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What is ZYN and What are Nicotine Pouches? (An In-Depth Guide)

Oral nicotine pouches have been around for a while, but they’ve recently seen a rapid rise in popularity after gaining an impressive social media following among younger consumers.

Many people are turning to tobacco-free pouches as a discreet and convenient alternative to cigarettes and vapes. With no smoke or smell, nicotine pouches make it easy to enjoy nicotine anywhere.

Perhaps you’ve heard of ZYN, one of the most popular and widely available nicotine pouch brands, but many others are out there — including Ziip Stick’s Z Pouches. Shop around, and you’ll soon discover a robust range of nicotine strengths and flavors to suit any user.

But what exactly are nicotine pouches? Stick around, and you’ll find out. We’ve got answers to all your questions about nicotine pouch safety, side effects, ingredients, benefits, flavors, brands, and more.

What Are Nicotine Pouches and What Is ZYN?

an open tin of ZYN nicotine pouches

Nicotine pouches are small, porous pouches containing powdered nicotine and other ingredients such as flavorings and fillers. The nicotine powder is either synthetic or derived from tobacco, but the pouches do not contain any tobacco leaf, dust, or stem.

These pouches are placed in the mouth between the gum and the lip — often behind the upper lip — where the nicotine is released slowly over 20 to 60 minutes. This setup allows the nicotine to absorb through the mouth lining and directly into the bloodstream like it does when one uses chewing tobacco or Swedish snus.

ZYN is a specific brand that produces nicotine pouches. Others include Ziip Stick (us), VELO, and Rogue. ZYN is particularly popular; you can find the brand’s tins in almost every gas station and convenience store.

Regardless of popularity, all nicotine pouch brands offer a smokeless, spitless, and discreet way to enjoy nicotine.

Are Nicotine Pouches Safe for You?

Are these convenient pouches too good to be true? Are popular brands (such as ZYN nicotine pouches) bad for you? People have many questions about the safety of nicotine pouches, so let’s get into it.

In short, nicotine pouches contain fewer harmful chemicals than cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products like snus. Many people use nic pouches to reduce their exposure to tobacco smoke — though pouches aren’t officially approved as tobacco cessation aids in the U.S.

While these pouches are generally considered safer than smoking, they are not entirely risk-free. Using any product containing the addictive chemical nicotine comes with a risk of developing a dependence.

There’s also a safety risk when buying poor-quality nicotine pouches — these might contain unwanted ingredients not listed on the label. Always buy your pouches from trusted sources and only use products from brands that are transparent about their products.

Check out our article on the safety of nicotine pouches for more detailed information.

How Do Nicotine Pouches Compare in Safety to Smoking, Chewing, and Vaping?

a person holding a pile of dried tobacco

Nicotine pouches are likely safer than many other nicotine products on the market, including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and vapes.

Of all these nicotine products, cigarettes are the most harmful, exposing your body to countless chemicals linked to cancer, heart disease, and lung problems. Chewing tobacco, while less dangerous than smoking, still exposes you to several carcinogens that can increase your risk of mouth cancer.

The jury is still out on the safety of vaping because its long-term effects are still being studied. Using high-quality vapes with safe ingredients is generally low-risk, but some cheaper vapes made with questionable ingredients may expose your lungs to harmful chemicals.

In comparison, nicotine pouches do not involve any form of inhalation, so they carry no risks to your lung health. They’re also wholly tobacco-free, meaning they do not expose your mouth to the cancer-causing compounds that smokeless tobacco products do.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Using Nicotine Pouches?

Using oral nicotine pouches (such as ZYN, On!, Ziip Stick, and other brands) comes with a few potential side effects, including:

  • Nicotine addiction
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Mouth and gum irritation
  • Stomach upset and nausea
  • Hiccups

All of these side effects are more likely or more pronounced with higher levels of nicotine consumption. For example, users are more likely to experience hiccups or nausea when using stronger nicotine pouches. If you want to reduce your potential for side effects, choose low-strength pouches.

