Nicotine salts 101

There’s a new innovation on the vaping scene, and it goes by the name of nicotine salt. If you’re curious to know more, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to explain everything you need to know about nicotine salt.

What is nicotine salt?

To understand what nicotine salt is, you have to understand one of its ancestors - freebase nicotine. Freebase nicotine is the substance found in most cigarettes and vapes today, and it’s likely the nicotine in the vape juice you are familiar with is freebase nicotine. In many ways, freebase nicotine is known as the purest form of nicotine. However, that only means it’s the purest form of nicotine that the body can access. Nicotine salts are what you would find naturally in the tobacco leaf. But they are inaccessible unless smoked at incredibly high temperatures… or at least, they were.

Freebase nicotine was developed by the Marlboro company and it was found it made their cigarettes more potent and therefore more addictive. The freebase method was developed in the 1960’s and Marlboro found that by changing the pH levels of nicotine, the smoker would enjoy more of a kick at exactly the same nicotine dose as before. While nicotine in the tobacco leaf is not easily accessible to the human body, altering the chemical balance made it more available to both the lungs and the brain, and therefore stronger.

If you enjoy a potent hit, then you might be asking why you should be interested in nicotine salts? Ok, here comes the interesting bit.

Nicotine salt is the natural state of tobacco in the leaf, before the pH tweaking happens to turn it into freebase or ‘normal’ nicotine. There is a chemical composition in the nicotine in tobacco, made up of positive and negative charges - which in layman’s terms, makes it a salt.

But nicotine salt takes higher temperatures to vaporise and is not as bioavailable, right? Right. Until now…

Modern vape juice manufacturers have found a clever way to make nicotine salt more palatable and more bioavailable than previous incarnations.

The secret ingredient is benzoic acid, which helps the salt vaporise at a lower temperature and more readily available to absorb. High nicotine freebase e-liquids can have a harsh taste due to its alkalinity. On the flip side, nicotine salt has a lower alkalinity which results in a smoother throat hit, even when vaping at 50mg.

In fact, many advocates of nicotine salt reckon the hit is as close to smoking an actual cigarette as you can get - which is good news for anyone trying to quit cigarettes.

Are nicotine salts right for me?

Nicotine salts aren’t for every vaper. Your reason for vaping will really determine whether the characteristics of nicotine salt are truly a plus or a minus for you.

Here are some of most important points to consider if you are thinking about switching to nicotine salts:

What type of device do you prefer?

Nicotine salts are not recommended with a sub-ohm device, as they burn at lower temperatures, so stick to use with a vape pen.

Nicotine salt is designed to be used in lower wattage vapes. Many such devices are autofire, making it the perfect transition from cigarettes to vaping.

How much of a nicotine rush are you looking for?

Higher nicotine levels and more of a rush can help smokers quit for good. The instant rush is said to be very similar to cigarette smoking. However, the higher levels of nicotine mean there is less cloud produced, so this is something to consider.

Do you want a more efficient, cost effective e-liquid?

Nicotine salt e-liquid is more efficient - since it’s stronger you use less, so it’s cheaper than other types of e-liquid. Plus it’s long lasting too, as nicotine salt liquids generally offer a longer shelf-life than their traditional counterparts. You can also buy the juices in cartridges, meaning less mess too.

So, if big flavour and bigger clouds are your jam, then stick with traditional vape juices. However, if you’re an ex-smoker craving a little more punch from your vape - nicotine salts could be just what you’re looking for.