synthetic nicotine
synthetic nicotine

Although Tobacco-Free, Synthetic Nicotine Products Can Still Sustain Addiction

Posted on April 5, 2024 by Suzanna Mazur
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As people better understand the dangers of combustible tobacco products, many have turned to synthetic nicotine products as an alternative, contributing to their growing popularity. However, while these products don’t contain tobacco, they pose unknown long-term health risks and can perpetuate nicotine addiction.

According to Amanda Holm, MPH, who manages the tobacco treatment service at Henry Ford Health, synthetic nicotine is derived from chemicals instead of being produced by tobacco plants. Conventional cigarettes are made with tobacco leaf and deliver nicotine, along with tar and other harmful by-products, in the smoke they produce. Synthetic nicotine is mostly found in vaping products and nicotine pouches, often marketed as a “cleaner” way to consume nicotine.

While synthetic nicotine itself is not more harmful than tobacco-derived nicotine, many people are under the impression that this different form of nicotine is safer for you and can help you quit smoking.

“Lots of people want to make use of vaping products and nicotine pouches as a way to transition from cigarette smoking,” says Holm. “The reality is that nicotine is nicotine. These synthetic products are still very addictive and using them can become expensive and dictate many aspects of your life.”

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If you want to maximize your chance of success at stopping tobacco or nicotine use, Holm suggests not doing it alone.

“The cravings and withdrawal symptoms that come with a nicotine addiction can be overwhelming, and it really helps to have someone on your team who can troubleshoot them with you,” says Holm. “Talk with your doctor about quitting so you can learn about safe, effective options that can make this journey easier for you.”

Your doctor or a tobacco treatment specialist can help you select FDA-approved products for quitting nicotine. These products (gum, patches or lozenges sold over the counter, or nasal spray with a prescription) work by offering doses of nicotine that are absorbed more slowly to avoid the risk of addiction. There are also non-nicotine medications your doctor can prescribe to help you extricate tobacco and nicotine from your daily routine.

Tobacco treatment programs that combine medication with supportive coaching, like the one offered at Henry Ford, give you the greatest odds of quitting for good. Tobacco treatment specialists in these programs can help you carry out a plan to stop the cycle of addiction in your life and support you throughout your recovery.

The bottom line: Synthetic nicotine products are specifically created and marketed to pique your interest and get you to continue to buy and use them. If you are trying to quit tobacco or nicotine, synthetic nicotine products have not been shown to be a safe and effective alternative.


Reviewed by Amanda Holm, Senior Project Manager for the Tobacco Treatment Service at Henry Ford Health.
Categories : FeelWell
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