A new sun of synthetic nicotine products is rising in the market, raising concerns regarding the use of nicotine products among the youth.
All have their queries about this synthetic nicotine. While it is too early to know whether the health effects of synthetic nicotine are different from that tobacco-derived nicotine, but one thing we know for sure is that these products threaten to addict more young people.
With that, we come to our main topic of
What is synthetic nicotine?
The companies that manufacture synthetic nicotine products state that their nicotine is developed in a lab and is not derived from tobacco leaf.
The producers of Puff Bar, to whom the FDA ordered to stop selling flavored e-cigarette products in July 2020, have announced quite recently that they are returning to the market with a “tobacco-free product”. This specific company claims that its synthetic nicotine will be developed from a patent manufacturing product and not from tobacco. It will not contain the impurities of tobacco either.
Other companies that make oral nicotine products are also marketing non-tobacco nicotine with big claims that have not been verified and may be misleading. ‘Rush’, another synthetic nicotine maker offers a ‘modern’ oral nicotine pouch without tobacco. Pacha Mama advertises its synthetic nicotine disposable e-cigs as “50mg (5%) Pure Synthetic Nicotine”.
What is the difference between synthetic and “tobacco-free” products?
Upper statements would surely lead you to a question that what is the difference between synthetic and “tobacco-free” products?. How would it affect vape? What will the vape juices now taste like?
We’d like to tell you that synthetic products are not alone in their prominent marketing as “tobacco-free” products. Products sold under the heading of “tobacco-free” include Velo, on!, Rogue, Zyn, and Lucy. These products are not synthetic because they use nicotine derived from tobacco. However, they are marketed similarly with claims such as ‘clean’ and ‘pure’, being quite misleading.
They found their edge by claiming that both products are tobacco-free because surely they don’t contain any tobacco leaf and even though they might not look different, the core elements in both these products are different entirely.
Oral synthetic pouches, whether synthetic or tobacco-derived, are going in popularity. According to Nielsen data reported in an industry news article, dollar sales in convenience stores of nicotine pouches increased 470% in the first half of 2020.
How are non-tobacco products regulated?
There are rising concerns regarding the use of such products which hold the title of synthetic nicotine, as whether they should be regulated as tobacco products or drugs, and some companies are acting as if they are exempted from FDA approval.
The FDA is a regulatory body that approves any kind of tobacco product that is launched in the market. Without their approval, it is impossible to do business in such a product. They regulate all types of nicotine products. Nicotine-containing products that aren’t tobacco-derived must go through the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research approval process for safety and effectiveness. However, FDA has not decided on how it will regulate synthetic nicotine products, and in the meantime, these products remain on the market.
Some companies claim that synthetic nicotine products do not have to be regulated by the Food and Drug administration at all. If we take, for example, NIIN wrote: “ Since our product is not derived from tobacco, they are not classified as a tobacco product, which means that they are not currently under FDA regulation”. Pacha Mama said in its release that “No PTMA required”. It has been since removed from the website.
The role of nicotine in addiction
It’s textbook that nicotine is harmful to developing brains. Its use during adolescence can disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction. Research has shown early age of smoking and pleasurable initial experiences are correlated with daily use and lifetime nicotine dependence. Vape juice that contains nicotine is no different than a cloud of normal cigarette smoke. One should keep that in mind the next time one enters a vape shop. Vape juices with strong nicotine components are firstly used to taper off the effects of cigarette smoke.
All in all, it can be said that as long as we don’t get to know the long-term effects of th3se synthetic nicotine products, their use should be discouraged till then. We don’t know what the usage of such products entails. We don’t have much proof to prove its efficacy on any level. It is then suggested that until full evidence comes to the surface, one should abstain from it on all levels.