Best Nicotine Pouch Brands for the ZYN Shortage 2024

As reported in Bloomberg, there is a ZYN shortage. The cupboard is bare for many stores in New York and certain states on the Eastern seaboard. ZYN has proven to be America's favorite nicotine pouches and booming sales are blamed for the scarcity. Online distributors are refusing to take larger orders and this shortage of the popular tobacco-leaf free nicotine pouch has left Smoke Shops and bodegas without the best-selling product. No small deal in a state that seeks to criminalize alternative nicotine products.

A ZYN shortage does not mean there are no options left for adults seeking the best nicotine pouch brands. Mi-Pod carries several of great options that are made by independent manufacturers. Our staff and customers have given especially rave reviews to Zimo Nicotine Pouches.

We have also have a deep dive into all the competition in our feature: The Best ZYN Alternatives.

But before examining this brand and others found in our nicotine pouches collection, it is time to find out the big question. Where has all the ZYN gone?

Regional ZYN Shortage Goes National?

ZYN Pouches are manufactured by Swedish Match, which refused to comment about the inventory issues. A representative of Phillip Morris International, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, also declined to speak with reporters.

Wholesalers in Florida and New Jersey complained of slim pickings for business-to-business sales. The websites for Puff Distribution and HS Wholesale, national distributors of ZYN, show they are out of stock for every ZYN flavor.

Bloomberg quoted an anonymous worker at a wholesaler that distributes tobacco products in the southern United States. Unwilling to put the company’s distribution license at risk by going on the record, they said the problem may just be appearing at the retail level, but this supply issue has been ongoing for weeks.

Nicotine Pouch Market

Apart from hiccups created by vape bans, cigarette smoking has been dropping for decades. As reported in the Wall Street Journal:

"According to data from Marlboro maker, cigarettes’ share of the U.S. nicotine industry fell to 60% last year, down from 80% in 2018. Smokers are switching to smoke-free products such as vapes in higher numbers than expected. If the trend continues, it will only take another three years for cigarettes’ share to slip below 50%."
Altria's nic pouch data shows just how important the market is and why it is crucial for the tobacco industry's interests to dominate this space. 
The nicotine pouch market on the other hand is surging to fill this void. 
And lest someone suggest that the popularity of nicotine pouches, or vaping, has simply created more nicotine addicts especially among underage adults, the FDA's own data shows otherwise. 

ZYN Surges in Popularity

Phillip Morris reported that US volumes of nicotine pouches increased 80% in the first quarter of 2024. Multiple retailers and wholesalers are reporting difficulty obtaining a steady supply of Zyn according to the Tobacco Reporter.

Chief Financial Officer Babeau acknowledged that the supply chain has been strained in an earnings call. In 2023, 385 million cans of Zyn shipped in the U.S. alone. This number is expected to increase to 520 million cans this year. The firm expects shortages to continue throughout the summer as production struggles to keep up with the popularity of ZYN. Medium created this handy chart that shows ZYN's dominance. 

The enormous growth seen in ZYN can be partially attributed to a regulatory crackdown on the vape industry. Efforts by the tobacco industry to pass laws banning all but a few obsolete cigalikes have provided an opening for nicotine pouches to capitalize. Vape flavor bans increase cigarette sales according to an FDA sponsored study.

Cigarette smoking rates, which had declined for decades, have begun to move in the wrong direction as popular vape products are banned. Former FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb lamented this negative trend. With access to alternatives cut off, it is not surprising that a city like New York where flavored nicotine vapes are criminalized has been hit hardest by the ZYN shortage.


Nicotine Pouch Users

Nicotine pouches entered the fray at the exact right time, with ZYN being the big winner thus far. We have found the average consumer goes through about a half can of nicotine pouches per day. While it varies by individual, you are likely absorbing less than half the nicotine in each pouch. And the majority is absorbed in the first ten minutes. How nicotine pouch users choose to use these products can be chalked up to personal preference.

The lack of tobacco is a big selling point for popular nicotine pouches. They have no tobacco flavor or ingredients. This is a huge advantage for the consumer, as the curing and processing of oral tobacco creates carcinogenic tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). Naturally, a synthetic nicotine product should not contain TSNAs. This was affirmed in a study by Frontiers in Analytics which found no TSNAs and concluded: “No TSNAs should be present in any of the oral nicotine samples that claim to be tobacco-free."

