Republicans are railing against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) over a warning about young people getting addicted to Zyn nicotine pouches.
New York news outlets covered Schumer at a news conference arguing that Zyn should not be marketed toward children, calling for a federal crackdown on the product, and telling of “Zynfluencers” who make the colorful nicotine pouches part of their online personalities.
“It’s a pouch packed with problems — high levels of nicotine,” Schumer said. “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.”
Chuck Schumer is calling for federal action to crack down on Zyn.
The 73-year-old Democrat describes the popular nicotine pouches as a “pouch full of problems.” pic.twitter.com/XbDaqypnDD
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) January 23, 2024
The local coverage bled into the national spotlight as Republicans chided Schumer over the campaign against Zyn, which stresses on its U.S. website that the product is intended for consumers who are 21 and older.
President Joe Biden “wants to ban menthol cigarettes,” said the National Republican Senatorial Committee on X, alluding to the Biden administration’s now-delayed ban on menthol cigarettes. “Chuck Schumer wants to ban Zyn. The nanny state is alive and well with today’s Democrat Party.”
“Come and take it, Chuck,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said in a post to X which featured a photo of a blue-and-white Zyn container.
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) January 23, 2024
“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 Walz (R-FL) said in a post to X.
“This calls for a Zynsurrection!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) said on X. “The same Democrats that want to legalize all drugs and have ripped open our border flooding our country with fentanyl, a real weapon of mass destruction killing 300 Americans/day, wants to ban Zyn. Democrats are idiots.”
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) also drew attention to the fentanyl crisis and explained that Zyn is “an alternative to smoking” that is not perfect, but can help people.
.@SenTuberville says Chuck Schumer is more worried about banning Zyn than addressing a Fentanyl crisis that’s claiming the lives of 100,000+ Americans every year. #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/vnoiNPnV3d
— Grayson Everett (@Grayson270) January 24, 2024
More Republicans piled on:
— Rep. Mike Collins (@RepMikeCollins) January 24, 2024
Unfortunately Chuck Schumer is more focused on Zyn Pouches than he is about Fentanyl pouring over our border.
— Tim Burchett (@timburchett) January 24, 2024
Chuck Schumer should spend more time focusing on the fentanyl pouring across our southern border than trying to ban Zyn pouches.
The Democrats’ priorities are backwards.
— Rep. Cammack Press Office (@RepKatCammack) January 24, 2024
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who has recently established himself as a maverick among Democrats, reportedly told Newsweek he disagrees with Schumer on the Zyn issue.
“I’m a big believer in choice for Americans, and I believe every adult should be having these kinds of choices with these kinds of products as well,” he said. “Tobacco is legal, and that kills over half a million Americans. Alcohol is legal and kills lots of people. I would err on the side of freedom and not restricting that.”
When pressed by a reporter on Schumer calling for a federal clampdown on Zen, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred media to the Food and Drug Administration. “I have not seen that report, so I would refer to the FDA specifically,” she said.
Philip Morris International — which is the parent company of Swedish Match, the manufacturer of Zyn — and its affiliates “fully meet and exceed the regulations governing the industry,” a company spokesperson told The Daily Wire.
“Our marketing practices — which prohibit the use of social media influencers — are focused on preventing underage access and set the benchmark for the industry,” the representative said, adding that evidence — such as a 2023 national survey that found 1.5% of middle and high school students used nicotine pouches — shows “this approach is working” and “oral nicotine pouch use by those under the legal age remains exceptionally low.”