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Are Nicotine Pouches the Same as Smoking?

Smoking vs nicotine pouches

With nicotine pouches rising quickly in popularity in recent years, nicotine pouches is still a novel nicotine product that most people are unfamiliar with

Most people are not aware of what nicotine pouches are, how they work, and their benefits. With that said, nicotine pouches, containing nicotine, is often automatically associated with smoking.

Of course, those who are familiar with nicotine pouches and the relevant studies know that the difference between smoking and nicotine pouches are huge.

In short, nicotine pouches are very different from tobacco in several different aspects. It is also worlds apart in terms of the health impacts compared to smoking.

If you are new to nicotine pouches and wonder whether nicotine pouches are the same as smoking, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will set things straight and explain how nicotine pouches differ from smoking.

Introduction to Nicotine Pouches

Nicotine pouches are a relatively modern nicotine pouches, first arriving around 10 years ago and gaining particular traction in the last couple of years.

The concept of nicotine pouches was born from Swedish tobacco snus, which is used in the same was as nicotine pouches. Tobacco snus is predominantly used in Sweden and the nordic countries and has a century-long tradition. Swedish snus is not to be confused with dip or chewing tobacco which are very different from snus.

The market began asking for a tobacco-free product that offered the same experience as snus but without tobacco. Since tobacco stains the teeth and also has a particular flavor, many people (in particular women) wanted something that was more fresh and with more interesting flavors. Said and done, manufacturers started experimenting and the result was tobacco-free nicotine pouches where the tobacco had been replaced with plant fiber and the nicotine added afterwards. Since plant fiber is tasteless, manufacturers now had endless opportunities of giving the pouches virtually any flavor conceivable.

Nicotine pouches are used just like snus and placed under the upper lip for between 10-50 minutes where they release nicotine into the bloodstream via the oral mucosa.

Nicotine pouches offer many benefits compared to traditional tobacco products, in particular:

  • Free from tobacco
  • Free from combustion
  • Much less harmful than smoking
  • Available in an endless selection of flavors
  • Available in many different nicotine strengths
  • Can be used anytime and anywhere
  • Are extremely convenient
  • Are completely discreet – no-one has to know you are using them.

Now, as you can see, there’s not much about nicotine pouches that remind of smoking, other than the fact that they are used to get nicotine. For that reason, nicotine pouches are certainly not the same as smoking.

 Nicotine Delivery

Nicotine pouches differ a lot from smoking due to the fact that they are not combustible.

With smoking, the concept is to inhale tobacco smoke so that the lungs can absorb nicotine. With nicotine pouches, you simply place a pouch under the lip and the nicotine is absorbed in a completely hands-free and smoke-free manner.

Nicotine, while addictive, is not the primary health concern associated with smoking; it is the combustion of tobacco that produces harmful byproducts. Nicotine pouches, being smoke-free, eliminate exposure to these harmful substances, making them much less harmful. At the same time, nicotine is addictive and may have some impact on health. Still, researcher’s are unanimous in the conclusion that nicotine pouches are considerably less harmful than smoking.

Smoking is widely recognized as a leading cause of various health issues, including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, and an increased risk of cancer. 

Social impact

As people become more and more health-aware, the social acceptance of smoking is gradually decreasing. Just a few decades ago, essentially everyone was smoking. Today, that looks a lot different and the number of smokers in the world is steadily declining.

This primarily has to do with the increased awareness of the detrimental health consequences that smoking has. As a result, smoking has become less and less socially acceptable, being banned in many places like outdoor restaurants, on airplanes, indoors, and more.

On the contrary, nicotine pouches have, to some extent, been embraced as a more socially acceptable alternative. In addition, the discreet nature of pouch use means that it is possible to use them anytime and anywhere -without anyone knowing. With that said, most people are still unfamiliar with nicotine pouches so the level of acceptance varies across different communities and regions. In Sweden, for example, which has the highest rate of snus and nicotine pouches, these products are highly socially acceptable, and virtually anywhere you go – an office, a café, restaurant, or bar, you’ll more than likely spot cans of nicotine pouches or snus on the tables. On the contrary, smoking has a completely different social acceptance, generally looked down upon by most people in Sweden.

VOLT nicotine pouches

Environmental sustainability is another factor to consider when comparing nicotine pouches to smoking. Unlike traditional cigarettes, which generate significant amounts of cigarette butt waste and contribute to deforestation through tobacco farming, nicotine pouches are often marketed as a more environmentally friendly option. However, the environmental impact of the production and disposal of pouches should not be overlooked. Nicotine pouches are biodegradable except for the pouches which contain a certain ”adhesive” to hold them together which is not biodegradable. It is advised to throw the used pouches in a trash can or the top lid of the can.

The fact that nicotine pouches come equipped with a top lid for the disposal of used pouches makes it easy to discard them without thrashing them in nature – which often happens with cigarette butts due to the inconvenience of discarding them if there is not an ashtray nearby.

Are nicotine pouches the same as smoking?

As you can see, the conclusion is clear: nicotine pouches are not the same as smoking.

Nicotine pouches differ from smoking in many different ways, including:

  • Do not contain tobacco
  • Are not combustible
  • Are a much less harmful alternative
  • Can be used anytime and anywhere – including indoors, public transport, airplanes etc

.. and many more reasons.

Many users appreciated the convenience, discreteness, and variety of flavors as positive aspects of their experience with nicotine pouches.

Smoking is often as much a ritualistic and sensory experience as it is a nicotine delivery method. Some users may find the hand-to-mouth motion and the act of inhaling smoke integral to their smoking experience. These are elements that nicotine pouch usage may not replicate

In terms of nicotine, it’s generally accepted that smoking is more addictive than nicotine, partly due to the ritual of smoking. With nicotine pouch use, there’s not much of a ritual as you just put a pouch under the lip and go on with your day.


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