Today, nicotine users that seek nicotine satisfaction without smoking or vaping are presented with an array of choices, including snus, chew bags, and nicotine pouches. These are all smokeless products that deliver nicotine and are similar in concept, but not without some difference. Many people appear to misinterpret nicotine pouches, snus, and chew bags as being the same products when this is not the case. To clear this up, this article will explain what nicotine pouches, snus, and chew bags are, whilst exploring the similarities and differences between them.
Snus - Snus is where it all started, first emerging in the early 18th century and still popular today. Hardcore snus fans will know that the first snus to be released was ‘Ettan’, which is being sold to this day. Snus is a Scandinavian product that is incredibly popular in Sweden, with great history and tradition behind it. Snus is, of course, a smokeless product, that takes the form of a small soft pouch that somewhat resembles a tea bag, containing tobacco, water, salt, and other food-grade additives to enhance aroma and for preservation purposes. Snus is placed under the upper lip and usually left there for up to an hour for the user to enjoy the flavour and nicotine release, without the need for spitting as the contents can be swallowed. There is a great effort made in the quality control, safety, and hygiene of real Swedish snus, making these products very premium.
Chew Bags - Smokeless tobacco laws, unfortunately, mean that snus is illegal in the United Kingdom. To combat this issue, chew bags were developed. Chew bags are based on chewing tobacco in the sense that they are designed to be chewed to release the nicotine, but also resemble snus as they can be placed under the lip with no requirement to spit, therefore enabling U.K. users to have a legal snus-like experience. Chew bags are soft ‘bags’ that contain tobacco, water, salt, and other food-grade additives to enhance aroma and for preservation purposes. Shop Chew Bags Here
Nicotine Pouches - Nicotine pouches are the most recent instalment in the smokeless tobacco product range, which are rapidly increasing in popularity, especially in the U.K. where snus is illegal. Nicotine pouches are tobacco-free, all-white pouches that are discreet and contain synthetic nicotine, stabilisers, fillers, flavourings, PH adjusters and sweeteners. You can find more information about nicotine pouches in our beginner’s guide here. Shop Nicotine Pouches Here
Some Common Areas of Confusion and Differences
Contrary to popular belief, nicotine pouches are not the same as snus. In the ever-expanding online snus community ‘r/snus’ on Reddit, many nicotine pouch users refer to their nicotine pouches as snus, often resulting in an almost instant correction by a snus user stating that the two products are not alike, which is true. Nicotine pouches are similar in essence to snus, being small pouches that are placed under the lip for a steady release of nicotine, making them both easily confused as the same product, however, there is one major difference between the two – nicotine pouches are tobacco-free, and snus contains tobacco.
The presence or absence of tobacco in a smokeless product is a key point in understanding the differences between these products for multiple reasons. The first point to consider is flavour. Tobacco containing products including snus and chew bags greatly differ in taste from tobacco-free products like nicotine pouches. Tobacco has a distinct flavour that is often rich, robust, earthy, spicy, and natural. The flavour profile of tobacco-containing products can of course vary, depending on the inclusion or lack of flavouring additives. Further, tobacco-containing products also greatly differ in aroma to tobacco-free products, with a scent that is unique to tobacco, often smoky, sweet, and rich. Some nicotine pouch producers have tried to emulate the flavour and aroma of tobacco in their products, but many mixed and negative reviews of such products indicate that the uniqueness of tobacco is hard to capture without the presence of it in its natural form.
Moving on from flavour and aroma, nicotine pouches are different to tobacco-containing snus and chew bags in terms of ingredients too, as seen in the descriptions earlier. Snus and chew bags contain very few ingredients, almost all of which are natural. Nicotine pouches, however, contain more ingredients that are of lesser natural origin. The nicotine found in nicotine pouches is often synthetic, meaning that it is manmade, but it should also be noted that nicotine pouches can contain nicotine derived from the tobacco plant without any trace of tobacco, via a distillation process. In contrast, the nicotine found in snus and chew bags is entirely from the tobacco in the pouch itself.
The pouch materials of nicotine pouches, snus and chew bags are all slightly different generally, but also differ brand to brand. Generally, nicotine pouch materials are opaque, meaning the contents inside are often difficult to see. Snus pouch materials, of course, subject to brand and variation, are often webbed, making the tobacco inside visible. Chew bags differ the most in terms of portion material, they are slightly thicker to enable the user to chew the product without the contents falling out because of a tear.
The most obvious similarities between snus, chew bags, and nicotine pouches are that they all contain nicotine, albeit from different sources. The main concepts of the three products are the same, to deliver nicotine satisfaction in a discreet manner that is smokeless and with no need to spit. Further, all three products serve to reduce harm related to tobacco and nicotine, and although the jury is still out as to whether these products are entirely safe, there is clear evidence of their safety compared to smoking and vaping. The methods of consumption are also almost entirely the same, that being under the upper (or lower) lip, for a preferred duration that can be up to 60 minutes, with a slight exception to chew bags that can be chewed.
Nicotine pouches, snus, and chew bags are all great products to satisfy your nicotine needs and can all be very useful smoking cessation tools. There is no say in which product is best, as it is all down to personal preference and what suits your needs. Of course, U.K. customers are not granted the pleasure of using snus, but both nicotine pouches and chew bags are great alternatives!