What is Nicotine Salt?
What is Nicotine Salt?
The nicotine used in traditional vape juices is referred to as “freebase” nicotine. Due to its biocompatibility, vaping salt-based nicotine is less harsh on the throat; meaning higher nicotine levels can be used without causing throat irritation.
Nicotine salt delivers nicotine more effectively and is smoother in higher concentrations than freebase nicotine.
Freebase Nicotine Vs. Nicotine Salt
There's a number of differences between conventional freebase nicotine vs nicotine salt. Freebase nicotine is commonly found in regular e-juice varies from 0mg to 18mg while nicotine salts usually start at 12mg at its lowest up to 50mg at its highest.
Without getting too technical, freebase is the purest form of nicotine and is the default "go-to" for most manufacturers. This nicotine solution is simply added to a mixture of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) which "carry" the nicotine with them when vaped.
At its core, nicotine salts are comprised of the same exact nicotine that's found in its natural state within the tobacco leaf. If this form of nicotine was added to the liquid that we vape, we'd need to vape it at extremely high temperatures for the nicotine solution to be effective, and it still wouldn't be as easily absorbed (bioavailable) as freebase nicotine. Similarly, like freebase, salts need some modification too. The key here is benzoic acid.
Nicotine salts have pros and cons. However, what could be seen as a disadvantage to some will, in fact, be an advantage to others. Let's explain what we mean.
Satisfaction: Many vapers who try conventional liquids for the first time often find that they don't get the same satisfaction or "punch" from their nicotine. What's more, it may not be enough to satisfy their cravings.
Smoother nicotine hit: A huge turn-off for many "would-be" vapers is that conventional e-liquids are too harsh, and nicotine is to blame. Cigarette companies use anesthetics like menthol or eugenol to cover-up and mask the harshness. Vape juices don't, so the smoother feeling of nicotine salt liquids makes a huge difference.
Less flavor impact: Those of us who kicked the habit and prefer nicotine-free e-liquids may notice a marked difference in flavor, despite smoking the same product. This is because freebase nicotine affects the liquid's overall flavor. Salts have next-to-no effect in this area, leading to a richer, flavorful, and more enjoyable vaping experience.
Cheaper: Let's face it—an efficient sub-ohm tank or box mod is significantly more expensive than a tiny little vape pen, as well as the many premium e-liquids that go into the vape pen. If all you need is an inexpensive and discreet vaping experience that helps you get just the right amount of nicotine, then salts are for you.
Too much for some: While heavy smokers need a heavy dose of nicotine, lighter smokers can make do in the 3-12mg nicotine range. This also happens to be the ultimate sweet spot for sub-ohm devices. As a result, people can use smooth, high-VG e-juices in their sub-ohm tank and feel completely content with the experience they get.
Fewer options: Nicotine salts are limiting because you'll generally have to stick to vape pens. The more traditional mods and sub-ohm tanks allow for nearly endless tank/mod combinations—each pair allowing for their own unique cloud production and flavor experiences. Not to mention the coil combinations and styles of the more advanced rebuildable atomizers – you get the idea.
Lower fun factor: A great way to describe freebase juices compared to nicotine salts is "fashion over function" (again, think Ferrari vs. smart car). Nicotine salts are the perfect choice if you need a strong dose of nicotine and prefer a more cigarette-like experience.