Aussie Influencers Tout Nicotine Pouches As “Vape Killers”

Aussie Influencers Tout Nicotine Pouches As “Vape Killers”

Australian influencers Stefan Kohut and Zahki Kapusta have been touting nicotine pouches, similar to snus, as potential “vape killers,” despite warnings from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) that they require a prescription to acquire legally.

The teabag-like sachets are placed between the lip and the gums and provide users with a nicotine fix. However, unlike snus which are popular in much of Scandinavia and contain tobacco, these pouches contain nicotine extracted from tobacco or synthetically produced nicotine and are promoted as “tobacco-free”.

One of Kohut’s videos promoting the product has attracted more than 300,000 views and poses them touts them as “vape killers”. In another video, he says that “these will end the use of vapes” with one user asking “are they all good to take to school?”

Kohut also directs users to snussaholic.com via an affiliate link where they can purchase the pouches. Kohut does warn, however, that “if you’re under 18 these aren’t for you. Or if you don’t vape, or you don’t smoke, or you’re not trying to get off anything like that these aren’t for you.”

@stefan_kohut Just my personal take not advice #snus #zyn #gym #fyp #nicotinepouche ♬ original sound – Stefan Kohut

Fellow influencer Kapusta posted a video on 30 December, since attracing more than two million views, telling TikTokers to “become your best self and quit vapiing in 2024” by using the nicotine pouches.

@zzzahki Become your best self and quit vaping in 2024 #vaping #quitvaping #zyn #nicotine #zzzahki ♬ original sound – Zahki

Until recently, his TikTok bio promoted a website called “snusitout.com”.

Kapusta told Guardian Australia he is “not affiliated with Zyn, Phillip Morris or any other company that produces/sells these products … The intention of my video was to share the method I used to quit vaping with the use of nicotine supplements. Not to promote them,” he said.

Following Guardian Australia’s inquiries, the link to snusitout was removed from Kapusta’s Linktree page.

Snusitout’s website has been updated following Guardian Australia’s enquiries, removing the reference to “nicotine satisfaction” and now states “we’re committed to providing Australian smokers an aid in the cessation of smoking.”

The paper also sought comment from Kohut, Philip Morris International and the websites Snussaholics and snusitout.com.

A BAT (British American Tobacco) Australia spokesperson told Guardian Australia that “the websites named by the Guardian Australia are in no way associated with BAT Australia, BAT as a global entity or any of our trading partners”.

“These websites …should be shut down by the TGA immediately,” the spokesperson said.

The World Health Organisation also has concerns over nicotine pouches, citing their “exceptionally high” levels of the addictive chemical. The WHO also said that nicotine pouch sales are growing rapidly as the tobacco industry attempts to diversify its portfolio away from simply cigarettes.

The TGA said that it was aware of the products being advertised without a prescription.

“No nicotine pouches have been approved by the TGA for use in Australia. The quality, safety or effectiveness of these goods as an aid in the withdrawal from tobacco smoking is not yet known, and their widespread marketing and use in the community is potentially harmful,” it said.




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