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Ending the ‘Next’ Juul: CEH Sends Legal Notices to Zyn and On! Nicotine Pouches


Nonprofit Aims to Stop Big Tobacco From Addicting Youth

Oakland, California – Today the nonprofit watchdog the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) sent legal notices of violation to Big Tobacco giants Philip Morris International and Altria and retailers Gopuff, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Lucky, and NicoKick for failing to provide Prop 65 warnings to inform their customers of the birth defects and reproductive harm that could result from nicotine exposure through use of Zyn and On! nicotine pouches. CEH is known for achieving the first court-enforceable agreement restricting vaping giant Juul from marketing to teens and remains committed to ensuring consumers stay informed about the health impacts of Big Tobacco’s newest addictive product–nicotine pouches.

“When users of Zyn and On! pouches place the product in their mouth, they ingest the nicotine and absorb it through their gums. Nicotine is a brain-altering and highly addictive substance known to the state of California as a reproductive toxicant,” said Dr. Vin Gupta, a noted pulmonologist. “Use of just one Zyn or On! nicotine pouch results in exposure to nicotine levels that can exceed 1,000 times the limit that would require a Prop 65 warning for reproductive harm.”

“Teens are particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine. Adolescent brains are developing, and nicotine alters this development in important ways. Nicotine exposure during developmental periods can damage cardiorespiratory function, working memory, and cognitive and executive function,” said Dr. Mihir Vohra, a neuroscientist and science lead at CEH

The FDA’s 2022 and 2023 Annual Youth Tobacco surveys show an overall decrease in use of tobacco and nicotine products among youth, but nicotine pouches were the only product category for which use increased among youth. Zyn predicts that their units sold will increase upwards of 35 percent in 2024 compared to 2023, and Zyn use has gone viral on TikTok, with videos of young people using the product garnering millions of views. 

“Zyn and On! nicotine pouches share many of the characteristics that e-cigarettes exhibit. Flavors like berry, mint and citrus, as well as the discreet nature of these non-cigarette nicotine products have demonstrated high appeal among young people. We cannot let nicotine pouches become the next Juul, addicting millions of users across the U.S.,” said Kizzy Charles-Guzman, CEO of CEH. “CEH hopes that by informing consumers of the health effects of using these products, it will impede people, and especially youth, from trying them.”

CEH has gone up against Big Tobacco previously. After CEH found cancer-causing formaldehyde in Juul’s e-cigarettes, which they had previously legally committed to remove, CEH forced Juul to legally agree to not market their products to teens, by restricting them from advertising on any media platforms with an audience of 15% or more viewers under the age of 21.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) is a 27-year-old organization leading the nationwide effort to protect people from toxic chemicals by working with communities, consumers, workers, government, and the private sector to demand and support business practices that are safer for public health and the environment.