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Granddad’s Tobacco Gets a Makeover

So-called modern oral products are starting to break into the smokeless market.

Bags of nicoten-free "snus" or snuff at
Photographer: Sven Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Chewing tobacco doesn’t enjoy the most refined reputation, a sticky black mess tucked into a corner of the mouth, the steady stream of spit making bystanders queasy. And yet, cigarette companies are rushing into the category to escape a growing smoking malaise.

To resonate with a young and fashion-forward audience, the humble oral nicotine has undergone a makeover, in some cases removing tobacco altogether. British American Tobacco Plc is pushing a brand called Lyft—slender white pouches, infused with eucalyptus and pine tree fibers, that release mint or berry flavor once discreetly tucked under the upper lip. The tobacco-laced sister brand Epok promises hints of tropical fruit or peppermint.