This Way, Chief Kunkle Won’t Even Know I’m All Hopped Up on Nicotine

This morning, Sarah and I were visited by some nice gentlemen from Philip Morris USA. They were in town because Dallas/Fort Worth is the one and only test market for Marlboro Snus. Marlboro what now? you ask. Snus. Rhymes with “moose.” It is, according to the press materials, “a tobacco pouch product” that is “designed especially for adult smokers who are interested in smokeless tobacco alternatives to cigarettes.” That’s a mouthful, huh? (Rimshot.) We both gave the Snus a brief test drive. After the jump, my take.

The selling point for the Snus is that they combine a “unique flavor strip and dried tobacco that make it flavorful and spit-free.” We’ll start with the flavor strip. It’s probably the best thing about the Snus. They come in four flavors: Rich, Mild, Mint, and Spice. The Rich and Mild flavors both smell (strongly) of maple syrup. I didn’t really want to smoke, but I had a strange craving for pancakes. Right there, they have cigarettes beat.

I have to say, though, that’s the only aspect in which they can scoreboard cigarettes. You put the pouch between your cheek and gums (yes, just like a Skoal Bandit) and it lasts for 10 minutes to half an hour. Or, as I found out, as long as you can stand almost constantly swallowing. You don’t have to spit, necessarily, but you will probably have the urge. As Sarah noted, nothing about the set-up is exactly lady-like.

Once I spit out the Snu (?), I’ll confess: I almost immediately went and had a cigarette. Why? Because, yes, I’m addicted to nicotine. But what I love about smoking is smoking. No getting around that. This might help (more my wife than me) if I’m stuck on a long car trip and can’t light up. So it’s more of a supplement than a replacement. Don’t see much future in that.

On top of all that, when I’m smoking a cigarette I can fool myself into ignoring the potential risks of mouth cancer. (I know, I know.) But using something that has direct contact with my cheek and gums for 10 to 30 minutes? Man, that’s all I could think about. So I think I’ll pass, for now. It probably is for somebody (off the top of my head, I would say anyone who actually uses Skoal Bandits and wants to stop disgusting me), but it isn’t for me.

Finally, to save my FrontBurner-reading non-smoking lawyer friend, my wife’s stepfather, my parents, the Chief, and others the e-mail: Yes, I should look into quitting smoking. Any suggestions?

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