FDA: Tobacco pouches less risky than cigarettes

Tobacco pouches are less harmful than cigarettes—somewhat, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA announced on October 22, 2019 that the pouches, sold by a Swedish company, are now officially classified as reduced risk products. It is the first time that U.S. health regulators have characterized a type of smokeless tobacco to be less harmful than cigarettes, according to an Associated Press article. However, the FDA cautioned that all tobacco products, including the pouches, pose risk.

Users stick the teabag-like pouches, which are called “snus,” between their cheek and gum to absorb nicotine.

Some public health experts are skeptical about whether U.S. smokers will switch to the pouches. Vaughan Rees, director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Global Tobacco Control, said that “snus products have a bit of a challenge” among smokers who are used to inhaling nicotine.

Read the Associated Press article: US endorses tobacco pouches as less risky than cigarettes