Chewing Bags 101: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Chewing Bags 101: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Welcome, to the world of Chew Bags! While these products have been around for quite a long time, there are still folks who are discovering these products in 2024. I thought it would be a good thing to sit down and talk about these products, their history, how to use them, and all that. While there aren’t as many chew bag products out there as there were at the height of their popularity, there are companies still making them, and they still serve a purpose today, especially for folks in the EU who don’t have access to snus. Today, we’re going to do a deep dive into this product category and get to know it better. So, grab a can of your favorite chew, and let’s talk about these products.

 

 

To talk about chew bags, we really have to start at the beginning. That of course is with the EU snus ban. In the EU, snus has been banned ever since 1992. Sweden was given an exception in 1995 when it joined the EU, but outside of that, there has been a ban on the sale of Swedish Snus outside of the EU. Why, you may ask? When the Swedish experience has shown that snus is a less risky product than cigarettes? Well, a lot of it goes back to Skoal Bandits. Skoal Bandits are a smokeless tobacco product launching in Europe and gaining some popularity. On the misguided belief that these products targeted children, the EU aggressively responded with the EU snus ban. There has been a lot of fights, lobbying, and efforts to overturn it, but to date no luck.


So, what could be done? Well, over the years, not much. Sadly folks in the EU were kept from less risky products and forced to smoke. The ban made no sense, but there didn’t seem to be any way around it or any options. However, in 2014, a company in Denmark came forth with a new product line that would change this, and give people access to smokeless tobacco again. V2 Tobacco, a company popular for their Thunder and Offroad Snus lines would introduce Thunder Chew. In a second, we’ll talk about what this is, but for now we’ll continue down the historical path. After the launch of Thunder Chew, more companies would get in on this growing category. Currently, the main ones still around are Oden’s, RITE, and Puck. But from 2015 to 2022, a lot of great products launched. I honestly thought the chew category would continue to grow into this huge thing, but sadly it seems to be being scaled back as nicotine pouches grow.


Swedish Match made quite a few attempts at General Chew in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020. They also had a Göteborgs Rapé Chew that launched in 2017. Both General and GR Chew were recently delisted, sadly. Gotlandssnus took a stab at it, with Cruiser Chew in 2015 and Jakobson’s Chew in 2017. Skruf had a few products as well, with Skraw in 2018 and Skruf in 2019. BAT tried Granit a few times, in 2017, 2019, and 2020, and a few of their Epok White Tobacco products in 2019. AG Snus in Denmark launched a few, with Ink in 2017, Sirius in 2018 and 2021, and U-Sample in 2017 and 2018. And lastly, my Artisan brand launched a chew version in 2022 that was quite popular. As you can see, there were a lot of chew products out there with almost every company having some on the market. But, as nicotine pouches grew, companies seemed to lean more into that than wanting to continue making chew bag products.

 

 

So, I mentioned earlier that this all started with V2 Tobacco and Thunder Chew in 2014. But what code was it they cracked that allowed smokeless, pouched products to be sold in the EU? They discovered that chewing tobacco was legal in the EU, while snus was not. So, the product itself could be pasteurized and made the same way as snus, but with minor differences to abide by the law. The tobacco had to be cut, instead of ground. And the pouch material had to be slightly thicker so these could be chewed if the user chose to do so. It wasn’t required, but it had to be available as an option. These simple changes allowed a smokeless, pouched product to be sold, while snus was still kept out of the EU. So, when you look at a pouch, or even the contents inside a pouch, you may find it look somewhat similar to snus. But, these changes allowed it to be sold in the EU, which was a good thing for folks who, for so many years, were denied alternatives to smoking.


As far as usage go, they are designed to be chewed. Most manufacturers say chewing the pouch a little will release more flavor. Or, you could just park it in your upper lip like you would with snus. I’ve done it both ways, and honestly both ways are fine, it really depends on what you’re into. Either way you’ll find enjoyment from these chew bags.

