November 12, 2021 4 min read
Synthetic nicotine isn't a new compound. Records show it existed since the 1960s but remained under the radar until recently. Now, this substance is making waves due to many factors. One of the first factors is the widespread acceptance by customers. Nevertheless, the product is still a regulatory void.
Despite the rapid growth of the synthetic nicotine niche, there's still a lot of uncertainty concerning its use, regulations, and manufacture. One would think the questions surrounding this product would affect its demand, but quite the contrary.
So, what makes non-tobacco-derived Nicotine such a catchy product, and why should you care? If you've ever asked any of these questions, then it's your lucky day because you'll find answers to these questions and canlearn more about Synthetic Nicotinehere.
Let's start by explaining the actual term.
Synthetic Nicotine is just a fancy word that refers to lab-manufactured Nicotine that contains zero tobacco. It is also known as SN for short, tobacco-free Nicotine (TFN) or non-tobacco-derived Nicotine. But despite containing no tobacco, it is made of the same chemical structure as tobacco-derived Nicotine, which isC10H14N2. As such, it was designed to mimic the effects induced in users after using traditional Nicotine.
Presently, there are two leading producers of synthetic Nicotine, namely CNT and NextGen Labs. Next Generation Labs (NGL) is asynthetic nicotine manufacturer based in California. It announced in 2018 that it would be doubling its yearly production capacity in anticipation of increasing demand. This company and CNT produce two types of SN, namely:
These are the kinds of SN (R and S) found in most consumer products at present.
As earlier stated, Nicotine is an asymmetric compound having two stereoisomers, namely R-nicotine and S-nicotine. Harvested tobacco leaves contain less than99% S-nicotine. However, synthetic Nicotine, particularly the patented one produced by NGL, is R+S isomer based.
At present, synthetic nicotine brands prefer to keep their production process out of public knowledge for obvious business reasons. A classic example is this statement from Puffbar, "Our nicotine-based products are crafted from a patented manufacturing process, not from tobacco." The company didn't specify the origins of its SN, nor did it detail the chemical processused to produce the product. But one thing is clear; the process doesn't include tobacco which means the Nicotine yielded lacks the impurities contained in the naturally extracted Nicotine, which is a major advantage.
Usually, when a consumer product contains SN, half of the nicotine content comprises R-nicotine. At present, there's limited information about the metabolic and pharmacological effects of R-nicotine on users.
However, several animal studies surrounding the metabolic effects of R-nicotine indicatedstereoselective differences associated with the formation of stereospecific N-methylation of nicotine enantiomers and oxidative metabolites. Unlike the impact of S-nicotine, R-nicotine didn't causeepinephrine release and weight loss in rats.
It turns out R-nicotine is a considerably less powerful agonist of nicotine receptors when compared to S-nicotine. Nevertheless, these stereoisomers interrupt the body's ability to release certain lipid mediators responsible for inflammation regulation.
Some e-juices currently contain extremely pure synthetic S-nicotine, but the observable effects of SN and TDN are almost identical.
Those who want tobuy synthetic Nicotine and products containing it might be interested in knowing that the only thing holding back SN from taking over the vaping landscape is its cost. At the moment, the R&D, logistics, expertise, production cost, and raw materials required to produce tobacco-free Nicotine are significantly higher than the tobacco extraction process.
When you compare the costs, the expense involved in 1 liter of 100mg TDN, sufficient for the production of 18,000ml of 6mg vape juice, stands at about $100 (consumer price). For the same amount of e-liquid containing synthetic Nicotine from NGL, the price is around $259.99.
This makes a price difference of 1L of 100mg TDN equal $0.10/ml while 1L of 100mg TFN equals $0.26/ml. But even with the higher price, the percentage increment still lies within the scope of the market.
Having understood what synthetic nicotine means and the cost involved, let's look at why some companies and consumers prefer it. The first is the present regulatory system of the country. Authorities like the FDA in the US and their restrictive regulations have compelled companies to find alternatives to naturally-derived Nicotine.
Apart from this, companies producingsynthetic nicotine vaping products like e-liquids and disposables swear by its unparalleled tastes since they claim it doesn't contain impurities that sometimes make it the extraction process in tobacco-derived Nicotine. But the only reason these companies can legally use SN is due to the definition of a tobacco product according to theTobacco Control Act.
The definition states that a tobacco product is "any product made or derived from tobacco and intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product."
So technically, this exempts synthetic Nicotine since it's not tobacco-derived.
At present many companies in the vaping industry are turning to synthetic Nicotine since it's a safer bet than going down the arduous PMTA path set by the FDA. The main reason is that many regard the PMTA process as a waste of resources, especially small businesses.
On the other hand, the coming years may see federal legislators widen the definition of tobacco products to bring synthetic products under the FDA's regulatory authority.
Non-tobacco-derived Nicotine is poised as the way for the future, if not in any way, at least for small to medium scale vaping firms. These will be companies that may get the green light from the FDA if they use synthetic Nicotine to produce disposable vapes. But at the moment, the above details show that review and determinations will be on a "case-by-case" basis solely for disposables created with synthetic Nicotine.
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