Nicotine Pouches - Everything You Need to Know

Want to remove cigarettes containing tobacco from your life, but finding it hard to transition away from nicotine? There are now many solutions to this problem, with nicotine replacement therapies (NRT’s) such as patches or gum, in addition to vapes, as suitable alternatives. As the latest product, could nicotine pouches be the most subtle way to satisfy nicotine cravings discreetly?

While vaping e-liquids with freebase or nicotine salt may be the way to go for transitioning away from tobacco with a familiar habit of holding a product in your hand and inhaling to puff back out, nicotine pouches are a different proposition.

Just like vapes, they contain zero tobacco, and below in our comprehensive guide, you’ll find out all you need to know about this trending alternative to cigarettes, with leading brands such as Velo, Nordic Spirt, Zyn and Elf Bar creating different nicotine strengths and flavours for all preferences.

What are Nicotine Pouches?
Nicotine pouches are little packets containing a mixture of ingredients including nicotine, flavourings, a small amount of water and salt. You put these pouches in between your cheek and gum for the best results - holding it there for anywhere up to 60 minutes, or for as long as the flavour lasts.

The nicotine strengths can vary with each pouch but typically start as low as 2mg up to extra high strengths of 11mg, which are tailored more towards those with stronger nicotine habits. There are three levels to pick from usually; regular, strong and extra strong. Available in different flavours such as coffee, mint or certain fruit flavours, it’s closer to vaping than smoking in terms of versatility in taste.

As mentioned previously, the likes of Nordic Spirit and Velo lead the way in the UK for nicotine pouch brands, but there are plenty of new manufacturers designing fantastic products that deliver nicotine quickly into the system.

Often confused with Snus, which started back in early 18th century Sweden, it's played a key part in putting Sweden on the world map as a smoke-free society. Let’s look at Snus and how it differs from nicotine pouches.

What is Snus?
For more than 200 years, Snus has been an effective replacement for smoking tobacco. Placed between the lip and gum, it looks very similar to nicotine pouches and works in the same fashion.

However, most importantly, while nicotine pouches are 100% tobacco-free, Snus is a tobacco product made with tobacco leaves. Although it is popular in Scandinavia, it’s banned in multiple countries around the worldincluding Australia and most of the EU.

There are medical studies and links in the past between Snus and cancer, but some suggest it is still a better alternative to cigarettes, which contain thousands of lethal chemical toxins.

Snus vs Nicotine Pouches – Key Differences
Available in similar-shaped tins and typically containing 20 pouches, there are certain similarities between Snus and nicotine pouches. Placed in the mouth, both products are popular around the world as alternatives to smoking cigarettes.

Nicotine pouches contain predominantly nicotine extracted from the tobacco plant as the key ingredient, but that’s the only chemical used. Thisthereforemeans it has a longer shelf life than Snus, which contains other plant extracts which decrease the longevity and its use.

Because of its 200-year history, there is however far more data and research surrounding Snus than there are nicotine pouches, which is a relatively new concept developed over the past twenty years.

Nicotine Pouches vs Vaping
If the aim is to reduce or stop using tobacco products, both are considered alternatives for adults who want to stop smoking cigarettes.

With nicotine pouches and vaping, they emerged at roughly the same time in the early 2000s and have quickly established themselves as likeable alternatives to smoking, with considerably less risk (although there are not tons of studies on either due to not enough long-term health data).

You could argue the positives and negatives of both. With nicotine pouches, they’re:

·Cheaper than cigarettes
·Can be used anywhere at any time
·Compact and lightweight to carry around
·More transparent ingredients than smoking

Meanwhile, e-cigarettes are also effective for millions who have looked to quit smoking, with advantages such as:

·Like-for-like replacement of cigarettes in terms of habit
·Cheaper in the long run
·Also does not contain tobacco or other chemicals such as tar

The side effects of both, which are listed in greater detail below, relate more to the short-term side effects of nicotine than anything else.

Are Nicotine Pouches Better Than Vaping?
As you’ll no doubt know, nicotine is a highly addictive chemical which makes it very difficult for any adult smoker to quit successfully. And even when you switch to what is considered a recommended alternative such as vaping or nicotine pouches, the chances are it will be difficult with either of those two.

One is not better than the other but offers different methods and nicotine strengths. It all depends on personal preference, and how best you will give up smoking without relapsing. If you need that day-to-day routine of holding something in your hand and puffing as you transition away from cigarettes, vaping is likely to be the first choice.

However, if you’re in an office meeting or flying on a plane to a destination that’s a ten-hour flight and you can not legally vape on board, a nicotine pouch is the tactful advantageous option.

