October 22nd, 2021

The tobacco industry is continuing to expand its product offerings to appeal to new and inexperienced consumers and to avoid increasing regulation on flavored products. The introduction of a variety of brands focused on smokeless nicotine, such as Zyn, On!, Velo and more are designed to move away from increasing stigma around smoking or vaping and position themselves as healthier, more discreet options.

These products often attempt to differentiate themselves by pointing out that their products contain synthetically derived nicotine, and therefore no tobacco plant matter. However, they gloss over the fact that they often contain more nicotine per serving than a cigarette, while being much more discreet – making it easier to consume nicotine all day, wherever a user is.

As these products do not fall under the existing regulation surrounding flavors in tobacco products, they also are able to feature appealing flavors to make hooking new users even easier. Combined with sleek and colorful packaging, they eliminate any potential barriers to introducing tobacco use – be they not wanting to inhale hot smoke or vapor, carry a spit cup for chew, or being unable to smoke in public spaces.

Some of these brands claim to be focused on helping adult users quit smoking cigarettes or vaping while others directly market themselves towards those looking for “ultimate nicotine satisfaction.”

The regulatory gray area that smokeless tobacco and nicotine products occupy is concerning. It allows manufacturers and businesses to make potentially misleading or false claims about the contents of their products and their potential health impacts. In one example, a vaping company turned to synthetic nicotine products to hedge against FDA regulations to other products. These products also lower existing barriers of entry to nicotine use, especially in markets where they are the only flavored products on the shelves.