What Are Nicotine Pouches, and Do They Have A Role In Smoking Cessation?


In recent years, a new product has emerged as a promising alternative to traditional cigarettes. Nicotine pouches entered the US market in 2016 and have since seen an exponential increase in sales. By 2021, almost half, or 46.6%, of US adults reported awareness of these products, with 16.4% having tried them and 3% using them consistently. Today, in 2024, Euromonitor International projects that the global market of nicotine pouches could reach US$15 billion by 2027.


This popularity isn’t surprising, given how a majority of US adults believe that nicotine pouches are less harmful than cigarettes. How accurate is that statement? Below, we take a closer look at nicotine pouches’ potential as a quit-smoking tool.


Understanding nicotine pouches


Nicotine pouches are small, pre-portioned pouches containing nicotine, flavorings, sweeteners, and plant-based fibers. They come in a variety of flavors and strengths, allowing users to customize their nicotine intake according to their preferences and needs.


Unlike traditional tobacco products like snus, nicotine pouches lack harmful chemicals typically found in tobacco smoke, such as tar or carbon monoxide. 2023 research on VELO’s biomarkers of potential harm  (BoPHs) confirms that individuals who exclusively use nicotine pouches experience significantly reduced exposure to tobacco toxicants. This scope included NNAL, a BoPH linked to the development of lung cancer in smokers, and even BoPH 11-dTX, a biomarker associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Recognizing notable brands


Since 2016, several brands have entered the nicotine pouch market to offer a wide range of options for consumers. Among these, ZYN quickly became a best-seller, with Philip Morris International announcing they shipped 350 million cans in 2023. The brand is renowned for its high-tech distillation procedure that allows it to extract nicotine directly from the tobacco plant. At the same time, users may experience side effects of ZYN like mouth soreness or hiccups — natural results of nicotine use — the range of available options and quality ingredients mean that these pouches still have a loyal following. Users who experience an upset stomach, for instance, may chalk it up to sensitivity to the peppermint flavor and simply switch from ZYN Peppermint to another option. This indicates significant loyalty among consumers seeking a smoke-free nicotine experience.


The growing market for nicotine pouches means that brands continue to innovate in order to stand out and cater to other consumers. ZYN, for instance, tends to highlight how consumers are free to choose among its many reduced-risk options in its advertisements and relies on the strength of its brand marketing. Meanwhile, the headline themes for On! commonly include ‘flavor,’ with its ads featuring the product only. This is to emphasize its broad selection of delicious flavors, from citrus to cinnamon and wintergreen, as its primary selling point. This critical strategy has been invaluable in securing On!’s position as the second best-selling brand of nicotine pouches among US adults, followed by VELO and Rogue.


Analyzing nicotine pouches’ role in smoking cessation


Many smokers may initially turn to nicotine pouches to capitalize on their more convenient attributes. For starters, the product allows the ingestion of nicotine without risking gum and teeth health as traditional cigarettes would. This was explained in our previous article on  where we discussed how periodontal maintenance procedures are lengthy yet necessary to prevent gum disease. Scaling and root planing are often necessary to remove stubborn plaque and tartar deposits, which can be by-products of the smoking experience.


However, many users soon find that nicotine pouches’ tobacco-free and smoke-free properties form a smoother foundation for complete smoking cessation. The diverse range of flavors available allows users to enjoy a satisfying sensory experience while managing nicotine dependence. This variety not only helps to alleviate cravings but also adds an element of enjoyment to the quitting process, making it more likely for individuals to stick to their cessation goals in the long term. Additionally, the oral format of nicotine pouches enables users to seamlessly integrate them into their daily routines, providing a discreet solution for managing nicotine cravings without disrupting their lifestyle. As a result, nicotine pouches may serve as a valuable tool in smoking cessation efforts, offering smokers a pathway to a smoke-free future.


By incorporating these into a comprehensive smoking cessation program, individuals can enhance their chances of improving their overall well-being. For more news on health, check out our blog on PopularWeby.