The landscape of nicotine consumption has undergone a notable transformation in recent years, propelled by an increasing interest in alternative methods that veer away from traditional smoking. Previously, the only real available options when it came to nicotine products were cigarettes and other tobacco smoking products but in the recent decades, this has changed. A lot.
Many new products have entered the market and one product in particular has seen a huge surge in popularity, namely nicotine pouches. Another nicotine product that has also gained is nicotine gum.
But how do these two products compare, what are their characteristics, and which one is more suitable for you?
Brief Overview of Nicotine Pouches and Nicotine Gum
As smoking habits continue to evolve, more and more people seek alternatives that cater to their nicotine needs without the adverse effects associated with traditional cigarettes. Both nicotine pouches and nicotine gum offer users a discreet, convenient, and smoke-free way to get nicotine.
Nicotine pouches are small, discreet pouches containing nicotine and various flavorings, designed to be placed between the gum and lip. Nicotine gum, on the other hand, is just what it sounds like: regular chewing gum that contains nicotine. This offers a familiar oral fixation while bypassing the combustion associated with smoking.
Growing Popularity of Alternative Nicotine Products
The surge in popularity of nicotine pouches and gum reflects a broader cultural shift away from conventional smoking. As we become more health-conscious and aware of the detrimental and harmful effects of smoking, more are looking for less harmful nicotine delivery alternatives. Both nicotine gums and nicotine pouches are two such products.
Nicotine pouches are a relatively recent innovation in the realm of nicotine consumption which first came around 10 years or so ago but only started gaining real traction in the last couple of years. Nicotine pouches come in the form of small pouches which are placed under the upper lip where they release nicotine into the bloodstream via the oral mucosa. Nicotine pouches are made of plant fiber, flavoring, sweeteners, and other food-grade ingredients. Unlike traditional smokeless tobacco products, they are free from combustion and tobacco leaf which allows for a smoke-free and considerably less harmful nicotine delivery method.
Nicotine Pouches are available in a large selection of different flavors, formats, and nicotine strengths to cater to every preference.
Nicotine in pouches is absorbed through the oral mucosa, specifically the gum and inner lip which provides an almost instant and consistent nicotine delivery into the bloodstream. Because they are used under the lip, they are completely discreet and can be used anytime and anywhere.
With the rise in popularity of nicotine pouches, more and more brands have entered the market. Some of the most popular brands include Zyn, Velo, and On!, just to mention a few.
Nicotine gum is a product that has been around for quite some time and generally has a different usage area compared to nicotine pouches.
Nicotine gum is classified as a form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) which means that they are designed to help individuals quit or reduce smoking. For that reason, most people who use nicotine gum are primarily people who are trying to quit smoking.
Nicotine gum consists of a soft, chewable piece that delivers controlled doses of nicotine to the user. Unlike traditional gum, nicotine gum is formulated with pharmaceutical-grade nicotine which ensures a standardized and controlled release.
The composition typically includes nicotine, chewing gum base, sweeteners, flavorings, and other ingredients that contribute to the gum’s texture and taste. The nicotine in the gum is released through the process of chewing, allowing it to be absorbed through the lining of the mouth.
Nicotine gum operates on the principle of buccal absorption, where nicotine is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth, particularly the cheeks and gums. Chewing the gum releases nicotine, and users are advised to place the gum between their cheeks and gums for a period before chewing again. This method provides a gradual and controlled release of nicotine which, in a way, is similar to how nicotine pouches are used (even though nicotine pouches should not be chewed).
Nicotine gum comes in various strengths which allows you to choose a dosage that aligns with your nicotine dependence. The purpose of nicotine gum is to help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation.
Comparison between Nicotine Pouches and Nicotine Gum
As you can see, whilst both nicotine pouches and nicotine gums are nicotine products designed to deliver nicotine into the bloodstream, the concepts behind them are the same.
Whilst nicotine pouches are primarily used as a stimulant for enjoyment, chewing gums are, for the most part, used as a smoking cessation aid. With that said, there’s a lot of evidence that nicotine pouches can also help quit smoking, even though they are not officially classified as a nicotine replacement therapy product.
Absorption and Delivery
Nicotine Pouches: Nicotine pouches rely on the absorption of nicotine through the oral mucosa. They are under the upper lip which allows for a rapid and efficient transfer of nicotine into the bloodstream. This method provides a discreet and spit-free experience which makes it suitable for various settings. The quick onset of nicotine effects is favored by users seeking a swift and convenient alternative.
Nicotine Gum: Nicotine gum uses buccal absorption which involves the gradual release of nicotine through the mucous membranes of the mouth. Chewing the gum initiates the controlled release which allows you to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation. The ritual of chewing also mimics the hand-to-mouth action, providing a behavioral aspect akin to smoking.
