In 2006, e-cigarettes were a fashion in the U.S. Today, it has evolved from its previous cigarette form to a variety of vaping devices. However, there were many complaints about their uses. Later on, news spread that some of them have been customized to deliver harmful dosages of illicit drugs.
With this in mind, people started to worry about the effects of vaping. Some entrepreneurs tried to develop other alternatives to lessen if not to curb nicotine addiction. One of these so-called alternatives are nicotine pouches.
First, we will try to understand the elements involved in its manufacture and find out why these pouches are gaining traction in the market. What are the possible health hazards it may pose to its users? Do they offer benefits or more danger towards health?
Let’s find out.
What are nicotine pouches?
Nicotine pouches look like small bags containing nicotine and other ingredients. You can place a pouch between the gum and lip for about an hour. Users don’t smoke or swallow them.
Using a nicotine pouch is like using snus. While it contains nicotine powder, snus, as marketed by snusdirect, contains finely-ground moist tobacco. What makes a nicotine pouch unique among smokeless nicotine products is the absence of tobacco leaf as its ingredient.
Manufacturers of nicotine pouches advertise them as ideal alternatives to smoking but some are still sceptical about their effects. This type of product come in mint containers in colourful packaging.
Add to that, there is a wide assortment of flavours that bring together a huge consumer audience. New releases tend to sell like hotcakes.
What is inside a nicotine pouch?
Nicotine pouches contain nicotine, water, flavourings, sweeteners, as well as plant-based fibres. Manufacturers sell them in varying strengths. Nicotine content in each pouch all depends on the brand.
Concentrations can be from 1.5, 2, or 3 mg, and can go up to 8, or even 12 mg variants. So you need to check the website that you’re at, especially if you are a new user.
What makes nicotine pouches tick?
One of the marketing strategies for nicotine pouches is directing focus on flavours and putting emphasis on the word “freedom”. This is because you can take them wherever you go. And why not? They are sandwiched between your gum and lower lip. Flavours can entice users as well.
According to a research co-conducted by Truth Initiative, leading brands that sell these products shelled out an estimated $25 million for advertisements. This research started from January of 2019 and ended in September 2021. You can just imagine the heavy brainstorming that transpired in every manufacturers’ conference rooms.
The increase in the overall sales of four brands in the U.S. is highly attributed to how these products are presented to the buying public. Sales covering August to December 2019 involved 126.06 million pouch units. In 2022, January to March sales were at 808.14 million pouch packages.
The brands in this market research include Zyn, Velo, On!, and Rogue. Nicotine pouches in 3,4 and 6 mg are among the top sellers, with youth-appealing flavours as top preferences.
Is there going to be a big switch from cigarette smoking to nicotine pouch consumption?
It is right to think that tobacco industries are suffering from the decline in their revenues in the advent of e-cigarette product marketing thrusts. That’s why many cigarette smokers are switching to using smokeless products like vapes, especially nicotine pouches.
Prices of cigarette smoking alternatives are almost the same as the cost of buying cigarettes. The only catch is, nicotine pouches don’t require batteries or other accessories. Thus, you can say that is cheaper in the long run.
What is unclear is if users will make the switch permanently or continue using both. If this happens, spending for both will prove to be a pain in the pocket.
Risks associated with the use of nicotine pouches
Since these pouches contain the addictive substance that is nicotine, its effects on the body are so huge. Even though some companies market them as having less content, they still give off the same element which is harmful to a person’s health.
Some side effects may include but not limited to:
- upset stomach
- sore throat
It is not advisable to share a pouch with another user just as you don’t want to share your cigarette with somebody. In case a pouch is swallowed, call a doctor immediately to get quick medical advice.
Even in the midst of their popularity, more research is likely to be done to determine how effective and safe nicotine pouches are. This can bring the minds of users and sceptics alike to rest.
Never use nicotine pouches without consulting your doctor. If you are a heavy smoker and consume more than 10 cigarettes a day, doctors may recommend trying an FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy.
Examples of this type of therapy are:
- Nasal sprays
- Nicotine patches
Once you quit smoking, your cravings for cigarettes are lessened to none at all. Medical experts can help you manage your nicotine withdrawal stage. In such case, you will feel irritable or sad. You may have a trouble sleeping at night or experience light flu-like manifestations.
Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish and Danish pharmacies sell nicotine pouches as propagations for nicotine replacement. However, this idea does not include the rest of the world. These products follow different regularizations in many parts of the world.
Countries like Canada, Germany, and Norway openly ban the sale of these pouches because they consider them as nicotine products. Nevertheless, other countries sell them freely due to the absence of tobacco within the product itself.
Simply put, they do not fall under the tobacco classification in other countries’ standards. On the other hand, the U.S. considers them as tobacco products because its contents are derivatives of tobacco. Hence, while some countries are quite accepting, they are not welcome in other places.
Although nicotine sold as nicotine pouches are taboo in Canada, nicotine itself is regarded as a type of prescription drug. Therefore, it forbids the import of nicotine products. Unless they come from medical or health practitioners, wholesale druggists, and drug manufacturers, they are not permitted to enter the country. There are also exceptions that cover pharmacists, or foreign nationals visiting the country.
Now it can be told that the levels of nicotine concentration in these products resemble that of moist snuff and snus. They exceed the allowable levels for products that function as one of the many nicotine replacement therapies. Therefore, it creates a most likely nicotine dependency rather than making individuals quit nicotine usage.
Some ads target the youth who are vulnerable when it comes to trending products such as these. They endanger those who are naïve about the dangers of nicotine ingestion. What’s more, other effects in using nicotine products still remain unknown.
If you really want to know if nicotine pouches are good for you, get the right information from trustworthy sites. Furthermore, if you want to ask if these are the best tools to make you stop smoking, visit a medical practitioner. These are sure-fire ways of obtaining facts, and not simply learning from marketing pitches.