Snus, smokeless tobacco

The most common smokeless tobacco used in Finland is the  Swedish moist snus.

Snus may not be imported, sold or handed over in business activities but, nevertheless, it has over the last years become increasingly popular, especially among young people.

In 2022 daily use of snus was 6 per cent in 20–64-year-old men, among women of the same age only 1 per cent.  Most common daily use of snus is among men of 20-34 years old, 11 per cent.

Daily use of snus is most common among boys studying in vocational schools, 17 per cent of whom use snus daily  in 2023 (2019: 20 %). In 2010–2011, the figure was 5 per cent. Approximately 7 per cent of girls attending vocational school use snus daily. In secondary schools, 4 per cent of boys and 1 per cent of girls and in comprehensive schools 6 per cent of boys and 2 per cent of girls use snus daily (2023).

According to Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the use of snus by university and applied sciences students has increased. In 2021, 6 per cent of university students used snus daily (2 per cent of women, 11 per cent of men). Use of snus is more common in men than in women both at university (women 1 per cent, men 8 per cent) and at the university of applied sciences (women 2 per cent, men 15 per cent). In 2016, 6 percent of men studying at a university and 8 per cent of men studying at a university of applied sciences used snus daily.

Smokeless tobacco products may not be used in the indoor or outdoor areas of day-care centres or facilities providing pre-primary, comprehensive, vocational or secondary school education.

Smoking bans at workplaces laid down in the Tobacco Act do not apply to snus. However, the employer has the power to decide on the practices used at the workplace.

Import of snus

Snus is imported to Finland from Sweden through the northern border from snus shops near the border and from ferries sailing to Sweden. Snus is smuggled into Finland in large quantities, as control at the EU’s open internal borders is challenging.

According to the Finnish Tobacco Act, a private person may import up to 1,000 g of smoke-free tobacco products (snus, snuff, chewing tobacco) during one day.  A person under the age of 18 may not import tobacco products or nicotine liquids. Importing snus for another person is prohibited, regardless of whether or not this person pays for the snus.

Illegal imports and exports are regulated by the provisions of the Criminal Code of Finland on smuggling (Chapter 46, section 4 of the Criminal Code), for which the maximum punishment is two years’ imprisonment.

  • The sale of snus was banned in the European Economic Community in 1992.
  • Since the establishment of the European Union, the ban has been maintained in the tobacco products directives of 2001 (2001/37/EC) and 2014 (2014/40/EU).
  • Of the Nordic countries, Sweden and Norway have applied for a derogation for the sale of snus in the 1990s, Sweden in the EU accession negotiations and Norway when it joined the EEA.