Synthetic nicotine products have risen in popularity among the younger crowd, without leaving the older crowd. E-cigarettes and pouches are increasingly popular among people looking for alternatives to tobacco products that have been on the market for years.
This shift to tobacco-free products follows the evolution of e-cigarettes and vaping as smokers look for ways to satisfy their nicotine cravings without the presence of cigarette smoke.
But are tobacco-free nicotine products healthier? We address that and more below!
Tobacco-free nicotine is any nicotine product manufactured without the inclusion of tobacco leaves. These alternatives promote a “healthier” replacement. They lack the impurities found in tobacco plants that correlate to the development of various cancers from cigarette or cigar smoke inhalation.
Products such as NIIN Pouches are one of many tobacco-free nicotine options bursting from the shelves. Consumers enjoy synthetic alternatives because they prevent exposure to the harmful carcinogens in cigarette smoke. With some forms, such as vape oils, they also offer various flavors that make consumption more enjoyable.
Nicotine is on the list of highly addictive properties, and regardless of the form, it is a highly addictive substance that you should consume with caution. However, the correlation to developing cancer isn’t the nicotine itself—it comes from the additives in traditional smoking products.
Nicotine is naturally present in tobacco plants and can even be present in small doses in vegetables. But you would have to eat 20 eggplants to consume the same amount found in one cigarette. Cigarettes are harmful because of the carcinogens found inside their wrapping.
Cigarettes and other products like cigars and pipe tobacco use the dried leaves of tobacco. The smoke from these contains over 70 recognized carcinogens. The leaves carry these impurities, but they are most harmful during smoke inhalation.
The carcinogens derive from the soil where the leaves grow, so not all products contain the same level of toxic chemicals. Fertilizers used in the crops are the most significant contributor to the presence of these substances.
Synthetic nicotine has the same effects on the body as nicotine consumed from tobacco products. It still acts as a stimulant by binding to dopamine receptors that release dopamine in the brain. This process helps with mood and processing regulation. The dopamine response acts as a reward system, causing nicotine to be addictive by forming a habit.
E-cigarettes and other synthetic products are a sort of compromise for smokers. They don’t have the dangers of tobacco, but they may still contain aerosols or toxic chemicals. The nicotine levels also vary widely, making it difficult to compare the correlation or causation of specific reactions. Not all products contain the same chemicals, but all synthetic products use unnatural ingredients that can be harmful.
Nicotine is dangerous because it’s addictive, but the most prominent health risks come from chemicals in smoke and the wrapping in traditional delivery methods, like cigarettes.
Synthetic products and e-cigarettes do not contain the same carcinogens as standard cigarettes, chew, or other conventional products. So in comparing their healthiness to other nicotine products with tobacco, they are healthier.
However, it is worth remembering that synthetics still contain hazardous chemicals, and nicotine can be addictive because it rewards the brain’s pleasure centers. Synthetic products require more research to deduce the long-term effects on the body to definitively label them as “healthier” than their traditional counterparts. Research continues on synthetics and other liquid-based products and whether they can become a replacement for smoking.