Tobacco products have long been known to have negative effects on users’ health. The World Health Organization reports that these products kill half of its users annually – or more than eight million people around the globe. Seven million of them succumb to issues resulting from direct use, while an estimated 1.2 million die from second-hand exposure.
With rising deaths from tobacco use, different products are being created to aid smokers to transition to less harmful alternatives, and one study found that nicotine pouches can be the key to fewer smoking-related deaths. With World No Tobacco Day just passing we examine if this study is the answer to reducing cigarette-related deaths.
What the study shows
A research published in BMC Public Health on ZYN pouches – one of the most popular brands in the nicotine pouch industry – created simulated scenarios wherein nicotine pouches were introduced to the general public at different times. The study aimed to project how public health statistics would change, given the introduction of nicotine pouches over cigarettes. In their methodology, the researchers created two sample scenarios of 100,000 individuals, taking into account age, sex, and smoking status. The base case would show statistics if nicotine pouches were not introduced, while the modified case showed if nicotine pouches were widely available.
By the year 2050, the study projected that there would be 249 fewer deaths in the modified case when compared to the base case. In relation to the American population, this would amount to 700,000 – a significant number of lives. Even when adjusted for other risk factors that contribute to mortality rates, the introduction of nicotine pouches can still lessen product-related deaths by 600,000.
But how can nicotine pouches make such a significant change?
How nicotine pouches are helping
They don’t affect the lungs
The main way tobacco products like cigarettes affect health is by causing distress to a user’s lungs. The tar build-up can lead to cancer, heart disease, and even a stroke. A study by the Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet explains that the way nicotine is delivered into the system is important and orally used products are seen to be less harmful than combustible products. Since nicotine pouches are put into a user’s mouth, contain no tobacco, and do not produce tar, they are viable and healthier alternatives to cigarettes. They make cigarette smoking a less sustainable habit in the long run.
They make smoking cessation easier
Many smokers have tried to quit the habit a few times, but are unsuccessful due to withdrawal symptoms. With nicotine pouches, they are able to manage their own nicotine replacement therapy regimen. Those who suffer from withdrawal cravings can easily buy ZYN pouches online. Heavy smokers can choose the strength of the products they are using as ZYN carries nicotine products in 3mg and 6mg. These pouches are also ideal for those who don’t like the taste of tobacco, since they come in a variety of flavors such as coffee, citrus, and peppermint. The variety of these products makes them a viable option for those who want to quit smoking, but don’t want to give up nicotine completely.
They are more accessible
Previously, nicotine pouches were not readily available to the market. They became popular in Europe before they started gaining notoriety across the globe. Since most smokeless nicotine alternatives are either prescribed by healthcare professionals or are not very discreet, these products may not have been successful in curbing the smoking habit. On the other hand, nicotine pouches are more easily available to smokers who are interested in quitting. This is why many people are opting to use Swedish Match products, one of the major players in the market and the manufacturer of ZYN. As more brands like Altria and Rogue are stepping into the scene, users will have a wider range of choices to pick from, leaving cigarette smoking an obsolete habit.