New users of nicotine pouches often find that they experience a slight burning sensation under the lip where the pouch lies. While some users really enjoy this added sensation and even refer to it as “the burn before the buzz”, others feel like their gums are on fire. So, why might this be and what can users do about it. Well, it’s thought that new users often experience the burn once the nicotine begins to seep out of the inserted pouch and begins to be absorbed. It’s thought the burn is simply due to the body not being accustomed to absorbing nicotine through the mucus membranes.
This is born out by the fact that many users report that after about a week of pouch use they no longer feel a burn, just a tingling sensation. However, other users continue to experience a burn. One reason for this is the strength of the nicotine in the pouch and the amount of added sodium bicarbonate. The bicarb raises the pH of the pouch, which helps make the nicotine more bioavailable. Some cheaper brands add more bicarb, while some premium brands offer a greater nicotine strength of up to 43mg per gram. Either way, a greater concentration of nicotine is released more quickly, potentially causing the burn.
What to do
Finally, some flavours, like menthol, may also contribute to the feeling of a burn, especially in new users. Although the burn is usually felt on the gums, some users have reported that the effect is also under the lips or even in the throat. If you experience a severe burning feeling, it’s best to either move the pouch to the other side of your mouth or take it out altogether. Drinking cold water and spitting out any excess saliva can also help to reduce “the burn”. Most importantly, you should pay attention to your body’s reactions. They will help you to know whether you should continue consuming or not.