Snus button, or, Chew on this!

snusblueGateHouse — Do you enjoy tobacco, but hate the way smoking makes people look at you as though they hadn’t done it themselves all through college? Or do you enjoy nicotine, but wish you could somehow absorb it in a way that involves choke-swallowing a tea bag full of damp lawn mulch?

If so, get ready to absorb a tub of amazing news from the Tobacco Industry, which has recently announced an important new product development during a break from doing all the things it usually does, which do not include marketing its products to minors and agreeing that nicotine is sorta kinda addictive and YOU SHUT UP anyway, loser.

Camel, the company that brought you Joe Camel, the anthropomorphic, roided-up, shades-wearing, tenor sax-playing, Rick Astley-jacket-rocking ungulate responsible for teaching kids that smoking makes you have sex with people, is currently rolling out a product called Camel Snus. Camel Snus sounds like an object you might find while scraping out your shower drain, which is cool because, in fact, it might be.

Because Camel Snus — which is Swedish for tobacco, rhymes with “juice” and is the also sound a squirrel makes when it’s going through a garbage disposal backward — are small, tea-bag-like sacks of smokeless tobacco that you snuggle in tight between your cheek and gums.

And if you think that’s wicked sexy, hold onto your tongue: Unlike regular chew, like the kind you used to find in your high school’s water fountains, you do not spit out the subsequent snus juice that begins pooling delightfully in your mouth. You swallow it right down for a shot of nicotine. So it’s just like smoking, only with more swallowing of your own saliva, mixed with something brown.

The idea here is that Snus would provide an alternative to those who have been cruelly forced to walk all the way outside when they need a regular break from work. Snus are smokeless and are noticeable only to those who have tucked a teabag full of aromatic spit-flavored glump into their gumline on purpose. Yes, I just made up “glump.” Actually, I made it up in 1991, when I’d find it in the high school’s water fountains.

My high school, incidentally, was northwest Indiana’s dip capital for the years of 1991-1993; I’m pretty sure we got federal funding for Skoal bailout money a couple of times. I would sit next to kids who couldn’t tell a sedimentary rock from an igneous (pfft) but could take three pieces of loose-leaf paper and a protractor and fashion a sturdy, waterproof cup they could spit into for 55 consecutive minutes of earth science. Man, this column talks a lot about spitting. I should have probably warned everyone about that up top.

Anyway, it’s here that I need to make a disclosure: I am making all these snide, highly judgmental cracks about smokers despite having been a smoker for a brief while in the days when I could process addictive chemicals more effectively.

True, I was probably among the worst smokers the world has ever known; on a good night I could blaze through up to three cigarettes before deciding that the lingering aftertaste and the disturbing response of my very angry sinuses, weren’t worth the trouble. This made me equally unappealing to both nonsmokers, who found me smelly and annoying, and smokers, who judged me rightfully as a big fat poser.

But this was always my problem with smoking; it was entirely too external — letting other people know you were doing it. With snus, you can be shifty and sneaky, and no one will be the wiser, until, of course, you need to eat something with a spoon. Then you’re glumped.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

One response to “Snus button, or, Chew on this!

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