The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has analyzed precisely 37 pre-filled pods of nicotine-containing liquids marketed throughout North America. The objective was to characterize the nicotine present in these products. Is it in native free form, which is the most effective form because it is the most bioavailable (“Free Nicotine”) or ionized (“Protonated Nicotine”) as it can be for example in nicotine salts, which is a much less bioavailable form? First of all, it appears that the liquids of these pre-filled pods can contain up to 47% water. Water is a substance more easily vaporizable than the glycol bases used in e-liquids (PG, VG), its presence in the formulations could induce an overconsumption of nicotine liquid. In addition, less than 8% of pods contain nicotine in free form (native form highly bioavailable). In addition, some manufacturers add basic agents, in this case mineral salts such as carbonates, in order to stabilize nicotine in its free form or the presence of salts is to be avoided because they tend to form solid particles (crystallization). Many flavors acidify the nicotine making it less available. These results show that many liquids have a poor quality and low bioavailable nicotine and therefore not very effective in terms of withdrawal.

Characterization of Total and Unprotonated (Free) Nicotine Content of Nicotine Pouch Products. S. Stanfill MS & coll. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2021, 1590–1596doi:10.1093/ntr/ntab030

© Photo credit: Freepik