Like other nicotine products, a study in the journal of Preventative Medicine Reports found that the typical nicotine pouch user is a lower income adult. This is no huge surprise as the wealthiest Americans ceased smoking a couple decades ago, which is why alternative nicotine products are so vulnerable to demagoguery. Nicotine pouch users are also predominantly male. This also makes sense and mirrors the use of oral nicotine products like snus, dip and chewing tobacco. Use of nicotine pouches among minors is negligible.

What was not accounted for when politicians decided to put nicotine pouches in their crosshairs is that among this cohort of users were some very influential individuals who did not think much of Senatorial septuagenarians telling them what was permissible.


A popular nicotine alternative for adults that is available in artificial mint and fruit flavors was bound to get the attention of Bloomberg-funded nicotine abstinence zealots and the politicians they back. The Orwellian-named Truth Initiative rang the alarm early, concerned that because nicotine pouches were not made from tobacco, they would be considered safer by consumers. Then the big guns entered the fray, as Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded federal action to prohibit the sale of ZYN pouches.

This was a miscalculation. While they have punched down on vapers and smokers for years, several prominent conservative voices are proponents of the ZYN product. This has led to growing criticism of the efforts of Bloomberg and Senate Democrats to push forward a ZYN ban.

Schumer's initial gambit at further societal control of adult behaviors and hobbies boosted market awareness and customer loyalty to ZYN. National headlines followed and social media resistance to a preemptive ban on nicotine pouches led to what was dubbed the ZYNSurrection.

Successful Swedish Snus Initiatives

The ZYNsurrection was not the typical cultural war battle of left versus right, with deeply held values guiding two sides to the argument.

Sweden has taken a liberal approach to nicotine pouches, and previously Snus, and may be soon be Europe's first smoke-free country. Only 5.4% of Swedish adults currently smoke as of 2024, compared to 18.7% across the European Union. Dr Colin Mendelsohn, an EU expert on harm reduction, provided useful data for the following three graphs.

Positive health outcomes can be directly attributed to their embrace of harm-reduction policies. Compared to peer nations in Western Europe and North America, Sweden has the lowest rates of lung cancer deaths and lower rates of death among men.

Have Nicotine Prohibitionists Gone Too Far?

It is very unlikely that there will be federal investigation into nicotine prohibitionist lobbyists or their politicians. It should be pointed out the Bloomberg's crusade against alternative nicotine products stumbled in the Philippines, giving a glimmer of hope for the future. Regulatory capture and outside money were not considered sufficient leverage to dictate national health policy. 

There is a high-stakes battle. The Nicotine and Tobacco Research Team at the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that a complete transition from smoking to alternative nicotine products like vaping and pouches, "Could avoid the premature loss of 6.6 million lives and save 86.7 million life-years by the end of the century."

It is unclear why the lives of adult smokers are held in such low esteem. Underage vaping has declined 60% since 2019 and there is little evidence that minors are seeking out ZYN, especially when these numbers are compared to historical smoking rates.

Much more visible, tangible and questionable is lawmaker interference with executive branch regulatory bodies. Demanding that the FDA ignore the science pursue outcomes desired by well-funded special lobbies technically runs afoul of Pillsbury Co. v. Federal Trade Commission.

With public health policy increasingly dominated by politics rather than science, the efforts of Senators Schumer and Durbin to ban ZYN are raising concern that legal aged adults are about to be denied yet another alternative to cigarettes.

Not even the best marketing practices can compete with the specter of prohibition. As a supplier side issue, it may soon be difficult to buy ZYN without paying more than full price. If anything, ZYN has done even better business since they gained the attention of Washington, and their production has struggled to keep up. Perhaps they should have considered a famous quote by Mark Twain:

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”

    Big Tobacco's Nic Pouch Brands

    ZYN dominates the market but there are other outstanding alternative products not manufactured by the tobacco industry. There are also tobacco industry rivals that include British American Tobacco's Velo, Altria's On! , and Swisher's Rogue compete for shelf space.

    Most ZYN customers are familiar with these rivals and have found them wanting, although better stock levels are likely to contribute to a sales bump.

    If you are looking for a superior nicotine pouch product, the key is to look beyond the other Big Tobacco competitors. If you are an adult who currently consumes nicotine or nicotine pouches, you may be surprised to learn there are outstanding and high-quality nicotine pouch products not manufactured by the tobacco industry.

