One of the reasons why nicotine pouches have become so immensely popular in recent years is the potential health benefits compared to traditional tobacco products. Lots of studies have been carried out in the last couple of years to better understand the health effects of nicotine pouches and whilst conclusions may vary, one thing is certain: nicotine pouches are much less harmful than smoking.
With that said, nicotine pouches (specifically the nicotine in them) do have some health effects. Whilst more studies need to be conducted to better understand the effects of nicotine pouches, the studies thus far have found a lot of interesting conclusions. Moreover, it’s important to emphasize that results from studies that have looked at the health impact of, for example, smoking, and then applying those findings to nicotine pouches are extremely misleading.
Since the health consequences of smoking primarily come from the inhalation of smoke, those results cannot be used to solely analyze the health impacts of nicotine alone, which is what nicotine pouches essentially are.
Now to the pressing question of this article:
As mentioned, the reduced health risks of nicotine pouches are one of the main reasons for the growing popularity of nicotine pouches. People who are looking for a less harmful alternative to smoking have begun discovering nicotine pouches. But do nicotine pouches raise blood pressure? The good news is that since nicotine pouches are essentially just flavored nicotine, there are plenty of studies that have looked at nicotine alone, whose findings can essentially be directly applied to nicotine pouches.
Understanding Nicotine Pouches
Before we dig into the key question of this article, let’s first clarify what nicotine pouches are.
Nicotine Pouches are small pouches made of plant fiber, flavoring, sweeteners, and other food-grade ingredients that are placed under the upper lip. Once there, the nicotine is absorbed via the oral mucosa in a discreet, hands-free, and smoke-free way. Nicotine pouches are a relatively new product on the market, only existing for about 10 years but growing in popularity, especially in the last couple of. At the same time, nicotine pouches are essentially a product development of Swedish tobacco snus which has been used for centuries. Manufacturers looked at ways they could offer the same experience but in a tobacco-free manner and the result was nicotine pouches. As it is smoke-free, it eliminates the harmful effects of inhaling smoke.
With their growing popularity, nicotine pouches now come in a vast selection of flavors, nicotine strengths, formats, and designs.
Nicotine and Blood Pressure
Nicotine is the key ingredient in nicotine pouches that gives the stimulating effect when used.
Nicotine is a psychoactive component in tobacco (and a few other plants) that binds to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the nervous system when consumed.
When nicotine interacts with these receptors, it stimulates the release of various neurotransmitters, including adrenaline. This stimulation triggers different physiological responses, including an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and the contraction of blood vessels.
The topic of nicotine and blood pressure is one that has been studied for years and the findings are generally that the use of nicotine pouches may have some level of impact on the blood pressure. With that said, there is not a general consensus but some studies do suggest iF s is the case.
Those who find a connection between the use of nicotine pouches and increased blood pressure explain that nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means that it narrows blood vessels and increases resistance to blood flow. As a result, this contributes to a temporary rise in blood pressure when consuming nicotine. The main reason for increased blood pressure is that when nicotine enters the bloodstream, it moves to the gland which leads to it pumping out the stress chemical called adrenalin. Adrenalin has a direct impact on blood pressure (source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23038-adrenaline)
The study ”Does smokeless tobacco cause hypertension?” concluded that ”Health care practitioners should be aware that smokeless tobacco may elevate blood pressure up to 90 minutes after use.” (Source)
In a summary of studies by the Swedish magazine ”Doctor’s Journal” (Läkartidningen.se), that looked at studies related to Swedish tobacco snus, they concluded the following:
”Two previous studies have shown higher blood pressure in snus users; six studies have not been able to confirm this. In a population-based study of 4305 men, 25 to 74 years old, we found no difference in resting blood pressure between snuffers who had never smoked and those who had never used any tobacco. Further research should focus on 24-hour ambulatory measurements of blood pressure under everyday conditions.”
With that said, Swedish tobacco snus and nicotine pouches are not identical, however, they are very similar with the difference that nicotine pouches do not contain tobacco. This is why, despite the difference, we can assume that the results are somewhat similar for both products, seeing that nicotine is the key ingredient that impacts blood pressure, and the products are used in the exact same way.
