As e-cigarette usage among teens and adults continues to be a source of worry, another form of flavoured nicotine product is gaining popularity: oral nicotine pouches and lozenges. Due to the large range of youngster-friendly flavours, this new type of “tob. product” (without tob.) is gaining traction in the youth market. Despite the fact that advertising makes it appear convenient and enticing, these items all contain variable quantities of the addictive substance nicotine.
What are nicotine pouches?
Between the lip and the gum are nicotine sachets. They contain nicotine, flavourings, sweeteners, and plant-based fibres, but no tob. You may have seen these goods in colourful packaging, many of which resembled mint packages, under the brands Zyn, Nordic Spirit, and Velo.
Despite the fact that nicotine levels vary greatly over the spectrum of types, it has been proven that nicotine use during adolescence has an impact on learning, attention span, and addiction susceptibility. The nicotine content of Zyn products can reach 6 milligrammes each pouch. Zyn nicotine pouch dollar sales in convenience stores surged by 470 percent in the first half of 2020, according to Nielsen data.
We should be especially concerned about their usage in adolescence because research reveals that early nicotine use and enjoyable initial experiences are connected to regular use and even lifetime nicotine dependency.
Are nicotine pouches safer than chewing or vaping?
Nicotine pouches have yet to be studied in terms of their long-term health effects. Although these products are not officially classified as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate them as tightly as smo. tob. products or combustible tob. in the United States. We don’t have long-term statistics yet, so we don’t know how lower exposure will translate into less harm to our health. Flavored nicotine pouches are not currently prohibited or restricted by law, and marketing limitations are less stringent than for smo. or combustible tob. products.
Gum irritation, sore mouth, hiccups, nausea, and, most crucially, nicotine addiction, which raises the chance of relapse with other tob. products, are all possible side effects of use.
Are nicotine pouches a safe approach to quitting nicotine dependence?
There is no evidence that nicotine pouches are a safe or effective method of quitting smoking. “I would not advocate these items because the FDA has not approved them as tob. cessation therapies or nicotine replacement drugs,” says Jill Selzle, PA, a certified tob. treatment specialist at Nebraska Medicine. “If someone has been able to stop cig. with nicotine pouches, I would recommend weaning off of them with the objective of nicotine freedom.”
Nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhalers are all approved nicotine replacement therapy. “There’s a lot of evidence that the most successful stop attempts incorporate both cognitive behavioural therapy and pharmaceuticals,” Selzle says. “All medications have adverse effects and indications for use, so it’s vital to talk to your doctor about them before taking them.”
Living free of nicotine is possible – try these tips for quitting
There is some positive news for those who are trying to quit smoking. You are not required to attempt to quit on your own. “Everyone I meet already has what they need on the inside to quit,” Selzle says. “Sometimes all it takes is someone like me to help them think through their options, make a strategy, and remind them of their own strength.”
Here are a few expert tips to help you quit for good:
- Understand nicotine withdrawal – what it looks and feels like for you
- Find ways to physically and mentally deal with urges in a healthy way
- Delay or distract to avoid tob. use
- Practice mindfulness – don’t be on autopilot, but be aware of every time you choose to use
- Use visualization, deep breathing or meditation to focus your energy
- Try a new hobby or activity to keep yourself busy
- Change routines
- Avoid access to tob. – don’t have it around, pay at the pump, avoid high-risk social situations)
- Exercise – it increases endorphins and helps you to stay busy in a healthy way
- Drink plenty of water
- Choose healthy foods