Camel Snus, a Swedish smokeless tobacco product with a fresh new look, promises to be a hit on the American market, particularly with young people.
The IKEA of chewing tobacco, Camel Snus comes in single-serving pouches available in three different flavors (original, frost, and spice) and sold in hip little tins. The pouch design allows the freedom of a spit-free chew, which according to marketing brochures, can be enjoyed “at a concert, right in front of security guards,” “on a jet from Miami to L.A.,” or at an “overpriced tapas restaurant,” where smoking is prohibited.
Camel Snus has been marketed as being less harmful than traditional chewing tobacco (which is fermented, whereas Camel Snus is pasteurized) or cigarette smoking, since it poses comparatively fewer risks of diseases like lung cancer. Smokers who hope to quit the habit are encouraged to try Camel Snus as a way to stop smoking cigarettes and still get a nicotine fix.
What Camel Snus marketing does not tell you is that each single-serving pouch contains a whopping 8 milligrams of nicotine—about 8 times what a smoker gets from smoking a cigarette. While it may help some smokers cut down on the physical act of smoking, researchers say that it’s so addictive that a single tin will get new chewers hooked.
Moreover, Camel Snus is not a healthy tobacco alternative to smoking. Recent studies of Snus have tied heavy use to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In 1992, the EU went so far as to ban sales of an earlier Snus formulation after a World Health Organization study reported that it was cancer-causing.
If you’re a tobacco user already, it’s better to quit altogether than get involved with Camel Snus. If you’re not, don’t start on this stuff if you don’t want to deal with a lifetime of addiction.