Congressional Republicans are rallying behind Zyn, a brand of flavored oral nicotine pouches, amid a push from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for federal action on the tobacco and electronic cigarette alternative.
“This calls for a Zynsurrection!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) posted on X, formerly Twitter.
Schumer over the weekend urged the Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate Zyn over its marketing and health effects, CBS News reported.
“It’s a pouch packed with problems — high levels of nicotine. So today, 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 the social media to hook ’em,” Schumer said in a press conference.
The comments prompted a strong reaction from Republicans on social media.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. attends a campaign stop for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, in Londonderry, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, posted a photo of himself holding a pack of Zyn on X.
“Big Brother Schumer doesn’t want us to chew or smoke. Now he’s against an alternative that’s helped many quit. Come and take it!” Hudson said in the post.
The dispute prompted parodies of the “come and take it” flag from the first battle of the Texas revolution, with the cannon under the star replaced with the Zyn logo.
“I know for a fact our service members and emergency responders use Zyn as an alternative to tobacco to help stay alert. This is a massive overreach,” Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) posted on X.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP campaign arm, also responded to Schumer: “The nanny state is alive and well with today’s Democrat Party.”
Zyn has seen rapid growth in the U.S. in recent years, with Philip Morris International, the parent company of Zyn manufacturer Swedish Match, saying in a third quarter 2023 earnings announcement that shipment volume of Zyn cans in the U.S. had grown by 65.7 percent compared to the third quarter of 2022.
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Zyn has also been the subject of videos on TikTok and elsewhere, prompting worries about its influence on teenagers who cannot legally buy the product.
Philip Morris International said in a statement that the companies “fully meet and exceed the regulations governing the industry.”
“Our marketing practices—which prohibit the use of social media influencers—are focused on preventing underage access and set the benchmark for the industry,” according to the statement. “Real-world evidence shows this approach is working: the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA show oral nicotine pouch use by those under the legal age remains exceptionally low.”
The White House is staying out of the Zyn debate for now. Asked about the call from Schumer against Zyn in a briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that would be left to the FDA.