Puffbars and white snus (a smokeless oral nicotine product) also called nicotinpouches has become increasingly popular and is for many young people a gateway to a nicotine addiction that they should have been spared. Enticing flavors trick young people into believing that the product is harmless, but it is as addictive as any other tobacco product.
White snus, marketed by the tobacco industry in oral nicotine pouches, is a relatively new product and the same goes for the puffbars. Recent years, the supply and demand have increased drastically. Today, virtually all major tobacco companies have launched their own brands, such as ZYN by Swedish Match, LYFT by British American Tobacco Sweden, and Nordic Spirit by Japan Tobacco International. The product has become increasingly popular, not least among children and adolescents.
Tobacco companies often market white snus as tobacco-free – even though the product contains high doses of nicotine extracted from tobacco. This is a tactic that companies use to make pretence of the product being less harmful, and to circumvent the law governing tobacco products.
By claiming that the products are tobacco-free and by having exchanged tobacco’s brown color for white and usually making them taste like tobacco, companies have escaped all the tobacco law’s rules regarding, for example, marketing, sales, excise duty, and the age limit for the purchase of tobacco products. They have, therefore, been able to attract consumers, even young people under the age of 18, with attractive packaging, pleasing condiments, and tempting advertising.
Large tobacco companies spend millions of dollars paying well-known persons to promote white snus and puffbars on social media. A survey 2020 in Sweden regarding young people’s attitudes to tobacco showed that more than a fifth of young people aged 14–18 said that they often see advertising for tobacco and nicotine products. Sixty five percent said that they believe young people are testing new nicotine products because they seem less dangerous than traditional tobacco products. A considerable share asserted that young people want to try them because they are present in popular culture. They also stated that the fact that they are sold in a variety of fruit flavors is of great importance. Many young people describe the new products as something that ”almost everyone uses”, that they are easy to get hold of and cheap and ”super fresh” with good tastes such as raspberry-licorice, Hubba Bubba flavors or cappuccino.
White snus and puffbars, like other tobacco and nicotine products, is highly addictive and poses many kinds of serious health risks. The Swedish Agency for Assessment of Health Technology and Social Services has performed a study that shows that users of snus or e-cigarettes start smoking traditional cigarettes more often than other people.
To protect children and young people from becoming trapped in a harmful habit, all nicotine products, except medicines, should be classified, taxed, and regulated as tobacco, and flavorings should be banned in all nicotine products.