How Much Nicotine Do You Absorb from Nicotine Pouches?
Erik Rosengren - Snusexpert
31 May, 2024
5 min

How Much Nicotine Do You Absorb from Nicotine Pouches?

According to the NCBI, you absorb 25–30% of nicotine from snus and nicotine pouches. This is significant compared to other nicotine products, like cigarettes, which only give you 5–15% of the overall nicotine concentration. 

Nicotine gum has the highest absorption rate of 60–70%, but their concentration is much lower compared to some nicotine pouches. We'll look at different nicotine product absorption rates and the application of different absorption rates.

Nicotine Pouch Content and Absorption Rate

The NCBI researched different nicotine products and their relative nicotine absorption rates. To carry out their research, they tested the nicotine concentration in blood, urine, and saliva samples of various people. They also tested the leftover nicotine in different used nicotine products.

According to their research, oral nicotine pouches had an absorption rate of 25 to 30%. Here's a quick table to help you put things into perspective:

Nicotine Concentration Absorbed Nicotine Leftover Nicotine
3 mg 0.75 to 0.9 mg 2.25 to 2.1 mg
6 mg 1.5 to 1.8 mg 4.5 to 4.2 mg
10 mg 2.5 to 3 mg 7.5 to 7 mg
50 mg 12.5 to 15 mg 37.5 to 35 mg

Overall, about 25 to 30% of the nicotine enters your bloodstream. For reference, the 3 mg pouches give you the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette. However, this concentration can vary based on different factors. 

Factors Affecting Nicotine Absorption Rate

While the research states that only 30% of nicotine is absorbed from nicotine pouches, the actual value can vary. Factors like pouch size, pH, and moisture can affect the nicotine absorption rate.

Here's how and why:

  • pH: A nicotine pouch with a slightly alkaline pH leads to be better reception of the nicotine content. Pouches with the right pH naturally increase your absorption rate. 
  • Moisture: The moisture content in a nicotine pouch can impact the nicotine release and absorption rate. Moist nicotine pouches have a much better absorption rate compared to dry pouches. 
  • Pouch Size: Pouches that have more surface area lead to more nicotine release. Naturally, the more surface area a pouch has, the better the absorption of nicotine in your mucous membranes.

an image of data points of factors affecting nicotine absorption rate

Why is Knowing the Absorption Rate Important?

By knowing the absorption rate of nicotine, you can choose pouches appropriate to your tolerance levels. You won't have to worry about problems like nicotine overdose or other side effects. You can also quit other forms of harmful nicotine products more adequately.

For example, smokers can substitute cigarettes with a ZYN 3 mg or 6 mg pouch, which would have the same levels of nicotine as cigarettes. People using snus products can use pouches with strengths of 6 to 9 mg to keep their cravings at bay. 

Nicotine Absorption Rates from Other Products

You have to understand the absorption rates of different nicotine products to compare their concentrations to nicotine pouches. By doing so, you can use nicopods as an accurate part of your nicotine replacement therapy. Here are the absorption rates of different nicotine products:

Heated Tobacco Products Absorption Rates

An average cigarette contains 9 to 11 mg of nicotine. Only 0.8 to 1.5 mg nicotine goes into your body through the smoke and mucous membranes of your mouth. Other forms of heated tobacco products, like cigars, may deliver nicotine in more copious quantities. 

The hardness of a cigarette also affects the nicotine concentration and consequent nicotine absorption. You can get the same amount of total nicotine in your body by using a 1.5 mg to 3 mg nicotine pouch. 

Smokeless Tobacco Product Absorption Rates

According to the same NCBI report, snus pouches and loose formats have a nicotine absorption rate of 32 to 47%. Swedish snus and other smokeless tobacco products have a high concentration of nicotine along with moisture.

The moisture increases the absorption rate and makes for a stronger nicotine kick. It's why snus and similar products are such a popular alternative to cigarettes. 

Vape Nicotine Absorption Rates

Vapes have slightly lower nicotine absorption rates compared to cigarettes. According to research published in the NCBI, blood plasma nicotine levels ranged from 2.1 to 7.9 ng/mL. While it may seem more compared to cigarettes, the time period plays a role here.

For example, you'd need 40 to 50 puffs of a vape to get the same total nicotine absorption as a single cigarette. Overall, a vape has a lower nicotine absorption rate compared to cigarettes. Novel non-tobacco-based nicotine pouches have a much higher absorption rate compared to vapes.  

Nicotine in the Body of an Average User

One way to determine the nicotine absorption rate is to look at the nicotine plasma levels. An average human being has 2.1 ng/mL. This nicotine comes from various foods of the shade plant family and other vegetables. 

When you use cigarettes, the nicotine plasma levels rise to 7.9 ng/mL in the first 5 minutes. Vapes have a lower nicotine uptake, which leads to only 4.4 ng/mL. Nicotine pouch and snus users had a peak nicotine plasma levels of 29 ng/mL.

an image of the chemical nicotine and the text saying Nicotine in the Body of an Average User

What Happens Because of High Nicotine Absorption?

High nicotine absorption rates lead to more nicotine stimulation in your body. You have more endorphins, and naturally, you feel a rush or elation. This feeling is an effect of nicotine and isn't a part of the problem.

The main issue is using a nicotine product with high nicotine concentration and absorption rates. This combo can be problematic because a quick influx of a lot of nicotine can cause problem like nicotine overdose.

Understanding nicotine absorption rates can also help you find the right nicotine replacement therapy products for your needs. For example, the measured nicotine content in pouches is enough to get rid of cigarette addictions. 

Conclusion: 30% of Absorption of Nicotine Per Pouch

From research and literature, we know that most nicotine pouches have a 25 to 30% absorption rate. Other products with nicotine can have rates between 20 and 70%. Out of the lot, nicotine gum has the highest absorption rate. 

Factors like moisture, pH, and size can affect the absorption rate of snus and pouches. With our guide, you can now find the right nicotine product as a substitute for your addictions. That's all for now.