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RIVM warns against ‘addictive’ nicotine bags

Nicotine bags, which have long been popular in Scandinavian countries under the name ‘snus’, are also on the rise in our country. Dangerous, according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The institute therefore advocates stricter regulations.

For those who are not familiar with a nicotine bag: it is a small bag of powder and nicotine that you put in your mouth, for example between your gums and your upper lip. You then receive a shot of nicotine through your mucous membrane and saliva. That nicotine gives a ‘kick’.

A nicotine pouch is an example of a nicotine product without tobacco. The ‘advantage’ is that the user’s lungs are not flooded with a cocktail of tar and chemicals, as with cigarettes. Second-hand smoke is therefore not an issue.

Popularity of nicotine bags is increasing

The popularity of these nicotine bags is increasing, according to the RIVM. Unlike tobacco, nicotine bags can be used anywhere. Also in places where a smoking ban applies, such as the schoolyard or the station. In addition, the bags are available in many different flavors, something that is attractive to young people, the institute notes.

Although there is no tobacco in the product, the RIVM emphasizes that the nicotine itself is also harmful and addictive. It points to the health risks and advises the government to discourage their use. “Stricter regulations and information can help,” say RIVM researchers.


Nicotine bags can “induce and maintain a nicotine addiction”. In addition, the use of the bags can cause various complaints; from irritation in the throat and mouth to stomach discomfort, hiccups, nausea and dizziness.

Serious damage can occur at high doses, warns the RIVM. For example, nicotine use is bad for the nervous system and can lead to cardiac arrhythmias. Moreover, frequent use can “have an adverse effect on the development of the young brain”.

RIVM researchers therefore advise the government to discourage use. “Information and stricter rules can help.” For example, politicians should consider including nicotine products without tobacco in the Tobacco and Smoking Products Act, it is advised.

E-cigarette even worse than expected

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RIVM wants stricter regulations for ‘addictive’ nicotine bags


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