Nicotine pouches are a relatively new product to the market and you could be forgiven for thinking they are the same as snus, however, there are some important differences between the two. We’re taking a closer look to answer any questions you may have about nicotine pouches and snus in the UK.
What are snus?
Snus, also referred to as Swedish snus, are a form of tobacco popular in Sweden and Norway. First manufactured in the early 18th century, they have become a popular alternative to smoking in these countries and, combined with nicotine pouches, are thought to be partly responsible for the low smoking rates in these countries.
Snus are available loose or in pre-portioned pouches and are placed between the lip and gum to release nicotine. Like smoking cigarettes, snus are known to stain the teeth, especially in the area of the lip that the user tends to favour.
While snus do not require combustion like cigarettes, they are still tobacco.
What are nicotine pouches?
Nicotine pouches look similar to snus and are also designed to be put between the lip and gums to release nicotine. However, unlike snus, nicotine pouches do not contain any tobacco.
The nicotine in these pouches is extracted from the tobacco plant into nicotine salts, which are also commonly used in e-liquids, and so they exclude any plant matter. This means that nicotine pouches do not contain something found in tobacco products called tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNA. This is a group of compounds found in tobacco with carcinogenic properties, meaning that they are known to cause cancer.
Nicotine pouches are designed to be a less harmful alternative to smoking or snus, which helps manage nicotine cravings without the need for tobacco. They are available in a range of different nicotine strengths, so the user can select the strength that best reflects their needs, usually dictated by their previous smoking habits. The pouches are made using food grade materials, and are even available in different flavours to make for a more pleasant experience.
Nicotine pouches like Zyn and Velo have become popular as an alternative nicotine source both used alone or alongside e-cigarettes. They offer a discreet way to keep nicotine cravings at bay throughout the day, without any smoke or vapour.
Are nicotine pouches legal in the UK?
Nicotine pouches on the other hand are legal in the UK as they do not contain tobacco. In recent years they have become a popular part of the nicotine alternatives market and brands like Nordic Spirit and Helwit are widely available across the UK.
How do you use nicotine pouches?
One of the reasons that nicotine pouches have become so popular is because of how easy they are to use. The pouches come in a handy storage container and the user simply needs to pop a pouch between their lip and gums whenever needed to release nicotine which can be absorbed through the gums.
The pouch can be kept in place anywhere from 5 minutes up to 30 minutes and can then be discarded, the containers often have a waste compartment built in for used pouches. You will usually experience some tingling in the area around the pouch as the nicotine is released, and this is completely normal but if it becomes unpleasant you can simply move the pouch to a different location. It is important to bear in mind that nicotine pouches are designed to be disposed of after use and not to be swallowed.
Do nicotine pouches stain your teeth?
Unlike snus which are known to cause staining to the teeth, nicotine pouches do not contain tobacco or any colourings and so are not related to staining of the teeth. They also eliminate the smell of tobacco or smoke on the breath, and depending on the flavour can actually freshen your breath a little.
Are nicotine pouches allowed on planes?
Another reason that nicotine pouches are a popular option for those making a stop smoking attempt is that they can pretty much be used anytime, anywhere. Nicotine pouches can be taken on planes either in your hand luggage or in your suitcase, and unlike e-cigarettes you can use them on the plane. This is because you are not inhaling or exhaling any smoke or vapour when using a pouch, it is simply absorbed through your gums.
This makes them a great option for long plane journeys when you are not able to use your e-cigarette and need something that can help you manage your nicotine cravings for the duration of the flight. They are also ideal for those other times when you are not able to take a vape break and need something discreet and easy to tide you over.
Are snus legal in the UK?
Snus are not legal to sell in the UK, along with all countries in the EU with the exception of Sweden.
Snus were officially banned in the UK in 1992 under The Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations and more recently as part of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which has now been transposed into UK law in the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation 2016 (TRPR). Although the Department of Health and Social Care will be undertaking a review of TRPR there are currently no known plans for snus to become legal in the UK.