Synthetic Nicotine Poses Opportunities Amid Regulations
Vaping companies may have found a loophole in the upcoming regulations handed down by the FDA, and it comes in the form of synthetic nicotine.
An article that ran on Wired this week has pointed out that there are a few vape businesses who craft e-liquids using lab-produced synthetic nicotine. The process, which creates this substance without the use of tobacco plants, has been hailed as a second wind for the vape industry. And with the regulations set to become law in August, this news couldn’t have come at a better time.
A company called Next Generation Labs, run by tobacco veteran Ron Tully, has perfected the synthetic nicotine process. This process eliminates the need for tobacco, which is the primary source of nicotine found in nature. It can take about a week of lab work to come up with a batch of synthetic nicotine and allows chemists to create the substance with full control over lab conditions.
Due to three patents pending on the process, the information of how to make synthetic nicotine is not widely available just yet, making it an expensive additive. It can cost upwards of 13 times the amount of natural nicotine. But it has an advantage — synthetic nicotine is flavorless, allowing for vape companies who utilize it to make more nuanced flavors that their customers can enjoy.
The question now becomes, is synthetic nicotine a tobacco product? If so, should it be regulated, along with vape juices that contain the substance, under the FDA regulations?
The FDA cites the ability to regulate the vaping industry through the utilization of the Tobacco Control Act, which defines any product under the tobacco categorization as “any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product.” This means should a company, such as Next Generation Labs, use some part of the tobacco plant in any part of the process, then yes, it could be considered a tobacco product. Then it would be regulated along with other vaping products.
But synthetic nicotine does not use tobacco as a main component or even an accessory in the process. This means that new, and stricter, guidelines of what is defined as a “tobacco” vape product will be needed. And that is something that the FDA has not had to consider up until now.
Since Next Generation Labs have come up with a synthetic nicotine formula that could be used in vape juices, companies that use this type of nicotine have begun sprouting up. Some examples include Coastline, CRFT Labs, and KVASS. These companies are well known and respected within the industry for their high quality and standards, including using responsible packaging and marketing their products exclusively to adults.
The synthetic nicotine, which has been trademarked by Next Generation Labs as Parmanic, is also finding an audience within the pharmaceutical industry, which is its namesake. Nicotine has been known to play a part in neuroscience, owing to its ability to bind to receptors in the brain, meaning that it could potentially help patients with brain disorders recover some or all of their functionality. While further studies are needed in this arena, if nicotine could have positive benefits for public safety, then the synthetic version of the substance will be welcomed with ease by the medical and scientific communities.
It is important to note that nicotine is an addictive substance and does have a huge impact on the brain. While it is manageable in small doses for adults, it can cause irreparable harm to a child’s brain development. That’s why the vape industry is becoming more stringent on their marketing tactics, ensuring that nothing that’s sold within the market will be attractive to children.
Synthetic nicotine is new to the vaping industry. Whether to regulate it under the Tobacco Control Act is a debate that is heating up. For now, however, vapers have a glimmer of hope that this synthetic substance could save the industry.