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Australia Grapples with Rising Popularity of Nicotine Pouches among Youth

Nicotine pouches are gaining popularity in Australia, particularly among young consumers. Promoted by influencers on platforms like TikTok, these products pose potential health risks due to nicotine use. The Federal Government, alarmed by this trend, is likely considering regulatory measures to address the issue.

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Geeta Pillai
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Australia Grapples with Rising Popularity of Nicotine Pouches among Youth

Australia Grapples with Rising Popularity of Nicotine Pouches among Youth

The Australian Federal Government is voicing deep worry over the escalating popularity of nicotine pouches, commonly known as 'snus', among the country's young populace. These vibrant, flavored pouches do not contain tobacco, but their use poses potential health risks and addiction concerns as they are a type of oral nicotine product. With the marketing strategy heavily leaning towards social media platforms like TikTok, the government's concerns are further fuelled.

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Marketing Tactics Targeting the Youth

The marketing of these pouches is primarily conducted on social media channels, particularly on TikTok, where fitness influencers promote them as a tool for quitting vaping. The strategy effectively targets a younger audience, substantially contributing to the product's growing popularity among non-smokers and young individuals who might not otherwise use nicotine products. The government has previously enacted measures to halt the importation of disposable vapes, including those with nicotine, to curb the rising popularity of these products.

Regulatory Measures and Concerns

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In light of the ongoing situation, as of October 2021, nicotine pouches are now regulated as prescription medicines. Despite these regulatory measures, concerns about unregulated high levels of nicotine and their potential health impacts persist. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also raised an alarm over the rapid sales growth of nicotine pouches as part of the tobacco industry's efforts to diversify its portfolio of novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products.

The Challenge to Public Health Efforts

Australia's black market for vapes, valued at up to $500 million, has raised concerns about organized crime involvement. The surge in popularity of nicotine pouches in Australia is part of a broader trend of nicotine product diversification and poses a significant challenge to public health efforts aimed at reducing nicotine dependency and preventing initiation among new users. The Federal Government, deeply troubled by these developments, is likely considering further regulatory measures to address the issue.

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