WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

Synthetic Nicotine Vs. Regular Nicotine: What’s Better?

Synthetic Nicotine, Tobacco Free Nicotine, Vape Juice -

Synthetic Nicotine Vs. Regular Nicotine: What’s Better?

Nicotine versus Traditional nicotine consumption

It is hard to untangle nicotine and traditional nicotine consumption. Nicotine is an addictive chemical which makes it difficult to quit traditional nicotine consumption. But nicotine is wrongly blamed for tobacco-related diseases. It is the by-products of combustion that deserve special attention.

As explained by FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb in press release from the height of teen vaping scare in 2018:  “While it’s the addiction to nicotine that keeps people smoking, it’s primarily the combustion, which releases thousands of harmful constituents into the body at dangerous levels, that kills people.”

Why do people start using nicotine, even though it is clearly labelled as an addictive chemical? Nicotine is often used as an anxiolytic drug. Studies have shown that it may fuel anxiety, but this is how it is perceived.

Nicotine is also used as a stimulant, even today in an era where traditional nicotine consumption is looked down upon. Non-smokers can scoff at this reasoning but check the sidewalk outside of a bar or the ashbin the next day. Whether it works or not, this is how nicotine is perceived by its users.

We are not arguing that nicotine is beneficial or even neutral. It is addictive. Do not start. If you vape, we hope you are reducing your nicotine intake with the goal of a nicotine and vaping free lifestyle. VapeBargains.com offers a wide range of nicotine strengths. We have found our customers reduce their vape juice nicotine levels over time.

Public Health England and Vaping

Public Health England, the healthcare service provider and administrator for the country, estimates that vaping is about 95 percent less harmful than combustible tobacco products. Their landmark study was first released in 2015.

This NHS study is not a debunked piece of research. That sort of sophistry is constantly used by opponents of vaping, congressional advocates of a flavor ban recently cited the 2018 CDC Youth Tobacco Survey because three ensuing editions showed massive drops in teen vaping. The NHS study we are citing has been updated annually.

Foes of vaping rely on studies like the debunked vaping heart attack link. Here is the February 2021 version of the NHS study comparing traditional nicotine consumption and vaping. 

Synthetic Nicotine

Synthetic nicotine has been around for decades. Before it was commercially viable for vape juices, it was used in medical research and nicotine replacement therapies such as the patch and gums. These popular nicotine replacement therapies were destroyed by vaping in a traditional nicotine consumption cessation study posted by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The molecular formula for nicotine is C10 H14 N2. It does not matter whether it comes from the tobacco leaf, another nightshade plant that contains nicotine like a tomato, or is synthetic nicotine from a laboratory. It is a nicotine molecule and identical under a microscope.

Synthetic Nicotine in Vaping

Next Generation Labs (NGL) has made non-tobacco nicotine affordable enough to be used in commercially available vape juices. Tobacco derived nicotine was perfectly suitable for vaping, but synthetic nicotine has several advantages. The most noticeable is that synthetic nicotine is a purer product and has a more neutral flavor than tobacco derived nicotine. The second advantage is that it does not require an industrial agricultural base, that is owned and operated by the tobacco industry.

Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN) is a name trademarked by NGL. It is the most popular non-tobacco nicotine used in vape juices.  

NGL is not an upstart or some dodgy operation synthesizing Tobacco Free Nicotine in a trailer in the Mojave Desert. They have numerous patents on their nicotine products and operate an ISO certified lab.

How Much Does Synthetic Nicotine Cost?

Synthetic nicotine is not yet as affordable as tobacco-derived nicotine. The R&D, logistics, expertise, production cost, and raw materials required to produce Tobacco Free Nicotine are significantly higher than the tobacco-nicotine extraction process. Legacy Nicotine has been churning out liquid tobacco nicotine for decades and this price difference shouldn’t be a surprise.

When you compare the costs, the expense involved in 1 liter of 100mg tobacco-derived nicotine, 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 Tobacco Free Nicotine from NGL, the price is around $259.99.

This is a significant difference but the fact that non-tobacco nicotine has cut Legacy Nicotine’s advantage to 2.5 to 1 demonstrates that with economies of scale synthetic nicotine could be price competitive or even cheaper with tobacco-derived nicotine.

Why Make Synthetic Nicotine? 

Synthetic nicotine has a slightly more neutral flavor and takes less of a toll on the environment. These are not the sort of factors that prompt a company to switch to an ingredient that is over twice as expensive.  

Regulations and restrictions on vaping products that exclusively benefit Legacy Nicotine are the primary catalyst. The PACT Act, additional vape taxes, PMTAs and other onerous restrictions have hit the vaping industry and the adult vapers like a tsunami over the last 24 months.

Except for Tobacco-21 and the ban on prefilled pod flavors, all these restrictions seem laser focused on small vape companies. It is starting to look like regulatory capture by the major tobacco stakeholders. This is a form of corruption where the political entity, policymaker or regulator assigned to serve the public interest instead serves the agenda of a specific group. 

