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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Unkown risks of new nicotine product

Unkown+risks+of+new+nicotine+product

Originating in Sweden, Zyn is a brand of oral nicotine pouch that is placed between the lips and gums, where nicotine is then absorbed into the bloodstream. They are sold in cans containing pouches with different flavors and levels of nicotine: either 3, 6 or 8 milligrams per pouches. First introduced to the market in 2014, the popularity of Zyn increased rapidly worldwide through multiple social media platforms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, about 1.5% of middle and high school students reported using nicotine pouches. 

Senior Marisa Baldwin (she/her)* started using nicotine sophomore year when she occasionally vaped with friends. During the summer of her junior year, she heard about Zyn from her dad, who consistently uses them, which made them easily accessible to her. 

“My dad, he just had some in his car and me and my friend were like, ‘We’re partying, why not?’” Baldwin said. 

In addition to family members, friends can also influence a student’s decision to use Zyn. Junior Aaron Donovan (he/him)* frequently uses vapes but hadn’t tried a Zyn until his friend offered him one.

“If it wasn’t that he had it, and he offered it to me, I would have never done it,” Donovan said. 

Donovan said he has seen an increase of Zyn usage on social media platforms and feels that this is the most important contribution to Zyn’s growing popularity. Donovan said advertising he’s seen of college students on Instagram and TikTok heavily influenced him.

Although Zyn is promoted, it is illegal for teens to purchase. Zyn states that their nicotine pouches are only intended for adults 21 and older. If used at school, students will face disciplinary consequences. For a first violation, consequences include being taken out of school for the remainder of the day, four hour Saturday detention and attending a class about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs with a parent. Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug and the use of it by young adults can be extremely dangerous. According to the CDC, the human brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25, and the use of nicotine can harm developing brains, specifically parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. 

Zyn may also cause symptoms such as nausea and irritated gums. Junior Gabriel Santos (he/him)* said he felt nauseous and threw up after trying his first Zyn. Donovan felt a fuzzy feeling in his mouth, then motion sickness and a headache after trying his first Zyn. 

Influenced by teammates, senior Eric Smith (he/him)* was stuck in 100-degree weather during a game with no water when he tried his first Zyn. He described the experience as terrible, but said he still uses them during practices and sometimes at school because they are so easy to conceal. Many students said Zyn use is common among athletes.

“As an athlete, I don’t like smoking weed or anything. It’s like you can hide [Zyn], it’s more casual,” Baldwin said.

Although oral forms of nicotine are not new to the market — lozenges, gums and sprays — long-term health impacts are unknown for Zyn because they only entered the market in 2014. Even though nicotine pouches are similar to chewing tobacco, they aren’t considered a form of smokeless tobacco, so they aren’t as strictly regulated as other smokeless nicotine products. Short-term impacts of using nicotine pouches may include irritation of gums, sore mouth and nausea. A possible long-term impact is nicotine addiction — included as a warning on Zyn cans, which is required by the Food and Drug Administration. 

The assumption that using Zyn is better than smoking cannot be proven until long-term studies can be analyzed. The absence of tobacco leaf leads people to believe nicotine pouches are of lower risk, but the nicotine itself still poses a health risk. Time can only tell the kinds of health concerns and risks that occur with Zyn usage. 

*Names changed for anonymity with a random name generator

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About the Contributors
Junior Jada Ambers is a reporter on the Nordic News staff for the 2023-2024 school year. Her goals this year are to grow in her experience within the journalism world and create meaningful pieces for the school. Most importantly, she is excited to have lots of fun as new, joyful memories spring during her first year as a Nordic News staff member. Outside of Nordic, Jada is a part of several clubs. She also enjoys hanging out with friends, hiking, traveling, and reading. 
Senior Xien Huang is a reporter on Nordic News for the 2023-2024 school year. During the school year on staff, she hopes to expand her artistic skills and publish intriguing and relevant news at Inglemoor. Outside of Nordic, Xien is a partial IB student, co-president of AAPI club and actively involved in Key Club. Some of Xien’s hobbies include drawing, stained glass and hanging out with friends and family.

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