Nicotine Pouches by Vaping360 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) attacked the lifesaving product, Zyn nicotine pouches in a press conference on Sunday. Zyns are a nicotine pouch that go in between the cheek and the lip of the user to intake nicotine which approximately a million Americans use to quit or reduce smoking deadly combustible cigarettes. Nicotine in and of itself is not harmful and is a relatively begin substance like caffeine. The reason cigarettes are harmful is not the nicotine, but the process of combustion that occurs when smoking which creates thousands of toxic chemicals in the smoke inhaled. This is why products like nicotine gums and patches are prescribed as nicotine replacements therapies, without the smoke there isn’t harm.

Schumer’s attempt to call for federal action to crack down on these pouches would narrow the options available by eliminating one proven way to help smokers quit. Between January to March of 2022 808.14 million units of Zyn were sold, this number has only increased since. Of these buyers between the ages 15-24 the 73% were smokers and 81% had smoked in the past. These are clearly products that Americans adults want and need in order to quit smoking and live a healthier lifestyle. Schumer does not care about Americans quitting smoking and is ok with them dying from the harmful side effects of cigarettes. 

In addition to the health benefits, this is a violation of the right of American adults to make consumer choices for themselves. Adults should have a choice in the products they want to purchase and use in order to live a healthier and longer life. They have the individual liberty to make choices for themselves based on their own lives. Schumer wants to limit this liberty.

Schumer’s concerns stem from his misunderstanding that the flavored Zyn pouches are appealing to the youth. This is however an inaccurate assumption as only 1.5% of middle and high schoolers use nicotine pouches and only 2.3% have ever even tried them. The Americans who use Zyn are not trying out nicotine for the first time as they appeal to people who are already smoking deadly cigarettes. Schumer’s attempt to “crack down” on a lifesaving product will lead to an increase in dead Americans. 

The FDA has already authorized the similar product, snus which are a valuable aid to quit smoking. They are marketed as putting users at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Snus are used mostly in Sweden where they have the lowest rate of lung cancer in the developed world use to the popularity of Swedish snus. 

The irrational fear of nicotine that Schumer expressed is misguided and harmful to Americans. Nicotine pouches are a critical aid in the journey to stop smoking and are less harmful than the nicotine gum alternative. If Schumer gets his way, more people will smoke, and die as a result.