When I first started working at WMS, it was a high stress job. I had moved out to Chicago from Northridge ahead of my family, it was snowing and the only distraction was the Irish pub around the corner from my corporate apartment (You can’t swing a dead cat in Chicago without hitting an Irish Pub).
I had quit smoking for about a year and a half when I was 45, and now here I was, 47, smoking again after leaving a high-stress job in Santa Barbara with a pathological CEO. Chicago, a family 2500 miles away, a new job and a pub around the corner converged into a critical mass, and there was no way I could quit. My smoking had accelerated.
After the first month there, the guy we hired as our architect came on board. Ed is a great guy. He smoked too. We would go outside and burn some tobacco and discuss how we were going to create a foundation for the project we’re working on.
One day, he showed me some Snus that he had picked up on-line from a Swedish Tobacco site. He said that it had helped him quit smoking quickly. For those of you, like me, that had never heard of it, Snus is:
a moist powder tobacco product originated from a variant of dry snuff, in the early 19th century in Sweden, consumed by placing it under the lip for extended periods of time. However the precursor of sSnus, the dry form of snuff inhaled through the nose, was introduced in Europe much earlier. Snus is a form of snuff that is used in a manner similar to American dipping tobacco, but typically does not result in the need for spitting. Snus is also unique in that it is steam-cured rather than fire-cured, is not fermented and contains no added sugar. The sale of snus is illegal in the European Union, but due to exemptions, it is still manufactured and consumed primarily in Sweden and Norway, although it is now available in the United States. — Wikipedia
So I took a small packet and put it in my upper lip it was the “General” brand with a strong mint flavor. It burned for a bit — I sipped a little water with it. It mellowed out nicely. Every 90 minutes or so I got another one and left it in. Funny thing, that. I had absolutely zero cigarette cravings whatsoever. I ordered a roll of ten cans of my own to use from BuySnus.com. I prefer the General mint in these tiny mini packets, but I also use the Wintergreen in larger packets as well. they have Snus in loose form, but I prefer it in the little packets.
The Scandinavians get it right. The packs that the Snus come in have little “pockets” on the top of the cans to put the used packets if there’s no garbage can close. You really don’t have to spit; not at all, so you aren’t carrying a cup around with you or anything like that.
It’s still tobacco. The Wikipedia article states that incidence of cancer from Snus users is at or nearly the same as the general population, and the Swedes have supposedly studied this like crazy. I’m still weaning myself off it, but I know that I’m not polluting my lungs and stinking up my clothes anymore, and slowly becoming tobacco-free. I can go days without a Snus and not crave cigarettes now. It’s also great for when I’m riding on the motorcycle. No mess, no spitting, no stopping for a smoke.
Can I recommend it for you? Don’t know. Funny thing about tobacco, it really affects people differently and I know that it is terribly hard to kick — years after smoking you can still get just the “right” whiff of a cigarette, and it somehow calls to you. Snus has effectively muted that “siren song” for me for nearly a year now.