Nicotine salts are the next big thing in the world of vaping.
So what is nicotine salts? How is it different from the nicotine usually found in e-juice? Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.
Nicotine salt is the form of nicotine found in tobacco leaves. Unlike the nicotine ordinarily used in e-juice, these salts aren’t just nicotine; they’re compounds containing nicotine and another organic components. This could be in combination with one or more of the other chemicals in tobacco leaves, but the result is the same – a more stable molecule is formed.
In order to truly understand what nicotine salt is, it’s important to understand how freebase nicotine works. The form of nicotine ordinarily used in e-liquid is called “freebase” nicotine. This is nicotine not bonded to anything else, and is generally considered preferable for vaping and other purposes because it’s a more “volatile” (i.e. easily vaporized) form of nicotine.
Freebase means that the nicotine is in its purest form compared to the other nicotine derivatives. In turn, the nicotine is much more potent when heated and it can be absorbed much faster in your lungs and in your brain.
This method was found in the 1960’s by Phillip Morris, the company that owns Marlboro.
Nicotine Freebase Molecule
Nicotine in tobacco leaves has the chemical composition of a salt. A salt is made up of a chemical reaction that has a positive charge (Acid) and negative charge (Base).
Nicotine’s chemical nature is a weak base and made up of negatively charged particles. As a base, it seeks to find positively charged particles (Protons) to find stability and become Ionized. Nicotine in tobacco leaves or ions is not the most effective way of delivering nicotine into our bodies because ions have a harder time moving across organic membranes and are not easily vaporized.
If freebase nicotine is more potent, then why are smokers gravitating to nicotine salts?
Nicotine salt as we explained above is the natural state that nicotine is in tobacco leaves.
We also mentioned that nicotine salt is much more stable and not as volatile as the freebase form. Salt nics also take higher temperatures to vaporize and the ions don’t easily travel to your nicotine receptors in your body.
To put simply, it’s not the most effective way to deliver nicotine to your body compared to the de-protonated freebase form. Enter Pax labs, the innovator of this new vaping method.
Pax Labs goal was to mimic the sensation of smoking a cigarette as closely as possible. They achieved this by adding benzoic acid.
Why is benzoic acid the game changer
Benzoic acid helps nicotine salt vaporize at lower temperatures as well as lowering the pH levels in the salt nicotine which results in a smoother throat hit
A chemical reaction occurs that makes the nicotine more absorbable like free base nicotine
What this means is that you can vape comfortably at high nicotine levels such as 50 mg and it also makes it easier for your body to absorb nicotine contrary to the nature of nic salts. It seems from Pax’s patent that it only works on specific salt nicotine formulation with certain types of acids.
Taking a step away from the science of nicotine salt e-juice, what does this all mean for you as a user? Why should you try nicotine salts rather than just sticking to ordinary freebase nicotine juice?
You’ll get more nicotine, more quickly: In general, nicotine salts formed using a suitable acid and paired with the right sort of device seem to get nicotine to your blood more quickly.
You can use higher-nicotine juices: You don’t need to consume 10 mL of e-juice per day if you can have a 60 mg/ml e-juice instead of a 6 mg/mL one.
Nicotine salt e-juice has a longer shelf-life: Nicotine salts are more stable than freebase nicotine, which means that nicotine salt e-juice will last longer in storage without the nicotine degrading.
You don’t need a powerful device: Nicotine salt e-liquids are more efficient at getting you nicotine, so you don’t need to compensate with a 150 W box mod – a simple, tiny device can be just as satisfied.
How to vape nicotine salts
Vaping nicotine salt e-juice isn’t like vaping ordinary e-juice. If you picked up a bottle of high-strength nicotine salt e-juice and vaped it from a box mod and sub ohm tank setup, you’d likely get a substantially and fairly unpleasant hit of nicotine. But nic salt e-juice does also come in low “dripping” dosages, although the jury is still out as to whether it’s any more effective than regular nic at lower levels.
Nicotine salts e-liquid is intended for use in lower-power devices. Pod-style devices are optimal for nicotine salts, but you can use more conventional, easily refillable devices too. A basic vape pen will offer more than enough power to get a satisfying vape from a higher-nicotine salt blend.
The big advantage here is for newer vapers, who will both benefit from the more efficient nicotine absorption and the fact that you don’t need overly complicated gear to get the most from it. If you have a higher-power device, you can also get nicotine salt e-liquid in lower nicotine levels too. Whether these are actually noticeably better than ordinary freebase nicotine e-juice at the same nicotine level is unclear, because one of the big benefits of using nicotine salts is that higher nicotine levels can be comfortably vaped.
Is Nicotine Salt the Right Choice
Nicotine salt e-juice isn’t the right choice for every vaper. If you like huge clouds, you’re better off sticking with standard e-juice, for example. But for anybody just switching from smoking who finds ordinary e-juice too harsh on the throat or unsatisfying, or any vaper looking for something to use quickly and discreetly, it’s a potential game-changer. It might not be too common yet, but expect to see a lot more about nicotine salts in future. What are your feelings on nicotine salt? Have you tried them yet, what was your experience like? Leave us a comment below!