Nowadays, the effects (and side-effects) of combusted tobacco products are well known. If you buy a pack of cigarettes or cigars, depending on your country, it will carry a health warning. But what about snus? As the awareness around snus is still rather low, and there are scaremongering myths out there, it’s important to know the facts.
Like all tobacco products, snus contains nicotine, which is absorbed into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes of your mouth. Nicotine is very addictive, and is known to cause a buzzed or ‘chilled-out’ feeling. It’s the ingredient that keeps you coming back for more, as you chase that buzz!
You are also able to purchase snus in various flavours, such as liquorice or bergamot. Think flavoured chocolate with that extra little edge – perhaps chocolate-flavoured snus is a consideration for those with intense chocolate cravings. Regardless of which flavour you prefer, snus users will begin to feel the kick very shortly after they insert it under their lip. The duration of the buzz can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, after which the snus is removed.
A few snus users have been known to both eat and drink while using snus. However, it is more common to remove snus before having a meal. Regardless of whether you choose to eat and drink while using snus, it is important that you never swallow snus, as it can cause havoc in your stomach – rather dispose of it as you would chewing gum (back in the wrapper or in the bin…no littering please). Especially children and adolescents are affected by swallowing snus – just imagine the impact of high levels of nicotine in small bodies – so please keep your products out of reach of your children.
As mentioned above, snus users experience a buzz when they use it. This is said to be on a par with the kick that smokers feel when they light up. Essentially, this rush comes from the nicotine getting absorbed into the body, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, as you experience a surge of adrenaline. Users also feel a sense of happiness and calm when using snus, as the nicotine stimulates the body to release dopamine – the happy hormone – which is the body’s ‘feel good’ neuro-transmitter. In all, for a snus user, nothing can really beat that intense feeling of pleasure they feel when they place their pouch or roll under their lip.
As with all good things, snus has some side-effects as well. Imagine the buzz that snus delivers to the body – that feeling of pure pleasure. Now, imagine having that feeling taken away. It doesn’t sound pleasant at all, right? So understandably, people who are trying to quit snus, or perhaps cutting down on their consumption, will become irritable and tired. They may even experience some headaches and nausea. If you know someone quitting snus, try to be extra kind to them – their bodies are missing the daily adrenaline rush.
Of course, just as minimising snus quantities may have an impact, so does consuming too much snus (again a reason to not swallow snus). Too much nicotine can cause nicotine poisoning which, frightening as it may sound, is very rarely fatal. However, it does require medical attention, as the body first experiences too much of that nicotine high – the blood pressure increases rapidly, the heart starts to beat too fast, the body becomes dehydrated, and the user experiences headaches and nausea, and may even vomit or have diarrhoea. Thereafter, the body goes in the opposite direction, as the blood pressure and heart rate drop and become too low and, at worst, the user falls into a coma. Another reason to keep your snus products out of reach of your kids, is that there have been some reports of brain damage occurring in adolescents due to their use of snus.
However, as a responsible adult, there is no reason to not enjoy that feel-good sensation that snus gives you. Just remember to not swallow the pouch when you’re done.