For many of us who are concerned with health habits, smoking and other tobacco and nicotine products feel very much like a thing of the past. And yet, despite the fact that we see far less smoking in public, these substances are still common throughout the U.S. What has really changed is that people are enjoying tobacco and nicotine in different, and often more acceptable ways.
Specifically, there is a new and emerging trend in the U.S. nicotine industry that has caught the eyes of many: nicotine pouches. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, nicotine pouch sales increased from $709,635 to $216.89 million from March 2016 to June 2020. That’s a massive increase that is quite clearly indicative of a major industry on the rise. So, what is causing all of this hype? Well, let’s take deeper look.
Nicotine pouches have emerged of late as the newest iteration in Nicotine Replacement Therapy, or “NRT” products. Manufacturers began producing NRT products essentially as replacements for the nicotine that users once got solely from tobacco.
They’re designed to provide a nicotine fix or “hit,” without the user having to consume tobacco, smoke, or a variety of chemicals present in cigarettes. This can serve two primary purposes: giving people one more thing to try as they attempt to leave smoking behind, or giving smokers options that are not widely prohibited in public spaces.
But what are the pros of using nicotine pouches specifically? And how do they compare to other products in the ever-evolving tobacco and nicotine space?
Nicotine Pouches vs. Smokeless Tobacco Products
For a while, smokeless tobacco products were propped up as the primary alternatives to cigarettes. However, nicotine pouches represent a better option to many. This is partly because they give would-be smokers their fix of nicotine without any tobacco involvement whatsoever.
There are additional perks also, however, which Prilla.com discussed in an in-depth explainer on how nicotine pouches differ even from smokeless tobacco products. Basically, by contrast to things like chewing tobacco, nicotine pouches are favored because they don’t cause users to spit, they can be used discreetly, and they come in more flavors.
As an added bonus, they also don’t cause any long-term discoloration of teeth –– an unpleasant tobacco product side effect that doesn’t tend to be brought up very often given some of the other long-term health implications of smoking.
Nicotine Pouches vs. Other NRT Products
It is true that pouches follow patches and gum, both of which were designed to satisfy nicotine habits without the harmful effects of cigarette chemicals or tobacco. Pouches do the same thing, but are valued because of the aforementioned flavors (mint, coffee, and more, for now).
They also represent a somewhat more active option than patches, which some smokers appreciate; many still want to be doing something, rather than just absorbing nicotine passively through a patch. Lodging a pouch into your upper lip is at least marginally more of an active solution –– akin to sucking on a hard candy, to some extent.
Nicotine Pouches vs. Vaping
Vaping, or e-cigarette smoking, has also gained popularity in recent years. Vape pens are also sold as alternative nicotine delivery systems, as they do not contain any tobacco. While vaping for CBD is reasonably safe when it’s done responsibly however, e-cig vaping is increasingly recognized as an unsafe alternative to smoking. By contrast, pouches provide the same nicotine habit relief without some of the harmful elements associated with e-cigs.
How To Use Nicotine Pouches
Each nicotine pouch is a small bag that, as mentioned, is placed in the mouth –– between the gums and the upper lip. Since there are no leaves, it is not meant to be smoked or swallowed. The bag can be placed in the mouth for up to one hour, which is also how long the flavor will typically last –– though it’s worth noting that different pouches also offer different strengths of flavor and nicotine dispersal.
Again, a lot of us are more or less past thinking of smoking in connection to modern healthy living trends. But there are still plenty of people who are trying to kick their smoking and tobacco habits as part of their own healthy living journeys. NRT products don’t offer perfect solutions, but they do at least cut tobacco out of the equation.
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