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What Are Nicotine Pouches?

by Vape Merchant |

WARNING: Nicotine pouches contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance that should not be used by non-smokers, pregnant women, or individuals under 18 years of age. If you have any health conditions, you should consult your doctor or a medical professional before use.   

Nicotine pouches are a type of nicotine product that delivers nicotine through the small pouches that are placed between the gum and lip, gradually releasing nicotine.

Nicotine pouches do not generally contain and require no combustion (e.g., like a cigarette) or inhalation (e.g., like a vaping product). The nicotine contained in the most popular brands of nicotine pouches is made with pharmaceutical-grade nicotine. Nicotine pouches come in different flavours and nicotine strengths.

Because oral absorption is one of the fastest nicotine delivery methods compared to other nicotine replacement therapies, nicotine pouches are becoming an increasingly popular way of giving up smoking.

This product is not for everyone, but we've provided useful information below to help you decide whether it suits you.


Where Did Nicotine Pouches Originate?

Popular nicotine pouch brand Nordic Spirit gives us a glimpse into the history of Swedish nicotine pouches. This invention made its way across Europe and the world in the 20th century. It was in approximately 2003, when tobacco-free pouches were created.  

The first modern nicotine pouch product, in the format we know it today, was made in Sweden over 20 years ago in the early 2000s by a start-up company called Niconovum. Today, nicotine pouches are a versatile and convenient smoke-free alternative featuring a variety of flavours. 

 

How Do You Use Nicotine Pouches?

Place the pouch in your mouth between your lip and gum. The nicotine is then absorbed into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes in your mouth. Nicotine pouches come in a variety of nicotine strengths. ZYN, for example, is available in nicotine strengths ranging from 3mg - 12.5mg.

Are Nicotine Pouches a Useful Substitute for Smoking or Vaping?  

Nicotine Pouches offer an alternative nicotine delivery method to smoking or vaping.

A study published in November 2023 by the medical journal Addiction notes that while nicotine pouches may not significantly reduce nicotine addiction in the short term—due to slower nicotine absorption compared to smoking—they may offer a less harmful alternative to smoking. 

As nicotine pouches are a relatively new product, there is little evidence about the long term health effects of nicotine pouches which is why health authorities such as the World Health Organisation recommend a cautious approach. 

If you are looking to quit smoking or vaping, you can visit Smokefree NZ for some useful resources.

Is Nicotine Harmful?

The New Zealand Ministry of Health says:
For people who smoke:
 
• nicotine itself is low harm 
• nicotine has little or no long-term health effects 
• nicotine is addictive and if your vape* contains nicotine you will still be addicted to this 
• it’s what comes with the nicotine that could be harmful. 
*or other nicotine product. 

Nicotine is addictive because it influences the part of the brain associated with rewarding behaviour, making quitting challenging for existing smokers or vapers due to withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine can also cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting. While smokers might be used to these reactions, non-smokers exposed to nicotine might experience them as well. Therefore, the New Zealand Ministry of Health advises that non-smokers avoid using nicotine.  

High doses of nicotine can be dangerous, especially for children, as nicotine can affect brain development in babies and children. 

Where Can I Buy Nicotine Pouches in NZ?

Oral nicotine products are not legally available for retail sale in New Zealand but can be legally imported by consumers over the age of 18 from overseas for personal use. 

Three of the most popular nicotine pouch brands include: 

  1. ZYN: A globally popular nicotine pouch brand by Swedish Match. 
  2. VELO: A top brand in Scandinavia, best known for its crisp taste and quick-release nicotine. 
  3. Nordic Spirit: best-selling brand in the UK. 

ZYN and other nicotine pouches are available from overseas websites for personal import into New Zealand. Nicotine pouches are strictly an R18 product. Before making a purchase, do your research and, if necessary, consult your doctor or medical professional to ensure these products are right for you. 

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Australian Prescriptions

From 1st October all Australian customers must provide us with a prescription to import nicotine products.

If you don’t have a prescription, you can obtain one from https://www.quitclinics.com and send it to us at myscript@vapemerchant.co.nz.

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