Small, discreet, and tobacco-free, nicotine pouches are widely regarded as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products. When placed between the upper lip and gum, they release nicotine into the bloodstream, providing a satisfying buzz without most of the harmful effects of smoke or vapor inhalation and tobacco-related hazards.

Users new to nicopods may experience a burning sensation after placing one in their mouth. Is it dangerous, and why do nicotine pouches burn? Learn about the reasons and how to avoid or alleviate the burning sensation in case it feels unpleasant.

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Why Do Nicopods Burn? A Simple Explanation

The burning sensation during nicopod consumption comes primarily from the high pH (alkaline) levels of nicotine and other ingredients. Combined with alkaline chemicals used as balancers, such as sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, the pH levels in nicotine pouches can range from 6.8 to 10.1, significantly higher than those of saliva (around 6.7).

High pH levels are necessary for effective nicotine release and absorption. Unfortunately, high pH can also irritate the delicate tissues in the mouth, causing a burning or stinging sensation, especially in new users unaccustomed to the feeling.

Source: Swenico

Other Reasons You May Experience a Burning Sensation

Besides the high pH values of nicotine pouches, you might also feel a burning sensation because of:

  1. High nicotine content
  2. Chemical irritants
  3. Physical irritation from the nicopod
  4. Frequent use of nicotine pouches
  5. Pre-existing oral conditions

High Nicotine Content

Nicotine pouches are available in various strengths, denoted in milligrams per gram (mg/g) or milligrams per pouch, and the higher the number, the stronger the pouch. Since everyone’s mucous membrane has different sensitivity and resistance levels to nicotine, using a pouch with higher nicotine content may cause a burning sensation if your mucosa is highly sensitive to the substance.

Chemical Irritants

Besides nicotine and flavorings, nicopods contain fillers, sweeteners, preservatives, and pH adjusters. These can irritate the mouth’s tissue and cause a burning sensation. If you’re particularly sensitive to specific chemicals, read the ingredients list before purchasing a product. 

Here are the ingredients you can typically find in nicotine pouches and what they do:

IngredientExamplePurpose
Nicotine saltsNicotine bitartrate dihydrateThe main active ingredient responsible for the stimulating effects of nicotine pouches
Flavorings(Usually) plant-derived flavoringsAdd taste and aroma to the pouch
FillersMicrocrystalline cellulose 
Maltitol
Gum arabic
Give bulk and texture to the pouch
SweetenersAcesulfame KEnhance the flavor and sweetness of the pouch
pH adjustersSodium carbonate
Sodium bicarbonate
Balance the pH levels for optimal nicotine absorption
StabilizersHydroxypropyl celluloseHelp maintain the pouch’s consistency

Source: SnusBoss

Physical Irritation From the Nicopod

In some cases, the burning sensation may come from physical irritation caused by the size or placement of the nicotine pouch. Nicopods usually come in the following sizes: 

SizeDescription
MiniThe smallest size that fits perfectly between the gum and lip
SlimSlightly larger than the mini but still discreet
LargeThe largest size, designed for a more intense nicotine experience

If the pouch is too big, it may cause a burning sensation due to discomfort or irritation to the gum or lip. Placing a pouch in the same spot every time can also irritate the placement site.

Frequent Use of Nicotine Pouches

Using nicotine pouches too frequently or for extended periods can erode the protective layer of the mucous membrane, making it more susceptible to irritation and burning. When you place a pouch in your mouth, the nicotine and other ingredients come into direct contact with the delicate oral tissue, causing further irritation if done repeatedly without giving your mouth a break.

Pre-Existing Oral Conditions

Individuals suffering from oral conditions, such as gum disease, mouth ulcers, or sensitive teeth and gums, may experience a more intense burning sensation when using nicotine pouches. These conditions can make the oral tissue more vulnerable and exacerbate the discomfort caused by the high pH levels of the product.

Is the Burning Sensation a Reason for Concern?

No, the burning sensation from nicotine pouches isn’t harmful and shouldn’t worry you. It is a temporary and relatively mild side effect that should subside after a few minutes

The tingling signifies the pouch is working as intended and the nicotine is being absorbed into your bloodstream. As your body becomes accustomed to the pouches, you may not even feel the burning sensation anymore.

If you experience severe burning or prolonged discomfort, it’s best to discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional. You may be allergic or sensitive to some ingredients, or there may be an underlying oral issue.