Are Nicotine Pouches Addictive?

All nicotine products can be addictive, including nicotine pouches. Nicotine is an addictive chemical that activates the brain’s reward system by triggering the release of dopamine, a feel-good hormone that motivates people to repeat rewarding behaviors.

At the same time, stopping regular nicotine use causes withdrawal symptoms such as nicotine cravings, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. These uncomfortable feelings can further encourage people to continue using nicotine products.

Not all nicotine pouch users experience the same levels of addiction — more frequent users are more likely to experience addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Importantly, nicotine pouches with higher nicotine strengths tend to be more addictive.

What Do Nicotine Pouches Do?

In short, nicotine pouches deliver nicotine to the body. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how they work:

Nicotine pouches are placed between the gum and the lip, where the nicotine is slowly absorbed through the mouth lining and into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, nicotine travels to the brain, where it stimulates the nervous system and triggers the release of dopamine. This release produces several effects, including elevated mood, alertness, and focus.

Once the nicotine is all absorbed — typically within an hour — you simply remove the pouch and toss it in the trash.

What Is Typically Inside Nicotine Pouches?

Person holding tin of blue and white nicotine pouches

Nicotine pouches contain a blend of ingredients that deliver nicotine and provide a flavorful and enjoyable experience. Some of the most common ingredients in nicotine pouches include:

  • Nicotine derived from tobacco or made synthetically.
  • Flavorings added to mask the taste of nicotine and make the pouches more enjoyable.
  • Sweeteners such as acesulfame K — a sugar-free sweetener that does not contribute to tooth decay.
  • Plant-based, food-grade fillers like microcrystalline cellulose that provide the pouch with structure and softness.
  • Water to provide moisture.
  • pH modifiers — food-grade minerals that regulate the acidity of the pouch to optimize nicotine delivery.

The exact ingredients vary between different brands and products, but most feature some combination of those listed above. Some brands include additional ingredients like propylene glycol or glycerol to maintain moisture in the pouch.

How Much Nicotine Is Typically Included in Oral Nicotine Pouches?

The amount of nicotine in a pouch will vary from brand to brand but typically falls somewhere between 1 mg and 20 mg per pouch.

Brands often categorize the strength of their pouches based on nicotine content. These are the four main strength categories you’ll find most often:

  • Light: 1 to 3 mg per pouch
  • Regular: 4 to 6 mg per pouch
  • Strong: 7 to 9 mg per pouch
  • Extra Strong: 10 to 20 mg per pouch

Are you having trouble choosing? The right strength for you will depend on how often you typically smoke or vape. The lowest strengths are ideal for those who smoke or vape infrequently, while the highest strengths are made for very experienced nicotine consumers looking for an intense dose.

Interestingly, the flavor of the pouch can also affect how heavy its nicotine dose feels. Mint and citrus flavors tend to intensify the strength of the nicotine, making pouches with those formulations feel more intense than offerings in other flavors.

What Are Some of the Best Nicotine Pouch Brands on the Market?

Tin of Ziip Stick Z Pouches in Pineapple Banana flavor

There are several fantastic brands of nicotine pouches out there. You can find a detailed breakdown of the top products in our article on the best nicotine pouches, but here’s a quick guide to get you started:

Ziip Stick Z Pouches

Our Ziip Stick Z Pouches are always a solid option. They're available in five delightful flavors and two different nicotine strengths — 3 mg and 7 mg.

We ensure all Z Pouches are primed and ready to use from the tin. They’re pre-moistened for immediate nicotine delivery so that they won’t dry out your mouth like other brands.


ZYN is a leading brand of nic pouches for good reason. The company uses high-quality ingredients and offers ten fun flavors, including unique options like Coffee and Cinnamon. Each tin only contains 15 pouches, so you’ll get a little less bang for your buck with ZYN than with brands offering a standard 20-count tin.