With the game in Washington apparently rigged, the vaping industry has naturally responded by shifting away from tobacco products such as tobacco-derived nicotine. Legacy Nicotine clearly has a homefield advantage and the lobbying firepower. There is little reason to expect fair treatment in the future, so why not cut all ties with the tobacco plant now. This is now an option thanks to Tobacco Free Nicotine vape juice.

Tobacco Control Act

The Tobacco Control Act 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. Synthetic nicotine is not tobacco-derived and allows small vaping companies to exit a rigged game.

In other news, with all of these restrictions on vape sales US traditional nicotine consumption rates are up for the first time in decades. New restrictions that deny adult vapers their preferred vape juice flavors and hardware have finally taken hold. This surely wasn’t the goal of anti-vapers like Michael Bloomberg, but it was the inevitable outcome.

Manufacturing Nicotine

Synthetic nicotine production occurs in certified labs and uses proprietary processes. Niacin is among the chemicals used in the process, which yields 100% pure nicotine. The processes for making synthetic, non-tobacco, and Tobacco Free Nicotine are closely guarded trade secrets.

Tobacco-derived nicotine is not quite so pure. The most common form of extracting nicotine from the tobacco plant is solvent extraction. Organic solvents are applied to crushed plant matter to retrieve phytochemicals like alkaloids. The final nicotine distillate is pharmaceutical nicotine because it is 99.9% pure, like any pharmaceutical-grade chemical. 

Manufacturing Challenges

The manufacturing of synthetic nicotine poses unique challenges. Nicotine is a chiral molecule, meaning that it is not superimposable as a mirror image. There are two variations of the nicotine molecule: S-isomer and an R-isomer. In plant nicotine, only minute quantities of R-Isomer are present. But due to the manufacturing process, it is much cheaper to manufacture nicotine that is 50 percent R-isomer and 50 percent S-isomer.

The R-isomer is found in small amounts in whole leaf tobacco and is considered biologically inert. S-Isomer has the biological effects associated with nicotine consumption.  It would take twice the volume of a nicotine which is half R and half S-isomer to match the potency of pure S-Isomer. 

R-Isomer Nicotine

Ron Tully, a founding member of Next Generation Labs, is not so quick to dismiss R-Isomer as a dead end.

“Nicotine has been studied extensively in its naturally derived tobacco form, which includes the naturally occurring S and R isomers, which are metabolized in the consumption of current combustible tobacco products
combustible tobacco products
combustible tobacco products, vape and smokeless tobacco products. There is nothing to indicate that the R isomer is anything other than a positive attribute to the nicotine molecule.”

A July 2021 press release by Next Generation Labs announced a had been granted patent for the use of TFN Combinational R- and S-Isomer synthetic nicotine in tobacco cessation products. In this release, NGL elaborated on their vision of a future that heavily features R-isomer nicotine. 

“Next Generation Labs believes future combinational R- and S-isomer nicotine formulations may prove to be less addictive than natural or biosimilar standalone S-isomer nicotine and could potentially help achieve the broader public health goal of providing adult consumers with a satisfying, but non-addictive form of nicotine to replace current products. These new variable isomeric ratios of synthetic nicotine products may ultimately assist adults in quitting or reducing their overall dependence on current tobacco, vape and nicotine products.”

“We are at an early stage in the evolution of isomeric nicotine and its utility. NGL is trying to ensure that companies have the option based on their evaluation of the utility and safety of synthetic nicotine in their products.”

Synthetic Nicotine versus Regular Nicotine

Synthetic nicotine and natural nicotine share the exact molecular structure; therefore, they also have the same stimulant effect on the body.

One difference between the two is flavor. There are trace impurities in tobacco-derived nicotine and therefore synthetic nicotine has a more neutral flavor. It is a subtle difference but a net benefit for the adult vaper. Characterizing vape juice flavors are clearer and crisper with TFN.

Keep in mind that coil age, wattage, vape device being used, the e-liquid you are vaping, nicotine strength and even how long you have been vaping a specific flavor will have a much bigger impact on your vaping experience.

Environmental Impact of Tobacco 

Tobacco derived nicotine is grown by the tobacco industry. Rather than being replicated using scientific processes in a lab, industrial scale agriculture provides the tobacco that is converted into e-liquid nicotine. A few cents from every bottle of vape juice you have ever purchased ended up in the hands of tobacco growers.  

Even if you are a vaper who has no issue putting more money into Legacy Nicotine’s hands, consider the destructive role the tobacco farming has on our environment. A World Health Organization (WHO) Study took aim at the environmental impact of tobacco.

The WHO found commercial tobacco agriculture degrades soil, exposes workers to nicotine poisoning, pesticides and contributes to food insecurity. Fossil fuels feature heavily in the processing and logistics of the tobacco industry.

Any effort by the independent vaping industry to cut all ties with the tobacco industry is a step in the right direction.


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