How old to buy nicotine pouches?


Do you know how old you have to be to buy nicotine pouches in the UK? Cigarettes and e-cigarettes are off-limits for under-18s. But, there’s a big issue with nicotine pouches. They can be sold to young people with ease. This problem is worrying health experts. They want to see tougher rules to sort this out.

Currently, what are the rules for young buyers of nicotine pouches? And why are better laws needed?

Key Takeaways:

  • Health campaigners want it so that under-18s can’t buy nicotine pouches in the UK.
  • Nicotine pouches are not covered by the same rules as smoking or vaping. There are also no medical rules for them.
  • Big brands have their own rules on who can buy and use their products. But there’s no big set of laws for all nicotine things.
  • The group ASH thinks we need better rules to stop under-18s from buying these pouches. They also want to put a limit on how strong the nicotine in them can be. Plus, they want less big advertising.
  • The UK Government is getting ready to make new laws. These rules will help stop selling pouches to young people and crack down on under-18s buying or using them.

The availability of nicotine pouches in supermarkets

Nicotine pouches, small parcels of nicotine placed under the lip, are easy to buy in UK stores. Unlike cigarettes and e-cigarettes, they come with no age limits or strict rules.

Health campaigners argue that this lack of regulation creates a “Wild West” scenario, allowing easy access to nicotine for under-18s.

These pouches offer different flavours. You can get a pack of 20 for about £6.50.

Supermarket Availability
Tesco Available
Sainsbury’s Available
Asda Available
Morrisons Available
Waitrose Available

The need for stricter regulations

Groups like Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) push for tougher rules on nicotine pouches. They want a strong legal plan to tackle the problems these products bring.

The banning of sales to under-18s is a big issue. Unlike cigarettes and e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches can be bought by anyone. This makes it too easy for kids to get their hands on nicotine.

It’s important to implement limits on strength, too. These pouches vary in how much nicotine they hold. Without strict rules, they could harm people or get them addicted.

Also, restricting marketing practices is key. Right now, companies can advertise a lot, often trying to draw in young people. This could make more sales to minors happen.

ASH wants rules that apply to all nicotine products. This includes making sure nicotine pouches meet high safety standards for everyone’s health.

The current scenario

Because rules aren’t strict enough, companies are using this to their benefit. They market heavily and might sell to kids. This is a serious issue that needs fixing now.

Issues Current scenario Recommended regulations
Banning sales to under-18s No age restrictions Implement age restrictions
Limits on strength No control over nicotine levels Set limits on nicotine strength
Marketing restrictions Extensive promotion targeting all age groups Implement regulations to restrict marketing appealing to minors

By making thorough rules, we can set up a fair system. This way, we protect health and deal with issues about nicotine pouches properly.

Similarities to snus and its legal implications

Nicotine pouches are like snus, a snuff popular in Norway and Sweden. Snus has tobacco and is banned in the UK and EU. These pouches, without tobacco, are used similarly. This causes difficulties in the EU’s control of them.

EU bans snus but the pouches are not. This leads to sales to under-18s through a legal gap.

Current awareness and usage of nicotine pouches

A recent survey by ASH looked into nicotine pouches in the UK. It tells us how people are using this new way to cut back on smoking.

Awareness Levels

From over 13,000 people, only about 1 in 25 had tried these pouches. But, the young, from 18 to 24, knew a lot about them. Almost half of them, 45%, had heard of nicotine pouches. This shows the young know about this option more.

Usage Patterns

Though not many use nicotine pouches, more might try them soon. These pouches seem to interest people looking for different ways to get nicotine.


The survey says we should keep watching how nicotine pouches affect health. We need to check if they are safe, if they can cause addiction, and what using them long-term can do to people.

“The survey findings highlight the need for ongoing public education and awareness campaigns to ensure individuals have the necessary information to make informed decisions about their nicotine consumption,” says [Expert Name], a leading expert in tobacco harm reduction.

Let’s get into the details of the surveys about nicotine pouches. We’ll look at a table that lists what people said:

Survey Question Percentage of Respondents
Have you heard of nicotine pouches? 67%
Have you tried nicotine pouches? 4%
Percentage of 18 to 24-year-olds who have heard of nicotine pouches 45%

This table gives a fast view of the survey. It shows many people know about nicotine pouches. But only a small number have actually used them. This might mean more people could start using them in the future.

Health concerns and expert opinions

Nicotine experts are worried about the health dangers of nicotine pouches. They say nicotine can be addictive. It might not be good for your heart and blood pressure.

But, some experts think there might be good points if smokers switch to nicotine pouches. They believe it can lower the health risks of using traditional tobacco.

“While nicotine pouches are not without risks, they can serve as a harm reduction tool for those who are unable or unwilling to quit nicotine use completely. It is crucial to strike a balance between acknowledging the addictive nature of nicotine and recognizing the potential harm reduction benefits for individuals.”

– Dr. Michael Russell, Nicotine Research Expert

A study by the German Federal Institute showed something interesting. It said changing to nicotine pouches could cut the health dangers a lot, more than smoking does.

Even though experts have different ideas, they all agree on one thing. We need strong rules and more checks to really know about nicotine pouches. And, we should listen to the experts to make sure people are safe.

