This article appeared recently, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Zyn nicotine pouches are all over TikTok, sparking debate among politicians and health experts

We took a look at the emergence of nicotine pouches back in August of 2023.

Behold the Nicotine Pouch

I have to admit, the trend shows no signs of slowing. Philip Morris International’s entry into the marketplace, Zyn, has established an early lead, reminiscent of the explosive growth of the Juul electronic device.

Like Juul, Zyn insists it targets adult smokers who need help making the switch from tar-heavy tobacco cigarettes to something less harmful. Also like Juul, Zyn comes in flavors designed to attract much younger users, including many who have no real history of tobacco smoking. For them, the first real exposure to the addictive drug nicotine is likely to be through TikTok videos featuring “influencers.”

I remember reading that the best way for an advertiser to appeal to a teen audience was to portray their product as popular among kids only a couple years ahead of them. That’s the group they would model their behavior on.

So if you wanted to market your product to high school students, for instance, you used attractive, successful-looking college kids. If your target audience was college-age, you filled your ads with successful-looking 22-25 year olds. And so forth.

Guess what? that turns out to who we find hawking nicotine pouches to kids on TikTok.

As for Zyn, it’s supposedly a favorite of young men who hold right-leaning political views. No idea how that happened. I expect TikTok influencers were heavily involved.

Do I need to point out that although nicotine pouches are less harmful than polluting your lungs and body with tobacco smoke, they still can’t be considered good for the user’s health? Research has been slow in coming, but here’s something from The New York Times on that subject:

Can Nicotine Pouches Like Zyn Harm Your Health?

What we know about the new products, addiction and cancer.

You know the old saying, “history repeats itself”?   Could be that’s exactly what’s happening here. Don’t forget, Juul was wildly successful (for a time) before the authorities wised up. Lots of money was made during its heyday. Maybe Big Tobacco anticipates a similar growth curve for nicotine pouches.

Perhaps at some point, the government will intervene.

Then again, maybe they won’t. You know politics.