Nicotine Pouches have been around for a lot longer than some people realise. But it wasn’t until around 2019 that the market really started growing and the availability of these white pouches grew considerably with them being pushed afloat for sale in different countries around Europe as well as in North America.
And since 2019, the rate of growth of Nicotine Pouch brands that have entered the market has grown quite significantly, as has the flavour options available and this all in turns leads to seeing the rate of sales and people using Nicotine Pouches increase also. In this blog, I’m going to look at all of these contributing factors in detail, and see just how much Nicotine Pouch usage has grown over the years as well as looking into the future and seeing if this growth will continue to happen.
Nicotine Pouches and Regulatory Aspects in European Countries
As mentioned, Nicotine Pouches have actually been around a lot longer than what some people realise. Nicotine Pouches were designed by manufacturers drawing inspiration from “Snus” pouches which originate from Sweden. Snus is the name for the small white pouches that look like Nicotine Pouches but instead they contain tobacco leaves rather than nicotine powder which puts them in the classification of “Oral Tobacco Products”.
Snus is hugely popular still to this day in Sweden and is used in high volume by the residents of Sweden. However, this is not the case in most other countries in Europe, as Snus was banned from sale in all countries within the European Union back in the early 90’s and still remains banned from sale to this day. This is down to the fact that there were cause for concern over the safety of these Oral Nicotine products, and also the marketing of them at the time was deemed aggressive and unwanted and the decision to ban them was made.
Nicotine Pouches are quite commonly regulated by the national legislation of the country within the European Union and are freely sold in different retail outlets in Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy and the United Kingdom. However this isn’t the case for all countries in Europe, as countries like Germany and the Netherlands have quite stringent and strict regulations, with the latter country making moves to attempt to ban Nicotine Pouches from general sale.
There are also varying different levels of advertising regulations as well in different countries. Many countries do not permit the promotion of Nicotine Pouches on standalone retail units in places like convenience stores or supermarkets, no advertising on radio or television and one thing they all have in common is that the sale of Nicotine Pouches is prohibited to anyone under the age of 18 years old.
The countries where Nicotine Pouches are somewhat heavily regulated is because the government that runs these countries class them as “Tobacco related products” and they’re associated with other regulations to do with tobacco, despite them not actually containing any form of tobacco at all which seems a bit strange to me.
Oral Tobacco and Nicotine Consumption Rate by Country
We now move on to look at the statistics of Oral Tobacco and Oral Nicotine consumption by different countries within Europe and the statistics make for some interesting reading for sure. The information below was pulled from a survey conducted in 2020 named The Eurobarometer Report “Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes”
Within this survey, the people were asked a multitude of questions relating to tobacco products, E-Cigarettes and other alternative Nicotine products, and 7% of total respondents from across the European Union and the UK had ever used a form of Oral Tobacco or Oral Nicotine Pouches in the past. This number may seem low, but it is an increase from the 5% previously recorded back in March 2017, so a slow and steady increase in the right direction. Bare in mind, it wasn’t really until 2019 that Nicotine Pouches started coming on to the market in the UK.
It comes as no surprise that the country with the largest percentage of users in this survey was Sweden, the birth place of oral tobacco products and where it’s heavily promoted as I’ve mentioned prior. Also to note on this subject, Sweden were the first country to gain “Smoke Free” status, with less than 5% of the entire countries population are classed as smokers which is a fantastic achievement. This is largely down to the fact that Oral Tobacco & Nicotine Products are used so much within the country by the residents.
Let’s talk about Snus
We’ve mentioned it enough in this article, but now we’re really going to take a look into the subject of Snus in detail.
Snus is the name for small white pouches which contain tobacco and other essential ingredients that people enjoy to use to get their Nicotine fix. They have been around in some shape or form for many years, with the original concept stemming right back to the late 1800’s which is crazy when you think it’s been around for that long.
It’s estimated that 12% of the total population of Sweden uses Snus or other Oral Tobacco products, which equates to over 1 million people. But despite it being so popular in Sweden, as well as Norway, it is banned from sale in all countries in the European Union as well as in the UK (despite them leaving the EU in 2020, the ban has remained) and this has been the case since 1992. The reason they were banned from sale was because of the aggressive marketing techniques being used as at the time, as well as health concerns for users.
Due to the pouches containing actual Tobacco, using Snus is not risk free. Tobacco leaves contain carcinogens and other chemicals used during treatment, and these are then ingested when the pouches are used so the users can be exposed to risk of contracting oral cancer from using Snus. Since these pouches are not inhaled, it doesn’t affect the lungs like what smoking does, but it can affect the mouth and the oesophagus also.
In the survey that I referenced above, the question was posed to current smokers whether they would use Snus as a tool to quit smoking cigarettes if the ban on them was lifted, and surprisingly 31% of them agreed that they would be interested in trying it. Only 2604 of the respondents had previously tried Snus, but admitted that the lack of availability and access to them stopped them using it for further period of time. 56% of current smokers admitted they would not be interested to try Snus or Oral Tobacco products should they become available.
