Trouble Ahead: New Hemp Cigarettes Contain Synthetic Nicotine

In a move almost guaranteed to prompt government response, a California company has launched a line of tobacco-free cigarettes fortified with synthetic nicotine. They’re available in non-tobacco flavors too—a virtual red flag for legislators and federal regulators already eager to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored vapes.

The product, called Ronin, is made from hemp flower, and each cigarette is supplemented with seven milligrams of synthetic nicotine—slightly less nicotine than contained in an average tobacco cigarette—and 50 mg of CBD. Ronin is available in Arctic Chill, Cherry Blossom, Juicy Grape, and Lemon Drop flavors. In tobacco cigarettes, flavors other than menthol were banned by the FDA in 2009.

The manufacturer, Ronin Smokes, makes some dubious health claims in a press release issued Wednesday, including that “Smokers can enjoy the same satisfying cigarette that they crave, without any of the residuals and impurities commonly found in tobacco-derived nicotine.”

The hemp cigarette, says Ronin executive vice president of sales “Joe A,” is an “elegant smoking solution for people who want to avoid the harsh additives from traditional factory-farmed tobacco, which can cause anxiety or dizziness.” (This may be the first company-issued press release in history that quotes an executive who declines to use his full name.)

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