Nicotine Pouch Revolution
As Bob Dylan said, “these times, they are a changin’”. As the world changes, so does demand for new, innovative, and different products. As that demand grows, companies have to adapt to meet it. The growing “all white” / “nicotine pouch” / “nicopod” category is a reflection of that. Also, it is a reflection of how people quit smoking. But, more on that later. First, I want to take you on a trip down memory lane to the summer of 2009.
But, to recap, I quit smoking in 2009 thank to Swedish Snus. Prior to that, I tried other things such as the nicotine gum, the nicotine patch, as well as pharmaceutical options such as Chantix.
Nothing worked until I discovered Swedish Snus. That was what finally did the trick for me. Now, we are seeing that there are people who want to quit smoking but also all forms of tobacco, and this is where products like nicotine pouches come in handy. As an advocate for tobacco harm reduction, I personally support anything that helps people quit smoking as long as it is safer than traditional, combustible tobacco.
I think at this point, it is important to break down the term “all white” a little further. That term is thrown around often, and it can mean different things. “All White” can mean White Tobacco, Nicotine Pouches (Moist), and Nicotine Pouches (Dry). This article will primarily focus on nicotine pouches, but I wanted to differentiate for those who may be wondering what all these all white products are.
White Epok & G4
First, there are white tobacco products such as Epok and G4. These products contain tobacco, but the tobacco is “washed” or “treated” until it is completely white. The pouch also remains white before, during, and after use. These pouches look like regular snus except the pouch is completely white. Again, this article is on nicotine pouches primarily, but I wanted to address white tobacco as the term ‘all white’ seems to be used interchangeably with white tobacco products and nicotine pouch products.
What is nicotine without tobacco?
Next, there are also nicotine pouches which look very much like white tobacco pouches, except they do not contain tobacco. Nicotine pouches contain, of course, nicotine, but instead of tobacco they contain some form of plant fiber. In the lip they feel just like regular snus, but these are tobacco-free products. These products are incredibly easy to use. Like snus, you simply put them in your upper lip. They are discrete and completely spit-free. These products are also white before, during, and after use.
The difference between dry and moist pouches?
Not only that, but you can break nicotine pouches down even further into two types: dry and moist. There are moist products such as Skruf Super White, Zyn, Nordic Spirit, Lyft, and White Fox. Those products look and feel like regular snus in the lip but, again, they are tobacco free and completely white. There are dry products such as, again, Zyn, as well as on! Nicotine Pouches. These nicotine pouch products range from 3mg/g all the way up to the extra strong level. Nicotine Pouches come in a wide variety of flavors such as citrus, blueberry, melon, mint, rhubarb, black currant, lime, licorice, bergamot wild berry, apple mint, ginger blood orange, and more!
Why all white?
Before answering this question, it is important to address something else. I originally started reviewing Swedish Snus ten years ago. I am a Swedish Snus purist. However, over the years I’ve began reviewing chew bags/Nordic Chew as well as these nicotine pouches. These aren’t products I personally use, but I’m glad they exist. I am, first and foremost, an advocate for tobacco harm reduction. This means I want people to quit smoking. Many can’t quit with the pharmaceutical means, so I advocate for Swedish Snus. Some want to quit smoking and tobacco, but can’t quit nicotine. This is why I am glad these nicotine pouch products exist. Are they for me? No. But, will I suggest them to people who are wanting to quit smoking and tobacco? You bet I will.
A problem we are seeing, especially in the online communities, is gatekeeping. Not a day goes by that I don’t notice a comment on a YouTube video I made, or a comment on Reddit, or a comment on a Facebook post, where a user of Swedish Snus is attacking someone who is asking about nicotine pouches because they consider these products “fake snus”. I try not to get hostile when this occurs, but I do try to reiterate to these people that nicotine pouches are something different, and they exist to help people who want to quit smoking and tobacco but not nicotine. Gatekeeping is a major hurdle in the tobacco harm reduction community. I understand that many, like myself, are major snus fans / snus purists, but to advocate for harm reduction we must truly advocate for all forms of tobacco harm reduction, including nicotine pouches.
Also, around the world there are other markets where snus is illegal, or taxed very high. While Sweden is the land of snus, and yes, I am jealous, there are places around the world that are not so lucky. This is where nicotine pouches can play a major difference. As mentioned before, people in these countries may find nicotine pouches as a suitable alternative for their nicotine cravings. The UK, for example, is not a snus market, but nicotine pouches are becoming more popular there. The website haypp.com comes to mind. In fact, they delivery in boxes that fit in the letterbox in apartments, which is something very unique that you don’t really see other online stores focusing on. Like the UK, we are seeing nicotine pouches pushing their way into these markets and being embraced by smokers looking for a way to kick cigarettes to the curb. While governments may not embrace tobacco harm reduction and safer alternatives such as Swedish Snus, nicotine pouches are providing an alternative in these markets for people who, like myself, couldn’t quit with pharmaceutical means.
The future of nicotine pouches
This category has grown relatively fast. White tobacco burst onto the market in 2004 with the Epok product line. Zyn came around in 2016, and really made an impact in the nicotine pouch category with their dry, mini pouches. And within the past few years we’ve seen moist nicotine pouch products such as Skruf Super White, Zyn (the moist kind), Lyft, Nordic Spirit, and White Fox. I believe this is only the beginning. As these products grow in popularity I imagine we will see more flavors, a larger range of nicotine strengths, and even more manufacturers getting in on this trend. Right now we only see Swedish Match, Skruf, Fiedler & Lundgren, Nordic Snus AB, and GN Tobacco making these products. But, I firmly believe we will see more companies getting in on this growing product category as the years progress. I do not think these products will replace traditional snus. I believe they will stand alone as their own category of harm reduced products, much like nasal snuff and vaping do. So, do not fear fellow snus purists, these products will not harm our beloved Swedish Snus.
If you know me, you know my snus of choice is General. I frequently get asked the question, “If Swedish Match made a tobacco free product with the same nicotine level and exact same flavor as General Snus, would you quit tobacco and switch to nicotine pouches?” I always have to stop and think, but my answer is usually no. I enjoy tobacco. I frequently say this, but these nicotine pouch products aren’t for me. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Because while these products aren’t for me, they are for somebody. And as an advocate for tobacco harm reduction, that’s okay with me. Because I want to see as many people quit smoking as possible. Whether it is with traditional Swedish Snus, or these tobacco-free nicotine pouches, the goal at the end of the day is to save lives. And while these products may not be for you, or for me, they do accomplish that end; they help people quit smoking and they save lives.
I want to encourage people to remember that. If you are, like me, a Swedish Snus purist, remember that these products can save lives. Gatekeeping does not work to help forward tobacco harm reduction. It could make people think twice about these products. However, if we avoid gatekeeping and embrace this new product category as a way to help people quit smoking, we can further the tobacco harm reduction discussion and provide a way that people can kick cigarettes to the curb.
These times, and products, truly are a changin’. It’s a brave new world for tobacco harm reduction.