How does a cigarette compare to a nicotine pouch?
This is a really interesting and relevant question to ask when thinking about quitting smoking. To our understanding there’s no straightforward answer as it depends on a number of factors - most importantly how you actually smoke your cigarettes and what the resulting nicotine absorption rates are between cigarettes and nicotine pouches..
Here’s what we understand at this time:
One nicotine pouch containing 6mg of nicotine may leave you with the same amount of nicotine in your bloodstream as one cigarette does.
- Over the 6-7 minutes it takes you to smoke a cigarette your body typically absorbs 2mg of nicotine.
Research indicates that over the 45-60 minutes that you use a pouch, you absorb 31% of the nicotine available in the product, meaning that you would expect to absorb roughly 2mg of nicotine from a nicotine pouch that contains 6mg of nicotine.
For those of you who'd like a bit more background and in-depth understanding behind the above answer, here we go:
Let’s start with the cigarette.
Your average cigarette contains around 10-15 mg of nicotine before you light it up. On average a smoker takes approximately 8 puffs per cigarette and spends 6-7 minutes smoking a cigarette. By the time they have finished the cigarette they have typically absorbed about 2mg of nicotine into their bloodstream (the rest is literally burnt or not absorbed due to the particular way you smoke your cigarettes).
Moving on to the nicotine pouch.
Unfortunately we have been unable to find reliable nicotine absorption studies for nicotine pouches, but we did identify a reliable one for snus pouches (see our source list below).According to this study 31% of available nicotine in a snus pouch is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Assuming this same absorption level would be observed from a nicotine pouch, then we can say that from a pouch containing 6mg of nicotine you would expect to absorb roughly 2mg of nicotine (31% of the available 6mg) - which is equivalent to what your bloodstream would be expected to absorb from one cigarette.
So - all other things being equal - one nicotine pouch containing 6mg of nicotine will leave you with the same amount of nicotine in your bloodstream that one cigarette does.
One final point.
The cigarette allows you to absorb the 2mg of nicotine over the 6-7 minutes it takes you to smoke it. The absorption of the same amount of nicotine in a nicotine pouch takes much longer (up to or more than 45 minutes) - hopefully helping you stay away from that next cigarette!
If you'd like to learn even more, have a look at the links listed in our Sources section below.