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The Growing Concern Over Zyn: A New Nicotine Pouch in the Spotlight

— June 3, 2024

Experts warn that these pouches still contain nicotine and harmful chemicals.

A new tobacco product, Zyn, a nicotine pouch developed by Philip Morris, is gaining attention due to its rising popularity and the controversies surrounding its potential appeal to underage users. This product, which is a smokeless nicotine delivery system, comes in a variety of flavors like mint, coffee, and citrus, and is part of a rapidly growing segment in the tobacco industry.

Unlike traditional tobacco products, Zyn does not contain tobacco but is regulated by U.S. authorities as such due to its nicotine content. This distinction is significant as it allows the product to be marketed as a potentially less harmful alternative to conventional tobacco products. However, the health implications of Zyn and similar products are still a topic of rigorous debate.

The use of Zyn involves placing a small pouch between the lip and gum, where it releases nicotine that is absorbed into the bloodstream. This method does not require spitting, a factor that may enhance its appeal compared to older chewing tobacco products. Philip Morris markets these pouches primarily to adult tobacco users, emphasizing the absence of tobacco as a key benefit over traditional options.

However, despite its tobacco-free claim, Zyn is not without health risks. Nicotine, regardless of the delivery method, is a highly addictive substance linked to several health issues. While cigarettes are associated with a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and lung problems, the long-term effects of newer nicotine pouches like Zyn remain less understood.

The Growing Concern Over Zyn: A New Nicotine Pouch in the Spotlight
Photo by Swenico on Unsplash

Recent studies suggest that while products like Zyn may contain lower levels of harmful substances such as carcinogens compared to cigarettes, they are not free from toxic components like ammonia and formaldehyde. The potential benefits and risks of these products are continuously evaluated by researchers and health regulators.

The controversy extends beyond health concerns to the product’s potential misuse by minors. Although only a small percentage of middle and high school students reported using nicotine pouches, the presence of these products on social media and their popularity among young people have raised alarms. This situation mirrors the earlier surge in e-cigarette use, which escalated with the popularity of products like Juul among teenagers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing Philip Morris’s application to keep Zyn on the market, which includes demonstrating that the product can reduce disease among adult users without appealing to underage individuals. As this review process continues, the debate over Zyn highlights the ongoing challenges faced by regulators and public health advocates in balancing harm reduction for adult smokers with the need to prevent nicotine addiction among youth.

This ongoing situation highlights the issue of introducing new nicotine products into the market at a time when the impact of such new initiatives on public health is still being explored. As with any such product, the key lies in stringent regulation and continuous monitoring to ensure public health interests are maintained while considering the potential benefits for adult smokers looking to reduce their risk from more harmful tobacco products.


What to know about Zyn, the tiny nicotine pouch that’s sparked a big health debate

Nicotine Pouch: Awareness, Beliefs, Use, and Susceptibility among Current Tobacco Users in the United States, 2021

The Effects of Oral Nicotine Pouch Packaging Features on Adult Tobacco Users’ and Non-Users’ Product Perceptions

Classification, Perception, and Toxicity of Emerging Flavored Oral Nicotine Pouches

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