Convenience and Discretion
Nicotine Pouches: Nicotine pouches excel in terms of convenience and discretion. Because they are used under the lip and are small, they are extremely discreet to use. In fact, no one ever has to know you are using them. Nicotine pouches can literally be used anytime and anywhere, a challenge that users of traditional tobacco products struggle with. On airplanes, in the office, in public transport, all of these situations are no problem. Moreover, they offer great convenience because you can simply place a pouch under the lip and go on with your day. There’s no disruption or having to go outside just to take a smoke. The ease of use makes nicotine pouches an attractive option for those with busy lifestyles or those who prefer a subtle approach to nicotine consumption.
Nicotine Gum: Nicotine gum is also quite convenient and portable. They do, however, involve a more noticeable chewing process. This may impact its discretion in certain social or professional settings. However, the act of chewing can be seen as a positive aspect, providing users with a tangible and engaging way to address oral cravings associated with smoking. People will simply believe you’re chewing regular gum, however, there are situations when this may not be ideal. For example, if you are in a meeting, it can be seen as disrespectful to be chewing gum, which is why nicotine pouches in these instances may be the more suitable choice.
Flavor Options and Preferences
Nicotine Pouches: Nicotine pouches exist in an endless selection of flavors today. From traditional mint and menthol to exotic choices like citrus, berries, and coffee, the diverse flavor options cater to a wide range of taste preferences. The absence of tobacco contributes to a cleaner taste, distinguishing nicotine pouches from traditional smokeless tobacco products.
Nicotine Gum: Nicotine gum is also available in a wise selection of flavors including mint, fruit, and many other variations. The variety allows you to select a flavor that aligns with your taste preferences. The act of chewing gum, coupled with the flavoring, can add a sensory component to the nicotine replacement experience.
Both nicotine pouches and nicotine gum offer a cleaner and healthier way to consume nicotine. They are both free from tobacco and smoke, making them a much healthier alternative.
The only question related to health is the impact nicotine has on the body. Moreover, nicotine is of course an addictive substance.
Nicotine Pouches: The impact of nicotine pouches on oral health is a subject of ongoing research. Studies are consistently being conducted but thus far, findings have primarily found that the effects of nicotine pouches are directly related to the effects of nicotine, meaning things like a temporarily increased blood pressure. Moreover, due to the constant use of a pouch against the gum, it may cause some friction against the gum. At the same time, these things fade in comparison to the harmful effects of smoking, so if nicotine pouches can contribute to a greater shift to less harmful alternatives, it is extremely positive for public health.
Nicotine Gum: Nicotine gum is a well-established form of nicotine replacement therapy and is generally considered safe when used as directed. However, it’s worth noting that nicotine is still addictive, even though they are mostly used by people who are already addicted to nicotine from smoking.
Oral Health Impact
Nicotine Pouches: Studies related to the impact of nicotine pouches on oral health are ongoing. Nicotine pouches eliminate the risks associated with the combustion of tobacco but prolonged use may lead to localized irritation or sensitivity in the gum area where the pouch is placed. The nicotine pouch may cause friction from constantly lying under the lip in the same place. This is why it’s a good idea to change the side where you place the pouch occasionally, especially if you are a frequent user.
Nicotine Gum: Nicotine gum, when used as directed, is generally considered safe for oral health. However, some users may experience potential side effects such as jaw discomfort, soreness, or irritation. These effects are often mild and temporary. If you experience persistent issues, a tip is to consult a healthcare professional.
Nicotine Addiction and Cessation
Nicotine Pouches: Nicotine pouches contain nicotine which is naturally addictive. The rapid absorption of nicotine through the oral mucosa may contribute to a quicker onset of dependence compared to traditional tobacco products. At the same time, many smokers have reported that nicotine pouches have been extremely valuable in helping them quit. With that said, if nicotine pouches can contribute to fewer smokers, that is a net positive for public health. As an example, Sweden is the country with the highest number of nicotine pouch and snus users in the world. It is also set to become the first smoke-free country in the world. With that said, there certainly seems to be a correlation between the rate of smoking and nicotine pouches.
Nicotine Gum: Nicotine gum is a recognized form of nicotine replacement therapy and is designed to help individuals quit smoking. The controlled release of nicotine helps manage withdrawal symptoms, making it an effective tool for smoking cessation. This is why nicotine pouches and nicotine pouches are slightly different in their purposes. Whilst nicotine pouches are mainly used for pleasure and as a stimulant, nicotine gum is intended as a smoking cessation aid. The graduated reduction in nicotine dosage allows users to gradually wean themselves off nicotine, reducing the risk of long-term dependence.