Alternatives to Smoking: Get the Facts on Snus and Nicotine Pouches

Alternatives to Smoking: Get the Facts on Snus and Nicotine Pouches

If you’ve ever traveled to Sweden, you’ve likely come across people using snus. Sweden’s love for this smokeless tobacco product has seen its residents ditch cigarettes in favor of a less hazardous way to get their nicotine fix.

Since making the switch from cigs to snus, Sweden has shown a substantial reduction in smoking related diseases, especially when compared to the rest of Europe where cigarette usage remains high and snus is banned.

And while snus has made it to America, it seems as though a more recent smoke-free alternative is actually becoming all the rage, especially with younger adults. Nicotine pouches are another alternative to smoking that not only ditches the smoke and high levels of toxins found in cigarettes but also is free from tobacco unlike snus.

Let’s dive into the world of snus and nicotine pouches to showcase what many say are both safer forms of nicotine usage allowing for a potential successful harm reduction strategy that the rest of the EU and other nations around the world may want to consider.

lyft Nicotine pouches: photo by Bystroushaak, CC BY-SA 4.0-Wikimedia Commons

What is Snus?

Snus has definitely always been a Swedish thing, with some saying usage within the country dates back to around the mid 17th century when it was first introduced. With the introduction of cigarettes, Swedish snus usage saw a short-lived decline after having reached record levels only a short time before, only to then see a resurgence in recent decades. It has since also become rather popular in neighboring Norway.

Snus has become a tool that many tobacco users are using as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, vaping, or using chewing tobacco. This oral smokeless tobacco product often comes in small packets and is placed behind the upper lip. Snus offers users a high nicotine delivery and absorption with far fewer harmful substances than cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Sweden’s adoption of snus as a cultural icon has seen its number of smokers drop to the lowest numbers among EU nations. This has resulted in the EU’s lowest occurrence of lung cancer in men as well as the lowest rate of tobacco-related mortality. Despite this, snus remains prohibited in all EU member nations except for Sweden.

What are Nicotine Pouches?

Generally regarded as the tobacco-free version of snus, nicotine pouches are one of the latest ways for people to enjoy nicotine. Much like snus, these smokeless pouches are places under the upper lip where they exude nicotine for upwards of an hour but go a step further than snus by being tobacco-free.

Nicotine pouches quick rise in popularity is largely due to the many flavors on offer, as well as the fact it produces little saliva and the juices that do result are safe to swallow and therefore make the product spit-free. Nicotine pouches often use nicotine salt that has been extracted from Nicotiana tabacum plants before being crystallized. No other parts of the tobacco plant find their way into the product

Some of the advantages of nicotine pouches which have seen them become a more popular option over snus on a global stage include their longer shelf-life and the fact they do not stain your teeth as many snus varieties can. As stated previously, Nicotine pouches come in a wide range of flavors including but definitely not limited to mint, cherry, honey, citrus fruits, and coffee flavor.

Sweden’s top snus brands have realized the high demand for nicotine pouches and have therefore developed their own nicotine pouch brands as well that are sold in markets like the US where they have really taken off in recent years.

Velo nicotine pouches: photo by Jakubdrastich2, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Snus and Nicotine Pouches in the US

While Americans have tried taking after the Swedes by dabbling in snus usage, they have been more eager to adopt nicotine pouches. In just the last five years since they were first introduced to the states, the US has seen sales of nicotine pouches increase 300 times. Sales are now on a trajectory to soon reach 100 million units annually, with shipments of nicotine pouches from Stockholm-based producers increasing at a rapid rate.  

It’s now easier than ever to purchase nicotine pouches in America thank to online retailers like Prilla who offer a wide selection of nicotine pouches to more than a dozen states. Because products are shipped from a US warehouse, you can enjoy fast and free delivery on most orders.

Tobacco-free nicotine pouches in the US are now readily available in a wide range of brands and flavors, including top brands like ZYN, ON!, VELO, and Rogue. You’ll find products being sold at great prices and packaged in convenient, discreet packaging resembling mint containers.

ZYN nicotine pouches alone are now available in over 100,000 stores across the US, arguably becoming the most popular brand in America. While online ordering of pouches may currently be restricted to only a number of states, this is likely to progress to nationwide shipping being available in the near future which will only solidify the US as being the world’s largest nicotine pouch market. The next market for nicotine pouches is likely to be in the Middle East with a startup likely in the UAE.

Getting back to American snus, you can expect a sweeter flavor than the Swedish stuff since there is a focus in America to concentrate more on flavors like mint or fruits to disguise the tobacco flavor. You’ll also find that the nicotine content of American snus is lower than Sweden’s, mainly due to portion sizes being smaller.

One of the biggest reasons why Americans may have pushed snus aside for nicotine pouches may be due to snus causing minor heartburn for some users who have swallowed what is supposed to be “spitless tobacco” only to find out spitting was in fact necessary to avoid gastric distress.

We hope we’ve been able to shed some light on the world of nicotine alternatives like snus and nicotine pouches. While nicotine can be highly addictive for many users, they do at the very least seem to provide a much safer alternative to smoking cigarettes and they do not seem to provide a gateway to using cigarettes so are considered safe in this respect.

Snus has managed to remain popular in Sweden for centuries and with nicotine pouches popularity rising rapidly, it will be interesting to see if more an more countries worldwide legalize the sale and use of both of these products.

Banner Image by: Jakubdrastich2, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Author: Michael Jerrard

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