Nicotine Pouches vs Snus

Tub of nicotine pouches on a table next to a tub of Snus pouches.


As nicotine pouches continue to rise in popularity, you may be looking at them as an alternative to vaping or smoking. With many making the smoke-free switch to pouches, there's often confusion between nicotine pouches and Snus. Although they both appear similar on the outside, these alternative nicotine products have their differences which should be understood before purchasing either.

This guide discusses both nicotine pouches and Snus in detail to highlight their differences and similarities with important information regarding their legality in the UK to ensure that you completely understand both products before making the switch. After reading this guide you will have a much greater understanding of both products in-depth.

Summary: Nicotine pouches and Snus offer a smoke-free alternative to smoking or vaping, although Snus contains tobacco and has been banned in the UK since 1992 with the introduction of The Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations. Both created to delivery nicotine, pouches could be viewed as a safer alternative to smoking, however, there is currently not enough research on the long term effects.

What are nicotine pouches?

Nicotine pouches are a tobacco-free alternative to traditional tobacco and Snus. Created with nicotine, water, flavourings, and sweeteners, pouches also contain plant-based fibres to offer nicotine consumption in a powder form. By placing between your upper lip and gum, pouches deliver nicotine for up to 30 minutes discreetly as a smoke-free nicotine product that differs from vaping or smoking.

Based on the initial Swedish invention of Snus, traditional nicotine pouches contain nicotine either synthetically, or directly from the tobacco plant. Available in a wide range of flavours and strengths, pouches have continued to rise in popularity as an alternative nicotine product.

What is Snus?

Snus is a tobacco product which originates back to the 18th century in Sweden which is often why you hear it being referred to as Swedish Snus. Similar to traditional nicotine pouches, they are packaged in a pouch form, however, they differ significantly due to containing ground-down tobacco leaves.

Snus itself is available in many forms which include pre-moulded portions, repacked pouches, and also in a loose powder form for users to form their own portions. Containing similar ingredients, Snus is usually mixed with salt, water, artificial flavours, and sweeteners, with the biggest difference being the tobacco itself.

There are two main variations of Snus that each offer nicotine delivery differently. Original also known as "wet" is a more traditional Swedish Snus that is more brown in colour and releases nicotine and flavour quickly. On the other hand, white, known as "dry" delivers nicotine more slowly and is available in either a white or brown design.

Is Snus a nicotine pouch?

Snus is very similar to nicotine pouches in their shape and size and are also available in tins or tubs in the same way pouches are made available. The key difference between the two is that Snus contains tobacco as a key ingredient. Snus works in the same way as nicotine pouches, with it being placed between the upper lip and gum to slowly release nicotine for up to 30 minutes.

Although both are similar, because Snus releases nicotine from the tobacco within, they are mostly referred to as tobacco pouches. For this reason, nicotine pouches are most commonly used to refer to pouches that are tobacco-free, but this may not always be the case meaning it's always important to check the ingredients on any pouches you're purchasing.

Is Snus legal in the UK?

Snus was made illegal in the UK in 1992 when The Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations were introduced. This also introduced the ban on buying and selling Snus throughout European countries except Sweden where Snus originated, and Norway.

It's important to highlight that Snus may still be available online even though it is illegal to sell or purchase. For your safety and to remain compliant with regulations, we advise against purchasing Snus in the UK as they may also contain ingredients that could cause harm, or land you in trouble having them in your possession.

Person holding a tub of nicotine pouches in their left hand with a single pouch laid on their right palm.

Are nicotine pouches the same as Snus?

As previously discussed, nicotine pouches and Snus share many similarities, they are the same shape and size and both are placed between the lip and gum to release nicotine. However, Snus products contain tobacco but traditional nicotine pouches are most likely referring to pouches that are tobacco-free.

It's important not to confuse Snus and nicotine pouches without tobacco as Snus was made illegal in the UK back in 1992. Although you may see Snus products advertised, they may either be tobacco-free or be sold illegally with tobacco as an ingredient. We strongly advise purchasing nicotine pouches from reputable retailers to ensure that your products are compliant and follow all guidelines set in place to reduce any negative impacts on your health.

Are nicotine pouches better than Snus?

Although Snus dates back to the 18th century, nicotine pouches are a relatively new product with no current long-term research on their safety and effects on the body. However, unlike Snus, pouches do not contain tobacco which contains 250 known harmful chemicals. For this reason, it could be argued that nicotine pouches are a better solution.

Snus is also illegal in the UK which would make nicotine pouches more accessible and most importantly legal to purchase and consume. With no staining from tobacco, or health concerns of ingesting carcinogenic chemicals found in tobacco, nicotine pouches do appear to be better when comparing the two further in-depth.


Overall it's clear that both nicotine pouches and Snus offer a smoke-free alternative to smoking and vaping, although it's only pouches that deliver a tobacco-free nicotine experience, unlike Snus. If you're looking to make the switch from cigarettes, nicotine pouches are the only legal alternative in the UK if looking at either pouch.

Although there is not enough research to highlight any long-term effects of nicotine pouches, they could be argued as a safer alternative to Snus or traditional cigarettes thanks to being a tobacco-free product.

Regardless of the strength or flavour you're looking for, we stock a wide range of nicotine pouches at Nicswitch from some of the best brands and manufacturers available throughout the world. We'd love to hear your story or experience with either pouch or hear about your smoke-free journey. Be sure to leave a comment below, or contact us if you have any questions regarding nicotine pouches or Snus.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Like traditional nicotine pouches, Snus is available in a wide range of nicotine strengths. Depending on the size, tobacco and contents, Snus may contain different levels of nicotine. For this reason, it's best to check any Snus packaging where the amount of nicotine will be displayed.

Snus contains tobacco leaf which includes nicotine which is a highly addictive drug, for this reason, Snus itself is classed as a drug.

The biggest difference between Snus and nicotine pouches is that Snus contains tobacco. In addition, Snus is also illegal to purchase or use in the UK as of 1992 which makes nicotine pouches a more accessible and compliant alternative to smoking or vaping.


Disclaimer: The content on offers general insights about nicotine containing products. Please be aware that this information is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice and should only be relied upon when explicitly referenced. We make no guarantees regarding the accuracy, reliability, or health-related advantages of the content displayed across all pages of our website, including blog posts, product pages and social media content.

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Person wearing blue latex glove holding a nicotine pouch between index finger and thumb against a white background.

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