What is Synthetic Nicotine and is it Regulated?
Nicotine is a chiral compound, meaning that there are two enantiomers or different forms of nicotine: (S)-Nicotine and (R)-Nicotine. (S)-Nicotine is the naturally occurring enantiomeric form of nicotine in plants from the Solanaceae family. Tobacco-derived nicotine contains predominantly (S)-Nicotine (~99.3%) and less than 1% (R)-Nicotine, with a small amount of (R)-Nicotine formed during combustion. Tobacco-derived nicotine is regulated under the FDA Center for Tobacco Products and has the CAS# 54-11-5.
Synthetic Nicotine on the other hand does not come from the tobacco plant. It is synthesized using either a chemical or an enzymatic process. This is then often followed by a chemical or enantiomeric purification. There are multiple forms of Synthetic Nicotine. Synthetic Nicotine can be identical to tobacco derived nicotine and be >99% (S)-nicotine, or can be a racemic mix of (R)- and (S)- (50/50 with the CAS # 22083-74-5) or vary in the ratios of (R)- and (S)-nicotine; all of which have different CAS numbers as shown below.
Currently there is no FDA regulatory requirement to determine the enantiomeric composition of Synthetic Nicotine or verify that the Synthetic Nicotine is indeed synthetic and not mislabeled or adulterated with tobacco derived nicotine.
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