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WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.
Technology advances quickly in the world of vaping. Since commercially viable e-cigarettes and cigalikes first hit the US market over a decade ago, vape hardware manufacturers have repeatedly increased product performance while improving product reliability. Vape juice manufacturers have not rested on their laurels either. In fact, e-juice manufacturers are responsible for some of the most important innovations.
The first wave of vape juices used highly potent freebase nicotine and focused on tobacco flavors. The high-PH of freebase nicotine at elevated nic strengths made these vapes a bit harsh, as a result throat hit, and chest burn were presented as features rather than bugs. Those days are long gone.
Many adult vapers were initiated into vaping on closed systems, and prefilled ecigs manufactured by Big Tobacco. Open systems and bottled e-liquids grew in popularity because they saved money and had much better performance. Early assumptions that former smokers would want to mimic that experience on an electronic nicotine delivery system proved incorrect. Studies have shown that most adult vapers prefer sweet flavor profiles inspired by fruits and beverages.
Nicotine salts arrived on the scene in 2015, making it possible for small vapes to deliver satisfying performance without the harshness of a highly potent freebase juice.
The newest advance in e-liquid technology is synthetic nicotine. It provides several key advantages over tobacco-derived nicotine, but it is the more neutral flavor of this form of that has the biggest direct impact on the vaping experience.
Synthetic nicotine imparts less flavor into an e-juice than nicotine derived from tobacco. This means that the e-juice flavors shine brighter and have superior flavor clarity. There are several forms of synthetic nicotine and rival manufacturers.
Synthetic nicotine can take the form of either freebase nicotine or nicotine salts. Synthetic nicotine salts are manufactured just like tobacco derived nic salts, through the application of benzoic acid to freebase nicotine. What synthetic nicotine does not share with tobacco-derived nicotine is an infrastructure owned entirely by Big Tobacco companies.
Tobacco cultivation has an enormous carbon footprint, relying heavily on irrigation, pesticides, and fossil fuels for the processing and distribution of tobacco yields.
The processes for making synthetic nicotine are closely guarded trade secrets. The largest manufacturer of synthetic nicotine used in vape juices is Next Generation Labs. Their flagship product, Tobacco Free Nicotine (TFN), has become synonymous with e-juice nicotine in the same way that all copier machines are called a Xerox. It is used by the e-liquid companies and top vape juices that we cover today.
Keep in mind Tobacco Free Nicotine is a brand name. It is the first non-tobacco nicotine produced in sufficient quantity and at a low enough price point to compete with tobacco-derived nicotine.
Non-tobacco nicotine relies on starter materials and the product is molecularly identical to the nicotine found in tobacco leaves. The companies that manufacture synthetic nicotine are not fly by night operations. Next Generation Labs has patents on the process and operates out of ISO certified labs and manufacturing facilities. Germany’s Contraf Nicotex Tobacco (CNT) manufacturers exclusively S-Isomer synthetic nicotine and has done so for over three decades.
Non-tobacco nicotine does not rely on an industrial agricultural base that makes heavy use of water and pesticides. Non-tobacco nicotine has cleaner flavor than tobacco-derived nicotine. But there are ethical reasons why non-tobacco nicotine is a huge game changer when compared to tobacco-derived nicotine. It provides an opportunity for the vaping industry to finally make a clean break from Big Tobacco.
For former smokers, this is no small deal. No longer is a portion of your e-liquid purchase going directly into the coffers of tobacco growers.
For regulators, non-tobacco nicotine provides an opportunity to treat vaping as a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. The UK has created a path for prescription vapes, which will allow the economically disadvantaged to obtain taxpayer funded ash and smoke free cigarette alternatives. As the wealthy largely quit smoking in the last century and smoking is far more common in marginalized groups, this is a humane and forward-thinking policy. The UK’s NHS also hosts a website called, Using E-Cigarettes to Quit Smoking.
Even though ex-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb has said it would be a net benefit if all smokers switched to vaping, such a humane approach is unthinkable on this side of the pond. Instead, a puritanical gold-standard of total nicotine abstinence is demanded. There is no other high-risk and legal adult activity where absolute abstinence and denying access are considered the only solution in progressive political circles.
You would be laughed out of the room to suggest this for alcohol, drugs, or extra-marital sex. The only cigarette alternative considered legitimate by critics of vaping are the nicotine replacement therapies that got soundly trounced by a humble e-cigarette in a New England Journal of Medicine Study.
With a scourge as serious as smoking, restricting access to vapes threatens a major public health crisis according to many experts. But because vaping and the independent vaping industry have been falsely linked to the tobacco industry, they face an extreme level of skepticism and animosity.
Vaping regulations in the US are certainly beginning to resemble regulatory capture. Regulatory capture describes a form of corruption where a regulatory agency mandated to operate in the public’s interest instead advances the agendas of special interest groups and industry stakeholders. The very groups they are tasked with regulating call the shots and use this power to establish barriers to competition.
Regulatory capture is at least one explanation for how you end up with a flavored vape pod ban that was supposed to combat underage vaping but in its initial form did not include by far the most popular product with minors, Juul Mint.
Many state flavor bans fell into this trap. Then there is a PMTA process that wipes out the products of small vape juice makers and leaves only products backed by the administrative wherewithal of the tobacco industry. This is a literal textbook example of how regulatory capture works in practice, especially if the characterizing flavors popular with adults and the tobacco flavors almost exclusively sold by Big Tobacco remain on the market. Sitting US Senators actively interfere with the process in press conferences, hoping to brow beat the scientists at the FDA to reaching a conclusion they agree with. That conclusion is that the vape flavors adults prefer should no longer be available. This is a conclusion that dovetails nicely with the AstroTurf campaigns funded by Michael Bloomberg to a tune of $150 million.
