Side Effects of ZYN Nicotine Pouches Side Effects of ZYN Nicotine Pouches

ZYN Side Effects

Ever asked the question “do nicotine pouches have side effects?” or “Is ZYN bad for you?” The answer is simple - yes, nicotine pouches can have side effects. Whether you are looking to learn more about the side effects of ZYN, long-term side effects or even the side effects of quitting nicotine pouches, read our guide to learn all you need to know!


How Do Nicotine Pouches Impact the Body?

In order to better understand the side effects of nicotine pouches, it is good to know the basics on how nicotine pouches work when you use them. Nicotine pouches, such as ZYN, are used orally. You place the pouch in your mouth between the gum and lip where the pouch comes in contact with the lining of your mouth and is absorbed into your system. The inner lining of the cheeks (also known as the buccal mucosa) absorbs the “free” or unbound nicotine (this refers to the nicotine that is readily available for absorption in the body, as it is not connected to any molecules). Once the nicotine has been absorbed, the nicotine reaches your brain after doing a lap of the body in your bloodstream. The nicotine causes the brain to release adrenaline and dopamine, which is what gives that feeling of pleasure and energy.


What Are the Side Effects of Using ZYN Nicotine Pouches? An Overview

As with everything in life, there can be negative side effects of nicotine pouches too. While most people who use nicotine pouches properly and avoid overuse do not experience any side effects of ZYN or other brands, it is still good to be aware of the potential side effects. 


ZYN nicotine pouches' side effects, much like the side effects you can get from all nicotine pouches, are due to the stimulating properties and addictive nature of nicotine products. Here are some potential side effects, including nicotine pouches long-term side effects (as detailed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and why they occur:


  • Addiction: Nicotine pouches contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance and is one of the potential nicotine pouches side effects long term.


  • Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Nicotine stimulates the release of adrenaline, which increases heart rate, tightens blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Over time, this could potentially increase the risk of heart disease.


  • Gastrointestinal Problems: Ever wondered why some people talk about getting “ZYN nausea” or “ZYN hiccups” (also known as “nic-ups”)? It is because some people may experience an upset stomach, “nicotine pouches heartburn”, or nausea from using pouches, especially when first starting or when using a high-nicotine product.


  • Oral Health Issues: Regular use of nicotine pouches can lead to oral health issues such as gum recession, and in some cases, oral lesions. These pouches are used orally, and are in direct contact with the gums and teeth, which can potentially lead to these problems long term.


  • Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances: Nicotine is a stimulant, and using nicotine products (such as nicotine pouches) can lead to difficulty sleeping, or even insomnia.


  • Decreased Appetite: Nicotine can suppress appetite, which is why some people may use nicotine products for weight control. However, it should be added that this is not a healthy or sustainable way to manage your weight.


  • Withdrawal Symptoms: If you are a regular user and are trying to quit or cut back on nicotine use, there is a chance you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.


However, some side effects of ZYN are more common than others. We breakdown the three most common side effects of ZYN and other nicotine pouches to discuss why they occur.


Oral Side Effects of ZYN

One of the most asked questions about ZYN is “are ZYNs bad for your gums?”. In short, all nicotine pouches (including ZYN) can potentially have a negative impact on your gums. However, due to the fact they are a relatively new product, the long-term effects of nicotine pouches on the oral mucosa are not yet fully understood. Whether you opt for ZYN or another brand of nicotine pouches, the impact on your gums is likely to be similar across all brands.


Side Effects of ZYN on the Stomach

Using nicotine pouches excessively or using a high strength can sometimes result in stomach problems. These issues can vary from slight discomfort in the abdomen to more serious symptoms like indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. Nicotine is a stimulant that can cause an increase in stomach acid and have a laxative effect, leading to potential stomach upset and diarrhea. If you are getting pains in your stomach when using nicotine pouches, or “ZYN stomach pain”, you should consider trying a lower strength or reducing your usage.


ZYN Headaches as a Side Effect

Nicotine can cause headaches in some individuals due to its effects on blood pressure and blood vessels. When blood vessels constrict, it can reduce blood flow to the brain, leading to a headache. Additionally, when a person stops using nicotine, they may experience withdrawal symptoms that can include headaches. Other factors that can contribute to nicotine headaches include increased blood pressure, dehydration, personal sensitivity to nicotine, and combining nicotine with other substances. A nicotine headache can feel like a throbbing pain in the front of the head or behind the eyes, with symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, and nausea. The duration of a nicotine headache can vary from a few minutes to several hours or even days, depending on the individual.


Other Nicotine Pouch and ZYN Side Effects

However, research has also revealed some positive effects of nicotine. Studies have shown that nicotine can have the following benefits:


  • Enhancing Attention and Focus: Nicotine improves attention, task performance, and different aspects of cognition and hearing, surpassing the effects of coffee.


  • Reducing Body Weight and Appetite, and Increasing Metabolic Rate: Nicotine increases metabolic rate, aids in weight reduction, and can suppress appetite. Combining nicotine with caffeine enhances these effects, and nicotine replacement therapy can help prevent weight gain after quitting smoking.


