- February 9, 2024
- Posted by: Kris Mastronardi
- Category: Blog
The New Alternative to Tobacco – Nicotine Pouches
Over the past few years, the popularity of oral nicotine pouches has grown significantly, especially with younger consumers. This can be attributed to the marketing of the products, the addition of flavours, and the conception that these products are a safer substitution to that of chewing tobacco. However, the safety of these products has recently come into question due to their carcinogenic links and potential risks to oral and physical health.
Misconceptions of Safety
With the limited amount of research currently conducted on these products, it is difficult to confidently state that nicotine pouches are a safer alternative to chewing tobacco. However, current research has shown that there are levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) which are considered carcinogenic.
What are TSNAs?
TSNAs are cancer-linked chemicals that are most commonly found in tobacco products. However, they have also been found within alternatives to tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches. Some of these TSNAs that are considered the most carcinogenic include nitrosamine ketone (NNK) and N-nitrosonornicotine (NNN), among others.
Effects on Oral Health
In addition to the risk for cancer, nicotine pouches have similar negative health outcomes like that of chewing tobacco. Gum recession, gum disease, damage to teeth, and alterations in oral microbiome are a few of the additional potential risks to oral health associated with the use of oral nicotine pouches. These can lead to poor health outcomes to overall oral health which can greatly impact other aspects of an individual’s physical health.
How Oral Nicotine Pouches Affect Our Bodies
Addiction to nicotine is another risk from the chronic usage of oral nicotine pouches which can lead to potential dangers to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well as cause alterations to a user’s psychological health. Elevations in blood pressure, atherosclerosis, increased frequency of respiratory infections, and an increase in anxiety and depression are just a few examples of the impact oral nicotine pouches can have on these physiological systems. Health risks are even greater for individuals who are pregnant as nicotine use can cause issues to the development of the fetus as well as risks to the mother as well.
Breaking the Addiction
For those looking to break from their nicotine addiction, there are over-the-counter products currently available in the market for assistance. Nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches have strong evidence showing positive results towards kicking an addiction to nicotine. In addition, those that require more complex treatment options may need to see their family physician for prescriptions or products that can be useful for reducing nicotine dependence such as inhalers and nasal sprays.
Get Your Mouth Looked At
If someone has been chronically using oral nicotine pouches, it is important to get assessed at their dental office. Booking an appointment for a physical assessment of the mouth, teeth, and gums is imperative to controlling any damage or potential damage that may have been caused by frequent use of nicotine pouches.
Overall, the introduction of oral nicotine pouches has been given a reputation as a safer product to chewing tobacco which is misguided. Like e-cigarettes, these products contain TSNAs which have been linked to certain cancers. The chronic use of these products can lead to significant issues with the oral, physical, and psychological health of consumers. There are many available options to quitting the use of nicotine available over-the-counter and through prescription. The usage of these oral nicotine pouches must come with greater risk to the public as the health risks associated with these products are still coming to light with continued research into the long-term effects of chronic usage.