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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco Products Duty

National Advice Service Enquiries - Oral snuff - Snus

Oral snuff, also known as snus (pronounced snooze), is a tobacco product which consists ofa small sachet containing ground tobacco and flavourings. Unlike chewing tobacco oralsnuff sachets are placed in the mouth between the gum and the lip. Like other tobaccoproducts the object is to deliver nicotine and this is done by sucking the product and thenicotine soaks through the thin layer of skin into the bloodstream. It comes in differentflavours and is marketed by different manufacturers including the major cigarettemanufacturers. Recent product launches include Marlboro brand oral snuff in the USA. It isalso available in loose form, that is still sucked but not in the small sachet.

The scope of UK Excise law

The scope of Tobacco Products Duty is set out in section 1 of the Tobacco Products DutyAct 1979. As oral snuff is not for smoking, the only product type that comes close ischewing tobacco which is included through section 1(1)(e). The meaning of chewing tobaccoin relation to the act is further described in The Tobacco Products (Descriptions ofProducts) Order 2003. Section 8 of the order describes chewing tobacco as a tobaccoproduct which doesn’t come under any of the other descriptions and has been preparedso that it can be chewed. The nature of oral snuff would make it impractical to chew andthis is not the intention. Therefore oral snuff is not within the scope of TobaccoProducts Duty as currently described in UK law.