On! is the ideal choice if you’re looking for the most variety in terms of nicotine strength. Pouch dose options include 1.5 mg, 2 mg, 3.5 mg, 4 mg, and 8 mg of nicotine. Each tin contains 20 pouches in various flavors to suit any preference.


Rogue is a company known for its selection of tobacco-free nicotine products. Its pouches come in two strengths — 6 mg and 3 mg — with 20 pouches in a tin. Ten flavor options — including Tabac, Honey Lemon, and Apple — offer unique tastes you can’t get from other popular brands.


VELO pouches also come in ten flavors and two nicotine strengths: 4 mg and 7 mg. You can choose a smaller 15-count can for pocket-friendly portability or the standard 20-count tin for better value. Users find that VELO flavors are lighter than other brands, which could be good if you’re not a fan of intensely flavored nicotine pouches.

What Are Popular Nicotine Pouch Flavors?

Mint plant growing outside

Nicotine pouches come in various flavors, mainly centered around mint or fruit-inspired formulations. These are some of the most popular flavors out there:

  • Minty and menthol flavors like wintergreen, spearmint, and peppermint are always popular for their refreshing kick and cooling sensation. Some users find minty flavors make the nicotine hit a little more robust.
  • Berrylicious flavors like strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry are great if you like a deep, juicy taste with a classic sweetness.
  • Citrus flavors like orange, lemon, and lime are bright and uplifting.
  • Tropical options tend to feature fruits like mango, pineapple, and passionfruit, offering a taste of beachside bliss.
  • Coffee has a unique and bold flavor that is perfect for those who prefer a decadent taste experience.
  • Tobacco pouches cater to those transitioning from traditional tobacco products, offering a familiar taste to help with those cravings.

Are Nicotine Pouches Good for Quitting Smoking?

Nicotine pouches are not generally recommended as a stop-smoking aid. However, many people do use them for this purpose — one study found that quitting smoking was the most frequently reported motivation for using nicotine pouches.

So, can they help you quit smoking? Some limited research suggests that tobacco-free nicotine pouches could help people transition away from cigarettes, but further research is needed before experts are willing to say for sure.

Given the lack of research, the FDA has not approved nicotine pouches as a form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comparable to nicotine tablets or patches.

One concern about relying on nicotine pouches for quitting cigarettes is the high nicotine content in some of these products. NRT products are designed to deliver small amounts of nicotine to help smokers manage withdrawal symptoms without contributing to addiction, but high-strength nicotine pouches can perpetuate dependence.

Researchers are currently exploring the use of oral nicotine pouches to learn how these products could help people make the switch from cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to pouches.

For now, nicotine pouches simply offer a smokeless and flavorful way to enjoy nicotine recreationally.

What Are Safer Alternatives to Nicotine Pouches for Quitting Smoking?

a woman with sunglasses blowing a bubblegum bubble in a car

If you want to quit smoking, your best bet is to try methods that are cleared by the FDA. NRT products are known as some of the safest and most effective options for quitting nicotine dependence. These include:

  • Transdermal patches
  • Gums
  • Lozenges
  • Nasal sprays
  • Oral inhalers

The FDA has also approved two non-nicotine smoking cessation medications — bupropion and varenicline — which require a prescription from your doctor. Just note that these medications come with a range of unwanted side effects that can potentially be quite serious. They are best used as a last resort.

Behavioral counseling is another great option, especially when combined with NRT. Talking to a therapist can equip you with coping mechanisms that help you deal with cravings and overcome ingrained habits that perpetuate addiction.

Explore Ziip Stick and ZYN Nicotine Pouches

Many people find that nicotine pouches offer a convenient, discreet, and less harmful way to enjoy nicotine — especially when compared to traditional tobacco products. If you want to try them, our Ziip Stick Z Pouches are a great place to start.

Ziip Stick Z Pouches are wholly tobacco-free and come pre-primed to make your first experience with nicotine pouches as comfortable and effortlessly enjoyable as possible. Visit our collection page for a selection of top nicotine pouches and fun flavors.

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