What are Nicotine Salts?

Emma Rowlands
What are Nicotine Salts?

Anyone new to vaping has a few terms to become familiar with. Coils, mods, pods, puff counts and VG/PG being just some of these. On the same thread, you may have heard the phrase 'nicotine salts', but not understood how this relates to vaping. 

In this article we will explain what nicotine salts are, how you should use them, and how to identify the right nicotine salts for you. 

What are nicotine salts?

Nicotine in its natural form within the tobacco plant is a protonated salt. Put simply, the nicotine molecule has an additional proton that binds it to a salt. When tobacco processors extract nicotine from the plant, they use solvents such as ammonia to increase the extraction yields.  

When the tobacco is exposed to these solvents, the binding proton is broken down and you are left with something called ‘freebase nicotine’ which  is the most common type of extracted nicotine. They essentially change nicotine from its ‘salt’ state which occurs naturally, into its base ‘purest’ form. This freebase nicotine forms the base for all e-liquids; even nicotine salts e-liquid. 

Up until recently, freebase nicotine was the only option for vapers. But some found that, due to the raised PH value caused by the solvent extraction process, vapers would find it too harsh in higher doses. A few years ago, nicotine salt e-liquids were invented to remove this harshness, keeping nicotine in the ‘salt state’ it was in prior to the extraction process. How did they do this? By adding acid, of course. 

It should be noted that nicotine salt is not like the table salt you use to add to your dinner. The ‘salt’ in this instance is the state in which it naturally occurs within the tobacco leaf. Your vape won’t taste salty if you choose to use nicotine salts!

The Benefits of Using Nicotine Salts

Many people who begin vaping do so because they are trying to make the switch from cigarettes. While many people are very happy with the freebase nicotine e-liquids, some aren’t. And it is those vapers who might benefit from trying nicotine salt. 

Nicotine salt e-liquid is basically the same as standard freebase nicotine e-liquid, but with a mild food-grade acid included to reverse the chemical transformation and change the nicotine back into its original salt form. 

By doing this, the nicotine loses some of its throat hit and harshness. In freebase form, most people can tolerate up to 20mg nicotine in their vape kit. Any more than this, the flavour and experience would be overwhelming. This is due to the alkalinity of the nicotine - something that is not a problem in nicotine salts. This means you get a smoother throat hit at higher strengths, and can intake more nicotine. If you are struggling to quit smoking and find that your regular vape kit isn’t giving you the dose of nicotine you crave, switching to a nicotine salt could solve this problem because you will be able to raise the strength of your nicotine comfortably. 

A quick word of warning here - Nicotine salt nics are best used with lower wattage devices.We recommend you avoid combining nicotine salts with high powered devices because you will end up with excessive amounts of nicotine which can be unpleasant. You’ll also need a mouth to lung vaping device.

There are some other benefits of nicotine salts too. 

Nicotine salts absorb more rapidly into the bloodstream than freebase nicotine. This means you get an instant satisfying hit. It also means you might use less e-liquid, because you are intaking high strength nicotine with fast absorption, so may vape less. 

Nicotine salts don’t produce huge clouds either, which is a preference of many people. 

And finally, nicotine salts tend to have a longer shelf life than freebase e-liquids. 

Signs You Should Choose Nicotine Salt

If you have only just made the switch to vaping, or are considering vaping in the future, you might be wondering if you should stick with a traditional e-liquid or go for a nicotine salt. 

The answer is, only you can say! Trying both is the best way to know which one you prefer. 

If you are struggling with vaping, it could well be because freebase nicotine isn’t working for you. Here are some signs:

  • You don’t like the large clouds your device is creating

  • You find the throat hit too harsh

  • You don’t feel satisfied after vaping or don’t feel you’re getting enough nicotine

If this is the case, then as well as trying nicotine salts, you could also alter the VG and PG levels in your vape juice. When you increase the VG levels in your e-liquid, you can expect a smoother throat hit. This might solve the problem of an e-liquid being too harsh. If you go for a higher PG level, you can reduce the cloud capacity. It really depends what issue you are having to decide how to adjust the VG and PG quantities. At JM Wholesale, we have 50/50 VG/PG e-liquids as well as e-liquids with other VG and PG ratios (e.g. 70VG/30PG or 60PG/40VG).

Choosing a Nicotine Salt

Nicotine salts come in a variety of flavours, in the same way regular e-liquids do. Here are some favourites:

Nasty Juice: Flavours Devil Teeth, Trap Queen and Wicked Haze.

Kingston: Flavours Vinberry, Fruit Pastels and Strawberry & Lime. 

Drip Hacks: Flavours Pinkboy, acid drop and Forbidden Fruits

Bar Series: Flavours Peach, Strawberry and Energy Ice

Nicotine salts can also be mixed with shortfills, which are 0mg larger bottles of e-liquid. By doing this, you are able to create larger batches of e-liquids using a specific amount of nicotine to suit your preferences. 

We are always here to help you select the right e-liquids. Whether you are buying for yourself or adding nicotine salts to your store, we are happy to answer your questions and make product recommendations. 


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