Pouches Without Borders

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I’m writing this on an iPad from a tri-level venue of the tippy top of all rooftop bars in Chicago, overlooking unparalleled views of the city with an expansive look at Millennium Park and the Lake. I’m pretty sure other people are sending photos of me to their friends so they can all call me a nerd. But, honestly, recently, I’ve had a few questions on my mind. I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and sharing them with you.

So, last Friday, Chicago decided to throw a bit of a snowy tantrum, but did that stop my adventure-loving friends from dragging me to a party? Nope. And obviously I went along with them. It was the kind of cold that makes you shiver all over, but the moment we approached the venue, my excitement went through the roof. 

Chicago knows how to keep the party going — After all, it’s the birthplace of house music and Chicago-style jazz. There I was, freezing in line, ID in one hand and my trusty nicotine pouch tucked away when I noticed something. Crowds were out in the cold, getting wet and shivering for a puff of smoke. It hit me – are they even aware there’s a hassle-free way to get their nicotine fix?

This confused me, especially with all the talk about new state rules. Why aren’t people trying safer and easier ways to consume nicotine? Is it because of rumours, strict rules, or something else? I did some research. Looking into how different places control nicotine pouches, it’s different everywhere. 

The Tobacco Transformation Index checked how well tobacco and nicotine companies are doing in cutting down the use of harmful products and helping reduce tobacco-related harm. Nicotine pouches are considered one of the safer options. This blog post worth checking out talks about how nicotine pouches aren’t very common or easy to find yet, but they’re quickly growing in popularity, especially in the US and other high-income countries. 

Apart from that, The Tobacco Transformation Index revealed that 24 out of 36 countries they looked into are okay with nicotine pouches, seeing them as regular items. In 2021, major countries like the USA, Sweden, and the UK were in it, with over 10 million sales units. These places are realizing that nicotine pouches are safer alternative to smoking. Yet, it’s not all smooth sailing. A recent study throws in that 34 countries have rules about nicotine pouches, with 23 of them keeping an eye on both synthetic and tobacco-derived ones. Some lean on the old-school tobacco regulations, while others are crafting new rules to control nicotine, tobacco, or no tobacco.

This article says that how much people like nicotine pouches changes from place to place. They’re really popular in North America and South-East Asia but not so much in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Zooming back to the Windy City, Illinois has its regulations for nicotine pouches. You have to be 21 or older to consume, and whether you’re in a store or shopping online, they’ll tack on the nicotine and sales taxes, with the latter averaging around 6.25%. 

But that night outside the club, seeing everyone shivering from the smoke confused me. Why aren’t nicotine pouches more popular around here? It might be because of what people think of them. Plus, the whole political drama around products like ZYN doesn’t help, with Congress unsure and not taking any action. This kind of uncertainty doesn’t do any favors for their citizens.

If I had one wish, it’d be for a future where everyone’s health is top of the playlist. And for those poor souls in the cold to enjoy the music without turning into ice statues for a nicotine break. 

I want to believe there is hope that the people in charge will see how great these small pouches are and make them easier to find, not harder. 

Alright, with that off my chest, I’m going back to my vanilla-flavored nicotine session and the killer views.

Source: https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2023/02/07/tc-2022-057734



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