Vancouver’s Sesh+ wants its nicotine gums to make it easier to quit smoking

The smoking cessation brand is rolling out flavours like pomegranate, wintergreen and cinnamon.


Credit: Sesh+

The smoking cessation brand is rolling out flavours like pomegranate, wintergreen and cinnamon

Max Cunningham remembers hating his transition from chewing tobacco to nicotine gums. “I was embarrassed to pull it out in front of my friends,” he says of the big, bulky boxes of gums and lozenges prevalent in the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) industry. 

Although Cunningham never smoked cigarettes, he played lots of sports (hockey, in particular) and started using chewing tobacco in his mid-20s to blend in with the locker room culture. But when time came to quit (as it inevitably does), the Vancouverite felt ashamed of not being able to do it on his own—and the taste didn’t help either: “It was chalky, it tasted awful, and there’s a big stigma around it,” he maintains.

Despite advances in the nicotine space, traditional tobacco-based products are still a problem that just doesn’t seem to burn away. Cunningham tried transitioning to vapes, too, but he couldn’t get past the fact that he was struggling to breathe and the habit was hampering his ability to play sports. 

To offer a better NRT product than what he could find out there, Cunningham quit his full-time marketing job to incorporate Sesh+ in 2020. The Vancouver-based company launched in 2022 with an offering of nicotine gums in flavours like pomegranate, wintergreen and cinnamon, available in single-unit packs for $8.99. Developed with 20 years of confectionery and food science, Cunningham’s goal for the product was to make it convenient for tobacco users to quit.

“Right now you can buy [other NRT products] in a multipack format—a big box of five packs, three packs or 10 packs, which makes it really hard for a consumer that is thinking about quitting to make that commitment,” Cunningham says. To tackle that, Sesh+ gums are available in single packs, and are packaged with a flip-tab containing all the risk and warning information about the product instead of including a pamphlet in a box. 

Sesh+ seems to be blazing trails in the NRT industry, as it saw $560,000 in top line revenue in the last quarter of 2022 and is projected to hit over $6.5 million this year. So far, the smoking cessation brand has secured $1.2 million in funding and is being sold in more than 1500 stores, including Metro, Shell, Circle K and other major distributors in Canada. Moving forward, Cunningham plans to introduce an app that can provide virtual cessation support. 

“Sesh+ is really addressing how we look at nicotine replacement therapy,” Cunningham adds. “How do we look at quitting in the future? It’s not a one-size-fits-all journey for a lot of people—it certainly wasn’t for me.”