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Tips To Avoid or Alleviate the Burning Sensation From Nicopods

While some users enjoy the mild tingling from nicotine pouches, others might find it uncomfortable and affecting their overall nicotine experience. The initial burning sensation should subside as your mouth becomes accustomed to the pouches. If it persists or becomes too intense, here’s what you can try:

  • Start with a milder pouch—The higher the nicotine content, the higher the risk of experiencing a burning sensation. If you’re new to nicotine pouches, start with light products and work your way up as your body becomes accustomed to nicotine and other ingredients
  • Alternate placement sites—If you tend to place your pouch in the same spot every time, try alternating between the sides of your mouth
  • Take breaks between pouches—Consuming too many pouches in a short period can irritate the tissue and increase the burning sensation. Give yourself a 1–2 hour break between pouches to allow the gums to recover
  • Stay hydrated—Dry mouth from using nicopods can increase the intensity of the burning sensation. Drink plenty of water before and after using a pouch to prevent dry mouth
  • Eat food rich in antioxidants—To help your gums recover from irritation and reduce inflammation, incorporate foods rich in antioxidants into your diet (e.g., vegetables, fruits, cereals, and nuts)

Source: Sharon Pittaway

You can also switch to a different brand or flavor of nicotine pouches. Flavors, such as mint, make the gums more sensitive, while citrus and eucalyptus have a cooling effect. It’s crucial to use only quality products from reputable brands to stay safe and minimize the risk of unwanted reactions. 

Source: SnusBoss

How Long Should You Leave a Nicotine Pouch in Your Mouth?

The ideal duration of your nicopod session depends on the strength of the pouch, your nicotine tolerance, and the desired effect. Generally, most users keep a pouch in for 5–30 minutes before disposing of it.

You don’t need to keep it in longer than an hour because most of the nicotine is gone by that time. If you’re still experimenting with nicopods, start with shorter sessions (5–10 minutes) and gradually prolong them until you find your sweet spot.

Do You Need To Spit During Nicopod Sessions?

No, you don’t need to spit when using nicotine pouches. Unlike traditional smokeless tobacco products such as snus, nicopods don’t induce excessive salivation and don’t require spitting. You can swallow the saliva, but you shouldn’t swallow the pouch itself as it can lead to stomach issues such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you accidentally swallow a pouch, drink plenty of water to help dissolve it and seek medical attention if necessary.

Nicotine Pouches and Oral Health—Do They Cause Mouth and Nose Cancer?

Nicotine, the primary ingredient in nicopods, isn’t carcinogenic. It’s the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) and other chemicals found in traditional tobacco products that cause various nose, mouth, and throat cancers, such as: 

Nicopods are 100% tobacco-free and don’t contain any TSNAs or other known carcinogens. They may contribute to the development of oral lesions, but these should resolve on their own. 

Still, more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of nicotine pouches on oral health. What’s clear is that you should only use tested and high-quality nicopods. It’s imperative to buy premium nicotine pouches from reliable retailers.

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Buy Quality Nicotine Pouches for a Smooth Experience

SnusBoss offers a massive selection of premium products that provide a powerful yet enjoyable experience. Run by industry experts, SnusBoss is committed to providing customers with top-shelf pouches from the EU’s most trusted brands because the FDA blocked further development of nicopod recipes in 2016 in the U.S., and the highest-quality stuff comes from Europe.

Here’s what you can find in the impressive lineup:

  1. ZYN
  2. Velo
  3. Pablo
  4. Dope
  5. White Fox
  6. Hit
  7. Klint
  8. Thunder
  9. Snatch
  10. Kozmo
  11. Kurwa
  12. Skruf
  13. Killa
  14. Roger
  15. Paz
  16. Thor
  17. Chapo
  18. GOAT
  19. Jäger
  20. Oryx
  21. Pik
  22. Denssi
  23. Glitch
  24. Kick
  25. Siberia

Here’s how to order from SnusBoss:

  1. Visit the online store
  2. Find your desired products and add them to your cart
  3. Enter your payment details and shipping information

Select the express shipping option to receive the order within 2–3 days. Besides the fast delivery, SnusBoss offers the following perks:

  • Free shipping on all orders over $249
  • Regular promotions and discounts 
  • Excellent customer service to assist you with any inquiries or concerns
  • Secure marketplace, ensuring the safety of your personal and payment information

Keep in mind that nicotine is highly addictive and can lead to dependence if not used in moderation. Follow the recommended usage guidelines and monitor your nicotine intake to avoid negative effects on your health. Keep the pouches away from children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

Only use nicotine pouches if you’re 21 and above, aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding, and don’t suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

Featured image source: Andrea Piacquadio

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