We might be able to see a Sting Free Swedish Snus on the market very soon. A product that can not only improve the gum health of snus users but also a product that inventor Bengt Wiberg believe can save tobacco smokers lives. I spoke to Bengt again, about his invention and how he believes that Sting Free snus can change the future.
"Snus is scientifically proven considerably less harmful than smoking. According to the WHO more than 6 million smokers dies prematurely annually to a cost for the world society of about $1,1 trillion. Worldwide, one billion smokers satisfy their nicotine cravings with cigarettes instead of snus ... until now", he starts. Bengt's patent has already been approved in Sweden but he also has a patent pending in the USA and the rest of Europe.
Almost half of Swedish Snus users find the sting unpleasant.
I know a lot of you (including me) have come to like the sting. I even know a person who put a piece of ginger under their upper lip when they quit using snus, because the sting was more difficult to give up than the nicotine.
Turns out though, according to a survey conducted among over 600 Swedish Snus users - that only 11% of women and 17% of men found the burning feeling in their gums pleasant.
Imagine trying snus for the first time and you feel a strong burning feeling under your upper lip, wouldn't that make you wonder if there is something wrong with the product? Maybe you are sensitive to it? Maybe it's just not a good option for you? I have heard from a lot of people that try snus for the first time, and are worried about the "sting". They are wondering why this happens and if there are any alternatives, very soon we might be able to tell them about one.
Customers are already asking tobacco store owners about the sting free snus product that does not yet exist on the market and not surprisingly Bengt has also found people ready to invest in a his invention. His story has spread and been covered many times, both in blogs and newspapers over the world. He says he is most proud of an article in Dagens Hälsa (Today's Health) The biggest newspaper for health matters in Scandinavia.
"Imagine a tobacco product, Sting Free Snus in this case, being promoted by a paper for health. This is the first time any such thing has happened.", he says.
He was also awarded the prize for best business idea in Venture cup, a big competition for Entrepreneurs in Sweden and just recently he was in the TV show "Företagsänglarna" which is the Swedish version of the TV show Shark Tank or Dragon's Den. It will be aired this fall and he cannot yet speak about the outcome.
His patented invention is not actually a new tobacco product, but a membrane that gives snus manufacturers the possibility to make their products pain free!
The ultra-thin membrane can be integrated in the sachet production of snus. Think, almost like a patch that protects a wound. "The best thing is that it does not affect taste, smell or nicotine experience", he says.
Easier for Smokers to Embrace Tobacco Harm Reduction
Bengt speaks about how Sweden has one of the lowest rates of tobacco related mortality in the world. Sweden also has one of the lowest rates of smokers in the world, still Swedes consume just as much tobacco as other EU countries, but Swedes use snus more and instead of cigarettes.
"Still there is one million Swedes (11 % of the population) who haven’t been able to quit smoking although snus have been available for almost 200 years. Now you might ask yourself why?" Bengt says.
If we go back to the survey above again, 4 out of 10 snus users consider the stinging of the snus "unpleasant". Bengt also tells me about another survey that shows that 7 out of 10 snus users in Sweden are former smokers.
"You don’t have to be a professor in order to draw the conclusion that a big number of smokers can’t bear the pain of the stinging of snus and therefore continue smoking in spite of the snus availability The patented Sting Free Snus has solved the snus pain on gum and oral mucosa problem. Thus there will be much easier to embrace harm reduction, by switching cigarettes for snus, in the future. Smoking kills – Snus doesn't.", says Bengt.
A representative for Swedish Snus Store Northerner.com told me they would be very interested in adding a Sting Free Snus product to their assortment of Swedish snus "I believe there would be a demand for this type of product and that it would have especially big potential for those that use snus a lot. With a lot I mean they pretty much have a portion in 24/7. Sometimes these people can have problems with their gums and a Sting Free Snus could really help them", he says.