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From 150 up to 200 days. That’s about how long it takes from when a tobacco seed is sowed in the soil until the tobacco has been cured. A tiny tobacco seed is the beginning of a process that has been perfected over almost two centuries.  

The tobacco plant is a high-growing herb that sprouts big sticky leaves and a whitish-pink or yellow blossom. The tobacco plant is normally very hardy and adapts to the climate and soil in which it grows. But it cannot tolerate either too much cold or too much rain. On average, the plant grows to three meters and it takes about three months for the seedling to finish growing. Each plant sprouts between 20 and 30 leaves, with capsules that contain thousands of small seeds. Three grams of seeds are more than sufficient to grow a hectare – about one and a half soccer fields – and can produce up to three tons of tobacco before curing. 

Nicotiana Tabacum

There are thousands of tobacco types with endless varieties of colors, aromas, flavors, textures, nicotine and sugar content. All types of tobacco that we use come from the Nicotiana Tabacum and Nicotiana Rustica families. We have determined, through our many years of experience, that these types are best suited for production of our snus. Therefore, we combine the two types of tobacco and various qualities of the two in our recipes to create the flavors we want in our snus products. It takes more than 20 different tobacco qualities to give General its characteristic flavor.

Nicotiana Rustica

Nicotiana Rustica tastes just like it sounds: rustic. The plant is hardy and easy to grow, with coarse, sticky leaves and blossoms that shift between white, yellow and pink.

Nicotiana Tabacum

Nicotiana Tabacum surpasses Rustica in height, with large leaves and blossoms that shift from white to pink. Tabacum has a slimmer character and offers more refined flavors, a mid-range alternative with many nuances.



The place where the tobacco is grown is very important to us. We don’t use just any soil. We analyze the soil and we analyze the tobacco. We never lose control over what is cultivated, watered, grown and harvested. The reasoning behind our attention to detail is simple: the seed that begins to germinate in the soil ultimately makes its way into the user’s mouth. Our quality agenda permeates everything we do, from seed to can. 


Tobacco is grown in more than 130 countries around the world. Where the tobacco used in Swedish Match’s products comes from varies year to year, and is determined by how the quality of the harvests have been affected by weather, wind and other factors. It takes a long time to learn the tobacco craft and this knowledge is often passed down, generation to generation.

Growing tobacco

The work starts long before the tobacco seed is sowed. By then, many people have been involved in the well-being of the seed, not least our tobacco buyers. In addition to screening the tobacco itself, we regularly put a small shovel into the earth and fill a glass container with soil. This soil sample is then transported half way around the globe to Swedish Match’s laboratory in Stockholm. There it is analyzed, from what the soil is comprised of to which substances that are contained in the tobacco. Everything is meticulously studied.

Craftsmanship. At every step.


As in all agriculture, it is a question of getting the plants to grow. The tiny seedling needs a bit more nurture, particularly in the beginning. The seeds, which are screened and certified, are sowed in seedbeds where they germinate for about 60 days. They are watered and cared for until they are almost ten centimeters high.


Ten centimeters later, they are finally planted in the ground. This is often done by hand, but larger plantations also use special equipment for this. Once the tobacco starts to grow in the ground, it does not require much care. It can be grown in the Stockholm region as well as the Dominican Republic. All that the tobacco plant really needs is a lot of is water. Then it will thrive.

Pruning is a key part of the growing process. This means removing the shoots that form in the spot where the leaf stem attaches to the growing stem. This must be done continuously for the duration the tobacco plant is in the ground.  The tobacco grows one to three meters in this short period.


After 10 to 12 weeks, it is time to harvest. The plant ripens from the bottom up, meaning that even the harvest is a craft that requires great skill. First, the first pair of leaves are removed, starting from the bottom. Because we want the same level of ripening throughout, the tobacco grower waits a few days before harvesting the next pair of leaves. Then the third pair of leaves are removed, and so on. 

The leaves vary in size and the nicotine content is lowest at the bottom and highest at the tip of the leaves. But we want the mid-range, where there is an even balance between nicotine and flavor. As said before, the art of growing tobacco requires craftsmanship – at every step.


When the time comes to harvest the tobacco, the leaves are first picked, after which the curing process commences. The moisture content in the leaves drops from approximately 80% to 20% during this process. Two different methods are used to cure the tobacco in the snus that we produce: air-curing and sun-curing. We never buy tobacco that has been fire-cured.


The most common alternative is to let the tobacco hang suspended under a roof in an open, well-ventilated barn. There, the leaves are cured for four to six weeks, depending on the climate. During this period, the leaves change color from green to yellowish-brown. Air-cured tobacco has a low sugar content, delivering a smooth, slightly sweet flavor. Approximately one-fifth of the global production comprises air-cured tobacco.


Sun-curing takes between 25 and 30 days, and is similar to air-curing. The biggest difference is that this tobacco is dried uncovered in the sun. The tobacco leaves are hung on a rack or strung on wires and usually have a slightly higher sugar content than air-cured tobacco. It is usually also lighter in color. Air-curing is most common in dry, hot areas.

We never use fire-cured tobacco

We never use fire-cured tobacco in our snus. The reason is simple – this type of curing has a negative impact on the chemical makeup of the tobacco. The smoke contains some undesirable substances that we do not want in the finished snus. Through our GOTHIATEK quality standard, we constantly strive to minimize the amount of undesirable substances in our tobacco.