Will synthetic nicotine save vaping industry from FDA e-cig regulations?
A company named Next Generation Labs seems to have nearly perfected a new synthetic nicotine that is attracting a lot of buzz within the vaping industry. With the recent announcement of the new FDA e-cig regulations of May 5, 2016, electronic cigarettes and vaping devices will soon be classified as “tobacco products,” requiring manufacturers to adhere to a million-dollar approval process that was traditionally only reserved for Big Tobacco. Even though several advocacy groups will be fighting the FDA e-cig regulations in a court of law, synthetic nicotine may be the secret weapon that allows the vaping industry to stay afloat. At least temporarily.
Next Generation Labs is not the first company to manufacture the artificial form of nicotine, but it seems to be the first company to specifically target the vaping industry as its primary customer base. According to owner Ron Tully, synthetic nicotine lacks the underlying aroma and slight bite of the natural tobacco plant, which requires today’s manufacturers to mask the unwanted aftertaste with extra flavoring. In theory, e-juice suppliers who switch to synthetics could save money by reducing the levels of flavoring agents in their products.
The downside of synthetic nicotine
But artificial nicotine will also come with its fair share of challenges. Firstly, there is no guarantee that the FDA will not attempt to revise the deeming regulations to accommodate synthetic nicotine at some point in the future. A second obstacle is the cost. For example, the e-juice manufacturer SQN already uses synthetic nicotine in its products. But according to SQN Vice President Edward Uy, it currently costs about 13-times more than the natural version.
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Even with the increased cost, SQN launched three different flavors using the artificial nicotine, and their customers immediately noticed a tremendously positive difference in taste. The first three products were for mango, guava, and pear flavored e-juices, and by most accounts, SQN vapers said that their vape was cleaner, simpler, and less sweet. As a result, the company is now transitioning their entire e-juice line over to the synthetic stuff.
Nicotine vs. Tobacco
The vaping industry should be cautious of placing all of their hopes and dreams on synthetic nicotine. One of the fundamental arguments over the FDA e-cig regulations is that the agency classifies e-cigs and vaping devices as tobacco products. But all reputable scientists already know that nicotine and tobacco are two entirely different things.
Lots of plants contain nicotine that are not tobacco, such as bell peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes. But the FDA doesn’t regulate these products with the same restrictions as e-cigs and vaping devices. While synthetic nicotine may be the next new trend, the FDA e-cig regulations still need to be overturned to protect the vaping industry. But until that happens, Next Generation Labs seems to remain committed to continuously streamline the production of its synthetic nicotine to consistently drive prices lower and lower.