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ZYNs are buzzing: The rise of nicotine pouches at Miami

Zyn nicotine pouches are the next big craze with each pouch coming in different flavors and strengths.
Zyn nicotine pouches are the next big craze with each pouch coming in different flavors and strengths.

It’s not often that the average Miami University student takes a look at the university’s policy on tobacco and other related products. Doing so brings up a page that lists all of the different kinds of tobacco or nicotine products — except for one. 

ZYN nicotine pouches, or “Zyns” as they are referred to, are the newest craze in the world of nicotine delivery, and Miami students have developed a taste for the small white pouches. 

Zyns come in an array of flavors ranging from cool mint to citrus, and the main difference between packs is the amount of nicotine each pouch contains. The company offers either 3 milligrams or 6 milligrams of nicotine options that come in small plastic tins, just like chewing tobacco. 

Users take one, sometimes two or three, of the quarter-sized pouches and place them between their gums and lips. After a few minutes, the nicotine flows into their bloodstream.

Addiction to nicotine is proven to have some sort of impact on someone’s physical and mental health. Quitting is no easy task either. A person going through the process of quitting will usually suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as “deficits in neurocognitive function including sustained attention, working memory and response inhibition,” according to a study in the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Logan Bartram, a senior in Miami’s nursing program, says using Zyns helps him focus when he needs it. 

“It kind of sharpens your focus a little bit,” Bartram said. “The head rush you get from it brings everything into focus real quick for you.”

While students may find it feels like they can “lock in” while using Zyns, it is important to note that excessive Zyn use may be the thing causing a lack of concentration, according to the NLM study. In short, someone may feel like they can only focus when they have a Zyn in simply because they are physically dependent on that nicotine to help them maintain focus.

For some students, however, Zyns aren’t always their first choice when trying to fill their thirst for nicotine. Many users only find Zyns after using other ways to get nicotine beforehand. Some students, despite their Zyn use, still prefer other ways to get their nicotine fix.

“I definitely prefer smoking,” Bartram said. “It's a quicker thing.”

A big draw for using Zyns is the idea that they are a healthy alternative to other nicotine-packed devices. After getting hooked on nicotine at an early age, people may decide to transition over to Zyns.

Rebecca Baudry Young, director of student wellness at Miami, says that students need to ask themselves what their health goals are. While Baudry Young said Zyns may be better for you than smoking, she added that it’s not very difficult to find anything healthier than smoking. People struggling with nicotine addiction often deal with a number of problems.

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“We know what implications nicotine [has] with your mental health,” Baudry Young said. “If you're thinking about your physical health, having this dependency on a product is going to be impacted, your financial health will be impacted because you're spending all your money on these products.”

Like many other nicotine devices, Zyns can be more of a special occasion type of product, or it can develop into an all-day, every day kind of thing. For Patrick McCaffrey, a junior finance major, Zyns offer a way to fit in socially. 

“It feels like I'm a little less with reality and more just in my own little world,” McCaffrey said. “... It just makes it a little bit extra, a bit more special.”