Not Available

We apologise but the Imperial Brands Science website isn’t available in your geographic location. Please visit our corporate site to find out more about the science we’re undertaking and the innovations we’re exploring.

Our Thoughts

//Research Update: Tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches

Posted 07/05/2021 9:11am


Imperial Brands has conducted a comprehensive scientific assessment of its tobacco-free nicotine pouch products in comparison to combustible cigarettes. A summary of the evidence is presented here, demonstrating their significant tobacco harm reduction potential. 


Click here to read the summary in its entirety.

Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) represents one of the most promising global public health policies: to encourage adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke to transition to less harmful products that deliver nicotine, but with fewer and substantially lower levels of toxicants associated with burning tobacco.

Recent advances in technology have created a completely new range of innovative alternative nicotine products that have the potential to be significantly less harmful than combustible cigarettes for adult smokers.

Among these Next Generation Products (NGPs) are tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches. Typically, these small pouches contain high purity pharmaceutical grade nicotine sprayed onto dry powder or a plant fibre-based substrate, and other high-quality ingredients including flavourings, humectants to retain moisture, and additives to ensure product stability.

Imperial Brands believes its tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches have an important contribution to make to THR and is committed to supporting the category. As part of our rigorous Scientific Assessment Framework for all our NGPs, IMB Science has produced an a summary of the key scientific findings that substantiate the THR potential of our products through the following nine lines of scientific evidence.

  • Line of Evidence I: Our nicotine pouch products contain substantially lower levels of select toxicants of notable public health interest compared to combustible cigarette smoke.
  • Line of Evidence II: The reduced levels of toxicants in our nicotine pouch products translates directly into substantially reduced in vitro biological responses (mutagenicity, genotoxicity, and cytotoxicity) compared to combustible cigarette smoke condensate: on average >99% reduction in cytotoxicity with no mutagenic or genotoxic responses under the conditions of test.
  • Line of Evidence III: In laboratory models, our nicotine pouch products do not elicit skin sensitisation properties.
  • Line of Evidence IV: Our nicotine pouch products deliver nicotine to the blood of adult smokers via the oral mucosa (not swallowed), which on average have a lower and slower nicotine delivery compared to combustible cigarettes. As such, our nicotine pouches likely have a lower abuse liability compared to combustible cigarettes, but this should not be interpreted as evidence that these products are not addictive.
  • Line of Evidence V: Our nicotine pouch products offer a satisfying alternative to combustible cigarettes and reduce adult smokers’ desire to smoke.
  • Line of Evidence VI: Our nicotine pouches have a favourable short-term safety and tolerability profile during the observation period with no serious adverse events related to the product observed.
  • Line of Evidence VII: Adult smokers and non-smokers properly understand that our nicotine pouches contain nicotine and are not risk-free but are likely to be less harmful than combustible cigarettes.
  • Line of Evidence VIII: Our nicotine pouch products appeal overwhelmingly to adult smokers with very low interest amongst never smokers and former smokers. There is little evidence they would serve as a gateway to regular nicotine use amongst nicotine naïve populations.
  • Line of Evidence IX: The main reason for adult smokers’ interest and intent to purchase our products is for harm reduction and to reduce the health risks associated with combustible cigarette smoking.

In summary, we believe the totality of the scientific evidence, coupled with our commitment to robust product quality, stewardship, engineering and manufacturing standards, as well as the implementation of effective youth access prevention programmes, convincingly demonstrates that our nicotine pouch products are potentially an effective THR tool beneficial to population-level health.

To read the summary in its entirety, please click here.

You can also watch the video below to see more reasons why this product category has promising THR potential for adult smokers.

You are free to share this content with credit to Imperial Brands under a Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license.

Back to Our Thoughts