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22nd May 2024

Major concern over popularity of nicotine pouches among teens

Sophie Collins

Nicotine Pouches

There is widespread concern over the rising popularity of nicotine pouches among teenagers

As the summer months approach, there are fears that their popularity will “explode,” but right now it’s hard to quantify the problem.

Nicotine pouches were first launched in the early ‘00s and were mainly popular in Scandinavian countries. 

However over the last few years there has been a major increase in the number of underage teens using them.

The small pouches that resemble chewing gum are placed inside the mouth between the lip and gum, allowing nicotine to enter the bloodstream quicker, through the gums.

Paul Crone, director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principal told Newstalk that it’s just the latest issues being seen.

“This time last year I would have said we had a vaping epidemic. The students have a nicotine addiction that must be met.”

He said that at the moment we don’t have specific statistics and “it’s impossible to know how many students are using them”.

“We know students are taking them, but we don’t know how many students or which students.”

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said that if parents came across these nicotine patches in their children’s pockets or bags, they would likely assume they’re chewing gum.

“Many parents, if they came across this, wouldn’t even know what it is. 

“They’re really similar to vapes – marketed towards a younger population, all these really colourful flavours, packaged really nice and incredibly addictive.”

There are currently no regulations in Ireland around the sale of these products to underage customers. They’re widely available and although most venders will say you need to be 18, Whitmore said she knows of many teenagers who have had no issue with purchasing them.

Mr Crone said “we’re worried it will explode even more over the summer.

“Schools won’t have access to the student to talk it out and talk to their parents.”

To learn more about this latest nicotine craze, click here