National Advice Service Enquiries - Oral snuff - Snus
Oral snuff, also known as snus (pronounced snooze), is a tobacco product which consists of a small sachet containing ground tobacco and flavourings. Unlike chewing tobacco oral snuff sachets are placed in the mouth between the gum and the lip. Like other tobacco products the object is to deliver nicotine and this is done by sucking the product and the nicotine soaks through the thin layer of skin into the bloodstream. It comes in different flavours and is marketed by different manufacturers including the major cigarette manufacturers. Recent product launches include Marlboro brand oral snuff in the USA. It is also 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 Duty Act 1979. As oral snuff is not for smoking, the only product type that comes close is chewing tobacco which is included through section 1(1)(e). The meaning of chewing tobacco in relation to the act is further described in the Tobacco Products (Descriptions of Products) Order 2003. Section 8 of the order describes chewing tobacco as a tobacco product which doesn’t come under any of the other descriptions and has been prepared so that it can be chewed. The nature of oral snuff would make it impractical to chew and this is not the intention. Therefore oral snuff is not within the scope of Tobacco Products Duty as currently described in UK law.