RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Smokeless tobacco maker Swedish Match is asking the Food and Drug Administration to certify its General-branded pouches of tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes.
The company, whose North American headquarters is in Richmond, Virginia, says it's requesting the FDA approve the snus (pronounced "snoose") products as "modified risk."
Snus are teabag-like pouches that users stick between their cheek and gum. They are popular in Scandinavian countries.
A 2009 law gives the FDA authority to evaluate tobacco products for their health risks and lets the agency approve ones that could be marketed as safer than others.
How the FDA handles the products is being closely watched by both the public health community and the tobacco industry. It also highlights the debate over how best to control tobacco use.