How Does Nicotine Pouches Work?
Erik Rosengren - Snusexpert
15 February, 2024
7 Min

How Does Nicotine Pouches Work?

Nicotine pouches work through absorption. When you place a nicotine pouch beneath your upper lip, the nicotine gets absorbed into your body through the mucous membrane lining your mouth. When nicotine enters your body, it latches onto your parasympathetic nerve centers and nicotinic acetycholine receptors. 

The receptors bind to the agnostic nicotine and release neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. These neurochemicals affect your cognitive abilities, stress levels, and functionality. Let's look at how and why this affects your body in more detail. 

Scientific Explanation of How Nicotine Pouches Work

Here's a step-by-step guide of how nicotine pouches work:

  1. Anticipation or Excitement: Research indicates that the dopamine levels in your body rise even before you use a product. This is mostly a response from the reward center of your brain, nudging you to use the product. 
  2. Activation: When you place a nicotine pouch between your upper lips and gums, the nicotine seeps into the mucous membranes of your mouth. The nicotine gets absorbed into the bloodstream and starts coursing through your body.
  3. Progression: The nicotine travels around your body and interacts with different parts of your nervous system, including the PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) and the Pre Frontal Cortex. All of this takes less than a few minutes.
  4. Release: It leads to a release of neurochemicals called Dopamine, Serotonin, and Adrenaline. This leads to a feeling of relief, happiness, and is often accompanied by a feeling of light elevation. This combined feeling is what's called a “nicotine buzz.”
  5. Aftermath: The initial wave of nicotine fizzles out in a few seconds. The flavor and nicotine releases slowly over the next thirty to forty-five minutes. 

The elevated levels of neurochemicals makes nicotine pouches very addictive. Using them excessively, makes the elevated levels a standard high for your body. When you don't use a nicotine product, the previously normal levels feel like a slump, which is why nicotine is both a stimulant and depressant

What Makes Nicotine Pouches Work?

The main ingredient that makes a nicotine pouch work is the “nicotine” itself. Modern nicotine pouches contain nicotine powder that is refined from tobacco leaf or made in a lab. The effects of this nicotine powder is supplemented by acidity regulators and sweeteners.

The sweetener blends with the nicotine, amplifying the intensity and subjective joy experienced during the experience. For example, a fan of citrus flavors might love a citrus flavored nicotine pouch more because their brain releases more dopamine and serotonin when they use that flavored nicopod. 

Other elements like moisture and filler affect the experience of a nicotine pouch in a minimalistic way. However, the flavor and pure dose of nicotine is what makes nicotine pouches so popular compared to smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, and vapes. 

Image of loop, zyn, and velo with the text saying how does different nicotine pouches brands work

How Does Different Nicotine Pouch Brands Work?

The standard process of nicotine activation is the same for every brand:

  1. You place a pouch under your upper lip.
  2. The nicotine gets absorbed into your bloodstream.
  3. You feel the nicotine buzz.

Learn how to use nicotine pouches the right way for the best experience. Different brands make small changes to their pouches that make it work differently. Let's look at some of the most popular nicotine pouch brands and how they work.

How Do ZYN Nicotine Pouches Work?

ZYN works by slowly releasing nicotine and flavor into your body. It's the most popular brand and offers the highest quality products. Their nicotine pouches last longer and offer a much more controlled experience compared to other brands. 

Time taken until nicotine rush: 40 Seconds to 2 Minutes

How Do VELO Nicotine Pouches Work?

VELO nicotine pouches are much drier compared to ZYN, which makes them one of the most long-lasting brands. They release nicotine and flavor over a long period of time, which makes them a fan favorite around the US and EU. 

Time taken until nicotine rush: 1 Minute to 3 Minutes

How Do Rogue Nicotine Pouches Work?

Rogue pouches have much more intense flavors and a quicker release of nicotine. Consequently, Rogue offers a great nicotine buzz, but an inconsistent experience afterward. Like the rest of the brands, you only have to pop a Rogue nicotine pouch product under your lip to make it work. 

