Smoking is a tough habit to get rid of, and the more a person smokes, the harder it is to quit. When someone tries to quit smoking, it leads to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms due to the tobacco (nicotine) present in cigarettes. The nicotine is what leads to actual physical dependence, and this is where nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) plays an integral role.
What is nicotine replacement therapy?
This is when you get a dose of nicotine in the form of patches, sprays, inhalers, or lozenges, but without the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. NRT relieves physical withdrawal symptoms like shivering, dry mouth, tingling in the hands & legs, mood swings, etc. so you can focus on psychological aspects of quitting.
Many studies have shown using NRT can nearly double the chances of quitting smoking. The best part is you don’t have to wait to start NRT – you can begin as soon as you get rid of cigarettes. In a study published in September 2020, nicotine pouches displayed lower levels of toxicity that other more traditional forms of nicotine pouches.
What are the risks of regular nicotine intake?
Remember that traditional cigarettes contain 10 to 20 mg of nicotine, and about 1 to 2 mg of that is absorbed by your body when you smoke. So if you smoke 5 cigarettes per day, your body absorbs up to 10 mg of nicotine – the more you smoke, the higher is the nicotine content. Even hookah smoking is dangerous as the smoke is heated by charcoal briquettes, so some studies show that hooks could actually be more harmful than cigarettes.
What are nicotine pouches?
These nicotine pouches offer consumers a way to delicately obscure their use of tobacco products while in public. They are small white packages that contain either synthetic or natural nicotine. While these pouches are similar to snus in several ways, they are distinct in the fact that they don’t contain any tobacco. Moreover, you don’t have to chew or spit with these pouches, so the nicotine remains inside the package. There are a varied range of flavors available as well.
Nicotine pouches offer a unique experience when it comes to getting the daily top-up of nicotine mitigated neurotransmitter release. Unlike cigarettes, there is no combustion involved here. You also don’t get the added detractor of small flecks of tobacco jammed in your smile.
There are hygienic aspects to choosing nicotine pouches over chewing or smoking tobacco. When you use pouches, the nicotine is absorbed via the mucous membranes between the gumline and lip. As mentioned, the tobacco is contained within the semi-permeable pouch, so it doesn’t get all spewed all over, and there is no need to spit. Nowadays, nicotine pouch canisters often contain a special compartment for used pouches, so they are perfect for discreet public use. The product has a pre-proportioned quantity, with a long shelf life, so it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. You can simply buy them in bulk and store them without worrying about spoilage.
Why choose nicotine pouches over smoking?
If you are looking for an alternative to smoking cigarettes or looking to quit the habit gradually, nicotine pouches are ideal. At times, quitting cold turkey is a bad idea as it can lead to relapses. For instance, if you were smoking 5 cigarettes per day and you suddenly quit, those intense withdrawal symptoms can trigger relapses where you smoke up to 10 cigarettes per day. Your body gets used to a certain amount of nicotine, so an unexpected deprivation can have adverse effects. So you can switch to a healthier alternative.
Several countries are beginning to endorse the use of nicotine pouches after years of research on the side effects of the product. Smokers undergoing rehabilitation often get a strong urge to put something in their mouth. Several treatment centers are also recommending use of nicotine pouches to overcome this urge as it is less harmful and addictive as opposed to smoking.
What is the difference between “tobacco free” and “nicotine free”?
If a nicotine pouch is labeled as “tobacco free”, it means they contain only synthetic nicotine. This type of nicotine is created in labs by scientists and has no connection between the actual “nicotine” and tobacco plant. However, when you see packages being labeled as “nicotine free”, it means they don’t have tobacco or nicotine. Both products are an excellent alternative to smoking, but only nicotine free pouches have nothing in common with smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products.
Since there is no combustion involved here, you don’t have to about the various toxicants that are usually associated with smoking. Harmful tobacco-specific examples include nitrosamines (TSNAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). You are also spared from inhaling carbon monoxide, which is deadly.
Although more research is required, encouraging evidence has shown that nicotine pouches have much lower “abuse liability”, which means individuals are less likely to start binging nicotine pouches the same way they chain-smoke! For those trying to quit smoking, it is best to start with tobacco free pouches, before moving onto nicotine free products. This is a two-step system, and if you can maintain a proper routine, you can eventually quit cigarettes.
Why use nicotine pouches?
When you consider other available nicotine products, nicotine pouches are the least harmful among them. This is because there is no combustion involved whatsoever. Since you aren’t inhaling smoke, there is absolutely no damage to lungs and other parts of your body, which is a common effect of smoking cigarettes. Nicotine pouches also don’t contain any tobacco leaf, which can wreak havoc upon your health.
Since these pouches are placed inside the mouth, you can use them in public, and no one can tell! On the other hand, if you puff a cigarette around people they might get disturbed and throw glances or tell you to extinguish it. Moreover, there are numerous restrictions regarding smoking in public these days.
Maintain Excellent Oral Health
No more flecks of tobacco staining the teeth and lips – you can maintain white teeth and a great smile all the time.
Less Nicotine Intake
Using nicotine pouches reduces your craving for tobacco, so you won’t be tempted to light up a cigarette whenever you feel stressed, anxious, or tensed. With less nicotine in your system, your body slowly gets used to it, and you can slowly ease out of the habit.
How much nicotine is in pouches vs. cigarettes?
Nicotine pouches and similar snus-related products can deliver the exact same amount of nicotine concentrations compared to cigarettes. But then again, studies have shown that it takes much longer to deliver the maximum concentration as opposed to cigarettes. The total nicotine exposure is also much lower. So you get the same overall effect of a cigarette, but get exposed to decreased levels of nicotine. Pouches are simply a more efficient delivery method, using less nicotine to provide the same concentration levels. The only downside is that it takes longer to “feel” that maximum concentration.
How to use a nicotine pouch?
If smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco has become an instinctual habit for you, it may be difficult to switch to an entirely new way of consuming nicotine. But don’t worry – using a nicotine pouch is very easy, and soon you will get habituated – take a look:
Choose the type
If you are a beginner when it comes to snus and nicotine pouches, it is best to start with the pure white variety first. As mentioned, you can select between nicotine free and tobacco free as well, depending upon your priorities.
Placing the pouch
Take one pouch out of the tin or can, and use your fingers to grab the outer corner. Slowly place it between the lip and gum. Please ensure it fits in a comfortable manner – the first time always feels a bit weird, so you can make small adjustments as and when required.
Enjoy the buzz
You will soon feel the nicotine hit you and experience the same “high” when you smoke a cigarette, albeit in a less harmful way. Some users like to keep their nicotine pouch from 15 minutes to half an hour, but you can keep it up there for one hour. Remember, there is no need to spit while using it. First time users could experience a slight tingling – it is perfectly normal and soon stops.
People often fail to realize that disposing the pouch is equally important, and just throw it here and there. Under no circumstances should you swallow it! Once you are done using, remove it carefully and throw in a trash can. You can keep it in the special compartment of your nicotine pouch, if it has one, and dispose later on. Nicotine pouches are a safe, enjoyable way to quit smoking while still getting that buzz that makes you feel good, without compromising health. Please remember that these pouches won’t lead to quitting smoking overnight – it could take weeks or months and requires patience.