Does snus hold back e-cigarette sales in the Nordic nations?

Nordic - Monty VanderBiltThe popularity of snus is likely to hamper e-cigarette growth in Nordic countries, according to a new report from ECigIntelligence.

A form of oral tobacco placed under the upper lip which is considered by many to be useful in smoking cessation, snus is extremely popular in the Nordic countries, in particular Sweden and Norway.

But it could also mean a smaller market for e-cigs, and one less attractive to businesses from outside the region, since snus may already satisfy much of the demand for an alternative to combustible tobacco.

“A significant percentage of those who might have elected to start vaping are already using snus instead of combustible cigarettes,” the report says. “[This] means that while the e-cigarette industry can be expected to grow in the region, it may not reach the levels seen in other countries.”

The growth of e-cigarettes is not helped by the regulatory situation, with the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarette products banned in the Nordic nations, although a small amount can be imported for personal use from other countries – similar to the situation in New Zealand and Australia, focus of another recent ECigIntelligence report.

By contrast, snus is legal in Sweden and until recently has been tolerated in Denmark, although prohibited in the rest of the EU. It is also permitted in Norway, not part of the EU.

The ban on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes has affected the makeup of the Nordic e-cig market, with tank systems accounting for as much as 95% of sales and the majority of purchases taking place online, the new ECigIntelligence report finds.

“As e-liquids containing nicotine are difficult to come by, a customer is more likely to opt for the tank system – which can be legally bought without any liquid – and then source what e-liquid they can, where they can,” the report says.

What This Means: Like Australasia, the Nordic market is likely to remain stunted when compared to others– particularly its close neighbours in Europe. But this does mean that smaller e-cigarette companies may be able to gain traction in the Nordic bloc more easily than they can penetrate larger e-cig markets such as the UK.

The ECigIntelligence report is available to our gold subscribers and can also be bought by other customers here.

– Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff

Photo: Monty VanderBilt

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