Rutgers study sheds light on consumer interest in Nicotine Pouches

According to a Rutgers study, consumer interest and awareness of nicotine pouches  — nicotine-containing products without tobacco and one of the newest products in the industry — are growing, and are most popular among younger smokers and those trying to quit.

The study, the first independent analysis to assess consumer awareness and interest in nicotine patches among US smokers, is published in the journal Tobacco Control.

“Given the large health impact of tobacco products, we knew it would be important to track and better understand these little-known products,” said Mary Hrywna, assistant professor at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences’ Center for Tobacco Studies. . “With sales growing exponentially, it’s important to know who is using these products, how they’re using them, and what opportunities they may have to continue using them.”

The relatively new product works after users place the pouches between their upper lip and gums, where the nicotine and flavor are released. Between 2019 and 2020, sales of the widely distributed, often flavored nicotine pouches will accelerate, for example, due to Altria’s subsidiary Helix’s innovations “On!” and Swedish Match’s “Zyn,” according to industry forecasts.

In the Rutgers study, researchers asked 1,018 smokers in the United States about their knowledge of nicotine patches, whether they had tried them, and whether they intended to continue. The findings showed:

About 29 percent of smokers were aware of nicotine pouches, nearly 6 percent had tried them, and nearly 17 percent were interested in trying them soon.
Smokers between the ages of 18 and 44 were three times more likely to use nicotine patches than older smokers.
Smokers who were interested in using pouches in the future were those who were planning to quit smoking and had tried and failed in the past.

The tobacco industry has done most of the research on the use and safety of nicotine pouches, Hrywna said, so more independent research is needed to find out whether nicotine pouches are used to reduce harm and whether government regulations restricting the use of e-cigarettes have driven some smokers away. use nicotine patches.

“It was also noteworthy to note that smokers in our study expressed a much greater interest in future use of these nicotine pouch products than in other traditional forms of smokeless tobacco, such as moist snuff and snuff,” said study co-author Olivia Wackowski. , assistant professor at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies and the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“This is a really timely question,” said Hrywna, who also teaches in the Department of Health Behavior, Society and Policy at the Rutgers School of Public Health. “We have now learned from our research that interest in these products continues to grow, so we need more independent research into the product itself.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center on Tobacco Products.