Can Nicotine Be Made Without Tobacco?
The vaping market continues to evolve as it continues to enjoy a broad level of popularity. While it's common to see new devices with special features pop up, it's not terribly uncommon to see new kinds of vaping substances pop up, too. Several years ago we saw salt nicotine join mainstream vaping, and more recently we have seen TFN, or tobacco-free nicotine, arise.
Can nicotine be made without tobacco? Absolutely! Below, we'll talk about how TFN is made, how it changes the vaping experience, and why companies are beginning to transition their products to include TFN.
How Is TFN Made?
It's easier to understand how TFN is made by comparing it to how normal nicotine is usually derived. In traditional nicotine, tobacco plants are grown and their leaves are harvested. Then, a solvent is used to strip the nicotine out of the plant leaves, and that nicotine is then infused into its destination vape juice.
TFN has a more complicated manufacturing process. Tobacco isn't used at all. Instead, scientists in a clean lab build the molecules of nicotine from scratch. The process is patented, but Next Generation Labs, the company that makes TFN, states that they begin with a "natural starter material" and gradually grow the nicotine molecule around the starter.
This results in lab-made nicotine, or as it's commonly called, TFN! No additional chemicals or solvents are used, which is why TFN has no odor and no taste. This makes it an ideal choice for vape juices, which will be discussed a bit more in detail later in the article.
Is TFN Synthetic?
Since TFN does not contain tobacco material and does not contain naturally-occurring nicotine, it is synthetic. However, the molecular structure of TFN is identical to traditional nicotine, and how it interacts with your body is also the same as traditional nicotine.
The real difference between TFN and tobacco-derived nicotine isn't the nicotine, but rather what comes along in addition to the nicotine. TFN is pure nicotine, while traditional nicotine includes a lot of impurities from the tobacco plant and potentially the solvent used to strip the nicotine from the tobacco leaves.
Does TFN Have an Impact on Vape Flavors?
TFN e-liquids have a noticeably improved flavor when compared to vape juices that use tobacco-derived nicotine. Remember those impurities we mentioned in the previous section? When vaped, those impurities create strong, bitter flavors, which can really hurt the overall flavor experience of a particular e-liquid.
The solvents used to strip nicotine from tobacco can also cause nasty flavors. Chemicals like kerosene or ether sometimes infuse onto the nicotine, creating noticeably nasty smells. Veteran vapers may recognize this as "the smell of nicotine," and they may not even know that pure nicotine doesn't have a smell.
TFN is pure nicotine, which means no bitter impurities or nasty solvents. We have found that the flavors are crisp, bright, and extremely flavorful. When using TFN in vape juices without flavors, it's the best "genuine no-flavor" experience we have found in an e-liquid. If flavor is a priority, you should try out a TFN e-liquid.
Why Are Companies Switching to Synthetic Nicotine Now?
TFN is definitely newer, but it's been on the market longer than you might expect. It's only been within the past year that TFN has taken the market by storm. In the past, the extensive manufacturing process, resulting in high-cost products, discouraged companies from investing in and pushing TFN products, but new federal regulations have forced a shifted focus.
A Brief History of Tobacco Regulation
In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law, which gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products. Specifically, the law defines a tobacco product as, "any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption." That would include tobacco-derived nicotine.
Then, with a wave of problems with underage teens getting their hands on nicotine products, the FDA began to flex its regulatory muscles. It began to ban flavored e-liquids (that seemed to appeal to children), with manufacturers being forced to submit a Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) to keep their flavored products on the market.
It turns out, the FDA rejected the vast majority of PMTAs, only approving three PMTAs for vaping products out of more than 300, which restricted the sale of more than a million vape juices. Manufacturers were faced with being forced to discontinue huge portions of the product catalog.
Some manufacturers saw a potential loophole in the regulations. If a tobacco product had to be "derived from tobacco," then they gathered that synthetic nicotine made in a lab wouldn't fall under this definition. Companies were happy to accept the more complicated manufacturing process if it meant that they wouldn't be forced to discontinue the majority of their products.
A Superior Vaping Experience
With TFN products becoming more widely available, vapers have gotten to experience the benefits first-hand. TFN liquids, whether in disposables or bottles, tend to vape cleaner, crisper, and with better flavors. TFN also has little to no smell (depending on the flavors added), which makes discreet vaping a much easier process.
The big push by companies is largely driven by new regulations, but TFN genuinely offers a superior, more satisfying vaping experience than traditional nicotine. We have seen very few customers try TFN and go back to traditional nicotine-infused vape juices.
Will The Government Ban TFN ?
It's hard to say at this point. It's not likely that there will be a blanket ban on TFN , but it's very possible that legislation will be adjusted to close the regulation loophole. For the time being, the FDA has stated they will be considering TFN products on a "case-by-case basis."
It seems, for now, that TFN e-liquids and TFN disposables will avoid the regulatory scrutiny currently given to vaping products that contain tobacco-derived nicotine. If new laws or regulations change how you can access TFN , check here! We'll keep you up to date on the frequently changing laws that impact vaping.