Synthetic nicotine has morphed into the next concern for politicians and regulators
Krishnamoorthi’s move aptly illustrates how Synthetic Nicotine—that is, nicotine made in a lab and not derived from tobacco—has morphed into the next concern for politicians and regulators. Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which received the power to regulate tobacco in 2009, defines a “tobacco product” as anything “made or derived from tobacco,” some in the vape industry have come to view Synthetic Nicotine as a potential loophole. Technically, the FDA’s terminology does exclude synthetic nicotine from its jurisdiction. But few observers expect this to be a permanent state of affairs. Especially considering that tobacco-derived nicotine and Synthetic Nicotine are chemically difficult to tell apart.
Citing reporting from Filter, Krishnamoorthi quoted Ronald Tully of Next Generation Labs about the current lack of regulation: “If the statute has been ill-conceived, and the regulation has been ill-drafted, it is not the responsibility of the industry to conform to some kind of idea that you can’t innovate in those spaces where the legislation doesn’t occur.”
“Representative Krishnamoorthi lacks even the slightest evidence that the target of his latest investigation has broken a single law,” Greg Conley, the president of the American Vaping Association (AVA), told Filter. “As per the usual, he is playing politics, and we are hopeful the demands specified in his letter will be resisted.”
“With youth vaping numbers and the associated moral panic continuing to decline,” he continued, “it remains to be seen whether Representative Krishnamoorthi’s primary goal—getting media attention focused on Representative Krishnamoorthi—will actually be met with this campaign.”
In the past few months, the FDA has, through its premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) process, stripped a majority of the vapor products from many small- and medium-sized manufacturers off the market. Companies have had to prove their vapes would be “appropriate for the protection of public health”—meaning, in large part, that they had to show their products would help adult smokers’ transition to a safer alternative without attracting a new generation of nicotine users. (A federal court of appeals recently agreed with the industry that the FDA’s process has been opaque and, at best, flawed.)
As a result, many smaller companies have announced they’d be switching to Synthetic Nicotine.
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