Neither are considered healthy options for adults – only better alternatives than smoking.

Are Nicotine Pouches Safe?
Nicotine is not combustible like tobacco or dangerous as a substance on its own butdoes carry some risks. Minor side effects can stay in your system long after use, whether that’s with a vape, cigarette or nicotine pouch. But with the latter, it’s certainly the least dangerous out of the three. This is because there are only a couple of ingredients in pouches, with most ingredients apart from nicotine used in processed foods.

Initially, nicotine pouches may give a minor tingling sensation in your mouth but this only lasts for up to 15 minutes maximum. After that, the sensation should subside, and it will instead give that buzz you usually get with nicotine.

Can They Damage Your Gums?
There is a risk whenever you do not look after your oral health correctly. Gum disease can strike at any time even if you eat sugary foods and fizzy drinks alongside poor dental hygiene. Therefore, the chances of gum disease when using nicotine pouches are always a possibility. Nevertheless, bad oral health likeliness is significantly lower than if you smoke for example, which as we know from research can cause teeth stains, bad bacteria due to lack of oxygen, decay and even the threat of oral cancer because pouches do not have hundreds of dangerous toxins found in cigarettes.

How to Use Nicotine Pouches?
Once you pick the right flavour and strength (best to start with a lower strength while you familiarise yourself and reduce any side effects) - simply pick up one pouch with your index finger and thumb.

Next, place it between the gum and top lip, yet not resting it on your teeth. Keep it in place for as long as the flavour persists, then remove and pop it into the container catch lid designed for storing all the used ones from the package (not all have this) or discard it straight into the bin.

As you can expect, they’re super easy to use straight out of the container. The idea of nicotine pouches originated in Sweden two centuries ago, andthey’ve come some way since then. Contrary to what some initially believe, with nicotine pouches you don’t need to swallow the pouches or spit like with chewing tobacco, so that’s much better for personal hygiene and from an aesthetic point of view! 

Benefits of Nicotine Pouches
·Very discreetly hidden, so they’re ideal for when you need a nicotine fix andit’s not possible to vape, such as in a work situation or aboard a flight
·Easy to use and dispose of when the flavour runs out
·Quick absorption through the gums, lips and cheeks for a long-lasting effect
·No-fuss nicotine option after smoking with multiple flavours and no accessories required, batteries to replace or e-liquids to change
·Not only do they offer more nicotine than traditional nicotine replacement therapies such as gum and patches but also a good way to drop vaping nicotine levels as you can use them in between e-cigarette sessions at lower nicotine levels
·Doesn’t stain teeth like smoking does, with a similar benefit to vaping

Nicotine Pouch Flavour Choices
Pouch flavours are somewhere in between the flexibility you get with thousands of e-cigarette flavours and the solitary tobacco choice when smoking, following the menthol ban in the UK for cigarette users. Essentially somebut not a huge amount to date. Below are the classic options for popping between your gums and lips:

1.Mint- top brands like Nordic, ZYN and Lucy produce this refreshing flavour to not just satisfy your nicotine cravingsbut create a crisp menthol taste.
2.Coffee - whether you pick a mild, strong or very strong nicotine strength, this classic beverage is popular with those who need the aromatic flavours of rich coffee beans.
3.Tropical - sample all the delicious juicy fruits of the Caribbean with a nicotine pouch packed with a mixture of sweet and bold tropical sweeteners.
4.Forest Fruits - there is also a range of different fruity flavours inspired by tantalising berries you pick in the forest, such as raspberry, blueberry and cherry.

Conclusion - Are They a Viable Alternative to Smoking?
Nicotine pouches are a smart option for lots of different people and certainly a welcome nicotine replacement for cigarettes. Because of their size and smalltactful nature, you can hide them in plain sight yet still enjoy them. Those needing nicotine require a top-up often throughout the day.

Situations like work, being in a social environment or at an important event can sometimes prevent an individual from smoking or vaping who has a nicotine craving. But with nicotine pouches, all of the concerns wash away, because you can hide them under your lip.

They are available in different flavours which is welcome and at various nicotine strengths depending on preference. Anybody curious about trying them is to consider whether they want a savoury or sweet flavour and a strong or mild nicotine strength (better to start with the latter initially and increase if needed) before selecting a tin.

And best of all - it’s a manageable nicotine alternative that doesn’t require any maintenance. They’re packagedin a tidy manner, keep the key ingredients inside the pouches, don’t need to be topped up or altered and don’t stain your teeth, yet as an overall experience give that refreshing nicotine flavour desired. To ditch smoking, nicotine pouches are a welcome addition for anyone dependent on nicotine.