What are ZYN pouches? Tucker Carlson’s go-to nicotine pillows that are fuelling right-wing Gen Z men

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Feb 29, 2024 at 03:22 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

I think it would be fair to say that I’ve dabbled in nicotine. I’m not a smoker and I refuse to carry around a blue raspberry-flavoured vape (mainly because it would clash with most of my accessories). That being said, I might have to take one for the girlies and start using nicotine pouches because it seems as though it’s all the rage among US conservative right-wing men—and we simply can’t have that, can we?

We’re currently living in an age where the so-called plight of young white conservative men, a false narrative that continuously dominates election cycles and political agendas, is at the top of the commercial leaderboard. More and more, we’re seeing certain products become synonymous with ideology, and it’s become clear that nicotine pouches are being used by a lot of conservative men as a way to “regain” their lost masculinity. And there’s one brand in particular that’s leading the march: ZYN. Let’s discuss.

What are nicotine pouches?

Nicotine pouches are relatively self-explanatory. They’re small white pouches that contain nicotine and other ingredients. To use a pouch, you simply place it between your lip and gum and leave it there while the nicotine disperses. The pouches also come in a variety of flavours.

A similar product that’s become very popular in the UK among both professional footballers and young men is snus, a Swedish creation. Nicotine pouches differ in that they do not contain any tobacco. A lot of people confuse nicotine pouches for snus and/or use the two terms interchangeably. Swedish snus is actually banned in the UK, however, you can access tobacco-free snus.

Meanwhile, you can buy nicotine pouches from most corner shops, vape lounges, as well as from a plethora of online retailers that stock them.

What are ZYN pouches?

So, ZYN is a very popular brand of nicotine pouches and if you track its growth within the nicotine space, much of the company’s success has come from public endorsements from male conservative public figures. Most notably, political commentator Tucker Carlson has effectively woven nicotine pouches into his entire brand.

In an episode of the Full Send podcast in 2023, Carlson plugged nicotine pouches as “the future” and said that they’d been a massive “life enhancer” for him. Okay, Tucker.

@ceedeeclipz

#tuckercarlson #podcastclips #fullsendpodcastclips

♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box - takaya

The commentator went on to say: “I use it every second I’m awake and in bed, I’m not embarrassed of it. Seconds before I fall asleep I take it out.” While, on the surface, this doesn’t feel like a particularly laced conversation, moments later, Carlson also raises the point that regularly ingesting nicotine “raises your testosterone levels.” This is the bit that counts. Carlson is, in a way, inadvertently telling viewers that the solution to the ongoing masculinity crisis is simply nicotine pouches.

In fact, apologies, the solution to all of the world’s problems is simply nicotine pouches:

@fullsendgabe

🤯 Gifting Tucker Carlson the World's Biggest Zyn! #tuckercarlson #nelk #fullsend #fullsendlive #nelkboys #kyleforgeard #zyn @Tucker Carlson @Kyle Forgeard @NELKBOYS @FULL SEND

♬ Memory Reboot - VØJ & Narvent

Vox reporter Anna North astutely connects the promotion of ZYN to the concept of male-improvement and the idea that by simply taking in that boost of nicotine and seizing the day, men might just be able to snatch back societal dominance (something they most definitely have not lost, might I add).

As articulated by North: “The larger promise of male self-improvement through stimulants, supplements, organ meats, and the advice of supposedly successful internet entrepreneurs is a powerful one—powerful enough to have emerged as conservatives’ appeal to men in an election year. White men are losing ground to women and people of colour in America, a host of right-wing influencers claim—but they can gain it back with exercising, eating, buying, working, and voting the right way.”

@funny_theo

Zyn is not a sin. #theovon #tuckercarlson #fyp #comedy #thispastweekend #theovonclips #funny #zyn

♬ original sound - Funniest Theo Von Clips

ZYN is the exact kind of product I can imagine Andrew Tate or any other ‘podcast bro’ recommending. Again, it’s not just about the brand or concept, it’s about the dream of ‘if you start using this one thing, you’ll become rich and successful’.

Recent analysis by the Financial Times found that Gen Z men increasingly identify as more conservative, as women become more liberal. In fact, in the US, women aged 18-30 are now 30 per cent more liberal than men of the same age.

Moreover, polls have also shown that young men often find it more difficult than young women to prioritise issues or indeed solidify what issues it is that concern them the most. One of the only things a lot of Gen Z men do seem to agree on and feel strongly about is that right-wing values are the sole solution to feminism gone mad.

ZYN is definitely not the first, nor will it be the last tool right-wing commentators use in order to try and promote a distorted view of masculinity. All I will say is that I probably wouldn’t want to be Carlson’s dentist right now.

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