There's a few names when it comes to Nicotine salt, it is commonly called Nic salts, Salt Nics and salt nicotine, despite all the names they are in fact the same. Nic Salts have been used in E Liquid for a few years now. However, the rise in popularity as a major vaping innovation has been fairly recent.
We've received many questions about Nic Salt E Liquids which is why we have created this guide to help you understand nicotine salts fully, and make an informed decision about whether vaping nic salts is right for you.
What is Nicotine?
Nicotine is an alkaloid which is a highly addictive chemical compound that is found in the nightshade family of the tobacco plant. Due to the addictiveness of nicotine, this causes many people to find quitting smoking very difficult. I think it is safe to say that most people know that cigarettes and other tobacco products are very addictive but there are also many people that believe nicotine is the dangerous substance in cigarettes that causes cancer and death. This is not the case, it is this mix of chemicals (not nicotine) that causes serious disease and death in tobacco users, including fatal lung diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer. There are no scientific studies to support that nicotine causes cancer.
Different types of Nicotine?
There are two main types of nicotine used in E Liquids and they also come in different strengths, this means that you can choose a strength which is best suited to your needs. The two main types of nicotine are Freebase and Salt Nicotine.
Freebase nicotine is the most commonly found type in E Liquids, it is also referred to as regular nicotine and is the most commonly found in strengths of 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg. For ex smokers, finding the best strength does depend on how much you are used to smoking. The higher the nicotine levels, the harsher the throat hit and obviously the higher dosage of nicotine you will inhale.
Nicotine salts also are known as Nic Salts. Nicotine salts are relatively new in the vaping world, being around for a couple of years now. What makes Salt nicotine different from regular Freebase nicotine is that vapers can vape at a higher nicotine strength without getting the harsh taste as you would with freebase nicotine. It is the closest vaping experience that delivers nicotine as a cigarette would. The most common strengths found with Nic Salt E Liquids vary from 20mg - 50mg but you can get lower strengths in some E Liquid brands.
Nicotine salt (or nic salt) is a type of naturally forming nicotine which is found in tobacco leaf. The most efficient way to get nicotine into your body is by using Nic salt E Liquids. In recent years Salt Nic E Liquids have been favoured by large numbers of vapers who believe that vaping this type of E Liquids deliver a more satisfying vaping experience. E Liquids which contain Salt nicotine is easier to inhale due to its biocompatibility, it also has reduced harshness to the throat hits. Vapers who prefer the MTL (Mouth to Lung) style of vaping and those who use Pod vape kits tend to prefer using Salt Nicotine E Liquids.
Why Nicotine Salt is Suitable for Vaping
Without going into the chemical jargon and explaining the precise molecular breakdown. Basically, what it boils down to is pH levels. The Scientists behind creating nic salts theorised that if you increase the acidity of the nicotine salt, you could deliver a much higher dose of nicotine without the nasty throat hit.
Acids bond well to nicotine, and specific acids that are naturally occurring in the human body which have been found to make nicotine salts particularly effective when vaped. The most commonly used acid is Benzoic acid, with Citric acid following second. The addition of the acid has three clear benefits:
It lowers the pH level resulting in a much smoother throat hit
Adjusts the chemical structure which allows nicotine to be absorbed into the body more rapidly
Allows the nicotine salt to vaporize at lower temperature on devices.
The purpose of scientists modifying nicotine salt in this way is to enable it to deliver a concentration of nicotine to the blood that is comparable to combustible cigarettes, in roughly the same amount of time.
Nicotine Salt vs. Freebase Nicotine
Let’s take a quick look at the major differences between freebase nicotine and nicotine salt to help you decide which is right for you.
The difference between nicotine salt E Liquids and Freebase E Liquid is the addition of Benzoic or Citric acid. Since they are both naturally occurring in our bodies, salt nicotine is likely to be no more or less safe than freebase nicotine.
The World Health Organisation’s International Programme on Chemical Safety advises that we consume no more than 5 mg of these acids per kilogram of body weight per day; this equates to about 415 mg for an average 185 lb UK man, or 350 mg for an average 154 lb UK woman . It is unlikely that anybody would be able to vape that amount, considering that 1 ml of nicotine salt E Liquid contains just a few milligrams of Benzoic or Citric acid.
The Downside to Vaping Freebase Nicotine
Vaping wasn't invented just to chase clouds, the fundamental goal of vaping is to make the sensation of vaping as close to that of smoking a cigarette as possible, Vaping is still believed to be one of the best smoking cessations. For this to work, the efficiency of the nicotine delivery has to replicate that of traditional cigarettes.
Freebase nicotine was the only way to deliver the nicotine required in your vape juice, until Nic Salts were created. The removal of the protons means that it is able to effectively travel through our cells to bind with the nicotine receptors in our lungs and brains. However, freebase nicotine has a higher pH value, which makes it more alkaline. This results in an extremely harsh throat hit in high doses.
Most vapers find the throat hit from Freebase nicotine E Liquids to be too harsh for them to enjoy vaping. This can lead to new vapers reducing the nicotine content of their e liquid to lessen the throat hit. Though reducing the nicotine levels too soon can cause vaping newbies to go rushing back to cigarettes when they don’t satisfy those early intense cravings. Alternatively, new vapers may try to take more hits from their vape to satisfy the cravings, thereby increasing the amount of E Liquid they use and as a result, this increases the cost of E Liquids and won't see the cost savings they were promised.
Key Factors of Nicotine Salts
- Less liquid needed for comparable nicotine hit
- Can be absorbed faster into the bloodstream
- Contains Citric or Benzoic acid
- Suited for mouth-to-lung vaping style
- Provides a smoother throat hit
- Suited for mouth-to-lung vaping style
- Suitable for high nicotine strengths
- Does not enable large cloud production
- Slow oxidation means the longer shelf life
- Ideal for new and experienced vapers
- Best suited for pod vapes and lower-power vape devices
Can I Sub Ohm Vape Nic Salts?
We would strongly recommend not doing this. When sub-ohm vaping, you inhale large amounts of vapour and typically you would use a lower level of Nicotine like 3mg. Nic salt E Liquids often come in either 10mg or 20mg though occasionally you can find 5mg Nic salt E Liquids. Mouth to Lung vaping is the better way to enjoy Salt nic juices as you don't inhale as much in each hit. Vaping devices designed for MTL vaping, with coils above 1.0 Ohm resistance, are good for nic salts. If you're looking at quitting smoking then MTL vaping is what you want to be doing.
Should I Start Vaping Salt Nicotine E Liquids?
Like with most life decisions, this is one that you will need to decide on. We can explain the pros and cons for you, but to know whether it's right for you, you will need to try it to see how you manage it.
Nicotine salt E-Liquid might be the right fit for you if you fit any of these criteria:
- You’ve tried vaping before but without success
- You want to quit smoking
- You prefer higher nicotine levels than regular E-Liquid can provide
- You want a good vaping experience with an easy device.
We hope that you have found this guide helpful and that your questions have been answered. We want you to have all the information you need to know to make an informed decision about which version of nicotine E Liquids are right for you. However, if you have any more questions, we’re always on hand to offer expert guidance and advice.