Adult smokers to benefit from switching to Zyn nicotine pouches—former FDA official


Adult smokers could see health improvements by switching to modified-risk products like Zyn nicotine pouches, which have recently gained popularity in the United States, according to a former high-ranking official of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, an American doctor and former commissioner of the FDA, said the increasing popularity of Zyn nicotine pouches is encouraging more American smokers to quit cigarettes.

“If we can convert more currently addicted adult smokers onto these modified risk products [Zyn nicotine pouches] that don’t have all the harms associated with combustion, we can achieve a substantial net public health benefit,” Dr. Gottlieb said in an interview over CNBC.

Zyn nicotine pouches have quickly overtaken the sales of other brands in just a few months as social media extol its benefits for providing smokers with an alternative to combustion. Dubbed as the next smokeless wonder, ZYN contains nicotine within a permeable wrapper absorbed through the gums and mouth lining, providing a longer-lasting effect compared to smoking cigarette, which produces toxic smoke.

Dr. Gottlieb said this should reignite conversations about harm reduction, as the absence of combustion and smoke in products like nicotine pouches make it a beneficial alternative to combustible tobacco products that produce smoke, which is the primary cause of smoking-related deaths and diseases, and not nicotine.

While nicotine is not a completely safe substance, it isn’t what causes death and disease from smoking. It’s the product of combustion, he said.

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is touted by experts as a scientific, evidence-based public health strategy that can help millions of smokers transition away from smoking. Experts believe that increasing access to and acceptance of modified risk products could help mitigate the death and disease burden associated with cigarette smoking, pointing to countries like Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Japan, which have seen significant success with THR.

According to Dr. Gottlieb, 28 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. “While rates of smoking have come down in recent years, the rate of reduction has slowed down. And the way we’re going to make substantial inroads in reducing those numbers even further is trying to offer adult smokers products that don’t pose the same risks as cigarettes,” he said.

Prof. David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa and a leading harm reduction advocate, confirmed that many smokers have transitioned to harm reduction products such as vapes, heated tobacco, and nicotine pouches from traditional combustible cigarettes.

“A fascinating aspect of the rapid transformation of the market is that Zyn is now a bigger seller than Copenhagen, Grizzly and Skoal,” said Prof. Sweanor, referring to other smokeless tobacco brands. “Those have long been the big brands in smokeless tobacco. That Zyn now has higher unit sales than any of them shows how dynamic this formerly staid market has become,” he added.

The explosive growth and popularity of Zyn nicotine pouches in the US has been attributed largely to social media, sparking ongoing debates in the US about oversight on these products.

Dr. Gottleib said these products being marketed to adult smokers could serve as a transitional product away from smoking, but that proper regulation is key.

He said that as “a relatively new phenomenon by some self-winding people on social media,” social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube and Tiktok could also be doing more by stepping in to police inappropriate advertising in their marketplace.

“There are currently 600,000 applications pending with FDA for different tobacco products. I would be prioritizing some of these modified-risk tobacco products to get them approved… to make sure the positioning in the marketplace is appropriate…,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular



Welcome to 24SHARE Updates!

Please verify your age to enter.
By entering this site you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy