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Swedish Match under fire in secret snus substance investigation

TT/The Local · 25 Oct 2009, 11:51

Published: 25 Oct 2009 11:51 GMT+01:00

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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.

Story continues below…

”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.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:10 October 26, 2009 by martell
Here is what E500 is:

Natriumcarbonate (Soda)

Dinatriumcarbonate (Soda)

Natriumbicarbonate (Natron)

Natriumhydrogencarbonate (Natron)

Natriumsesquicarbonate (crystalline mix of Soda and Natron)

Among many products, this additive is used in

- baking powder

- chocolates and cocoa preparations

- soured cream butter

- table waters.

All of these are legal additives for substances for human consumption within the EU in an amount which is not more than necessary to reach the desired effect (quantum satis).

Exemptions from use are within substances for human consumption, namely

- untreated substances

- substances which legally must not altered through additives.

As snus is legal in Sweden, I cannot see anything illegal the company has done.
21:43 October 26, 2009 by Swedish Angst
This is such a cheap piece of non-news.

Swedish snus is regulated by food laws, and there are no secret ingredients. Anyone can find out what ingredients there are in snus, since they are easy to find on Swedish Match's website.

E500 is one of the ingredients that has been in use in Swedish snus for 200 years. No news there.

Since a couple of years, there are snus products with higher nicotine levels on the market, targeting consumers that want a bigger nicotine delivery from their snus. These are called e.g. "Skruf Strong," "General Extra Strong" etc. No news there either.

Basically, this is a 200 years old story about something that has never been a secret.



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