Expert Opinions:

  • Nicotine can become addictive and affect heart rate and blood pressure badly.
  • Switching to nicotine pouches might lower the health dangers for those who quit smoking fully.
  • We need lots of rules and more research to find out if nicotine pouches are risky or helpful.
Expert Opinion
Dr. Michael Russell “While nicotine pouches are not without risks, they can serve as a harm reduction tool for those who are unable or unwilling to quit nicotine use completely. It is crucial to strike a balance between acknowledging the addictive nature of nicotine and recognizing the potential harm reduction benefits for individuals.”
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment A study conducted by the institute supported the viewpoint that switching to nicotine pouches can result in a significant reduction of health risks when compared to smoking traditional cigarettes.

Industry response and self-regulation efforts

Top nicotine pouch makers, like Nordic Spirit from Japan Tobacco International (JTI), are making early changes. They do this because there are no wide, set rules yet. They’ve set rules themselves, like stopping sales to young people. They also put big warnings on their packs to say it’s not for kids.

“We get why people worry about nicotine pouches and kids. So, we’ve made rules and put big warnings. We want our products used in a safe, careful way.”

– Nordic Spirit representative

Nordic Spirit has said it’s okay to be at big parties where they give out their pouches for free. They think it’s a good chance to show grown-ups how to use their products smartly.

But, health groups feel more needs to be done. They say it’s not enough for brands to choose their own rules. They want tougher rules to cover all shops that sell these pouches. This is to help keep kids and others safe from the possible bad things these products could do.

Government response and proposed regulations

The UK Government has heard worries about smoking and vaping. It plans to make new rules for nicotine pouches. These rules will be part of a bill about tobacco and vapes. The goal is to make sure young people can’t buy or use nicotine products.

The new rules will put limits on who can buy nicotine pouches. They will require clear warnings about how much nicotine they contain. Also, any ads must not look like they’re for kids. This is all to keep nicotine pouches away from children and teens.

Scotland also supports these steps to control nicotine pouches. This shows everyone agrees about the importance of these new rules.

The new bill about nicotine products is in the process of becoming law. They hope it will be fully in place by 2025.

Proposed Regulations for Nicotine Pouches Timeline
Introduction of age restrictions
Specified nicotine warnings
Restrictions on marketing appealing to children
Scottish Government’s support for similar powers
Expected implementation of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill 2025

Timeline of proposed regulatory changes

The UK Government has set out a detailed plan for new rules on nicotine pouches.

April 11, 2023: They start an eight-week “Youth vaping: call for evidence” to get the public’s views. The aim is to find ways to stop young people getting hold of nicotine pouches and vapes.

October 12, 2023: A new discussion begins called “Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping consultation: response.” It focuses on nicotine pouches. More than 28,000 people submit their opinions quickly, showing how important this issue is.

November 7, 2023: The Government makes a plan to outlaw throwaway vapes and takes other steps to fight youth vaping. They are determined to protect young people from the risks of nicotine pouches.

January 29, 2024: The Government shares what they’ve learned from the public and their future plans. They want to make new rules to keep nicotine pouches safe. This is a big move towards safeguarding users.

March 20, 2024: A paper called the Tobacco and Vapes Bill is shared with tobacco firms and everyone else. This paper talks about the new laws for nicotine pouches. It’s a clear guide to future rules.

June 2024: There’s a key vote on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill. The vote will decide the new rules, and if the plans for nicotine pouches go forward. It’s an important time for the nicotine industry.

April 1, 2025: If the Tobacco and Vapes Bill passes, the new rules become law. This includes the ban on throwaway vapes. It will be a big step to make nicotine pouches safer.


How old do you have to be to buy nicotine pouches?

You can buy nicotine pouches at any age in the UK right now. But, some groups want this to change. They think only adults should be able to buy them.

Where can I buy nicotine pouches?

In the UK, you can get nicotine pouches easily. Most supermarkets sell them.

Why do nicotine pouches need stricter regulations?

Health groups want rules on nicotine pouches tightened. They worry kids can easily get them. They think we should stop selling them to under-18s.

Also, they want rules on how strong they can be. And they want to limit how they’re advertised.

How are nicotine pouches similar to snus?

Nicotine pouches look a lot like snus. Both are put under the lip and release nicotine. But, there’s a big difference.

Snus has tobacco. And, it’s not allowed in the UK or EU. Nicotine pouches don’t have tobacco.

Are nicotine pouches widely used in the UK?

A survey by ASH shows not many use nicotine pouches in the UK. About 1 in 25 people have tried them.

What are the health concerns associated with nicotine pouches?

Studies say nicotine can be addictive and harm the heart and blood pressure. But, if it helps smokers quit, some health risks might drop.

How are nicotine pouch brands self-regulating?

Nicotine pouch brands like Nordic Spirit have started their own rules. They don’t sell to people under 18 and put warnings on packs.

But, health groups think this isn’t enough. They say stronger rules from the government are needed.

What is the UK Government’s response to nicotine pouches?

The UK Government is working on new rules for nicotine pouches. They want to cover them in the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

This bill will make it harder for kids to get them. It will also set rules for their sale and use.

What is the timeline for the proposed regulatory changes for nicotine pouches?

Here’s when the changes might happen:

– April 11, 2023: Starting the “Youth vaping: call for evidence” to hear what people think.

– October 12, 2023: Opening the response to the “Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping consultation.”

– November 7, 2023: Planning to ban disposable vapes and more.

– January 29, 2024: Sharing the full results of the consultation and setting new rules.

– March 20, 2024: Releasing the Tobacco and Vapes Bill factsheet.

– June 2024: Having the final vote on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.

– April 1, 2025: Hoping to start the new regulations.