Marlboro Snus

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Marlboro Snus
Marlboro Snus



Philip Morris USA

New News

A new, reformulated Marlboro Snus was released on January 14, 2011 in the United States. Altria, Philip Morris' parent company, upgraded the Marlboro Snus packaging and tobacco itself. Previously, Marlboro snus was designed similar to the size of a thick credit card; it was meant to be discrete and fit into the side of a cigarette pack. Now, Marlboro snus is packaged in a round tin similar to conventional smokeless tobacco products. The Flavors are mint and regular.


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Originally released in 2007 Marlboro Snus went national in March of 2010. In 2007 Flavor Strip lines the inside of each pouch and is similar to Listerine Breath Strips which melt away as they are used.[1] Marlboro Snus cames in four varieties - Rich, Mild, Peppermint and Spearmint (Mint and Spice discontinued) and is marketed as a "spit free" product. Marlboro Snus used to feature Slidepak™ packaging (similar to Taboka packaging) with 12 snus pouches in each Slidepak™, but recently switched to aluminum packaging with 6 snus pouches.[1] planned by 2011 that Marlboro Snus will be packaged in round cans similar to traditional smokeless tobacco products; the pouches will be larger, have a higher moisture content, and contain more nicotine. And on January 14, 2011 Marlboro Snus tins were released.


Marlboro Snus is a smokeless tobacco pouch product designed especially for adult smokers in the U.S. Snus pouches are not cigarettes or spitting tobacco like dip or chew. Our snus pouches utilize a flavor strip and spit-free, dried tobacco. Marlboro Snus comes in four varieties – Rich, Mild, Spearmint, and Peppermint. We are introducing this product into test market in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to understand adult smoker acceptance.[1]

Smoke-free, that makes it a Hassle-Free new way to enjoy tobacco. Tuck a pouch almost anywhere, anytime. Each snus pouch contains pasturized tobacco fiber, water, flavors, and other ingredients.[1]

Marlboro Snus is part of our [Philip Morris] continuing efforts to make progress against our growth strategy by offering a new product in the smokeless tobacco category. Our growth strategy aims to add to the mix of products we offer starting with those tobacco or tobacco-related products that are adjacent and similar to our existing business, cigarettes. We believe that Marlboro’s brand equity may help to encourage trial of this product by adult smokers. Our research shows that some adult smokers are interested in smokeless tobacco alternatives to cigarettes. Today’s alternatives – chew or dip – satisfy some adult smokers. However, many adult smokers dislike spitting, the appearance of the product, its texture and taste, and its packaging. [1]

Last year, Philip Morris USA introduced Taboka, a smoke-free, spit-free tobacco pouch product, into test market in the Indianapolis area. We have learned a lot from the Taboka test market and are applying those learnings to the Marlboro Snus test market. Taboka remains in test market. [1]

Health Effects

Unlike chewing or dipping tobacco, Snus is pasteurized rather than fire-cured, and as a result contains significantly lower amounts of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (2.7 parts per million for Ettan brand vs 127 parts per million for American dipping tobacco). This causes Snus to be much safer than other nicotine delivery systems, and the Royal College of Physicians estimates that regular Snus usage is 1,000 times less harmful than smoking cigarettes [1]. Up to 20% of Swedish men consume Snus on a regular basis, and Sweden has some of the lowest rates of lung cancer in the world. [1]

Product Design Features

  • Contains pasteurized tobacco, fiber, flavor film materials, water, pouch materials, sweeteners, artificial flavors, sodium carbonate, and sodium chloride
  • Nicotine (Rich): 15.7 mg/g (compared to the 12.3 mg/g average of five moist snuff brands produced by Conwood/RAI)
  • Free Nicotine (mg/g): Rich 0.6; Spice 1.1; Mild 0.5; Mint 0.8
  • Total TSNA (mg/g): Rich 1.0; Spice 1.2; Mild 1.1; Mint 1.3

Marlboro Snus is a new, spitless, dry Swedish-style snus product. It appears to have been designed to appeal to smokers, and may have a high potential for dual use with cigarettes. Marlboro Snus is clearly an outgrowth of the recently developed Taboka dry snus product test marketed by Philip Morris. It is packed in small plastic container. The pouches are contained within an airtight seal, which is broken when the package is first opened. This may obviate the need for refrigeration.[1]



