Through the years, restrictions around cigarette smoking have become increasingly stringent. In 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration assumed full oversight authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah. And in 2019, Congress passed legislation that raised the age of tobacco sales in America to 21. These regulations arose due to concerns over the effects of tobacco, including secondhand smoke, on lung health. To mitigate the effects of smoking on the health of users and their peers, manufacturers have created nicotine products that aim to be safer than traditional cigarettes, such as the smokeless nicotine pouch and the anti-craving nicotine patch. However, similar naming conventions have created confusion between two products that offer vastly different purposes. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between nicotine pouches and nicotine patches.
What Are Nicotine Pouches?
As explained by the Department of Health and Human Services, nicotine pouches are small packets pre-portioned with nicotine-containing powder. They were designed to be smokeless, tobacco-free alternatives to smoking products. To consume the pouch, users must place it between their upper lip and gum. Nicotine pouches can last for up to one hour and come in flavored and unflavored varieties. Nicotine pouches are often compared to chewing or dipping tobacco. The best selling nicotine pouches on Prilla highlight how they were created with a few features that make consumption more convenient for the modern user. For example, because pouches are dryer than chewing or dipping tobacco and used on the upper lip, nicotine pouches do not promote the build-up of saliva, making for a spitless experience. Compared to chewing tobacco, nicotine pouches are also more discreet.
What Are Nicotine Patches?
Credit: Nicoderm licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Nicotine patches are medical adhesive patches placed on the skin to release controlled doses of nicotine into the body. Nicotine patches are often used in conjunction with nicotine replacement therapy, to help smokers reduce cravings and mitigate withdrawal symptoms as they wean themselves off smoking. The use of nicotine patches as a treatment for nicotine addiction has been FDA-approved since 1991. They are available over the counter and can be purchased without a prescription. Nicotine patches are some of the most popular options for nicotine replacement therapy, given their efficacy, ease of use, and wide availability.
Which Should I Choose?
Which product you choose depends on your intention. Nicotine pouches were not designed to help individuals quit smoking. Instead, they offer a unique nicotine experience that allows users to get their nicotine fix discreetly while also preventing the transmission of secondhand smoke. A CSP Daily News report on nicotine pouches notes that nicotine pouches are popular options for travel and professional situations thanks to their discreet consumption options. Unlike most other tobacco products, nicotine pouches are allowed on flights. On the other hand, nicotine patches were created specifically to make the process of quitting smoking easier on those that experience withdrawal symptoms. Since there are no studies on the efficacy of nicotine pouches for tobacco or nicotine cessation, smokers that plan on quitting should choose nicotine patches to reduce their cravings. Other options for nicotine replacement include gum and lozenges, which are also available over the counter, and inhalers and nasal sprays, which require prescriptions to acquire. Due to their similar names, it’s easy to confuse nicotine pouches with nicotine patches. However, the two are very different products that fulfill very different purposes. Be sure to assess your individual situation to determine which product better suits you.