Young Danes are sticking nicotine pouches up their asses and inside their foreskins in a trend that’s left health experts concerned and baffled, according to Danish national broadcaster DR.
Health experts from across Denmark, including the country’s National Health Institute, confirmed the trend to DR. Independently, Motherboard found multiple threads on Scandinavian forums where users discussed placing nicotine pouches on or up intimate body parts.
Nicotine pouches are popular in Scandinavia, especially among young people. Snus, a wet tobacco pouch that originates from Sweden, has a particularly long tradition in the subregion—despite being illegal in every European Union country save Sweden itself. In Denmark, the word ‘snus’ is oftentimes used as a catch-all term for any tobacco or nicotine pouch placed underneath the upper lip. Users report a mild burning sensation in the gum during use.
In July, a Danish law came into effect that banned the use of snus and other nicotine pouches during school hours after reports of students sticking the packets around classrooms.
One teenager whom DR spoke to recounted how he and a group of friends had stuck nicotine bags up the foreskin of their genitals while drunk at a party. Meanwhile, a health expert told the broadcaster about a boy she had spoken to who had claimed to have done the same.
“They got drunk and one forgot to take out the nicotine pouch again,” she told DR. “The next morning he woke up and his penis was red and very swollen and hurting. It was the first and last time he tried it.”
She also pointed out that nicotine pouches can cause gum damage, and could potentially cause similar damage to other parts of the body.
Denmark is not the only Scandinavian country where teenagers seem to be putting nicotine pouches in odd spaces. A student in Norway, who asked to remain anonymous, also told Motherboard about how he had experimented with placing snus inside his foreskin.
“I was bored and about to take a snus and masturbate, and my curiosity got the better of me,” he said. “So I tucked it in. It was a low-strength all-white dry portion and I didn’t feel too much of an effect. Maybe it would’ve been different with a stronger, moist one.”
“I got a cold sensation from the menthol,” he added.
Other curious users seem to have had more success. In a thread on a Norwegian forum, another Snus user reported sticking the product up their ass. “Tried to put snus in my anus once,” they said. “Quite painful after just a few minutes. But the nicotine craving disappeared, so I guess it works.”
The Danish National Health Institute did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Motherboard.