Synthetic Nicotine Explained

by Jemma Wolfe

What is Synthetic Nicotine?

It’s widely believed that the only source of nicotine is tobacco leaf, and up until very recently, that was the case. Now, thanks to scientific developments and years of research, there’s a new alternative nicotine source that isn’t derived from tobacco—synthetic nicotine.

It’s no surprise that vaping companies are trying to distance themselves further and further away from the tobacco industry, and the emergence of synthetic nicotine is helping them to do just that. This entirely man-made alternative doesn’t require the use of tobacco leaf, and therefore isn’t subject to strict regulations applied to tobacco products.

But what is synthetic nicotine exactly? Well, we’re here to find out. In this guide, we’ll explore how synthetic nicotine works, how it’s made, and what brands are already utilising this groundbreaking method to create their products. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is Synthetic Nicotine?

As its name suggests, synthetic nicotine is simply nicotine that has been created using a synthetic method. Also known as tobacco free nicotine(TFN), synthetic nicotine is the purest form of nicotine available as it contains none of the impurities that are sometimes found in tobacco-derived nicotine.

Although the quickest and cheapest method of obtaining nicotine is to extract it directly from tobacco leaf, it’s now possible to create nicotine synthetically in a lab. This synthetic nicotine is exactly the same as tobacco-derived nicotine at a molecular level, so it has identical effects on the body. It even comes with some advantages, including a lack of taste or odour, meaning e-liquid brands won’t need to pack their juice with extra flavourings to mask the taste of nicotine.

How is Synthetic Nicotine made?

Unlike tobacco-derived nicotine, synthetic nicotine doesn’t contain any tobacco leaf or stem. Instead, it’s artificially replicated in laboratory conditions and is chemically identical to tobacco-derived nicotine. So, regardless of whether nicotine is synthesised or extracted directly from tobacco leaf, it still possesses the same chemical structure: C10 H14 N2.

There’s no standard method of doing this and each manufacturer will adopt their own method of creating tobacco free nicotine. However, most labs opt for a process that begins with ethyl nicotinate which is then converted into nicotine through a series of chemical reactions. So, regardless of how the chemical structure is achieved, the result is still nicotine.

Is Synthetic Nicotine safer than regular nicotine?

As we mentioned above, synthetic nicotine and tobacco-derived nicotine share exactly the same chemical structure, so they have identical stimulant effects on the body as they are both nicotine. This means that synthetic nicotine is no safer than regular nicotine and they will affect you in exactly the same way. However, it’s important to note that while nicotine is a very addictive substance, it is not considered dangerous or unsafe in small amounts.

Although there are no differences when it comes to safety, there are a few key distinctions between regular nicotine and synthetic nicotine. For example, tobacco leaves may contain some impurities which aren’t found in synthetic nicotine. These trace impurities can affect the taste of tobacco-derived nicotine, whereas synthetic nicotineis completely tasteless and odourless. This neutral flavour makes it easier to create eliquidsusing synthetic nicotineas less flavourings are needed to mask the nicotinetaste.

Is Synthetic Nicotine addictive?

Yes, just like regular tobacco-derived nicotine, synthetic nicotine is a very addictive substance. Therefore, it should always be used with care. While nicotine products are great for helping ex-smokers curb their cigarette cravings and helping people along their quit smoking journey, they should never be used by someone who isn’t already consuming nicotine in some format.

Synthetic nicotine and nicotine products such as eliquid and nicotine pouches are designed to be used purely as a smoking cessation aid, and it should never be used by people who haven’t used nicotine before.

Brands using Synthetic Nicotine

As synthetic nicotine is a relatively new concept, there are still only a handful of brands using it in their products as it’s far more expensive to create than tobacco-derived nicotine. However, as the use of synthetic nicotine becomes more popular and widespread, the cost of production is likely to reduce and we can expect to see more and more synthetic nicotine brands hitting our shelves.

Synthetic nicotine is often used by US-based eliquid brands, as it allows them to avoid FDA restrictions on tobacco products. However, we are starting to see the use of synthetic nicotine creeping into the UK market. Some of the best-known brands currently using synthetic nicotine in their products include Ignite, Beco Puff Bar, Ruthless, Dinner Lady, and Yogi. But watch this space, as we expect to see many more in the coming years.

Synthetic Nicotine at myCigara

With constant changes in restrictions and regulations, we could see more brands than ever before switching from tobacco leaf nicotine to synthetic nicotine. While the process of creating synthetic nicotine can be costly, the benefits of its neutral taste and separation from the tobacco industry could lead us to a tobacco free nicotine future. But whatever happens, we'll be with you every step of the way.

At myCigara, we exist to make the UK smoke-free. That’s why we offer a range of smoking cessation aids such as vapes and nicotine pouches as a safe, reliable, and effective alternative, to help you take back control and quit smoking.

If you’re just starting out on your quit smoking journey and want to find out more about the options available to you, we recommend heading over to our New to Vaping blog to see if an e-cigarette could be the key to your success. Alternatively, check out our Nicotine Pouches blog to find out if this smokeless alternative could help you ditch the cigs for good.

You can also get in touch with us if you have any questions, or head into your nearest myCigara Vape Shop for a friendly chat with our expert store staff.

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