Nicotine pouches offer a solution for golfers who cannot smoke
Although smoking has been banned in an increasing number of places over the years, golf courses have largely avoided the restrictions. This became particularly evident in late 2016 when broader smoking regulations gave golf courses a chance. Specifically, as the VC Star reported at the time, the proposed ban on smoking at Ventura County's beaches, parks and campgrounds allowed for the hobby at "county-owned public golf courses". This and other similar decisions seemed to cement the perpetuation of smoking in California golf culture.
However, it now appears that it will not be long before smoking is banned more widely. While there are no specific golf-related restrictions (that we know of), a 2019 Los Angeles Times article on smoking bans noted that Governor Gavin Newsom has successfully banned smoking and vaping in "most California state parks and beaches." This was a measure Newsom's predecessor refused to take, and it was touted as bringing about a cleaner, safer environment, as well as a means of preventing forest fires. The law does not specifically affect golf courses, but it continues a trend of more widespread bans, which raises the question. What will smoking golfers do if more public courses ban smoking (which some believe seems inevitable)?
For smokers who need alternatives in public places, the traditional choices used to be things like chewing gum, nicotine gum, and oral cigarettes. However, it could be argued that these are all poor choices for golfers. Tobacco leaves a messy residue (due to the need to spit) and chewing gum is difficult to dispose of (and inevitably leads to course contamination). Oral cigarettes can work, but some people find they cause burning or itching, and there are even anecdotal reports of sunburn affecting the skin under the patch more severely.
Given these problems, a more modern alternative to these cigarettes - nicotine pouches - may offer the best solution. According to nicotine pouch retailer Prilla, these are 'tobacco-free pouches' that come in different flavors and strengths and can be obtained by purchasing them online. The pouches slowly release a controlled amount of nicotine from under the user's upper lip - without the need to spit or chew. The pouches are also easy to throw away in any standard bin next to the golf course, or in the empty tins of used pouches for later disposal.
At the time of writing, nicotine pouches are not as well known as some of the alternatives mentioned earlier. They do, however, represent a growing market. According to data published by the business analytics platform MarketWatch, the global market for orally contained cigarettes was valued at approximately US$70 million in 2018 but is expected to account for US$4.81 billion by the end of 2025. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 83% and goes some way to illustrating how popular nicotine pouches are likely to become in the coming years.
If this growth happens as expected - and if smoking bans are increasingly extended to golf courses - smokers will have fascinating new options. While some people certainly like the idea of actually smoking and having a cigarette to fiddle with in between rounds, nicotine pouches could be the answer to an actual craving for the substance. This, coupled with the fact that they are clean to use and easy to throw away, makes them perfect for golfers who may need to leave their cartridges in their cars in the coming years.
Consumer interest and awareness of nicotine pouches (products that contain nicotine but no tobacco) are growing, particularly among younger smokers and those trying to quit, a new study shows.
The study in Tobacco Control is the first independent analysis to assess the awareness and interest of US smokers in nicotine pouches, one of the newest industry products, the researchers said.
"Given the tremendous health impact of tobacco industry products, we knew it was critical to track these little-known products and better understand them," said Mary Hrywna, an assistant professor in the Center for Tobacco Research at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences.
"As sales grow exponentially, it's important to know who is using these products, how they are using them, and what their potential might be to continue using them."
The relatively new product works after users insert the pouch between their upper lip and the gum, where the nicotine and flavor are released. According to industry forecasts, sales of the often flavored nicotine pouches, which begin to be widely available between 2019 and 2020, are accelerating through brands such as Altria subsidiary Helix innovations' "On!" and Swedish Match's "Zyn".