Nicotine pouches remain easy to buy despite ban

Snus, or pouches of tobacco or nicotine powder, remain readily available despite being banned in Belgium. Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announces inspections and sanctions.

From 1 October, nicotine pouches may no longer be sold in Belgium. The measure is part of the anti-tobacco plan signed by federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke and 23 other ministers. But despite the ban, nicotine pouches - popularly called snus, though the real snus contains tobacco (and has been outlawed since the 1990s) - remain readily available, in night shops and online. 

Snus is a little bag of tobacco or nicotine powder that you stick between your upper lip and gums to ingest nicotine. It comes in many flavours, from watermelon to mint, and is notoriously known for its high nicotine content: some types of snus can contain more than 100 milligrams of nicotine, almost 10 to 15 times as much as a normal cigarette. It is therefore highly addictive. 

That is why snus can no longer be found on the shelves of newsagents or night shops. However, according to the producers, sales continue to boom in the illegal circuit. Especially night shops, online shops and social media still offer the product.

Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said in a reaction that stricter action will be taken against shops that do sell it. Mystery shoppers will be actively used to identify and sanction violations, he said.


Snus, a smokeless tobacco product that is placed under the upper lip, in a factory in Sweden © JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels