What Is Synthetic Nicotine?

What Is Synthetic Nicotine?

If you’re an experienced vaper or active in vape advocacy, you may have been keeping up with the latest developments in vape as well. You may know about PMTA and the constant threat of banning flavors except tobacco and menthol. The vaping industry has found a way around this: synthetic nicotine, also known as tobacco-free nicotine (TFN). 

Currently, vapers are used to vaping freebase nicotine. This could change in the upcoming months as the FDA moves to regulate alternative nicotine products such as vape juice. What is synthetic nicotine? What are the differences between synthetic nicotine and freebase nicotine? Why is synthetic nicotine in the eyes of the FDA and other anti-tobacco groups? What brands have made the switch to synthetic nicotine, and what brands are looking at a switch? Find out in this blog post.

What Is Synthetic Nicotine?

Synthetic nicotine is defined as nicotine not derived from the tobacco plant, and is also referred to as TFN. While nicotine is derived largely from the tobacco plant, it can also be found in smaller amounts in everyday foods such as tomatoes, green peppers, eggplants, potatoes, cauliflower, and even the coca plant. Synthetic nicotine can be created by scientists in a laboratory without the impurities of freebase (tobacco-derived) nicotine. While some alternative nicotine products already have synthetic nicotine, most vape juices use freebase nicotine, although many vape manufacturers have decided to swap to synthetic nicotine/TFN in the past year.

One company owns the trademark for synthetic nicotine/TFN:  Next Generation Labs. They could seek to profit greatly from this switch. According to Vincent Schuman, the CEO of Next Generation Labs, “All indications from the FDA confirm our long-held position: TFN nicotine products cannot be regulated under the Deeming Rule as they are not tobacco products, and we continue to believe that an open or closed system device for use with a choice of synthetic nicotine products will qualify as a non-tobacco product.”

Advantages of Synthetic Nicotine

In addition to not being regulated by the FDA, synthetic nicotine/TFN is purer than freebase nicotine derived from the tobacco plant. Some impurities exist in freebase nicotine, which may affect your vaping experience despite the majority of vape juices using freebase nicotine. By using synthetic nicotine/TFN, which is pure nicotine, it may improve the quality of the vaping experience overall and encourage those who are currently using traditional nicotine products to sample alternative nicotine products containing synthetic nicotine/TFN.

Next Generation Labs has provided a list of advantages of synthetic nicotine, which you can view below. 

Tobacco Free Nicotine - eLiquid.com
(Image courtesy of Next Generation Labs)

Why Is It Being Targeted By The FDA?

The FDA has made some statements on synthetic nicotine/TFN, but has also said it would review synthetic nicotine/TFN products on a “case-by-case” basis. Stopping short of saying they will actually regulate synthetic nicotine/TFN products, the FDA has said, “E-liquids that do not contain nicotine or other substances made or derived from tobacco may still be components or parts and, therefore, subject to FDA’s tobacco control authorities.”

While the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 places vaping products under the control of the FDA and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) specifically, synthetic nicotine is not currently regulated by the FDA. This could change, as anti-vaping legislators seek to target synthetic nicotine/TFN. With PMTA still unresolved, many anti-vaping legislators could pivot to synthetic nicotine/TFN as a major talking point.

Are Brands Switching To Synthetic Nicotine?

Brands are starting to see the value of synthetic nicotine/TFN, both to anticipate regulation and to bring a purer vaping experience to their customers. You can check out our  TFN collection on eLiquid.com to see what brands have already made the change. Big brands such as Reds Apple eJuice, Air Factory, Noms eJuice, and Cloud Nurdz have made the change over to synthetic nicotine/TFN. NKTR was one of the earliest adopters of synthetic nicotine/TFN, although the switch did not accelerate until after the threat of the FDA banning flavors derived from freebase nicotine. 

Puff Bars have been a subject of regulation by the FDA, and are a good example of how a brand switched from traditional freebase nicotine to synthetic nicotine/TFN. In July 2020, the FDA ordered its removal from the market, but the makers returned in 2021 with a revamped formula that used synthetic nicotine/TFN.


We will be updating this page with any further developments about synthetic nicotine/TFN, so check back to make sure that you are up to date with the latest information!









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