It's hard to imagine, these days, selling a product by calling it synthetic. “A lot of people kind of give you the weird eye,” says Edward Uy, vice president at SQN, the first vaping company to debut liquids with lab-made synthetic nicotine. Every other tobacco product in human history, including virtually every other e liquid, makes use of natural nicotine from tobacco plants.

Synthetic nicotine has always been somewhat of a controversial topic. So is liquid nicotine but this may be a good time to get things out into the open. We know that initially people didn’t really understand the concept of this different version of the substance. Nicotine for them was found in the tobacco plant, where it was rolled up and then smoked in a traditional tobacco cigarette form. The very idea of a liquid version of nicotine seemed peculiar to say the least.

So, what exactly is synthetic nicotine?

As stated in its name, synthetic nicotine is nicotine that was created in the labs rather than cultivated as the single most important part of the tobacco plant. Otherwise, it is the same chemical as its natural counterpart. Synthetic nicotine is not a new product, as shown by its use in nicotine patches, but it is interesting in that some people have started becoming interested in its potential use for e-juice.

What are the potential benefits of synthetic nicotine?

  • Synthetic nicotine has no flavour whatsoever. In contrast, natural nicotine that has been extracted from the tobacco plant retains some of that flavour. This is problematic because said flavour has to be masked using other stronger flavours, making it no coincidence that such a high percentage of e liquids have a strong taste of sweetness to them. By using synthetic nicotine rather than its natural counterpart, ejuice manufacturers free themselves of this constraint, hence enabling them to create an even wider range of flavours for an even wider range of vapers.
  • Tobacco has a bad reputation all around the world for understandable reasons. After all, burning tobacco results in tobacco smoke, which contains numerous chemicals that can be harmful for the smoker as well as the people in their surroundings. However, this is problematic because this reputation clings to e-cigarettes even though no tobacco smoke is emitted through their use, thus resulting in an unfair and inaccurate impression among members of the general public. Since they are tobacco-free, synthetic nicotine could be a chance for vapers as well as vaping companies to make a reputation of their own rather than be tarnished by association with their predecessors.
  • Finally, it is interesting to note that a switch from natural nicotine to synthetic nicotine could be beneficial for the environment, which in turn, means that it could be beneficial for not just vapers but also non-vapers. In main, this is because tobacco plants come with a host of horrendous consequences for the environments in which they are grown. First, tobacco farming means the loss of woodland in its surroundings, both because the land has to be cleared for the tobacco plants and because the wood has to be harvested for the sake of curing tobacco leaves into a useful form. Second, tobacco farming leaches the nutrients from the soil, meaning that it needs enormous amounts of fertilizer to sustain it. Third, tobacco farming is susceptible to insects as well as other potential pests because it is a monoculture, meaning that it needs enormous amounts of pesticides to protect the crops. Combined, these three factors mean that tobacco farming creates an enormous burden on the environment even before factoring in the waste generated by manufacturing as well as the littering of cigarette butts. If synthetic nicotine can become more and more successful in the future, it will also make it easier and easier to protect the environment, which in turn, meaning happier and healthier lives for all people all around the world.
But synthetic nicotine faces its own obstacles too. First is the renewed doubt about ingesting this product, which on a molecular level is the exact same as nicotine, but is created outside of nature. Secondly, ingredients used to make it are not suitable for human consumption and it’s more expensive to manufacture nicotine rather than extracting it from natural sources.