    Alternative Nicotine Pouch Brands

    Nicotine pouches are made with synthetic nicotine and contain no tobacco. They also contain food grade flavoring, pH adjusters and a soft pouch made of fibrous plant material.

    Despite some inherent similarities in nicotine pouch formulations, anyone who has used them will assure you that there are differences in user experience. The most obvious difference is that nicotine content varies between brands.

    ZIMO Pouches

    Zimo nicotine pouches are our most highly regarded and rated nicotine pouch. Available in six flavors, there are technically more ZYN flavor options. But Zimo covers a wider range of flavor options. Their lineup basically breaks down into three traditional oral nicotine flavors and three vape inspired fruit flavors. The available nicotine strengths are 6 and 8mg. Reviews almost always point out the juicier mouthfeel. It remains a spit-free product but seems to play less harshly thanks to the balances of sweeteners, moisturizers, and pH stabilizers.

    Sold in cans of 20 pouches, fans of ZYN are in luck with this balanced collection of outstanding nicotine pouches. The only ZYN flavor missing a viable alternative in the Zimo lineup is Coffee.


      Juice Head Pouches

      Years of hard-won experience formulating delightful e-liquid flavors for adult vapers has served Juice Head well. With their vaping products under siege in a regulatory environment that has approved 13 cigalikes made by the tobacco industry, they have created a class of nicotine pouches that feature vape inspired flavors.

      There is not one wintergreen or cinnamon on the list. The flavors are assertive and refreshing. The primary critique from users is that there are a lot of lemon here. Juice Head are also sold in cans of 20. There is a big jump between 6 and 12mg for the two nicotine strengths.

      Juice Head Nicotine Pouch Flavors

      Sesh Pouches

      Sesh Pouches are sold in cans of 20 and are available in three nicotine strengths. These are 4, 6 and 8mg. The Sesh Nicotine Pouch collection features four flavors as well. Or at least three flavors and flavor free version. They have a wintergreen for oral tobacco users, a refreshing mint with more universal appeal and mango for vapers looking for a pouch option. Then there is clear, which relies on the mildly sweet notes of the balancing ingredients to provide an experience free from characterizing flavor.

      Sesh Nicotine Pouch Flavors

        ZYN Nicotine Pouches

        ZYN Pouches in the US market come in 3 and 6mg nicotine strength. Each tin contains 20 pouches. The typical user will go through a can every two days based on our research, regardless of strength selected. A ZYN pouch is designed to be held in your mouth for 30 minutes, at which point the flavor and nicotine should have been absorbed.

        This product of Phillip Morris International has even more flavor options outside the US market. No Black Currant ZYN or Apple Mint ZYN are in stock in the U.S. just yet.


        • ZYN Wintergreen
        • ZYN Spearmint
        • ZYN Cool Mint
        • ZYN Citrus
        • ZYN Peppermint
        • ZYN Cinnamon
        • ZYN Smooth
        • ZYN Chill

        Vape Bans Contributing to ZYN Sales?

        While nicotine prohibition and abstinence sound admirable on paper, the number of legal aged adults who enjoy nicotine remains significant. An FDA sponsored study by Yale found that vape flavor bans increase cigarette sales.

        This is no surprise for two reasons. The first is that most adult vapers, including older former smokers, prefer sweet characterizing flavors. An independent report commissioned by Public Health England and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, describes cigarette smoking as, “The largest single risk factor for death and years of life lived in ill health” and “the second most important risk factor for death and disability adjusted life years globally.”

        “Alternative nicotine delivery devices such as vaping products can play a vital role in reducing the huge health burden caused by cigarette smoking.” They also found evidence that, “Non-tobacco flavors, particularly sweet flavors, may play a positive role in helping people switch from smoking to vaping.” Notably, the existing evidence does not provide, “A clear understanding of how flavors in vaping products are associated with young people taking up or stopping smoking.”

        Apart from being sold in only less appealing, and if UK researchers are to be believed less effective, flavors, the cost of vaping a tobacco industry cigalike is incredibly expensive.

        Our Verdict

        Zimo acquits itself quite well when compared head-to-head with ZYN. ZYN sales are of course massive, but the product is usually compared to other brands also sold at gas stations, convenience stores and offline retailers. With stock levels steady and offering a product not manufactured by Philip Morris International, we think adult nicotine pouch consumers should seriously consider giving products manufactured by independents like Zimo, Juice Head, and Sesh a fair shake.


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