Nicotine salts is a term you might have seen popping up quite a fair bit recently, and many of you might be scratching your heads as to what they actually are. It's definitely not something you put on your chips, rather it's a very effective form of nicotine that differs slightly from the freebase nicotine we are used to in our day to day eliquids.
What are nic salts?
Nic salts are derived from the natural nicotine salts found in tobacco plants, these salts are made up of positively charged ionized nicotine molecules bound to negatively charged organic conjugates. Freebase nicotine, as found in the ‘traditional’ eliquids we are used to, is a result of extracting these salts from tobacco plants and using ammonia to increase the pH level, returning the nicotine to a neutrally charged freebase state.
Nicotine salts aim to replicate the same nicotine hit that is provided by smoking a cigarette, as the nicotine salts are absorbed into your bloodstream much faster than the freebase nicotine found in ‘traditional’ eliquids on the market, meaning that a nicotine hit is felt quicker from inhaling vaporized eliquid containing nicotine salts.
On average, when smoking a cigarette it takes around 6-7 seconds for the nicotine hit to have an effect, and vaping freebase nicotine tends to take longer for this effect to take hold, whereas nicotine salts work quicker and provide the hit sooner.
Do nicotine salts benefit people making the switch from smoking to vaping?
There are more than a few people out there who have struggled at first with switching from smoking to vaping, because they don't get the near instant gratification of a nicotine hit that they would get from a cigarette. They also struggle with the harsh throat hit that high strength ‘traditional’ eliquid can provide, which is off putting at first to a new user and requires persistence to get used to.
Nicotine salts work differently, and are able to provide that nicotine hit quicker, satisfying nicotine cravings within a few puffs, and the throat hit is far smoother with a higher nicotine concentration. This is perfect for someone trying to quit smoking and move over to vaping, and a big reason why the Juul has been such a runaway success in the USA.
What sort of vaping products use nicotine salts?
Perhaps the most famous product to use nicotine salts is the one that started it all, the PAX Juul, which had been proven to be immensely popular in the USA.
The strongest strengths of these e-liquids are intended for use in refillable pod system devices, starter kit devices such as the Eleaf iCare, or tanks with high resistance coils and mouth to lung draws, such as the Aspire Nautilus 2. Lower strengths are also formulated and geared towards RDA and Sub Ohm tank users. At present, the cost of these eliquids is slightly higher than the eliquids we are used to using, however many people will find that their bottles of nicotine salt based eliquid last substantially longer than usual due to the more effective nicotine hit requiring less usage so the saving is there to be made by lower consumption rates of juice.