For anyone looking to give up tobacco, nicotine pouches are one of the fastest and most-effective tobacco-free methods. Other replacement therapies such as nicotine gum and nicotine patches still have their markets of interested consumers, but don’t work as effectively. While vaping e-liquids with freebase or nicotine salt may be the way to go for transitioning away from tobacco with a similar habit, nicotine pouches - which are available in a variety of flavours - are the easy, discreet and mess-free way to get the required level of nicotine in your system.
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 lip and gum (some people prefer cheek and gum) and hold 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 higher amounts of 6-8mg, 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.
First made popular by brands such as Snus, which contain tobacco, you can now also get tobacco-free to improve your health. Therefore, although not yet recognised by some tobacco-regulated industries as a cessation tool, nicotine pouches are still recommended to help smokers quit with a tobacco-free nicotine-infused substance.
How Do You Use Nicotine Pouches?
As you can expect, they’re super easy to use straight out of the container. With the idea of nicotine pouches originating in Sweden two centuries ago, they’ve come along some way since then. 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. 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 and it’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 some but not a huge amount to date. Below are the classic options for popping between your gums and lip:
- Mint- top brands like Nordic, ZYN and Lucy produce this refreshing flavour to not just satisfy your nicotine cravings but create a crisp menthol taste.
- 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.
- Tropical - sample all the delicious juicy fruits of the Caribbean with a nicotine pouch packed with a mixture of sweet and bold tropical sweeteners.
- 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.
What Do Nicotine Pouches Do to Your Body?
Nicotine is not combustible like tobacco or dangerous as a substance on its own but does 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 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?
Because nicotine pouches are a relatively new creation, there is limited research on the potential damage of using these close to your gums. However, 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 the hundreds of dangerous toxins found in cigarettes.
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 small tactful 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. All anybody has to do that’s curious about trying them is 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 packaged in 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.