a pair of hands holding a tin of white nicotine pouches

In your journey towards quitting smoking, you may have heard of nicotine pouches: smokeless oral pouches that contain a nicotine powder instead of tobacco, along with other ingredients like flavorings and sweeteners.

Commonly marketed like lozenges and packaged colorfully in small tins or plastic cans (similar to breath mints), nicotine pouches have gained popularity in recent years as a convenient and discreet alternative to traditional tobacco products1. Nicotine pouches are free of smoke or unpleasant odors like cigarettes or vaping products—and because there’s no tobacco leaf 3, the Food and Drug Administration does not classify nicotine pouches as a smokeless tobacco product or an FDA-approved smoking cessation aid.1

Are nicotine pouches safer than other tobacco products?

Nicotine pouches are designed to be placed discreetly between your cheek and gums, or under your upper lip.2 The nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth.

These products aren’t regulated as heavily NRT products, and may contain high levels of nicotine. Frequent usage of nicotine pouches may result in the following side effects:1

• Irritation of the gums
• Sore mouth
• Hiccups
• Nausea

Nicotine addiction may be another unintended consequence of using nicotine pouches, which also increases the risk of relapsing with other tobacco products.

Can nicotine pouches can help you quit smoking or nicotine?

While regular long-term use of nicotine pouches has not been approved by the FDA as a way to quit smoking or nicotine, physicians have noticed that the use and interest of nicotine pouches are higher among those with smoking cessation attempts or plans.1,3

Quit-smoking products, like Nicorette, that are approved by the FDA work by providing the body with smaller doses of nicotine over time.4 Nicotine replacement therapies have been found to increase the success of smoking cessation via the gradual lessening of nicotine doses.4 In the US, nicotine pouches are not available in a range of nicotine doses, and due to a legal loophole, their makers are allowed to advertise their products in order to increase sales.5 The fact that these nicotine pouches may lead to further nicotine addiction indicates that they should not be used as part of a quit-smoking journey.1

If you’re a heavy smoker who’s looking to change their lifestyle, nicotine pouches may be a stopgap in your quitting smoking journey—but they are not approved stop smoking aids and are not recommended as a safe or effective way to quit.1 Instead, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products like patches, gum and lozenges can help you manage your cravings.1 If you enjoy the convenience of oral products, consider Nicorette’s Coated Ice Mint Lozenges as part of a complete smoking cessation program. Find more articles about quitting smoking and more at the Nicorette® Support Hub.

  1. Nicotine pouches: Are they safer than chewing, smoking or vaping? University of Nebraska-Lincoln Health Center. https://health.unl.edu/nicotine-pouches-are-they-safer-chewing-smoking-or-vaping Accessed 10/25/2023.
  2. Chemical characterization or tobacco-free “modern” oral nicotine pouches and their position on the toxicant and risk continuums. Drug and Chemical Toxicology. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epdf/10.1080/01480545.2021.1925691?needAccess=true. Accessed 4/29/24.
  3. US Physicians’ Self-reported Discussions About Tobacco-Free Nicotine Pouches During Clinical Encounters With Patients in 2021. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10189559Accessed 10/25/2023.
  4. Want to Quit Smoking? FDA-Approved and FDA-Cleared Cessation Products Can Help. US Food & Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/want-quit-smoking-fda-approved-and-fda-cleared-cessation-products-can-help Accessed 12/18/23.
  5. Nicotine Pouches. University of Bath Tobacco Tactics. https://tobaccotactics.org/article/nicotine-pouches/. Accessed 12/18/23.