Published On: 2020-06-29
a bag of nicotine pouches and a text: 8 facts you need to know about nicotine pouches

Nicotine pouches are gaining more and more popularity also in European Union. What exactly are nicotine pouches and how do they relate to the e-cigarette and e-liquid industry? What is the difference between nicotine pouches and snus? You will find the answers to these and other questions regarding nicotine pouches in the article below.

1. Snus vs nicotine pouches. How nicotine pouches are different from snus?

Traditional snus (brown snus, snuff) is a moist, smokeless tobacco product popular in Scandinavia. Especially Swedish snus is extremely popular.

Snus looks like tobacco wrapped in a cellulose bag, resembling a tiny bag of tea. Sometimes it is referred to as ‘snuff’. Traditional product is made of a mixture of dried tobacco leaves and salt, which is moistened with hot steam. The finished product contains about 50% water and should be kept in the fridge. There is also a version of it without cellulose packaging, which is called “loose snus”. Usually, snus is applied by placing it between the lower or upper lip and the gum. As a result nicotine from tobacco is absorbed into the body from the oral cavity. Moreover, the nicotine content in snus is higher than in a traditional cigarette. Although nicotine pouches resemble traditional snus in some ways, there are significant differences between those two products that need to be discussed.

2. Nicotine pouches (non-tobacco snus)

Nicotine pouches (white snus, or non-tobacco snus) derives from traditional, brown snus. The only difference between the two is the nicotine carrier. Tobacco snus contains tobacco leaves, while nicotine pouches are filled with cellulose. Powdered cellulose is soaked in a mixture of pure nicotine, aromas and pH-alignant (to make product pH more similar to the natural pH of the oral cavity). The mixture is additionally moistened with PG, however, the nicotine pouches are a little dry. It means that the user may feel the nicotine effect and a taste a few seconds after placing a pouch behind a lip.

3. Selling snus in the EU

There is a ban on traditional snuff distribution, which has been in force in the European Union since 1992. The only country exempted from this rule in the EU is Sweden. This is partly due to the fact that Swedes are very attached to snus which is their traditional stimulant. In Swedish, there is even an idiom ‘fint som snus’ – beautiful as snus, which is supposed to be synonymous of the highest quality or form. In 1995 the European Union wanted to ban the product also in Sweden (which at that time was about to enter the EU). Sweden however, managed to convince the European Commission that this could lead to the rejection of EU membership in a general, national referendum. Sweden maintained the right to use brown snuff only at the territory of the country and committed itself not to export it to other EU member states. Snus is also not prohibited outside the EU, e.g. it is very popular in Norway, and it is also distributed in the US. Moreover, brown snuff can be legally sold in Switzerland.

4. Nicotine pouches are not prohibited in the European Union

The legal situation of nicotine pouches is totally different. It does not contain any tobacco leaves, but only cellulose, which is a carrier for pure nicotine. For this reason, nicotine pouches are currently not regulated by the TPD legislation in most of the EU countries. Since nicotine pouches are not covered by the TPD directive, it means that it is not necessary to register the product in the EU. In addition, the sale of nicotine pouches in the European Union is not prohibited in any way. However, each country may have its own, different legislation for nicotine pouches.

5. How the snus market is changing

Snus is the most popular in Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden, while the biggest producer is Swedish Match. What’s interesting, Swedes are one of the least-smoking nations in the European Union. It is estimated that only 5% of adult Swedes smoke cigarettes every day. Also, a fact is the growing trend of snus popularity in the Scandinavian countries over the years. The disappearance of smoking is seen as the result of a longstanding campaign aimed primarily at young people to raise awareness of the harmfulness of smoking. The availability and popularity of snuff on the Swedish market may have played some role in this phenomenon.

Sales changes of snus and cigarettes in Sweden

a chart showing sales changes of cigarettes and snus in Sweden

Source: Swedish Match

6. Are nicotine pouches, or snus harmful?

The alleged harmfulness of alternative nicotine delivery products has been a subject of a heated debate, and it is true that opinions on this topic are divided. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that tobacco harm reduction products (and nicotine pouches belong to this group) are another alternative to traditional cigarettes. Nicotine is a stimulant in every form, including snus pouches. However, by absorbing it through the mucous membrane into the bloodstream, you can avoid harmful combustion products and so-called passive smoking. Everyone (both non-smokers and cigarette users) know about the harmful effects of smoking. The rescue for smokers can be drugs that help to quit. In a situation where it is impossible to resign from nicotine completely, hence nicotine replacement therapy and modern alternative products like e-cigarettes, or nicotine pouches can be really helpful.

