Zyn nicotine pouches and the US election: Democrats’ fear of Zynsurrection

Zyn nicotine pouches and the US election: Democrats’ fear of Zynsurrection

As Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, recently appeared before the press, he had an urgent warning for parents: the growing popularity of Zyn. This is the name of the leading brand of small, white nicotine pouches that are placed between the lip and gums. They are specifically advertised to minors on social media, said Schumer. “It’s a bag of problems.”

These are the bags now also for the Democrats. In fact, Schumer’s well-meaning move could mean further headwind for President Joe Biden, whose poll numbers have continued to fall. Schumer has a penchant for popular consumer issues. In November, for example, he introduced a bill that would, among other things, ban airlines from charging fees to reserve seats for children next to their parents.

However, with his recent demand that the drug regulator and the competition authority take on Zyn, Schumer provoked strong resistance from Republicans and Trump supporters. Republican MPs took the initiative as an opportunity to against the “Nanny State“to rant, which the Democrats supposedly want to introduce. What is meant is the state’s paternalism of citizens. If the Democrats ban the bags, is there a “Cynsurrectioni.e. an insurrection, wrote Marjorie Taylor Greene, a representative who is close to Trump – probably a reference to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Also on the market in Germany

Zyn and other products of this type are small, permeable cellulose bags that contain a powder consisting, among other things, of nicotine salts, cellulose and sweeteners and flavorings. Tobacco, however, is not included. The sachets, which come in flavors like peppermint and apple, are placed under the upper or lower lip (there is debate among users as to which is better). The nicotine is absorbed through the oral mucous membranes. After use, the parts are spit out without being chewed. The products are also available in Germany. Because their popularity increased during the pandemic, there is a discussion about how they should be regulated. In In Hamburg, for example, sales are prohibited.

Zyn is offered by the Swedish company Swedish Match, which was acquired by the American tobacco giant at the end of 2022 for $16 billion Philip Morris International was bought up. Claimed on his website Swedish Match, the company is “a leader on the path to a world without cigarettes.” For Philip Morris, Zyn has become a growth driver, offsetting slowing demand for cigarettes. In the last three months of the past financial year alone, the Swedish subsidiary sold 116 million cans – an increase of 78 percent compared to the same period last year.

Zynladen and Zynfluencer

This is probably also because a subculture has now formed around Zyn in the USA that has nothing to do with quitting cigarettes. There are countless puns and hashtags like Zynladen, there is unofficial merchandise like T-shirts and stickers on the online sales platform Etsy
and thousands of memes TikTok. In Silicon Valley, fans see the nicotine packs as performance-enhancing, the financial intelligence service says Bloomberg reports on young bankers on Wall Street who put the bags in their mouths in order to stay awake and concentrate longer.

Among the most prominent influencers or “Zynfluencers” who recommend Zyn to their followers is Tucker Carlson. The former star of the right-wing television station Fox News, former publisher Rupert Murdoch
was unexpectedly fired in April 2023has himself became independent with its own channel. He recently made headlines for jetting to Moscow to discuss Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Carlson, a cult figure especially for young men, is such a big fan of Zyn that he was given the nickname CarlZyn. The Nelk Boys, a group that became known for videos of pranks, sent Carlson by helicopter the “largest Zyn container” in the world.

Zyn is “the hand of God massaging the central nervous system,” Carlson said. He also praised the bags as a remedy for impotence. Under no circumstances will the product be offered as such, explained Philip Morris when asked New York Times. Carlson was also told this. According to Philip Morris, Carlson will not receive any money for his recommendation, as the company stated in statements to the New York Times and other media has emphasized. And Swedish Match defends itself against the accusation of marketing the bags to young people. In a statement to the US newspaper USA Today Zyn’s maker said it was exceeding U.S. regulations applicable to the industry. “Our marketing practices – which prohibit the use of influencers on social media – are designed to prevent access by minors and set a benchmark for the industry.”

Ban on menthol cigarettes postponed

“Zynfluencer” Carlson has his own explanation for why Democrats and business-friendly conservatives, whom he also despises, want to legalize cannabis but ban nicotine pouches: THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, makes people lazy and submissive. Nicotine, on the other hand, wakes up users and motivates them to achieve something. Right-wing populist and libertarian circles share this opinion.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Democrats have shelved a nicotine ban for tactical reasons. Menthol cigarettes should have been banned for a long time. But the ban is still there been postponed again and again. The fear: Biden could lose crucial votes from black voters. Approval for him among this population group is already crumbling. Around 80 percent of black smokers smoke menthol cigarettes, compared to 34 percent of white smokers. The long-planned ban, which was supposed to come into force in January, has been repeatedly postponed. Biden’s advisers fear that black voters could see this as discrimination. Opponents of the ban – including prominent civil rights activist Al Sharpton – believe it would drive menthol smokers into illegality and thereby lead to the criminalization of the predominantly Black users.

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