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Nicotine pouches are almost indispensable as a smoke-free alternative. However, due to the rapid growth in popularity and the unknown nature of nicotine pouches, government agencies are on the alert. However, nicotine pouches have existed in a different form for hundreds of years. So what are these pouches? Are they harmful? With hundreds of types, brands and types of snus, it is perfectly possible that you get lost. Alpha Pouch offers advice and lists all knowledge and facts.
1. Snus, A Brief History:
The nicotine pouches we know today are the result of a long evolution from an old tobacco product, Snus. However, the earliest form of smokeless tobacco originated in France in the 16th century. This fine, dry snuff was sniffed through the nose by noblemen and wealthy merchants. Through diplomatic channels snuff found its way to Sweden where the recipe was reworked over the years. The tobacco was steamed to preserve it and to remove most of the harmful substances. This new form of tobacco was called snus, and it was placed under the upper lip instead of being sniffed. Although the native American population smoked tobacco in the 16th century, this was not the case in Europe. Tobacco smoking was seen as primitive and vulgar in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Scandinavia has made snus-making an art for 200 years. While the rest of the world discovered smoking, Sweden and Norwegians remained loyal to the smokeless way of tobacco consumption. Europe banned the sale and use of snus in mainland Europe in 1992. This is due to the alleged carcinogenic properties of snus. Thanks to the tobacco lobby, cigarettes and cigars can be traded and used. The ban on snus has since been refuted several times. The WHO recognizes that Swedish men have the lowest rate of tobacco-related cancers in Europe.
With the ban on snus, Swedish manufacturers such as Skruf and XQS started looking for a tobacco-free alternative to get around the ban. Initially, the tobacco was completely laundered. Later it was replaced by another vegetable filler. The few harmful substances that snus contained have also completely disappeared. The result is the product we know today under a number of names: Nicotine pouches, nicopods or nicotine
2. Health benefits over smoking
The advantages of nicotine pouches/ snus compared to smoking are self-evident. First of all, there is no question of carcinogenic (second hand) smoke. Swedish snus contains significantly less harmful substances than smoking (link). Nicotine pouches do not contain any harmful tobacco. Only vegetable filler, nicotine and flavourings. This makes nicotine pouches almost as safe as nicotine patches (link). Until recently, nicotine pouches in Belgium were legally described as a medical device. They can now also be sold outside pharmacies as a lower-risk product (link).
One independent study from BMC shows that snus and nicotine pouches are so less harmful than smoking that the carcinogenic properties are negligible in practice. Sweden has the highest number of tobacco users in Europe. Because it is smokeless tobacco, Sweden also has the lowest rate of tobacco-related cancers.
In conclusion: As a harm-reduction method, nicotine pouches are one of the safest and most effective methods to stop or reduce smoking. Nicotine patches offer an even safer alternative. But these don't provide the oral fixation that many smokers struggle with (link).
3. Snus and Nicotine pouches today
Snus is still not legally available in Europe today. You can only buy this in Sweden or Norway. There are certain webshops that sell snus online. But in practice this is forbidden.
Nicotine pouches are legal, and have grown enormously in popularity in recent years. There are dozens of manufacturers. Most with their own style and flavor profile. You can find more information about different nicotine pouch brands here here.
4. How to use snus and nicotine pouches
Using snus and nicotine pouches takes some practice. You place the bag between your lip and gums. Most users prefer the upper lip, just above the front teeth. You just leave the pouch in place. Slowly the flavors and nicotine are released.
Snus works for up to 2 hours. Nicotine pouches generally work for a shorter period of time. Half an hour to three quarters of an hour. However, there are exceptions such as EOS which manages to release nicotine and flavor for up to 2 hours.
Unlike cigarettes, snus and nicotine pouches release their nicotine over a longer period of time. Many users experience this as more pleasant and less nervous. Instead of chasing nicotine peaks, a user can enjoy his snus with peace and discretion.
5. Which nicotine strength is best for me
Traditional snus is available in 4 strengths. However, these are not freely available commercially and are therefore not further described here
Nicotine pouches are available in a plethora of strengths. These strengths are expressed in milligrams per gram, or milligrams per pouch. Each manufacturer uses a different system to indicate the strength on its can. You can usually find the exact amount on the ingredient list.
Light strengths are between 1 and 5 milligrams of nicotine per gram. This one light pouch is perfect for novice users or users trying to wean their nicotine use. You will find light pouches here.
Medium strengths amounts to between 5 and 10 milligrams of nicotine per gram. This one normal strength pouch can be compared to the average nicotine consumption of an ex-smoker. You will find medium strong pouches here.
Heavy strengths amounts to 11 to 25 milligrams of nicotine per gram. This one heavy nicotine pouches are only recommended for experienced users. They provide a strong buzz and can cause nausea for inexperienced users. You will find strong pouches here
Extra heavy strengths are between 25 and 50 milligrams of nicotine per gram. Just like the heavy pouches, caution is advised with this variant. They are very strong, give a loud buzz and are only recommended for the most experienced user. You will find extra strong pouches here
Extremely strong pouches are a new phenomenon. Due to the increasing demand for ultra-potent pouches, some manufacturers started making pouches with strengths of 100, 200 and even 500 milligrams of nicotine per gram.
Nicotine pouches of this strength are hazardous to health and we do not recommend their use.
6. The taste
Nicotine pouches are available in a variety of flavours. Almost every manufacturer has its own version of every conceivable coin, candy or fruit flavor. Some manufacturers such as LOOP distinguish themselves through the use of spicy chili undertones.
Muntsmaken: Mint was the standard in nicotine pouch country for many years. Mint gives a pleasant sting under the gums that many users enjoy. Almost every nicotine pouch manufacturer has a number of mint flavors in its range. Screw is a Scandinavian brand that specializes in coin variations. ACE is another Swedish manufacturer with many fresh mint tones in its range. Check out our muntsmaken
Fruit flavours: Many manufacturers elevate the flavors of their products to an art and offer exotic blends of tropical fruits. Zafari tries to evoke memories of warm holidays on sultry beaches with her flavors. XQS experiments with pronounced sweet flavors such as Cactus Sour. Another favorite is ZYN. An old player with many popular fruit flavours.
Candy flavours: With flavors such as cola, lemonade or energy drink Iceberg become very popular in recent years. These extra sweet and extra strong nicotine pouches are only for experienced sweet tooths.
7. CBD Pouches
Being the latest trend in the industry CBD pouches. CBD pouches are completely free of tobacco, THC and nicotine and contain only therapeutic doses of CBD. The therapeutic benefits of CBD have been apparent for a number of years. Research shows that CBD helps against symptoms of pain, anxiety and depression. CBD is not addictive.
Cannadips is the most famous American producer of CBD pouches. These pouches are filled with coconut fiber impregnated with CBD oil.
SMYS is a European producer of CBD pouches. SMYS is more like nicotine pouches. The bags look exactly the same, only they do not contain nicotine but water-soluble CBD.