Synthetic Nicotine is Gaining Acceptance
Even as Synthetic Nicotine is gaining acceptance among customers, the product remains in a regulatory void.
By Stefanie Rossel
Though still a niche compared to tobacco-derived nicotine (TDN), the Synthetic Nicotine (SN) segment has been growing in the past years. In late August, California-based Next Generation Labs (NGL), a producer of bulk R, R-S and S nontobacco-derived Nicotine, announced a doubling of its annual production capacity to meet increasing demand. Orders have been coming from vapor product manufacturers and device cartridge fillers, among other customers, with strong demand in the United States and South Korea.
Established in 2014, NGL markets its Synthetic Nicotine under the tobacco-free nicotine (TFN) trademark. Because adult consumers are displaying an increasing preference for nicotine not sourced from tobacco and free of tobacco-derived components, trade customers have been increasing both order sizes and frequency, according to the company. “Our direct clients have reported transitioning from online and vape specialty retail into the convenience segment,” explains Ron Tully, a founding member of NGL.
Tully is reluctant to share customer or production forecasts, however. “What we can say is that over the past five years, NGL has created this market for nicotine that did not exist prior to our innovation and commercialization of TFN,” he says. “As we have become more established and our TFN nicotine has gained acceptance with manufacturers, the trade and consumers, we have scaled accordingly. The current market demand for Synthetic Nicotine has increased annually and continues to grow year on year.”
The substance, initially created in a lab, but now manufactured in large-scale production facilities, could play a much greater role in the future, says Torsten Siemann, managing director of Contraf-Nicotex-Tobacco (CNT). “If you think 10 to 15 years ahead and keep in mind the next-generation products market’s development of the past 11 years, tobacco-derived nicotine capacity might reach certain limits at one point,” he says. “Synthetic Nicotine can become important in supplying markets such as China, India and Russia where you’ve got many nicotine users who still have to carry out the switch to next-generation products. We see enormous demand there, and the capacity for synthesis of chemicals is unlimited.”
Since its creation in 1982, the German company has evolved into the world’s leading supplier of tobacco-derived, highly purified nicotine and Nicotine derivatives to the pharmaceutical industry. In recent years, CNT has also become a significant provider of pharmaceutical-grade tobacco-derived nicotine to the e-cigarette industry. In 2015, CNT started research on SN. Since 2018, it offers synthetic S nicotine to its customers. The processing takes place at CNT’s exclusive manufacturer Siegfried in Switzerland. The companies jointly hold a patent on the manufacturing process of synthetic pharmaceutical-grade S nicotine. The share of SN in CNT’s business accounts for less than 1 percent, according to Siemann. “Presently, Synthetic Nicotine clearly is a negligible product for us in terms of volume,” he says.
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