Nicotine Pouches are trending in the UK

Philip Plainstein

Sales of nicotine pouches are surging in the UK, with young men at the forefront of this trend. It seems Generation Z will avoid cigarettes at all costs, opting instead for alternatives like Elf bars, Lost Marys, or even shisha pipes—and it appears that even traditional cigars and pipes are making a comeback among the youth. However, the latest trend in nicotine consumption doesn’t involve lighting up at all; instead, it’s all about nicotine pouches.

Nicotine pouches are small packets of nicotine, typically housed in circular tins, which users place under their lip. The nicotine is then absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Popular brands such as Velo and Nordic Spirit offer these pouches in a variety of flavours, including “ice cool” and “bergamot wildberry”. While still relatively uncommon in the UK, with only one in 300 adults using them, the popularity of nicotine pouches is gradually increasing. Moreover, a report from Polaris Market Research published in October 2023 suggests that the global market value for nicotine pouches is expected to skyrocket by $25.2 billion over the next decade.

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The primary users of these products are predominantly young men. Dylan, 22, has been using nicotine pouches for over a year after first trying them in an attempt to quit smoking and vaping. “One evening, a mate offered me one, and I thought, ‘Why not give it a shot?’,” he recounts. “I’ve not looked back since.” He has noticed significant improvements in his respiratory health since giving up cigarettes, and finds using pouches to be more cost-effective as well. Similarly, Amir, 24, finds these pouches less addictive than vaping or smoking. “It’s simpler to manage how many I use in a day compared to how much I used to smoke,” he comments.

This shift towards nicotine pouches among young adults highlights a significant move away from traditional smoking methods, driven by a preference for healthier and more manageable nicotine delivery systems.