  • Potential Effects on Psychiatric Illnesses and Dementia: Nicotine may alleviate symptoms of depression, improve REM sleep, and exhibit long-term antidepressant efficacy. It has also shown promise in reducing symptoms of ADHD and benefits in age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Age Associated Memory Impairment.


Additionally, there has been a recent increase in the use of snus among professional athletes, particularly in soccer and ice hockey, with an estimated 1 in 4 athletes using oral nicotine products. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has clarified that nicotine is not banned in competition and does not provide unfair advantages in terms of performance. Although nicotine remains on their monitoring list in 2022, there is no ban against its use.

A 3-year study conducted by WADA aimed to determine if snus usage should be prohibited in sport competitions. The study involved 18 participants and evaluated overall fitness, the effect of snus during exercise from 80% exertion to total exhaustion, and the effect during high-intensity short interval exercise. The results in 2015 demonstrated that test subjects experienced a 13.1% average decrease in performance without snus, indicating that they needed snus to maintain their nicotine levels for optimal performance.

However, in research specifically focused on archery athletes, the findings were different. Nicotine supplementation was found to enhance cognitive function, stimulate the sympathetic adrenergic system (the part of the nervous system that helps prepare the body for stress or intense physical activity), and significantly improve archery scores.


Timeline of ZYN Nicotine Pouch Effects

When you take a nicotine pouch, the timeline it impacts you on can vary based on factors like body mass, metabolism, and how often and how long you use the pouch for. Just to give you an idea of the nicotine pouches side effects over time, here is a rough timeline you can expect: 


  • Immediate - 10 minutes: The mucous membrane in the mouth absorbs nicotine from the pouch, entering the bloodstream and causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • 10 - 20 minutes: Nicotine reaches the brain, triggering the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which generates feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
  • 30 - 40 minutes: Nicotine levels peak in the bloodstream, varying based on individual metabolism and the strength of the nicotine pouch.
  • 2 - 3 hours: The body eliminates approximately half of the nicotine within this time frame. Decreasing nicotine levels may lead to cravings or withdrawal symptoms, prompting the desire for another pouch.
  • 8 - 10 hours: Most nicotine and its metabolites are eliminated through the kidneys. However, regular pouch users may experience slower clearance, resulting in longer elimination times.


ZYN Side Effects Timeline ZYN Side Effects Timeline

Combating ZYN Pouches Side Effects

While most nicotine pouch and ZYN side effects can be avoided by using your favorite pouches responsibly (especially to avoid nicotine poisoning and more hazardous side effects), you may not be sure what can help your side effects. If you are experiencing side effects from nicotine pouches, here are some strategies to help combat them:


  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help with a dry mouth and throat irritation (also known as “ZYN throat”) you may experience. 


  • Take breaks: If you're using nicotine pouches frequently, consider taking breaks or reducing the amount you are using to help prevent or minimize potential side effects.


  • Choose lower nicotine strengths: Try to opt for nicotine pouches with lower nicotine strengths to reduce the intensity of potential side effects. Also if you are newer to nicotine pouches, it can be tempting to go straight for a strong pouch (especially as a former user of other nicotine products), but it is always best to start on a lower nicotine strength and work your way up to avoid any nasty side effects! Remember that all ZYN nicotine pouches come in both a 3mg and 6mg nicotine strength, and other brands have different strength ranges - so there are plenty of options.


  • Consider the Flavor: Some flavors lead to more intense nicotine pouch side effects (i.e. citrus can enhance the strength of the nicotine, and a 6mg Citrus pouch may feel more intense than a 6mg Coffee pouch). When experiencing side effects, think about trying a different flavor. Just because mint flavors are popular, it doesn’t mean that it is the right pouch for you, especially if you have sensitivities to mint-flavored products, these may not be a good choice for you. It can be worth switching not just strength but flavor when trying to combat nicotine pouches' side effects.


  • Proper placement: Ensure that you place the nicotine pouch in a comfortable spot in your mouth and just adjust its position if you experience discomfort or irritation. This will help with some of the more common oral nicotine pouches' side effects.


  • Keep an Eye on How Much You Use: Pay attention to how many nicotine pouches you're using per day and consider reducing the number of pouches you are using daily if you are experiencing negative side effects.


  • Good Oral Hygiene Practice: Brush your teeth regularly and maintain good oral hygiene to minimize any potential negative effects on your gums or teeth.


  • Listen to your body: If you experience severe or continuous side effects, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance and help you based on your circumstances. 


Remember, everyone's sensitivity to nicotine and response to nicotine pouches can vary. It's essential to find a balance that works for you and prioritize your overall well-being. It is also good to remember that if it is your first time trying ZYN nicotine pouches (or any other nicotine pouch brand), it can take a while to find the right pouch for you and you can experience some new and unfamiliar sensations, so give it some time - but always listen to your body!