you for a great blog.i'm a occational reader of your blog, suppruising you might think, but by chance i found it a couple of months ago, while in quite an anger googeling on snus. (why, i will explain later) My sence of lame national pride, was the thing that keept me reading.I felt obligated to teach you, and tip you, some of the basic products of snus.

The snus is a long tradition amongst us swedes, it was first used the way it is used today by the poor workingclass of sweden in the 1800. Swedens monarchy which had been one of the strongest powers in europe had since Karl the XII faild campain to moscow been loosing grounds. Finland was lost to russia, estonia and the baltic regions aswell and denmark reclaimed what was thiers. Sweden simply laid down weaponds and the kings started to spend money on trying to be as french as possible.

Bad leadership, bad winters and bad crops lead to extream poverty amongst the swedish population, this lead to massive flight from swedish farms in the south to the promised lands in the west(ergo america). Almost half of the population left the country, and the poverty spread as well as the anger with the govurnment. alot of people who had used tobbaco as the highclass did- through the nostrols, "snuff" in swedish, started to say that using it the way as the highclass was simply wrong, they started using it under thier lips. By grinding the tobacco in a coffeblender, and mixing it with used coffe powder. The snus was born. It was cheap, you could make it yourself, and the taste lasted longer.

This spread throgh the lowerclass of sweden and became a hit. One old legend says that the inventors of this coffe-waste-tobbaco kind of mix was the "rallare" the workers who laid railroadtracks from the south to the north of sweden, since they got a barrel of tobbaco and coffe every month and didnt wan't to wast anything, they started to mix the two. The "rallare" are often romantasiced as alot of them died of starvartion, cold, and exoution, so it could be made up to in someway make them historical or something...i dont know.however... The snus later became more and more popular and as the workersmovment grew, the snus became swedish, before it was for the poor now it became something all swedes could use and feel pride about.

The snus in it's original form, is what we in slang call "bak" it's the loose snus and "bak" directly translates in baking. This as you form the loose snus in to a round ball and place it under your mouth. ofcourse there are alot of diffrent ways to bake this snus, and alot of the old users just fill the whole upperlip with it and lets it stay there for a couple of hours. The portion (the teabag) came in the 50's(this you have to fact check) in the form of general and is the most poular brand in this cathegory.

The whiteportion is a quite new innovation and came in the form of the brand "tre ankare" in the early 80's, but noone really liked the white portion untill the göteborgsrap'e came. The portion is now the biggest kind of snus in the cities, but on the country side and amongst older users the loosesnus still is nr 1( if you wonder what "ettan" stands for, you know now)

Try the loose portion, it's hard to use in the beginning you swallow some and it will fall apart, but once you got a hang of it it's better then portion, more flavour for a longer period, and you decide the size you want.

I use göteborgs, or Grov when i use portion, they are the best, but when it comes to loose, try Röda lacket, Ettan or Grov, they are suppirior. a tip is also göteborgs loose snus, if you really like the flavour it's awsome.

now to the first reference of anger in this email- i was googeling becouse my employer(female) decided that snus wasn't alowed. She explained it idioticaly "well you cant smoke while you work, why should you be able to use snus" This however hit her stragiht in the but, since half of the male employes use snus and she had no knowlege about it and the union gave her a warning for acting without any legal support at all or adressing it to them before.

Today some hospitals have been given the right to ban use of snus, threatening to fire all users of snus if they didn't quit. This made the union pissed and the employes pissed since around 50% or more of swedish males use snus, they openly said, we won't quit, we won't hide our snus, fire one employe and we all quit... a strong argument.. as the old swedish saying says " a politican can get a way with a lot of shit, but if they thouch the snus, there will be an upprising"

and last im going to tell you about the downsides of snus... one regular sized snus contains around 8 mg of nicotine, you absorb 2mg. This is the same amount you absorb when smoking 3or 4 light ciggarets.

It's highly addictive, im stuck with it for the rest of my life, i use around 1 can a day, thats 24x2mg 48 mg a day. you get the same amount of nicotine from around 70 light ciggarets. this makes your heart beat faster and may raise your bloodpresiur.

My father who has been using snus for 40-50 years changes his snus portions in his sleep 4-5 times a night, he doesn't even remeber waking up and changing it, and he can't sleep at all if he doesn't have nicotine.

The bump you get while using the snus will gradualy disapear since the snus will eat away at your gums. i usally put in 2 portions at once on my right side and you cant tell that i have snus under my lip. some people get the roots of the theeth exposed on the side they put the snus, and some get more uppwards. and p.s i bet you alreafy know this, but don't put the snus in the middle of the upperlip, this will burn away the little strap thing in the middle. Put the portion either on the left or the right side of the mouth and change beetween the sides alot, this minimize dameges done to the gums. But if you dont wan't the bump under the lip, focus on one side and noone can tell that you have snus under that lip.

/David, Stockholm Sweden
Thank you, David, for the information! At first, I was concerned, but I only use 1 to 2 cans a WEEK at best, not the can a day that David does. I do confess to sometimes popping in a portion before I take a nap or go to bed. I will bet rid of it in the middle of the night and not replace it though. Peter's father's night use amazed me.

Nicotine is very, if not one of the most addictiv
e substances on the planet: more addictive than heroin. But with all the other cancer-causing micro-organisms killed during the snus manufacturering process, it's probably about as dangerous as nicotine gum or patches.

Since I used to smoke 1-2 packs of cigarettes a day, I'm definitely getting less nicotine now then when I smoked: Plus none of the other carcinogins. I will take David's advise and never put my snus portion in the center of my lip. That was a little scary.

I responded with some questions, and will post his reply soon: It will give you something to look forward to!

Click on this Link to be taken to an INDEX of Articles I'VE WRITTEN ON SNUS

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1 comment:

Aaron SkiMask said...

Absolutely fascinating! I love learning of cultural traditions directly from folks who live in, or were raised in said culture! Kudos to you and everyone who's sent you info for the enlightenment on this wonderful alternative tobacco.

Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"