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What are the Key Differences Between Tobacco-Derived Nicotine and Tobacco-Free Nicotine?

Posted by David on

Lots of vapers it seems, have a tendency to never question the manufacturing methods used by even their favorite e-liquid companies, which means that they may never know exactly what chemical compounds they’re inhaling into their bodies. Behind the scenes, the e-liquid industry is evolving rapidly in order to consistently improve the quality, flavor and safety of vape juice products. Besides how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has gotten stricter with e-juice brands in recent years, the vaping industry is simply new. Hence, a good amount of trial & error has been occurring in the last decade to determine how to best yield an ideal product that can be vaporized on a daily basis.

An advancement that has gotten people talking lately is tobacco-free nicotine (TFN). Many vapers don’t consider the fact that the majority of e-liquids on the market contain tobacco-derived nicotine, which means that e-liquids made with this ingredient are technically considered tobacco products, at least according to the FDA. But, TFN is changing all that dramatically.

Tobacco-Derived Nicotine vs. Tobacco-Free Nicotine

To appreciate TFN and its role in the e-juice industry for years to come, it’s important to know how it differs from standard nicotine derived from the tobacco plant. Therefore, we’re going to compare the two so that you can understand what makes TFN so unique and promising.

Tobacco-Derived Nicotine

First, let’s take a look at tobacco-derived nicotine, which is what was used in all vape juices up until the development of TFN. Tobacco-derived nicotine is self-explanatory; it’s the nicotine compounds extracted from the tobacco plant. There are two types of tobacco-derived nicotine products commonly used in vape juices: salt-based nicotine and freebase nicotine. While they differ in many ways, they are both ultimately derivatives of the tobacco plant.

Tobacco-Free Nicotine

Tobacco-free nicotine, or TFN, is totally unique. It doesn’t come from tobacco whatsoever, as it was created by chemists synthetically. Therefore, TFN is also often referred to as “synthetic nicotine.” Now, we know that many people equate synthetic with dangerous, but this is not the case with TFN, as you’ll soon see.

Which One is Better for Vapers?

Now that you have a very basic idea of these two types of nicotine, let’s compare their various qualities to help you understand which one might be better suited for your needs and preferences.

#1: Purity Levels

Tobacco-derived nicotine compounds are made using various extraction processes. But, regardless of the process, nicotine compounds are uniquely prone to carrying impurities that end up in the end product. Anyone who knows anything about tobacco understands that a lot of the impurities found in tobacco are uniquely toxic, which is one of the main reasons why cigarettes are so bad for you. Because of loose regulations in the vaping industry, many companies may knowingly or unknowingly use impure tobacco-derived nicotine in their formulas, which could be problematic.

TFN is, however, completely pure, and this is because it’s chemically developed to be that way. It does not come from the tobacco plant, and therefore it’s impossible for it to contain any of the toxic impurities for which the plant is known.

#2: Flavor

Now, let’s move onto flavor. We said that TFN is more pure than naturally derived nicotine. This has an impact on flavor in a surprisingly significant way. Many of the impurities found in the tobacco plant alter the flavor of the resulting nicotine extract ever so slightly, but just significantly enough that vape juice companies have to overcompensate by adding more sweetener and flavoring extracts to their formulas.

Meanwhile, tobacco-free nicotine is completely flavorless and odorless, because it’s made to be. With such a clean-tasting product, companies don’t need to put effort into masking any potential flavor compounds in the nicotine.

#3: Ability to Satisfy

The good news is that TFN and standard nicotine compounds behave identically in the body. In other words, it’s not like one is more potent than the other, or one comes with specific side effects while the other doesn’t. Therefore, switching to TFN will not alter your ability to satisfy your cravings for nicotine while you vape.

#5: Restrictions and Regulations

Interestingly, e-liquids made with standard, tobacco-derived nicotine are classified as tobacco products according to the FDA, and thus, are therefore subject to specific restrictions and regulations. Meanwhile, vape products made with TFN aren’t considered tobacco products, because they do not contain tobacco or any of its derivatives. Many know that regulations on vaping products have gotten severely strict, with many questioning the motives behind these regulations. Supporting companies that make e-juices with TFN may have long-term benefits on the vaping industry as a whole.

And the Winner is…

It’s easy to see, based on the comparisons made above, that TFN offers several unique advantages over tobacco-derived nicotine. And, most e-liquid companies agree, as an influx of them are switching over to this type of nicotine. TFN can satisfy your nicotine cravings as effectively as “regular” nicotine, while offering a cleaner product and overall flavor. 

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