Schumer Launches New Warning to Parents re: Nicotine Pouches that Target Teens

Schumer Launches New Warning to Parents re: Nicotine Pouches that Target Teens

By Forum Staff

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday called on the FDA and the FTC to investigate “ZYN,” a highly addictive nicotine pouch that is becoming more and more popular among teens.

Schumer noted that ZYN are small, white pouches that look a lot like chewing gum, but loaded with addictive nicotine that can wreak havoc on a teen’s mind and body.

Schumer echoed concerns that these nicotine pouches could become the next trend in addiction for teens, and said these pouches can be especially dangerous to growing, adolescent minds. As he urged the FTC and FDA to take action, Schumer explained that with cigarette smoking on the decline, tobacco companies have shifted focus to “smokeless” tobacco products, including oral nicotine pouches. Schumer also pointed to data showing these pouches growing in popularity. Overall sales of nicotine pouch products increased from $126.06 million units from August to December 2019 to $808.14 million units from January to March 2022.

“Amid federal action against e-cigs and their grip on young people, a quiet and dangerous alternative has emerged and it is called ZYN,” Schumer said. “Today, I am delivering a new warning to parents because these nicotine pouches seem to lock their sights on teens and use social media to hook them. Kids know what ZYN is but parents don’t. That is why I am asking the FTC and the FDA to step in here and take action on marketing and health concerns related to this product. The amount of nicotine is highly addictive and much more needs to be done to understand and communicate the health risks for young people. Our schools have been inundated with e-cigs and we took action, seeing federal results. ZYN is the next battle and the feds must be ready because Big Tobacco will stop at nothing to hook kids for life.”

Schumer also said there are also “Zynfluencers” who have made nicotine pouches a part of their online personalities. Videos on TikTok tagged with “zyn” are approaching 300 million views. According to Influencity, a software program that estimates the ages of social media users by analyzing profile photos and selfies in recent posts, it is estimated that roughly 10 percent of just one ZYN-fluencer account called the Nelk Boys’ on YouTube, targets more than 800,000 children ages 13 to 17.

Schumer said that nicotine use during adolescence has been shown to impact learning, attention span and proneness to addiction. Zyn products, in particular, can deliver as much as 6 milligrams of nicotine per pouch. According to a Nielsen data report, Zyn nicotine pouch dollar sales in convenience stores increased a whopping 470 percent in the first half of 2020 alone. No current regulations exist that prevent or restrict flavored nicotine pouches and marketing restrictions are not as rigid as those on smokeless or combustible tobacco products. Side effects of use can include irritation of the gums, sore mouth, nausea and most importantly, nicotine addiction which increases relapse risk with other tobacco products. Nicotine pouches can contain high concentrations of nicotine, which can put users at risk of nicotine addiction and can make quitting more challenging, according to Truth Initiative.

“We shouldn’t let the exciting notion of a novel smoking sensation product simultaneously get kids hooked on a new nicotine product,” said Dr. Mike Varshavski.


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