7. Quality of raw materials matters

Conscious and responsible manufacturers of tobacco harm reduction products are aware that cigarette substitutes are much less harmful than traditional, combustible cigarettes. Nevertheless, you should always make the highest efforts to provide users of e-cigarettes or nicotine pouches with the top level of safety. Chemnovatic has been supplying top-quality raw materials for many years. Our PureNic 99+ pure nicotine is of pharmaceutical grade with a purity of more than 99.9%. It has gained worldwide recognition from hundreds of manufacturers. Chemnovatic freebase nicotine extract is perfect for nicotine pouches applications. It is completely odourless, flavourless, and crystal clear, barely influencing the smell and flavour of the final product. Chemnovatic PureNic 99+ pure EP and USP nicotine liquid come with a set of documents and certificates ensuring the adherence to quality, safety and legality standards. If you would like to find out more or you are looking for pure nicotine for sale, click here or contact our sales team at Properly selected, high-quality raw materials play an important role here as well as laboratory tests and product quality control.

a bottle of purenic 99+, pure nicotine liquid

8. Laboratory tests for harm reduction products

In the case of e-liquids, legal requirements impose laboratory tests. European TPD directive strictly defines the types of tests for e-liquids before the product enters the market. This is to ensure the health and well-being of consumers. The TPD laboratory tests intend to ensure that no hazardous substances such as heavy metals or mutagenic substances are in the e-liquids. Not only e-liquids should undergo laboratory tests. Although nicotine pouches, in general, are not subject to the TPD directive, they can be tested for security reasons and for the internal needs of the company manufacturing these products. In the case of nicotine pouches, we test exactly the same parameters as in case of e-liquids, however, the sample undergoing testing is different. We check whether unwanted particulars are present in the composition of the product.

Chemnovatic laboratory tests

Chemnovatic as a manufacturer of e-liquids and e-liquid raw materials uses TPD compliant products. With us, you will have a guarantee that your final e-liquid product would successfully pass TPD tests. To learn more about TPD legislation and procedures, read more here. What’s more, we provide our customers with laboratory tests including toxicology and emission tests of ready e-liquids and composition tests of other tobacco harm reduction products. Every European country accepts our laboratory tests. Below you will find exemplary tests that we perform:

  • Heavy metals determination
  • Volatile Organic Compounds determination
  • Aldehydes and ketones determination
  • Nicotine, propylene glycol, and glycerin determination

If you got interested in nicotine pouches, read some key facts about nic pouches and their popularity, or learn the differences between glycol and glycerine. Additionally, if you would like to subject your products to laboratory tests or talk to our advisors about the possibility of testing specific product parameters, please contact us at

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  1. Neeru Menthol 2020-07-08 at 14:06 - Reply

    Great blog information.

  2. ãngel 2020-09-17 at 17:29 - Reply

    I am interested in snus in general.

    Is the original tobacco based snus mixed with water or PG/VG?

    What is the difference if you mix the snus (whether the original or the tobacco free white snuff) wih water or for instance, VG?


    • 2020-12-10 at 08:31 - Reply

      Dear Angel,
      Thank you for your comment, it is no hard to imagine that as many as there are brands on the market as many recipes for each type of the final product. Basically, the idea and purpose of the PG, VG, or water are to be either solvent, nicotine carrier, moisture provider OR it can do all those things at once. PG is very close to the water in its characteristics, it allows for very goods nicotine and flavor distribution. VG is more dense, thick, so it does not evaporate that quickly and allows for moisture in the pouch.

      I hope it answers your question. If not, feel free to ask me anything you need to know. We also encourage you to join our newsletter to keep up with the newest articles: :)

  3. john emery 2022-07-20 at 13:04 - Reply

    Hello! I am an ex smoker and now user of nicotine pouches. I have been reading about all of the health benefits of nicotine now being discussed.
    Do you have a nicotine product that could be put into chocolate? Or Coffee?
    Thank you and have a great day!

    • 2022-07-21 at 11:42 - Reply

      Hi, John!

      Thank you for asking, but I’m afraid we do not have such products in our offer right now.

      Hope you have a great day as well!

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