Why do some nicotine pouches burn my gums?
The spicy or chilli effect of some nicotine pouches is the equivalent of Marmite for many — some love this slight burning effect while others prefer a milder touch, but where does the sensation come from?
To allay any fears you might have, while you're feeling the effects of a 'burn,' nicotine pouches aren't harming your body. It's the effect of nicotine on the membranes in your gum, alongside sodium carbonate (also known as soda), which is used to help increase the bioavailability of nicotine and reduce the overall acidity. We keep the amount of sodium carbonate low so you can really enjoy the taste while reducing any irritation you might feel. If you're looking for more on absorption and bioavailability - check out our short article here.
As your gums become used to this effect, the sensation begins to subside (usually after a week or so of enjoying them). For those that love the tingling effect, we'd recommend trying our &Boost Mint flavour for its burst of spearmint!
It's also worth mentioning that nicotine pouches are completely different from snus. Snus (pronounced "snoose," like “loose”) is a smokeless, moist powdered tobacco that you place on your top lip. Tobacco contains nitrosamines that are a known carcinogen while nicotine pouches contain none of these chemicals. We've written extensive on the distinctions between these products, but for a quick read, we'd recommend this outline article here.
Do I need to spit with Nicotine pouches?
We know spitting is pretty gross. One of the biggest myths about nicotine pouches is the need to spit. So to reiterate (hopefully for the final time), there's no need to spit with nicotine pouches.
The misconception stems from chewing tobacco (the kind you probably have seen in old Western films and often the major reason for the saloon bars having one of those gross "spittoons"). There's also sometimes the need to spit with Swedish and American snus (what is Snus you ask? check out our article on it here). This is due to the tobacco creating excessive saliva which creates an irritant effect on the esophagus. Essentially, this results in making you want to spit.
With white nicotine pouches, the contents of the pouch stays inside and so there are no irritating chemicals that cause that horrible excess saliva. Happy days! We also know the finished pouch can be difficult to get rid of. That's why we added a little 'catch lid' in the top of the can. Seriously, these little bundles of joy are convenient, discrete and can be enjoyed anywhere. We hope you like them!
Are nicotine pouches safe?
Contrary to popular belief, nicotine is not carcinogenic. The cancer-causing chemicals and substances are released in the burning and combustion of tobacco, plus the preservatives and additives present in snus and chewing tobacco, which release compounds called "nitrosamines". As nicotine pouches contain zero tobacco, there is zero risk from nitrosamines. To date, there have been no deaths related to nicotine pouches.
As suggested by Kenneth Warner, director of the University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network, "The Swedish government has studied this stuff to death and, to date, there is no compelling evidence that it has any adverse health consequences. … Whatever they eventually find out, it is dramatically less dangerous than smoking."
However, it must be remembered that nicotine is highly addictive. Also, you should not nicotine pouches if:
- You are allergic or sensitive to nicotine
- You are pregnant or breast-feeding
- You have high blood pressure or a heart condition
Are there any side effects to nicotine pouches?
Speaking with our customers, we've found there to be very few side effects from our nicotine pouches - most use about half a can throughout the day (about 8 to 12 pouches). However, some anecdotal evidence suggests that the buzz of nicotine can make it difficult if you're trying to fall asleep - so it might be best to relax on usage just before bedtime.
As with taking any product in excess, nicotine can cause side effects. These might include:
- Stomach discomfort
How do I know nicotine pouches are safe?
As with any product you buy, you should make sure it's from a reputable manufacturer. Low quality health products can present a number of serious health risks.
For example, we've seem some buccal pouches on the market with nicotine concentration levels that exceed safety remits, or contain other ingredients not listed on the product label. Not only is this unsafe, but it's illegal too. Using any products that contain unknown or unlisted ingredients can increase your risk of adverse or allergic reactions, or unwanted interactions with other medications and foods.
At V&YOU, we test and test, and then test again. We have an independent panel of experts who specifically look at the toxicology and effects of our products to help ensure you receive the positive effects with none of the bad. If you're interested, there's more on how we work here.
- ASH (2020) Evidence into Practice: Smokeless Tobacco. Available at: https://ash.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/smokelesstobaccoeip.pdf [accessed September, 2021].
- Rabinoff, Michael (2007). "Corporate Social Responsibility As A Tactic Used By Big Tobacco". Ending the Tobacco Holocaust. pp. 375–9. ISBN 978-1-60070-019-4
- Digard, H., C. Proctor, A. Kulasekaran, U. Malmqvist & A. Richter (2012) Nicotine Absorption from Multiple Tobacco Products and Nicotine
- Fjellner, C. (2020) Innovation and less harmful alternatives to tobacco: ECIPE Policy Brief, No. 2/2020. ed. ECIPE, Brussels.
- Gisleskog, P. O.O, Perez Ruixo, J.J., Westin, Å., Hansson, A.C. & Soons, P.A. (2020) Nicotine Population Pharmacokinetics in Healthy Smokers After Intravenous Use.