Smokeless tobacco has been around for centuries. Americans have enjoyed chewing tobacco since the dawn of the New World, and aristocratic Europeans have been using snus since the 18th Century. However, smokeless and tobacco-free products are a relatively new concept that only emerged in the 21st Century, when manufacturers discovered the ability to remove nicotine from the tobacco leaf.
What is a nicotine pouch?
The company, Swedish Match, was the first to discover this breakthrough heating process that separates nicotine from tobacco, and soon saw a demand among its consumers for a non-tobacco option for various reasons.
Nicotine pouches resemble snus pouches in both portion size and packaging. However, nicotine pouches are white and do not need to be refrigerated, as they do not need to retain their moisture. Like snus, they are placed under the top lip and remain there while the nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream. This process typically lasts between 10 to 40 minutes, as the effects of the pouch expire after one hour.
Why use nicotine pouches?
Many users prefer nicotine pouches simply because they are discreet and require no preparation or equipment, such as a lighter, batteries, liquid, etc. They are also perfect for indoor use, as very few people will even notice that you have a nicotine pouch under your lip. These aspects have heightened the popularity of nicotine pouches significantly, especially among younger consumers. Nicotine pouch flavors include cherry, mint and coffee.
Nicotine pouches reach the rest of the world
Swedish consumers were not the only ones seeking a tobacco-free option for their usage repertoire, and usage soon saw an increase throughout Europe and America. Although snus is banned by the EU, nicotine pouches are not (due to their lack of tobacco content) and were thus able to gain traction quickly in overseas markets. Many consumers enjoy them as an accompaniment or replacement to their tobacco products – or even just for a punch of flavor and boost of energy during the day.
Opposition to nicotine pouches
Although a tobacco-free option, nicotine pouches have faced their fair share of disapproval by various advocacy groups - and the opposition’s arguments often resemble those against tobacco products. For example, the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance voiced their concern about the pouches, claiming that they could entail side effects such as cancer and heart disease. They argued that the Kenyan government should not allow the sale of nicotine pouches – which ultimately fell on deaf ears, as nicotine pouches are currently available on the Kenyan market.
The US Food and Drug Administration also contested the manufacturer, British American Tobacco’s, claim that tobacco-free nicotine products were safer than regular tobacco products – citing a lack of medical evidence to back this up.
Although it has faced some opposition, the number of regular nicotine pouch users continues to grow and will most likely continue to do so for a long time to come.