Nicotine pouches may present a youth risk

Oulmann Zerhouni, Sandra Loisy, Renaud Bouthier, Valentin Flaudias

The evolving nicotine product landscape has seen the introduction of nicotine pouches in recent years, which are becoming increasingly popular among youth. This trend requires swift action from public health officials and policymakers.

Although comprehensive data on the use of nicotine pouches are limited, their appeal appears to be growing among young people, in part due to exposure through social media. Their ambiguous classification allows them to evade existing regulations, making them easily accessible to adolescents.

Nicotine pouches are different from traditional tobacco products. They contain 4 to 60 mg of nicotine and are marketed as a discreet way to consume nicotine in smoke-free environments. Their flavors and additives are reminiscent of historical tobacco industry strategies to attract younger users.

There is a need for global vigilance and adaptive public health policies in response to evolving methods of nicotine delivery. Regulatory oversight must be strengthened to control the sale and promotion of nicotine pouches. In-depth research is needed to understand the prevalence and health impact of the use of the products, and public awareness campaigns are essential to inform the public, especially young people, about their risks. Policy development should aim to address the regulatory gaps currently exploited by nicotine pouch manufacturers.

In short, the rise of nicotine pouches requires immediate attention. They should be included in future tobacco and nicotine control strategies to protect the health of young people.

Professor Oulmann Zerhouni is Professor of Social Psychology at the Université de Rouen, Normandy, France. Sandra Loisy is Coordinator of national prevention projects at Avenir Santé Association, France. Renaud Bouthier is Director of Avenir Santé Association, France. Valentin Flaudias is Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at the Université de Nantes, France.

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