 

 

Currently, the last remaining brands you’ll find on the market are GN Tobacco’s Oden’s and Siberia, Swedish Match’s Thunder, Ministry of Snus’ Rite, and the Snus Factory’s Puck. There is one remaining Artisan Chew product on the market, as well. As I mentioned before, there really aren’t a lot of them out there anymore, unfortunately. Most of them are higher in nicotine strength, as well. There used to be some lower strength ones out there, but there aren’t many of them anymore. Most of them also have a mint flavor, so you won’t find a lot of diversity anymore in the flavor profiles.


If I had to pick a top 5, it would be these:


Puck Spearing Slim - 14.95mg per chew bag


Flavor Description: "Discreet and slim chewing bags that deliver powerful kicks and the popular Spearing flavor of menthol and spearmint!”


Snubie’s Comments: This one is a pretty solid chew bag for folks who like the mint flavor profile. It has a slim portion, it’s soft and comfortable in the lip, and the flavor is pretty mild, and well balanced. It’s a little on the stronger end, but as I mentioned, most chew bags are going to be. There isn’t really a regular strength chew bag on the market, so most of them will be strong or higher. But, the taste on this one is pretty good if you like a kick.


Thunder Frosted White - 12.8mg per chew bag


Flavor Description: “Thunder Frosted White Chewing Bags is an extra-strong chew with a flavor of spearmint”.


Snubie’s Comments: I’ve always enjoyed Thunder Frosted. Going back to 2009 when I first quit smoking and started using snus instead, this was a flavor I loved. Sadly, Swedish Match discontinued a lot of the Thunder products once they bought V2 Tobacco. But, the Frosted flavor has lived on and persisted as a chew bag. Every time I get to review one of these it’s like visiting an old friend. This one is one of the least strong products out there, too, so it’s a bit more mild in the nicotine department. But the spearmint taste of this one is really good.


Oden's Wintergreen Extreme Slim White Dry - 16.92mg per chew bag


Flavor Description: “Experience a minty explosion of wintergreen and intense kicks with these discreet chewing bags from Odens Snus”


Snubie’s Comments: Wintergreen is a pretty common flavor here in the US, and it’s one that I’ve been love/hate with over the years. However, I do like to use one from time to time, especially if I’m outdoors or in the woods. This is a pretty good one, but a little on the stronger end. But, it has a really well balanced wintergreen flavor and a nice tobacco base.


Artisan Dark Vanilla White Portion - 13.6mg per chew bag


Flavor Description: “Premium White Dry Chewing Bags from Snubie’s brand Artisan Snus that deliver strong kicks together with a robust, rustic and earthy tobacco flavor topped by rich and dark tones of Madagascar vanilla”.


Snubie’s Comments: Of course I was going to mention this one. It’s one I created in my Artisan line, so I’ve always been very fond of it. It has a great tobacco base, and a smooth taste of rich, Madagascar vanilla. This is one of the only non-mint products left, aside from the next one we’ll talk about.

 

Siberia Black White Dry - 27.95mg per chew bag


Flavor Description: “Ultra-strong chewing bags from Siberia that deliver a rich and spicy tobacco flavor”

 

Snubie’s Comments: The Siberia Black line is the only tobacco-centric chew bag line left. It is very strong, but I did want to mention it to show that there are other options out there for people who like traditional tastes or the taste of tobacco. But, be prepared, the Siberia Black line is incredibly strong so you’ll get quite a kick with it.

The Bottom Line

The chew bag category developed in a time when folks had no other options than smoking. Over the years it’s been around, a wide variety of products have come and gone. And yes, while it is dwindling down to less products, it’s still around, just in a smaller capacity. After the surge of nicotine pouches over the past few years, companies have sunk more time and attention into that, so chew bags have fell by the wayside. But, there are still some options out there. GN Tobacco has been a big part of it, not abandoning this category and still pushing products out. A big thanks to them for believing in this segment! So, if you’re in the EU and not into nicotine pouches, you still have some tobacco options out there. You can browse a wide selection here on SnusExpress.eu and find one that fits what you’re looking for!