Time taken until nicotine rush: 30 Seconds to 1.5 Minutes

How Do LOOP Nicotine Pouches Work?

LOOP uses a more advanced technology to create their pouches, namely Instant Release. The composition of their pouches is such that it releases nicotine the moment you put a pouch under your upper lip. The rush of flavor and nicotine creates a wave that drowns your senses in an instant. You can read more about it in our LOOP review.

Time taken until nicotine rush: 10 Seconds to 50 Seconds

How Do Other Forms Of Nicotine Products Work?

Here's a brief overview of how other forms of nicotine products work:

Form of Nicotine How Does It Work? Side Effects
Cigarettes Smoke carries the nicotine into your body and bloodstream Irritation, narrowed blood vessels, gut microbe imbalance, lung damage, heart problems
E-Cigs Smoke carries nicotine into your bloodstream, but there are no tobacco toxins Irritation, narrowed blood vessels, lung damage, heart problems
Hookahs Smoke carries the nicotine into your bloodstream along with toxins from the tobacco Irritation, narrowed blood vessels, lung damage, eye irritation, heart problems, mucous membrane damage
Vape Nicotine is absorbed into your bloodstream from the smoke, but there are no tobacco toxins Irritation, narrowed blood vessels, severe lung damage, heart problems
Snus Mucous membranes in the mouth absorb the nicotine into your body Can cause gum problems with poor dental care, narrows blood vessels, and may cause dry mouth
Nicotine Lozenges Mucous membranes absorb and progress the nicotine to your bloodstream No major problems except narrowed blood vessels
Nicotine Gum Nicotine is released into your mouth and mucous membranes as you chew the gum Has trace amounts of nicotine and doesn't affect your body much
Nicotine Patches Nicotine is absorbed through the pores of your skin and released into your bloodstream It often used as an NRT, and doesn't have any major side effects, though its efficacy is also quite low

What Are The Uses Of a Nicotine Pouch?

Nicotine pouches are tobacco-free sources of nicotine and are often used as a form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy. While these pouches aren't vetted by the Food and Drug administration as NRTs, many people prefer to use nicopods to quit their tobacco, smoking, and vaping addictions.

Apart from this, people prefer the ease-of-use of nicotine pouches. They are smoke-free, tobacco-free, and spit-free, which makes them a great alternative for office goers and every day people. Oral nicotine pouches offer a discreet nicotine fix for people who want to curb their cravings.

Their functionality is the main reason why the sales of nicotine pouches like ZYN have nearly doubled in the US over the past few years. 

Tips To Make Nicotine Pouches Work Effectively

Here are 4 things you should do to ensure your nicotine pouches work effectively:

  • Use an Adequate Nicotine Pouch: Always use a nicotine pouch that is suitable with your tolerance levels. Excessively high levels of nicotine can cause nausea, indigestion, and other problems related to nicotine overdose.
  • Keep Your Pouches Safe: Nicotine pouches lose their quality over time. Store your pouches in a cool and dry place to minimize moisture loss. You can also read our guide on proper nicotine pouch storage to avoid issues with dry pouches. 
  • Do Not Use Damaged Pouches: A torn or leaking pouch could cause the contents to overflow in your mouth. It might leave a bitter taste and cause nausea. Always check a pouch for tears, and never chew on a nicotine pouch. 
  • Keep Away From Children: Only adults should use nicotine pouches and tobacco products. When you're done using a pouch, dispose of it safely. Even used pouches can be disastrous to children and pets. 

Conclusion: How Do Nicotine Pouches Work In 60 Seconds

When you place a nicotine pouch under your upper lip, the nicotine gets absorbed through your mucous membrane. The nicotine travels around your body and interacts with different parts of your PNS and activates the reward center of your brain. 

It releases dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline, which reduce stress. The effects of nicotine affect your cognitive abilities and functionality. You don't have to spit or smoke, which makes oral nicotine products much better than tobacco use. 

If you're looking for some great nicopods, try the best tobacco-free nicotine pouches. Alternatively, you can try the best ZYN flavors, backed by the quality of British American Tobacco.