Image of a person holding a tub of snus pouches.

The Difference Between Nicotine Pouches and Snus

Snus, the popular Swedish tobacco pouch was invented 200 years ago and remains popular in Sweden. It was banned pretty much everywhere else in the EU and UK over concerns about its carcinogenic health effects, which led to the development of the nicotine pouch.

While both deliver nicotine in a pouch format that is placed under the lip, that's where the comparison ends. Snus and nicotine pouches are not the same thing. One contains tobacco and all its harmful chemicals, while the other is 100% tobacco-free.

In this article, we'll explore the differences between snus and nicotine pouches and show you how nicotine pouches can help you leave your smelly smoking habit in the rearview.

1. What Are Nicotine Pouches?

Nicotine pouches were developed in the early 2000s as a safer alternative to snus. The pouches are made of organic fleece filled with plant-based silica granules, to which nicotine and flavour are added. The best aspect of nicotine pouches is that they are 100% tobacco free.

They are also very easy to use, simply place the pouch under your top lip, so it sits against your gum, where the nicotine is slowly absorbed through the lining of your mouth. Depending on the size of the pouch and the nicotine strength, you use a nicotine pouch for between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. What Is Swedish Snus?

Snus contains ground-up tobacco, water and salt. It is then heat treated with additional food grade aromas being added. It is classed as a food product in Sweden, but has been illegal in the EU and UK since 1992 after a World Health Organisation (WHO) study in 1985 found it to be carcinogenic.

Traditional Swedish snus can be flavoured with mint, vanilla or citrus, and it is placed under the top lip where it can stain the teeth over time. The tobacco in snus is uncured and has a shelf life of a week to two weeks before spoiling. If refrigerated or frozen it can be kept for months.

3. Snus vs Nicotine Pouches: The Key Differences

While similar in size and shape, the key visual difference between nicotine pouches and snus is their colour. The tobacco in snus gives them a brown colour, whereas nicotine pouches are typically white.


The main difference between snus and nicotine pouches is tobacco. Snus is a tobacco product and nicotine pouches contain only pharmaceutical grade nicotine.

An open tub of snus pouches

  • Ground tobacco product
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Alkalising agent (E500)
  • Flavourings
  • Contains Nicotine

Nicotine Pouches

 An open tub of nicotine pouches

  • 100% Tobacco Free
  • Food grade plant fiber filling (cellulose)
  • pH adjusters (sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate
  • Nicotine salts
  • Food grade flavourings
  • Sweeteners (Acesulfame K)

Because snus contains tobacco it also carries with it a carcinogenic risk associated with cancer. The nicotine in pouches is synthetic and has no connection to tobacco in any way.

Method Of Consumption

Both nicotine pouches and snus are smokeless ways to enjoy nicotine and they are used the same way, by placing the pouch between the lip and gum. Once in place, nicotine will be absorbed into your blood stream through the lining in your lip and gum. A major noticeable benefit of nicotine pouches is that they do not stain your teeth, snus on the other hand causes yellowing of your teeth, tongue and mouth.

Image of a person placing a nicotine pouch under their lip

Once you are finished with the pouch, you can place it in the storage compartment of the tub. The pouches are bio-degradeable and the tub itself can be recycled as plastic waste.

Image showing where to store used nicotine pouches in the tub

Nicotine Content And Delivery

Nicotine pouches and snus release nicotine via the mucous membrane in the lining of the mouth. It is a timed release that lasts between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the pouch size. You will start to feel a slight tingling sensation which is a sign that the pouch has begun to release its nicotine content, this feeling is the same for snus and nicotine pouches.

As it is a tobacco product, snus will begin to stain your teeth over time, unlike nicotine pouches, which leave no residue whatsoever.


4. Summary

Whilst snus pouches have been around for over two centuries and are hugely popular in Sweden as a smokeless tobacco alternative. It is, however, still a tobacco product and concerns over its negative health effects make it unavailable in the UK.

Nicotine pouches contain nothing but plant fibres, flavourings and nicotine while still providing the same benefits without any of the negative aspects associated with tobacco. Discreet, easy to use and biodegradable, they are an excellent option for anyone looking for a smoke-free and tobacco-free method to get their nicotine fix.

Disclaimer: The content presented on is for informational purposes only and is centered around nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products—alternatives to traditional smoking methods. The information provided on this website, including blog posts and social media interactions, is not intended as medical advice, nor should it substitute for professional medical guidance or treatment.