TJP Labs Blog
A Brief History of Nicotine
Nicotine Goes Global
When Columbus landed at San Salvador in 1492 he discovered a new world and those who followed him introduced tobacco to every corner of the globe. Tobacco was already widespread in the Americas and when it wasn’t being chewed or smoked, its leaves were used as a form of barter. European sailors, soldiers and merchants carried it to ports across the world and it became one of the most sought-after goods by those who could afford it, as well as court physicians intrigued by tobacco’s medicinal properties. In fact, the 16th century French ambassador to Lisbon would be a figure lost to history were it not for his introduction of tobacco plants to the French Court. Jean Nicot lives on as the inspiration behind the name of the most widely cultivated tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, and the term nicotine.
The Rise and Fall of Smoking
For the best part of 400 years tobacco usage grew, but the way people consumed it remained unchanged, with most people using the leaves in pipes while others chewed. This paradigm shifted in 1880 with the invention of the cigarette rolling machine and at the start of the 20th century billions of cigarettes were being produced every year. The boom in cigarette production spurred nicotine consumption to new heights, and by 1965 42% of American and 50% of Canadian adults smoked.
In that very year, warnings began to appear on American packaging informing consumers that smoking could have adverse effects on health. This was the culmination of decades of epidemiological and experimental research that linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases. This knowledge and growing public awareness of the risks involved led to a steady decline in cigarette usage, which has been reinforced by legislation placing restrictions on smoking in enclosed public spaces.
In response to this, companies have focused their attention on harm reduction and innovating to create safer ways to use nicotine. Research has shown that most of the cancer-causing and harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke can be found in the form of tar, which is a chemical byproduct created when tobacco burns. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, tar gradually builds up on the surfaces of the lungs causing damage that can lead to cancer, emphysema, and other lung problems.
To combat this, the way we consume nicotine has been completely reimagined, and advancements have allowed companies to directly extract nicotine and completely remove the need to burn tobacco. The most visible outcome of this is vaping, which aims to provide the smoking experience without the smoke. Instead of burning crushed up leaves, e-cigarettes heat nicotine and flavourings to create an aerosol that is then inhaled. The key benefit of this is that while cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 unique chemicals, the aerosol produced in vaping contains far less. This drastic reduction greatly lowers the risk to the body.
Modern Oral Nicotine
An even safer alternative to smoking or vaping is modern oral nicotine, which doesn’t require any inhalation at all. The leading format in this area is the nicotine pouch, which generally contains anywhere from one milligram to eight milligrams of nicotine that is gradually released into saliva and ingested as the pouch dissolves in the mouth. Other formats include nicotine gum, which is commonly associated with smoking cessation programs, nicotine lozenges and even nicotine toothpicks. As with pouches, these products can come in a range of flavours and varying strengths.
Modern oral nicotine products also appeal because there are less restrictions on where they can be used. Unlike e-cigarettes and vaporizers which must be puffed in a similar fashion to cigarettes, oral nicotine can offer a greater range of ways to consume, including dissolving between the gums and cheeks, chewing, or sucking like a candy. Not only does this enable nicotine usage in places where smoking is banned, but it also allows users to be discreet.
Placing Safety and Quality First
These modern ways to use nicotine have been powered by scientific and technological advancements to provide as safe an experience as possible. However, as with many products you are only as safe as your processes, which is why it’s important to produce these products at facilities with a proven track record for excellence and certification that shows they meet the highest industry standards. At TJP Labs, we understand this, which is why we’ve invested in cutting-edge technology, expertise and a commitment to the highest levels of safety and quality control as demonstrated by our certifications. From the early days of tobacco cultivation in the Americas to the high-tech labs and facilities of today, nicotine use has come a long way, and we’re proud to be at the forefront.