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Swedish Match under fire in secret snus substance investigation

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11:51 CET+01:00
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.

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.

”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.”

Yet, Professor Greg Connolly at the Harvard School of Public Health believes that Swedish Match is consciously using the substance to increase addiction and their profits.

”In a study in 2008 he concluded that we are manipulating the pH value, something that we consider hugely speculative,” Brehmer adds.

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

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

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