GOP lawmakers decry Schumer push for nicotine pouch crackdown

Chuck Schumer’s push to more strongly regulate Zyn nicotine pouches he says are being pushed to teens has lit a smokeless fire among some conservative lawmakers.

“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 them,” the Senate majority leader said at a press conference this week urging the FDA and FTC to probe the product.

Conservatives seized on his comments.

“It’ll make a lot of people mad. He wants to do that and cut out menthol cigarettes. I don’t think we need to do that,” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), also citing the delayed Biden administration ban on menthol cigarettes.

“I think he got his priorities wrong,” Tuberville added.

“I’m not a user myself, but it’s hard to believe that’s one of the most pressing problems for the country right now,” said Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) in a short interview.

Schumer’s comments didn’t escape the eyes of House Republicans either.

“Big Brother Schumer doesn’t want us to chew or smoke,” wrote Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), chair of the NRCC, alongside a picture of him in hunting fatigues. “Come and take it!”

“I know for a fact our service members and emergency responders use Zyn as an alternative to tobacco to help stay alert,” wrote Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.). “This is a massive overreach.”

Others took a more cautious approach, saying they weren’t familiar with the product or wanted to learn more.

“Where there’s a health care consideration, everybody has to look at that,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.). “I don’t like the government banning stuff either.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), ranking member of the HELP Committee, said simply “I’d like to know more about” Schumer’s call.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred all questions about Zyn to the FDA when asked on Wednesday.