Zyn’s Popular Rewards Program Called Out For Promoting Nicotine Addiction From Public Health Advocates 

Zyn is a brand known for their flavored nicotine pouches that are becoming very popular among younger people. Users of Zyn are now collecting their containers, which are equipped with QR codes that can be used to collect points. Each can is worth 15 points and consumers can earn up to 60 points per month. 

When these points are redeemed on Zyn’s website, users can unlock items such as Dyson Airwraps, KitchenAid mixers, Tory Burch tote bags, and even iPads, according to reports

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Tobacco-free nicotine pouches like Zyn have long been used to help cigarette smokers aged 21 and up quit. The pouches are placed between the gums and lips to release nicotine into the bloodstream. 

However, the rewards system and aesthetically pleasing packaging has made Zyn popular for non-smokers on social media, especially younger consumers. 

The company that owns Zyn, Philip Morris International, stated that they shipped 350 million cans of their pouches last year, which was a 62% increase in the US when compared to the sales in 2022, according to CNN

Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, stated:

“I’m delivering a warning to parents, because these nicotine pouches seem to lock their sights on young kids – teenagers, and even lower – and then use social media to hook ’em.”

Shumer has called on both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the health impact of Zyn and its seemingly intentional marketing towards younger individuals. 

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Dr. Robert K Jackler, a professor at Stanford Medicine and principal investigator at Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising, explained that while social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and X don’t allow for paid promotion from the nicotine industry, there are ways to work around it. 

“We saw Juul use hashtag amplification tremendously, getting users to put up posts with #MothersDay or #Party, or whatever. Now, it’s ‘Zynfluencers,’ or those who unofficially rep the brand on social media. There’s free organic marketing,” Jackler said, according to the Guardian

According to Fortune Magazine, Philip Morris International stated that Zyn’s online marketing, and rewards program specifically, is specifically directed to legal nicotine users aged 21 and above. Their advertising application for Zyn is currently being reviewed by the FDA.

Tobacco and nicotine companies are legally allowed to have reward programs under federal law, as long as the rewards themselves aren’t more nicotine/tobacco products. Zyn has a multitude of products for their rewards such as Apple AirTags, Visa giftcards, Zippo lighters, Swiss army knives, and Yeti tumblers. 

“You see people showing their prizes alongside packs of Zyn or even just showing the stacks of empty Zyn packs that they are going to redeem. This is free advertising for the company,” said Lauren Czaplicki, an associate scientist at the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“It’s the gamification of nicotine use. The viral buzz and high value prizes really drive purchasing and consumption, which is worrying. Then you have the potential for people to get addicted to the product and to playing the rewards program game, and the two mutually reinforce each other,” Czaplicki added.