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The Campus Lantern

Dangerous Zyn craze sweeps across America

Max Tonkon ’27

The Zyn takeover has begun. A new wave of nicotine intake is sweeping high schools and colleges and students are becoming addicted to nicotine.

Zyns are nicotine pouches that originated in Sweden. They contain 3mg to 6mg of nicotine in a pouch with fifteen pouches per tin. People place them on a corner of their gums, and the nicotine drips from their saliva into their bloodstream.

People are under the impression that Zyn is a safe way to consume nicotine, yet research shows that this is far from the truth. Long-term effects are somewhat unknown as Zyn only came to America in 2014, but known effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, and danger to teen brain development. Due to the extremely addictive nature of nicotine, these effects are prominent in those who use Zyn.

We decided to ask a handful of students if they knew some of these harmful effects. The first student we interviewed ripped Zyns but was not aware of the harmful effects.

Max: “Do you rip Zyns instead of smoking or vaping?”
Anonymous Student: “Yes, I don’t smoke.”
Max: “Well, both are bad but did you know that even though cigarettes and vapes have a higher nicotine content than Zyns, that less gets into your bloodstream? This is because Zyns drip directly into your saliva and go into your bloodstream, while on average only 2mg of the 10mg in cigarettes get into your system.”

The next student doesn’t rip Zyns but has a lot of friends who do.

Brady: “Why don’t you rip Zyns?”
Anonymous Student: “Well, I think it is kind of disgusting to be spitting, and always be dizzy.”
Brady: “Do you tell your friends this frequently to try to get them to stop?”
Anonymous Student: “Yeah, but they never listen.”
Brady: “Try to use some of this information to be more convincing next time.”

We told the student what we figured out in our research to help her convince her friends to stop.

These two interviews both proved how little people know about Zyn and its negative effects. People must know the pros and cons of things that they put in their bodies, but a common theme of nicotine products is that people are unaware of many harmful cons. As Zyns surge in schools, combatting it with information is the best way to keep students safe from this form of nicotine.

For people who enjoy having a pouch in their gums all day, there’s still hope. Just like companies made nicotine-free e-cigarettes, companies have started to make caffeine pouches with no nicotine in them. I (Max Tonkon) was inspired by this concept and made a green tea pouch product called NOUCH in the CEL product design program. This demonstrates how this form of nicotine has been recognized by many people, and problem solvers out there are working and a new solution.

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  • A

    Andrew MahonyMay 24, 2024 at 12:28 pm

    Nicotine pouches/snus are a much safer alternative to any other modality of nicotine consumption. The reason why vaping/smoking/dipping is so dangerous is because it packages nicotine with very harmful ingredients like carcinogens that cause awful negative effects like lung/mouth cancer. Snus/pouches (including Zyn’s) are almost purely nicotine/flavoring, leaving out the carcinogens found in tobacco/vaping products. Nicotine is a stimulant, and acts very similar to caffeine. The effects of nicotine listed – increased heart rate/blood pressure – are also effects of caffeine. Nicotine also has select short term benefits like increases in focus and testosterone. It is true that nicotine is very addicting, and harmful for the development of minors (which is why I don’t consume it). The thing is, caffeine has the same effects to a lesser extent. Nicotine as a compound is basically a more powerful version of caffeine. No one bats an eye when a kid/adult drinks a Celcius or a Starbucks coffee. The reality is nicotine consumption is engrained into modern society, just like caffeine. In a perfect world, no one would consume caffeine or nicotine until they are 25 years old, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Nicotine pouches are a much safer way of consuming nicotine than cigarettes/vaping/dipping, and nicotine itself is a much more nuanced compound than presented in this article.
    P.S. – I only know this much because I bought stock in the company that owns Zyn, Philip Morris International.

  • S

    Sam BevanMay 24, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    Very informative Maxwell, and interesting.

  • E

    Ethan QuinnMay 24, 2024 at 7:26 am

    Thank you for your knowledge max