In the article, they continue:
“In just over 4,000 men in northern Sweden, we found no differences in blood pressure between those who had never used tobacco and those who were snus users without having previously smoked. The results were unchanged even when possible confounding factors, such as age, waist measurement, blood pressure medication and physical inactivity, were taken into account. Among the snus users, however, the systolic pressure was higher in heavy users than in those with low snus intake. This suggests that high consumption of snus can lead to increased systolic blood pressure. However, the increased pressure is not significant in relation to the pressure in those who have never used tobacco.” (Source)
As the popularity of nicotine pouches has grown, so has the interest in conducting studies analyzing their health effects, including their impact on blood pressure. With that said, there will always be variations depending on things like frequency of use and nicotine strength, including differences between people. So it’s evident that nicotine (and thus nicotine pouches) temporarily raises blood pressure during use but to which extent will vary depending on the mentioned factors and more.
What studies have also found is that the absence of combustion and exposure to harmful byproducts in nicotine pouches dramatically mitigate cardiovascular risks associated with traditional smoking, due to the absence of smoke.
With all of this said, nicotine pouch usage may have an impact on blood pressure but researchers do not agree to which extent. Moreover, there are many other factors that will impact the effect that nicotine pouches have.
Factors Influencing Blood Pressure
As mentioned, there will always be different factors that influence the effect in studies, which is why it is often difficult to be 100% decisive in study conclusions. With that said, users of nicotine pouches will experience different levels of raised blood pressure. Some may hardly experience any change at all whereas others may have more pronounced increases in blood pressure. Let’s have a look at the main factors that influence the impact of nicotine pouches on your blood pressure.
Individual Variations in Response to Nicotine
Like with all health studies, the impact can differ from person to person. This is why it’s important to consider variability in individual responses when it comes to nicotine pouches.
People can exhibit different sensitivities to nicotine due to factors such as genetics, age, and overall health, all of which can play a role in how the cardiovascular system responds to nicotine exposure.
Some individuals may experience a more pronounced increase in blood pressure, while others may show minimal changes. If you experience a noticeable and uncomfortable increase in your blood pressure, it may be wise to reduce your consumption of nicotine pouches or reduce the nicotine strength you are using.
Dosage and Frequency of Nicotine Pouch Use
Since we know nicotine does have a temporary impact on blood pressure, the dosage and frequency will naturally play a role in the level of effect on blood pressure. As a general rule, higher nicotine concentrations and more frequent use can lead to a more sustained elevation in blood pressure. In addition, more frequent and consistent use throughout the day will also result in a higher dose of nicotine overall which will influence the cumulative nicotine exposure and its subsequent effects on cardiovascular parameters.
Comparison with Other Lifestyle Factors
Last but not least, we have lifestyle factors, which all vary from person to person and are another aspect that makes it difficult for studies to provide definite answers.
Diet, physical activity, stress levels, and pre-existing health conditions all contribute to the overall cardiovascular health of an individual. For that reason, it is impossible to state definitely how nicotine pouch use interacts with these factors. It’s important to have a holistic view to understand the impact on blood pressure and cardiovascular well-being.
Recommendations and Conclusion
All in all, researchers’ findings in the many studies that have been conducted over the years vary. Whilst some have identified a clear relationship between increased blood pressure and the use of nicotine pouches, others have not been able to see an equally strong relationship.
With that said, there are many other factors that need to be taken into account when comparing results, not to mention things like overall health, habits, and lifestyle.
But in general, those studies that have found a relationship between the use of nicotine pouches and blood pressure have found that it is a temporary increase that lasts up to 90 minutes after use.
If you are wondering about the potential impact on your particular situation, our advice is to try to identify the impact, if any, that nicotine pouches have on your blood pressure. Compare your blood pressure if you use normal-strength nicotine pouches compared to pouches with a stronger nicotine strength (if you use such) to see if you notice any difference. If you experience increased blood pressure, you may want to opt for a lower nicotine strength.