Though newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), research has yet to determine if synthetic nicotine is less toxic than natural nicotine.

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With the recent popularity of vaping and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), more and more people are consuming synthetic nicotine. But what exactly is this substance, and is it safe to consume?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about synthetic nicotine.

Nicotine that’s made in a lab and that doesn’t come from tobacco leaf is called “synthetic nicotine.” There are many ways of making synthetic nicotine, and each producer keeps their branded methods under patent. But most synthetic nicotines are variations of nicotinic acids (vitamin B3) that are put through many chemical reactions until nicotine is created.

Synthetic nicotine isn’t new. But in recent years, it’s been made as a liquid and used in popular vaping, or e-cigarette, products. This has resulted in synthetic nicotine being produced and used more than ever before. It’s common to find these products with fruity or candy flavors that may be especially appealing to adolescents.

Although these products are sometimes advertised as “safer” or “cleaner” because they don’t contain tobacco, experts have expressed concern about the dangers of synthetic nicotine.

Is synthetic nicotine FDA approved?

Until recently, synthetic nicotine wasn’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Beginning in the spring of 2022, this changed with a new law.

Now, synthetic nicotine is FDA regulated. This means that in order to be sold in the United States, synthetic nicotine has to meet certain, preset requirements, including:

  • It can’t be sold to people younger than 21 years old.
  • It can’t be being marketed as a healthy alternative to smoking.
  • “Premarket authorization” must be obtained from the FDA before any sale.

This law has been in effect since March 2022. Some vape products are still under review, and many advocates argue that multiple companies are in violation of these rules. In fact, the FDA sent 107 warnings in 2022 alone to retailers that sold synthetic nicotine (also known as nontobacco nicotine) to minors.

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The exact health effects of synthetic nicotine are still unknown. Research into these products has just begun. But it’s already known that some ingredients can cause harm to your body. Any form of nicotine can be habit-forming and can cause side effects such as:

Recent studies have also indicated that in the long term, nicotine can have effects on your heart and lungs and could even cause seizures. More research is needed, but the studies found this to be true for all forms of nicotine, no matter where they come from. This would mean that synthetic nicotine is just as likely to cause these effects.

For many years, vape products were advertised as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, and many people used them to quit smoking. But current research has caused a pushback against these products.

Although synthetic nicotine doesn’t contain tobacco, it’s likely still harmful. The health effects of tobacco have been studied a long time and are well understood. For example, we know that tobacco increases your risk of lung and other cancers.

Synthetic nicotine is new, and studies into the risks are just beginning. Many researchers and healthcare advocates have expressed concern that synthetic nicotine is harmful and toxic.

Additionally, because products that used synthetic nicotine were unregulated by the FDA until 2022, some of the other chemicals in them are unknown, increasing the odds they could be harmful to your health.

Changing your relationship with nicotine

When you change your relationship with nicotine and quit smoking, you’re taking a positive step for your health and your future.

It’s no secret that those first steps can feel like a steep hike. But you don’t have to climb alone. There are resources you can turn to for help. When you’re ready, check out:

  • has plans and guidance ready to help every American change their relationship with nicotine. They offer plans meant for both general guidance and specialized plans for people in groups such as teens, veterans, women, and adults older than 60 years of age.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) hotline: If you need to connect to resources in your area, SAMSHA’s free service can help. You can reach them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-622-HELP (4357) or by using their online locator.
  • National Texting Portal: The National Texting Portal is a free support program from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute. You can get free advice designed to help you quit at any time by texting QUITNOW to 333888.
  • quitSTART app: The quitSTART app is a free program you can use to get support, track your progress, and manage cravings. You’ll also find challenges and games to keep you motivated. The app is available in both the Apple and GooglePlay stores.
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Synthetic nicotine is a form of nicotine that’s created in a lab and not made from tobacco leaves. Although no tobacco is involved, the nicotine content in synthetic nicotine is still the same nicotine you’d find in other nicotine products. Synthetic nicotine is often produced as a liquid so that it can be used for vaping.

Research into the potential health risks of synthetic nicotine is still ongoing, but experts have expressed concerns about the dangers of this product. Studies have shown that nicotine on its own can have harmful health effects, and the effects of products made specifically for vaping, like synthetic nicotine, are still unknown.