Press release 11.10.2022
BfR confirms reduction of health risks through nicotine pouches
Federal Institute recommends science-based regulation
(Berlin, 11.10.2022) In the statement on tobacco-free nicotine pouches published on 7 October 2022, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) confirms that this new smoke- and tobacco-free product category can reduce the health risks compared to smoking. To ensure a high level of consumer protection, the BfR recommends regulation of the manufacture, presentation and sale of nicotine pouches.
The BfR assessment again illustrates the low harmfulness of nicotine pouches compared to other nicotine products. The pouches are the least harmful option for consumers who do not want to give up nicotine and have a harmfulness profile comparable to that of medical nicotine replacement products.
In a detailed study by BfR scientists on the material composition of tobacco-free nicotine pouches from August 2022, it was shown that the pouches do not contain any substances of health concern apart from nicotine. In some samples, traces of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) similar to medical nicotine replacement products were detected. In addition, often inadequate labelling of nicotine and missing warnings were complained about.
"These critical comments can be resolved in principle," says Jan Mücke, Chief Executive of the German Association of the Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE). "It would make a lot of sense to set appropriate limits for nicotine and TSNA and to introduce binding regulations on warnings and labelling obligations. A high level of consumer protection must be guaranteed. " The expert scientists of the BfR had published recommendations in this regard, which could guide product regulation.
"The BVTE would very much welcome a regulation of nicotine pouches under tobacco law," confirms Jan Mücke. Unlike in many neighbouring European countries, the German authorities have so far taken a special path and classified nicotine pouches as food. As a result, these products are de facto not authorised for sale and are often purchased by consumers from abroad or via the internet. In this grey area, however, the state has hardly any possibilities to exercise a steering function.
"Proper regulation is therefore the only option." Jan Mücke hopes that the scientific assessments of the BfR will now initiate a rethink: "We want tobacco-free nicotine pouches to provide consumers of tobacco and nicotine products with another potentially less harmful alternative."
Tobacco-free nicotine pouches are a stimulant for adult nicotine and/or tobacco users. The pouches contain mainly starch, plant fibres, flavours as well as nicotine. The pouch is placed in the mouth under the upper lip. The nicotine is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. The product is removed from the mouth after use and disposed of.
The German Association of the Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE) represents and promotes the interests of the entire value chain of the smoking, vaping and oral tobacco and nicotine consumption industry across all products.
Contact for queries:
Bundesverband der Tabakwirtschaft und neuartiger Erzeugnisse (BVTE)
Tel. +49 30 88 66 36-123
Fax +49 30 88 66 36-111