Industry Documents


Market Testing

  • August 2006: Dallas and Fort Worth, TX; Indianapolis, IN
  • February 2009: Arizona[1]

Advertising and Selling Messages

  • Retail communications, brochures, direct mail. Offered retailers new signage. Sold on a cigarette rack with a slide door, resembling Slide-Pak packaging
  • Like Taboka, this product was developed as part of a Philip Morris “adjacency growth strategy”
  • Messages associated with the product include: No smoke, No Spit, No Hassle” and “It’s not cigs, It’s not dip, It’s new snus.” A package onsert promises, “…these tiny pouches are flavorful, spit-free & neat. So they can go almost anywhere, anytime.”


Promotions for Marlboro Snus appear to be restricted to point of sale. Website and direct mail promotions appear not to have been utilized in the test markets. Informal assessment by HSPH found that most retailers in the test markets position the product in gravity feed dispensers attached to their racks of cigarettes behind the cash register. Most retailers described orange and yellow posters (ranging from 6 x12 inch cards to 1 x 3 foot signs), usually attached to the cigarette rack behind the cash register. The price of the product was usually visible on this display. Marlboro Snus appears to be priced $1 - $2 lower than Camel Snus, and was found to range from $3.79 to $5.14 in the Dallas test market. Reports suggest that retail sales are extremely slow. Cross-promotions with cigarettes have been employed with free coupons being offered for Marlboro cigarette products.


  • Sleek aluminum packaging
  • Each carton contains five packages
  • Each package contains 6 pouches
  • Pouches are hermetically sealed to maintain freshness
  • Comes in 4 versions: Rich, Mild, Spearmint, Peppermint
  • Package features information insert

The product is packaged in a plastic package which is smaller than a cell phone. The product is clearly marketed toward a non-traditional smokeless tobacco user market. The product comes in four flavors: Rich, Spice, Spearmint and Peppermint. These have differing nicotine levels (see below) and there appears to be a manipulation of nicotine level and flavor characteristics to explore consumer response preferences in test market. The onsert attached to each Marlboro Snus package features catchy product advertising and also includes Surgeon General’s warnings, as well as product usage instructions, “Tuck one in your cheek, don’t chew. Please dispose in a proper receptacle.”[1]

Product Chemistry

Marlboro Snus contains pasteurized tobacco, water, pouch materials, a dissolvable flavor film (much like those used in Listerine dissolvable tabs), potassium carbonate, and salt. It is lower in sodium than moist snuff varieties. Unpublished research commissioned by Harvard School of Public Health has found that free nicotine levels were: Rich 0.6 mg/g; Mild: 0.5 mg/g; Spice: 1.2 mg/g and Mint: 0.8 mg/g. These level are noticeably lower than Camel Snus and moist snuff products. Indeed, it is likely that the relatively low amounts of nicotine are not sufficient to maintain a regular cigarette smoker without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This suggests that Marlboro Snus is designed to be used dually with cigarettes, and therefore may not prove to lower exposure among its users as might be expected with sole use of snus. The nicotine content may vary by product flavor type, as a specific intention of the manufacturer to create a consumer acceptable nicotine effect-flavor balance. Further information is needed. Marlboro Snus is relatively lower in TSNAs than moist snuff products. Analysis of the Original flavor commissioned by HSPH found 0.96 – 1.31 ug/g total TSNA, compared with a range of 4 – 10 ug/g total TSNA for popular US moist snuff products. Marlboro Snus is considerably dryer than Camel Snus (11% compared with 33% for Camel Snus).[1]

Nicotine Content:

  • Rich- 7.61mg/nicotine per pouch
  • Mild- 6.33mg/nicotine per pouch
  • Peppermint- 6.45mg/nicotine per pouch
  • Spearmint- 6.82mg/nicotine per pouch[1]

Use and the Consumer

  • Users instructed to tuck pouch into upper lip
  • Does not need refrigeration
  • Lasts up to 30 minutes

Human Use and Exposure

  • Human exposure: not yet conducted or not available

Toxicity Analyses

  • Ames method in vitro: not yet conducted or not available
  • In vivo MSP: not yet conducted or not available
  • Animal exposure: not yet conducted or not available

Legal Compliance

  • Surgeon General warnings
  • No sales to minors
  • Subject to State and Federal cigarette taxes

Community Response

  • No known organized community response



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