Steering entirely clear of the morass of regulations designed to keep the tobacco industry in check may be the only chance that the independent vaping industry stands. Vaping will always be tarred as a villain if they are associated with the makers of cigarettes. And there is little chance that small vaping companies can beat the armies of tobacco lawyers and experts at their own game. The PR firms employed by anti-vaping lobbying groups remain a constant threat as well.
Tobacco Free Nicotine represents an opportunity to make a clean break from this rigged game. Here are the top 5 manufacturers of vape juices that use non-tobacco nicotine.
Pachamama E-Liquids has an award-winning reputation and is a respected name in the vape world. They offer a variety of e-liquid flavors, including Peach Ice, Passion Fruit Raspberry Yuzu, Blood Orange Banana Gooseberry, and many more.
Pachamama has a fully trophy case. They have received such awards as the Best Menthol/Ice Flavor at the International Vape Trade-in, Best Fruit Flavor from Zamplebox, and the Editor's Choice Award from Vapouround.
Pachamama specializes in the bold fruit flavors that most adult vapers prefer. They are available as both salt-nic juices and regular freebase nicotine. As an innovation and nod to a tobacco-free vaping world, Pachamama utilizes TFN nic salts in their Pachamama Disposable Vape Device. Available in all their most popular flavors, this convenient and flavorful disposable vape provides tons of satisfaction and up to 1200 puffs according to the manufacturer.
Despite the fierce competition in the vaping industry, Aqua E-Juice has remained at the front of the pack. Offering both Aqua Synthetic E-Liquids and Aqua Synthetic Salts in bottles, you can also enjoy their great flavors in the AquaBar 2800 Disposable Vape. The 2800 number is not a shout out to an ancient Atari video game system. It is an advertisement, the AquaBar can deliver as many as 2800 puffs according to the manufacturer. This disposable, like basically every disposable, uses smooth and potent salt nic juice.
For those looking to get a better idea of the tobacco-free future of the company's product line, you can purchase a bottle of Drops from Aqua Synthetic E-Liquid.
Moo E-Liquids Synthetic features a strong line-up of cream infused vape juice flavors. Whilst there is certainly no milk used in the formulation of Moo E-Liquids, in their synthetic line there is no tobacco either. Using TFN from Next Generation Labs, these unique flavor blends feature tangy fruits flavors complimented with creamy notes and a smooth vapor finish. Moo E-Liquids are max-VG juices and 70 percent nicotine.
They are perfect for vape mod users and adult vapers will appreciate the all-day flavor balance. Whether you are looking for a flavor like the traditional Coffee Milk by Moo eLiquids
Synthetic, the classic Cereal Berry Milk or sprightly Kiwi Berry Milk, there is no shortage of deliciousness packed into each bottle.
The Ripe Vapes name would seem to say it all. Adult vapers prefer fruit inspired e-liquids and ripeness is certainly what you look for in a fruit. Yet their collection of flavors runs deep and offers more than just the usual list of fruit, beverage, and fruit-menthol flavor blends. The VCT line by Ripe Vapes offers a collection of outstanding vape juice flavors built from a brilliant base of Vanilla Custard Tobacco (VCT) flavor.
This great tobacco based flavor does not contain any tobacco at all. They use synthetic nicotine to merge an earthy tobacco base with a creamy vanilla custard. Stacked on top of this delicious foundation are additional VCT E-liquids that feature versions bold fruit and sweet confectionary flavors as well.
Ripe Vapes is not a one trick pony. There are also Ripe Vape Synthetic Saltz, with a Z on the end as a shout out to older Millennial and Gen X vapers who survived the 1990s cultural zeitgeist and make up the vast majority of vapers. There are also Ripe Bar Disposable Vapes. There are also plenty of Ripe Vapes still available with traditional tobacco-derived nicotine as well. They are a full service vape juice powerhouse with a flavor perfect for every adult vaper.
Renowned mixologist Sean Glas is the driving force behind Glas Basix TFN Liquids. These are legendary flavors. Balanced and complex, the most popular flavor notes in vaping and combined in unique combinations that never tire the taste buds. Glas Basix is always at the cutting edge and now offers their flavors with TFN. This includes Basix TFN Salts by Glas and the Basix Series TFN by Glas E-Liquids. Creamy, crusty, sweet, icy, and delightful flavors of this collection have never tasted better than they do with TFN. You will know the label when you see it. Glass Basix is a vaping powerhouse with some of the best flavors ever devised.
The taste of synthetic nicotine and TFN, or lack thereof, can make a big difference. It has a cleaner and less peppery flavor when compared with tobacco-derived nicotine according to many vapers. This is because tobacco-derived nicotine might be over 99 percent pure but does contain trace impurities associated with the tobacco extraction method. As such, you might notice that tobacco-free nicotine vape juice has a cleaner and crisper flavor. But there are a lot of variables in play. The vape device type, age of coil, priming of coil, wattage setting, how much juice is in the tank and specific e-liquid flavor are going to have a much larger impact on the flavor difference, which is not discernible to many vapers.
If you are on the fence about TFN and synthetic nicotine, consider the benefits accrued from not supporting the tobacco industry and the cleaner flavor profile of non-tobacco nicotine. The brands listed above are the most reputable in the industry. They have sourced their TFN from Next Generation Labs in most cases. There is nothing dodgy or not on the level here, just an established form of nicotine that it is now economically feasible to include in a mass-market e-liquid.
What is your go-to non-tobacco vape juice flavor? Do you prefer one of the five manufacturers listed above or have another favorite? Let us know in the comments section.
WARNING: These products can expose you to chemicals including acetaldehyde and/or formaldehyde, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer, and nicotine, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
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