Cultural researchers say that you can understand a culture by looking at the products of that culture. For example, the way the houses look, what kind of clothes people wear or the food they eat.
One cultural product to come out of Sweden is a substance called ‘snus’. ‘Snus’ is brown, sticky and can cover your teeth in discoloured drool. Sound attractive? Then read on.
‘Snus’ is a moist tobacco powder, made in Sweden since the 19th century. ‘Snusers’ squeeze the moist substance into pellets or use pre-packed sachets that look like miniature teabags, placing them under their upper lip for up to an hour. In best case, you don’t notice that the ‘snus’ is in the user’s mouth. In worst case, the ‘snuser’ has a very swollen upper lip giving them a slightly retarded look. But where’s the kick? Well, absorbed into the bloodstream through the lip, ‘snus’ has a softer but longer nicotine buzz than cigarettes. No snoozin’ with ‘snus’ in.
Due to health reasons, within the EU, the sale of ‘snus’ is banned, which is odd since cigarettes and other forms of tobacco aren’t. However, in the rest of the world, ‘snus’ is proving a hit, with sales booming in the US and Canada. North Americans are increasingly buying ‘snus’ as a way either to quit or to beat smoking bans.
Nobody knows when the use of tobacco as a stimulant started but Europeans first came into contact with it during the 1400’s when Christopher Columbus landed on Haiti. The tobacco plant was quickly exported to Europe and put into products such as snuff, chewing tobacco and cigarettes.
It was believed at that time that tobacco cured cancer and syphilis.
But users of ‘snus’ don’t have to worry about the latter. ‘Snus’ has a pungent smell making the user’s breath very strong. The chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease are limited when nobody will even kiss you.
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