Sweden’s love affair with snus: What’s it all about?

In Sweden, you can’t avoid snuff tobacco or snus, as it’s called by Swedes. In fact, I live next door to the so-called Snus King’s castle. Knut Fredrik Ljunglöf finished the enormous palace in 1893, thirty years after taking over his father’s successful tobacco snus company.

And Ljunglöfs Ettan is still one of Sweden’s most popular snus brands on the market.

When I moved to Sweden eight years ago, I had no idea that Swedes did snus…I thought it was only Americans who chewed tobacco. So I was even more surprised to learn that women did it too. And I don’t mean to be a male chauvinist, but good looking women…women who did snus while putting on their make-up at the same time.

In fact, the other day, I was doing a story for a radio show I work for, and the female police officer I was interviewing changed her snus tobacco two times during the interview.

My Swedish brother-in-law and my father-in-law both do it. And everyone tries it at least once. As I’m sitting here writing this now, my Swedish wife says, ”If you’re Swedish, you have to try it.”

So how Swedish is snus? I would say it’s up there with some of the classic ”Swedish” things out there – like skiing, eating meatballs, swimming in really cold water, and taking tons of vacations.

It’s so ingrained in the Swedish culture that in 1995 when Sweden joined the EU, the country was granted an exception and was allowed to continue to manufacture and sell snus inside Sweden. Many at the time said that if snus was banned, that Sweden would not have joined the EU.

There’s also a pretty cool Swedish tobacco museum in Stockholm. Check that out.

So, have you tried it? Do you like it or not? Come on now, I want to hear your stories about Swedish snus.