The History of Snuff, Snus and Nicotine Pouches
Snuff is a form of sniffing tobacco that originated in the Americas in the 16th century, and was common across Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. It's inhaled through the nose by placing on the back of ones hand, in between the thumb and forefinger or through a "snuffing" device. Like modern day snus, snuff comes in a range of textures and moistness, with drier snuffs often ground more finely. Similar to nicotine pouches, a tobacco-free, white snuff was produced using glucose and herbs. This was used to cut stronger snuff to a more acceptable strength, or used alone for those who wanted to avoid tobacco. French diplomat Jean Nicot recommended snuff to Catherine de' Medici as a remedy for her migraines. As she became a regular user, snuff became popular amongst the court and upper-class citizens, especially women, as it was considered more socially acceptable than other forms of tobacco.
The trend of using nasal snuff spread to Sweden by the 17th century, and by the 18th century Swedish manufacturers began producing moist snuff which was placed under the lip, and didn't require any spitting. Oral snuff quickly became known as snus, the Swedish translation for snuff. The oldest brand of snus still sold today is Ettan (meaning "the number one"). Nowadays, Swedish snus is sold as a loose tobacco powder, known as lös snus, or prepackaged into pouches known as portion snus.
The EU ban on snus
The EU snus sales ban was introduced in 1992 after attempts to introduce US style smokeless tobacco into Europe. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but with the agreement that they would be exempt from the snus sales ban, in exchange for them voting to support the EU. Although the European Union was formed to encourage free trade, Sweden cannot sell or export snus to other EU countries.
Tobacco-free nicotine pouches are still legal to sell in the EU, and whilst compared to snus (often called "tobacco-free snus"), they are not snus. All white nicotine pouches are produced with cellulose, nicotine, salts and flavourings.