Big Tobacco’s Brand Ownership of Oral Nicotine/Tobacco Products
Nicotine Pouches are a rapidly growing product, but the market for them does remain quite small still with less than 1% total market share on the global tobacco market as of 2021. But this will likely increase now that more with Big Tobacco companies getting involved with the production and promotion of Oral Tobacco and Nicotine Products, by acquiring previously established brands and taking control of them, but also more Private brands have began entering on to the market as well, with the market being made up of 74% Private and 26% Big Tobacco backed Companies within Europe.
Big Tobacco companies have been showing interest in Nicotine Pouches since around 2018 with British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Brands and Phillip Morris International all now being involved with the production and promotion of Nicotine Pouches.
It probably comes as no surprise that Phillip Morris International has the largest stronghold on the Snus and Nicotine Pouch market from investing the most heavily in companies that had already established a big presence. In 2021, PMI acquired two separate companies, one being a well known brand of Snus from Denmark, and also a pharmaceutical company which owns a patented formula for powdered Nicotine.
And in May 2022, PMI agreed a deal to acquire Swedish Match, a maker of a wide range of Nicotine Pouch products including the very well known brand of Nicotine Pouches named Zyn for around 16 billion USD. And in November 2022, PMI reached 93% total ownership of Swedish Match.
British American Tobacco are the company behind VELO nicotine pouches, which are hugely popular in Europe, and are also a brand of Snus that are sold in Sweden. JTI are behind Nordic Spirit Nicotine Pouches, which are the best selling Nicotine Pouches in the UK according to statistics.
In terms of sales volumes of these brands, ZYN Nicotine Pouches are the best selling globally, with 3.2 million units reported to have been sold. And this in turn relates to the astronomical growth numbers which equated to 87% growth from 2020 to 2021. ZYN is the leading brand of Nicotine Pouches in America which likely constitutes to the large growth and unit sold rate.
The Changing Innovations in Nicotine Pouches
As with anything that is invented, over time the technology and innovation will evolve and Nicotine Pouches are not any different from this. Innovation is something that is frequently seen with Nicotine Pouches, as manufacturers are always looking to change things and innovate to stay one step ahead of their competitors.
Sting Free Technology is something that a few brands have introduced which people are opting to go for. If you didn’t know, when you use a Nicotine Pouch you can get a tingling sensation in your mouth which is quite common, and some people describe this as a “stinging” sensation which can be unpleasant and definitely something that is not enjoyable for some people. With the String Free Technology, the stinging/tingling sensation is removed so people can use Nicotine Pouches and not have to endure the sensation.
Peals Technology is another new innovation which is used in ZYN Nicotine Pouches, as it was patented by Swedish Match. This technology enables nicotine and flavour to settle on the surface of the pearl which delivers a faster and stronger Nicotine release with optimum flavour. Within each pouch that features the Pearl technology, there’s over 1000 tiny pearls packed inside each pouch.
These nicotine pouches are only recommended to be used by experienced users of Nicotine Pouches as the flavour and Nicotine hit can be quite intense and if you have a low tolerance for Nicotine or not used Nicotine Pouches before, this could likely be unpleasant for you.
CBD and Caffeine Infused Pouches – Some brands of Nicotine Pouches have started including other additives to their pouches to give users a different experience from just run of the mill Nicotine. Things like caffeine, vitamins and minerals have been included in some brands of white pouches to help with boosting energy, as well as improving oral health and freshness (however, there hasn’t been any proven evidence that these actually do help)
As well as the above mentioned, some manufactures of Nicotine Pouches have also started adding in small volumes of CBD to infuse with the powder Nicotine solution, as well as any other vitamins or minerals that they add to the pouches as well. You can read more about CBD and the benefits if you aren’t up to speed on it by clicking this link.
Are Nicotine Pouches Here To Stay?
Some interesting statistics has come out of this report, and it’s proved for some very interesting reading as well as writing about them as well. And now I’m going to reach the conclusion of this article by summarising what I’ve discussed to see whether or not Nicotine Pouches are here to stay, or whether they’re just a flash in the pan and the latest fad.
Whilst growth numbers might not be sky high, they are moving in the right direction with more awareness of Nicotine Pouches growing across the globe. Phillip Morris International acquiring Swedish Match is huge for the Nicotine Pouch industry, and the numbers in which ZYN is being sold globally can only mean good things for the future of Nicotine Pouches.
The innovation of technology seeming to be a growing and frequent thing also will keep things fresh and exciting within the Nicotine Pouch world and I’m looking forward to seeing what else will be coming in the future.
If you haven’t already tried them, I’d highly recommend giving Nicotine Pouches a try if you’re curious. We offer a great range of Nicotine Pouches on our store here at Snusmail, with a varying range of brands and Nicotine strengths as well, so we try and cater for everyone’s needs!