How I Learned To Stop Smoking And Love The Pouch

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A normal package of Zyn pouches.

Hey everyone, just a practical tip today. It isn’t gardening, and it isn’t likely to lead to a dramatic and immediate improvement in anything but your lung capacity, but I’m writing this because there are probably others out there who, like me, struggled with being addicted to cigarettes and are worried about that posing a risk of more severe COVID-19 infection.

You’re probably also tired of smelling like smoke all the time, and hacking up globs of goo isn’t fun either. But you love your nicotine! I do too. The sort of mental clarity and focus nicotine gives me is perhaps second only to caffeine, but it seems to have a shorter duration, which means it doesn’t keep me up all night the way caffeine does.

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One Zyn pouch

Here are a few basic tips I’ve learned over the past few months as I progressively switched more and more from cigarettes to nicotine pouches, and a little bit of the science I found that guided my decision.

Day 1

Try a nicotine pouch. You can get them from a variety of manufacturers, but my preference is the Zyn 6mg variant. Originally from Sweden, Zyn is at least not directly tied to any of the evil American tobacco giants that I know of, and they have a variety of different flavors to try out.

- If you’ve never used a pouch before, it’s likely to burn. You may prefer the 3mg strength at first if this is really uncomfortable.

- I prefer the Wintergreen 6mg, but I still notice quite a bit of tingling after months of use when I go for a packet of the Peppermint variety.

Don’t worry about your smoking habit yet. The one word of caution as far as that goes is a safety one: don’t smoke and have a packet in at the same time because you can end up with heart palpitations and so on — it does not feel good.

Day 7

Evaluate the impact that your trial had. Don’t make a big push to prefer the pouches to cigarettes or anything quite yet — you’re getting an oral and a hand-oriented tick from the cigarettes that you don’t get from the pouches, and it’s going to take a little bit more preparation to conquer that.

- Do you prefer the pouches? Be honest with yourself.

- Do you find that you’re using the pouches more and more, or less and less?

- Remember, this is about being open to an alternative, not forcing yourself to change — yet.

Day 10

If you’re like me, you’ll have noticed that the pouches do two things that are beneficial: they give you a stronger rush of nicotine than the cigarettes you used to use did, and they’re something you can use anywhere you want without anyone else even knowing, much less moving away from you or complaining about how you smell!

It’s time to put the pack aside — and I mean aside, not into the garbage. The goal here is to learn to prefer a better alternative, and that means smoking less and less. If you want to smoke when you have coffee or a drink, that’s fine! Just remember to switch back to the pouches afterward so that your lungs can clear themselves and so that you can live life without always stepping outside to smoke.

What I’ve done is to keep a pack, and when I am especially stressed or when I just want to, I can still smoke. The old addict anxiety about where the next fix is coming from is easy to deal with, that way. If you’re able to go until evening without smoking, you’re doing great! If your cravings for cigarettes have completely disappeared, even better!

Now let’s look at a few of the reasons to completely give up cigarettes and switch to pouches. Remember, this isn’t quitting per se, so you won’t experience any of the terrible withdrawal symptoms that may have kept you smoking before. You’ll just switch over and get your nicotine a new way. I have a few tips about how to get the most out of the new delivery method for you as well.

Health Information

Sweden is the country where lab-grade nicotine pouches were invented, and they’re a variation of a product called snus which actually has been around for years. The biggest benefit with the purified nicotine is that it’s about as dangerous as caffeine, theoretically. It isn’t going to give you cancer of the throat, mouth, or lung.

Here is a WHO report on snus, for anyone curious.

And here are two summary clips that should make it a no-brainer to switch over.

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Here is a WHO report on snus, for anyone curious.
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Here is a WHO report on snus, for anyone curious.

Use Tips From My Experience

Don’t put a nicotine pouch into your mouth if you’re going to be hiking, biking, or working out. The nicotine gets pulled into your blood even faster than usual and you could feel dizzy or stressed. You wouldn’t smoke while doing these things, so think of it in those terms if that’s helpful.

Have a drink of water nearby. You may notice that there’s a bit of a burning sensation. That’s the acid in the pouch interacting with the water in your mouth. If you take a swig of water, that will dilute the acid and ease the burning sensation.

Keep a pack of cigarettes around if you find that not having them drives you up the wall. There’s nothing stopping you from smoking on occasion — the goal is just to get away from that all-day, everyday dependency that crushes our pulmonary health and opens us up to lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, COVID-19, and all sorts of other terrifying health conditions like emphysema and COPD.

And… that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and I’d love to hear about your successes/failures with the method that has worked so well for me. I am down from a pack per day to about a pack per week or even 10 days! Praise the Swedish folks for perfecting safe and healthy nicotine delivery. It’s the only chemical that really seems to help with my ADHD in a way that I can manage, so I’m very glad to be able to get my nicotine without all of the terrifying health risks of old school delivery methods such as smoking and dipping.

Written by

Philosopher. Author of Formal Dialectics and Bring Back Satire. Editor and founder of Serious Philosophy

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