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Smoke In a Can, Snus
Well Ex-Snnnuuuuusssss ME!!!
I have recently discovered a new store in my neighborhood. This store sells tobacco products at discount prices, and I have household members who indulge in tobacco products.
Now, before you break out the sermon and the Nicorette, hear me out. I could just as easily get on my own soapbox about the filthy, disgusting, unhealthy, expensive habit that is smoking. Trust me, there is no one more militant about smoking than a former smoker.
But my attitude is this: If my guys insist on smoking tobacco products (which currently they do), we might as well buy them in bulk. I'm very big on buying in bulk.
Now the first time I entered this store I felt like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Cheech and Chong. Lining the aisle on both sides are display cases and shelves jam-packed full of pipes. Not the kind Ward Cleaver smoked. No, no. These pipes are multicolored, exotic and metal. Some are marbly looking stone. There's one at the store's entrance that's gotta be 3 feet tall. I'm not kidding!
As you progress toward the back of the store where the "mainstream commercial tobacco products" are kept you pass a veritable smokasbord of accoutrements and accessories. Rolling papers and blunt wrappers in every conceivable size, color and flavor.
Now I admit, I haven't been in a bona fide "head shop" for decades. The pot-pourri emporiums we frequented as teens bore little resemblance to this modern market. Except for the merchandise itself, this store looks like the deli where we buy our lottery tickets.
You won't see any black lights or Grateful Dea posters on the walls. The cloyingly sweet odor of patchouli is nowhere to be sniffed (thank God). Nope. This is your basic strip mall storefront that just happens to trade in all things --- smoke.
And also things smoke-less. Which is what I went in to purchase tonight. I had been asked to purchase a product called "Snus" made by Camel. Snus is supposed to be a neater, cleaner type of smokeless tobacco product that you don't chew and doesn't make you spit.
Snus sounded like a reasonable idea to me. Any product that eliminates, or even cuts down on the harmful chemical in cigarettes is a step in the right direction, I say.
SNUS in the News
SNUS (rhymes with loose) is a moist ground tobacco that a user tucks between the cheek and the gum. Unlike chewing tobacco and moist smokeless tobacco — commonly known as dip — snus requires no spitting. Thanks partly to its popularity here, Sweden has the lowest smoking rates in Europe. It also has fewer incidences than its neighbors of smoking-related diseases, including lung and oral cancer.
What've you been smoking, sir?
I asked the young gentleman behind the counter for a can of "Snus." He was not familiar with the product, so he called the store owner over.
And here's where the exchange really became Wonderland-esque.
When I mentioned the word "Snus" he made a horrible face. He explained that he did not want to sell me Snus because he knew a man who used it and he'd gotten cancer. He told me the man's face had been cut away from the cancer and he looked like a monster.
I tried to assure him that this product is actually better for you (ok, that's a bit of a stretch, but at least less lethal) than other tobacco products, including regular snuff.
Well, he was having none of it. He kept going back to the man who'd gotten cancer. He flat out insisted that Snus leads to cancer. Not other tobacco products, just Snus.
Ok, ok, you're the expert here. I'm sure you know more about this than I do.
But I could not stop myself from pointing out what I know to be true. Pure, unadulterated tobacco is far less harmful to the body than cigarette smoke.
And yet, time and again this gentleman insisted otherwise. Here he was. Swearing up and down that cigarettes don't cause cancer, but this Snus stuff does.
I thought about it for a minute. "Why is he so adament?"
I decided to put myself in his shoes. How would I justify being in the business of selling a product that is so toxic and addicting and dangerous that legally it must carry a warning to that effect? How could I justify selling paraphernalia used almost exclusively for smoking an illegal weed? I would have to live in a state of suspended disbelief. Which, of course, would be easy to do, given the products so readily available to me in my own shop!
You Snus You Lose?
In the end we compromised. In lieu of Snus I took two tins of a mint flavored chew tobacco. The store owner promised to look into ordering some Snus for me the next time I come in.
He even followed me out to my car, still ranting and raving about the man whose face came off from cancer. In the end, though, it came down to this:
The tobacco shop owner was not so noble as to refuse to sell a paying customer something she really wants. What he really wanted was absolution for doing so. He wanted my word that I snused at my own risk. That is, if he sold me the Snus, and it did turn out to be cancer-inducing, that I wouldn't turn around and sue him.
Fair enough, I guess. I shook my head in bemusement, but I did promise.
Snusing for Dummies
- Camel SNUS versus Swedish Snus. A comparison review of completely different snus tastes!
A Snus Review of Camel SNUS versus Swedish Snus by That Snus Guy at SnusCENTRAL.org.
- Camel SNUS Smokefree spitfree tobacco in a pouch
Official Camel SNUS website. Learn more about Camel SNUS, the smokefree spitfree tobacco in a pouch. Like Swedish snus its sold cold to guarantee freshness.