Tobacco

Nicotine Pouches Popular Among People Trying to Quit Smoking, Study Finds

29% of adults who smoke had seen or heard of product
Nicotine pouches
Photograph: Shutterstock

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. —Interest for nicotine pouches is growing, and they are most popular among younger smokers and people trying to quit, according to a new study from Rutgers.

In the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, researchers looked between January and February 2021 at a sample of 1,018 U.S. adults who smoke. The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products funded the study.

Nicotine pouches are placed between consumers’ upper lip and gum, where the nicotine and taste are released. Examples of modern oral nicotine (MON) products sold in convenience stores include Zyn, from Richmond, Va.-based Swedish Match; On, from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group; Velo, from Winston-Salem, N.C.-based R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.; and Rogue, from Jacksonville, Fla.-based Swisher.

Spitless tobacco was up 42% in c-store sales in 2021 compared to the year prior, according to Chicago-based market research firm IRI. That’s huge growth compared to chewing tobacco/snuff, which grew 0.8% in c-store sales.

“With sales growing exponentially, it’s important to know who is using these products, how they are using them and what the potential may be for them to keep using them,” said Mary Hrywna, an assistant professor at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences’ Center for Tobacco Studies, New Brunswick, N.J.

The study found that 29% of adults who smoked had seen or heard of nicotine pouches, 6% had tried pouches and 17% said they were interested in using the pouches in the next six months.

Interest in using the pouches was more prevalent among adult smokers who were Hispanic, planned to quit within six months, attempted to quit before using counseling or another tobacco product and had ever used pouches, according to the study.

Smokers ages 18 to 44 were three times more likely to use nicotine pouches than older smokers, the study found.

Another find the researchers noted was smokers in the study expressed much more interest in using nicotine pouches in the future than using other traditional forms of smokeless tobacco, like moist snuff and snus.

This is a really timely issue,” said Hrywna. “We have now learned from our study that interest will continue to grow in these products, so we will need more independent research on the product itself."

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