Tobacco products first arrived in Sweden in the 1600s and from that, the history of nicotine pouches in their various forms has been part of Swedish culture since the 18th Century.
The first nicotine pouches
The pouches were originally introduced as a cheaper and more economical way to consume tobacco. Swedish farmers mixed dried tobacco leaves that had been ground in coffee grinders or hand mills with salt and water to create a moist smokeless tobacco product containing 50% water and 30% tobacco, that didn’t require burning.
The nicotine is absorbed by placing the pouch behind the upper lip, and unlike chewing tobacco, it doesn’t need spitting as the by-product can be swallowed.
As popularity grew different grades were given to the quality of the finished product, and eventually, the different flavours that we see today.
Nicotine pouches in the U.S
During the 1900s an earlier version of nicotine pouches was introduced to the US when more than one million Swedish immigrants travelled there seeking different opportunities.
In the early 1900s, Sweden became one of the first nations to tax tobacco as a luxury product. The tobacco monopoly was re-introduced in 1915, and in 1919 approximately 8,000 tonnes of the popular tobacco product was sold.
Nicotine pouches today
The popularity of the pouches began declining after the second world war as cigarettes quickly became the preferred method of consuming tobacco, but as the negative impacts and side-effects from smoking cigarettes were reported in the 60s & 70s the popularity of the pouches increased once again. This eventually led to the popular product used today, Nicotine pouches. The nicotine in these pouches is separated from the tobacco leaves using a heating process, leaving nicotine pouches that contain no tobacco leaf or stem, and are sold as an alternative to snuff or snus.
Snus is prohibited in most of the EU and Nicotine pouches are a legal alternative.