In the beginning there was rolling tobacco, and home-made alcohol. And there was much rejoice.
Then came the cigarettes. Oh those cigarettes! So glamorous in the 20’s and oh-so-cool in the 80’s. But the 90’s brought to light the reality of their dangers: highly addictive and cancer inducing.
Coming from a Mediterranean country myself, it doesn’t come as a surprise that I found myself smoking through my teens and, as I reached twenty, addicted to them. It took some time (and some sporadic weeks without smoking) before I realised that although they do reduce your life-span (which, honestly, am not really worried about) the worst part is they reduce your quality of life in a great extent. After a few weeks without smoking I felt I woke up fresh and didn’t have to sleep so many hours as I used to. I also enjoyed fresh air a lot more and even started, for the first time, to notice the beautiful smell of the flowers that had always been on sale outside my tube station. Chicken now actually had some taste. So did rice. And all of the sudden fish had all these hidden layers of delicacy I had forgotten a long time ago. But most important of all, I had energy. I could finish a day’s work and still wide awake and ready to go out. I could run 5 miles and still go back for more. It was great. Was, not is, because I also enjoy other things in life such as a nice drink when going out at night. And cigarettes with it. So something had to give, and for a while it was a bouncing back and forth from smoking and quiting, not quite sure what I would be doing in a particular week.
Then I went to Sweden.
These Swedes surely know how to throw a party! This was the first time I realised you could not smoke anywhere, night clubs included. It’s great fun but I want the nicotine, the rush in your blood, the relaxing effect afterwards. You know how it is.
This is when I was introduced to “Snus” but apparently it has been around for as long as any other form of enjoying the pleasure of tobacco. It is a mix of grounded tobacco leaves mixed with salt and water in its basic form, with different flavours added for the connoisseurs. If you’re tired of the ill-effects of smoking but don’t want to quit, do it the Swedish way and say goodbye to the terrible smell on your clothes!
Buying Snus on the web
Although Snus can be easily bough in Sweden, due to European restrictions it is not found anywhere (actually this is not true, but anyway…). There are, however, several websites selling Snus online, some even with a subscription facility (quite handy actually!). But just like the dozens of different varieties of Snus not all websites are the same. A quick search will return hundreds of online sellers, with prices varying immensely depending on the seller. In my search for excellence I compiled my experience with these online sellers, their prices and professional appearance.
Since I was looking to buy 2 “rolls” (packs of 10 “cans”), one of “General White Portion” and another of “Grovsnus White Portion”, all the prices quoted are for these two rolls plus delivery to London, UK. This should be enough as a general guide to online prices.
One important issue is tobacco tax. In theory, and as one of the web sellers puts it:
For customer living within EU, you have to pay tobacco tax. If you are outside of EU you do not need to pay VAT, but you are responsible for any import duties on tobacco product that may be payable. If in doubt, please contact your local Custom office.
I do not know if you will really be forced to pay any import tax, since they all say this is included in the price (Swedish tobacco tax). When I bought mine I was charged V.A.T. at 17.5%, so I guess that was alright.
The Snus web sellers
A very professional website selling directly from Sweden, not only Snus but all things Scandinavian (except the girls).
The website is relatively easy to use but it helps if you know what you’re looking for (I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out where the Snus I wanted was because I didn’t know there were that many different categories of Snus!).
The shopping cart could be easier to use for those who want to buy more than 1 product and there was a 404 error half way through my order (not nice). I only found prices in USD, which is a shame. Still, they quoted:
$65.80 (USD) . Not bad!
Extremely easy to use. Fantastic shopping cart, tells you how much weight is your order and how much you have left till the delivery price goes up. Easy to add more than 1 item to your order and convert between currencies! The price isn’t the best, but it might be worth it if you prefer to pay for quality service. Quote (in USD):
This website has got to be the fastest of them all. It is very straight forward, the list of products is all in one menu (you have to know the name of the Snus you’re looking for. I only knew how the can looked like.) How do they manage to have such expensive prices, and still make business, strikes me. Quote:
This was a funny one. It has great ideas, like a subscription service where you have the same order delivered to you every 3 or 6 months. It looks very professional as well. It has important drawbacks, though, like the fact you cannot see how much is the total of your order (you have a list of prices and another separate form to fill for your order) and the weirdest part was not finding “United Kingdom” in the their country list. So, I guess I cannot order from them. I also struggled to find how much do they charge for delivery, but here it is. The only reason this website is alive must be the subscription service, for I see no other reason to pick this one up instead of any of the other sellers. Quote:
SwedSnus sells several Swedish articles, Snus being one of them. They have a comprehensive list of products, including interesting accessories for the snus connoisseur all with competitive prices. As with some other ones, finding the delivery charge is a bit of a struggle and when you find it, they quote prices according to weight (fair enough I guess).
They are also the only ones where I could visibly see a warning about Customs and tobacco tax which you could be liable to pay for.
I couldn’t get a quote because most products do not show in the catalogue after choosing “Swedish” price sets, which is indicated for EU countries. Oh well, they didn’t seem that cheap anyway!
I could not find any other online seller of Snus, with at least some professional appearance. Heck I couldn’t find any at all. I’m pretty sure there are some more, but they are not showing up on google, so their web masters ought to work harder on the web marketing bit (I can give em some tips if they want ;)
In the end I actually bought the “Goteborgs Rape” white-portions. They are absolutely great and my favourite so far. I would really recommend these if you have not tried them yet.
I ordered from the Northerner and they arrived quicker than I expected (only 2 days from Sweden to London). The packaging was impecable. I also found the prices shown do not include VAT, so beware!
One last thought… while trying to save on postage costs I ordered 4 rolls (40 cans) of the stuff before I realised they have an expiry date… and it is not that long! I stored the unopened cans in the fridge, which helps a lot, but the last few cans are not nearly as good as the first ones so only order what you expect to use for the next couple of months!
That is all!! Enjoy your Snus!
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