You ever walk into a vape shop and see these tiny bottles of e-juice that are priced the same as the normal bottles? Or how about when you’re browsing online and you see the term “nicotine salts” and wondered what that meant? My first thought when I heard the term “nic-salt” was that it was salty e-juice. It was an immediate turnoff because I prefer the sweet and fruity e-liquids, and I had no desire to have a salty cloud race through my lungs. For a while I was content to simply ignore the nic-salt category and marveled at people who used it with these strangely shaped devices. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do some research on what nic-salts actually were. This article will explain my findings and hopefully give you some clarity as to what these nic-salt e-liquids actually are.
ORIGIN & PURPOSE
Nicotine salts are one of the hottest products on the market ever since Juul pods came out. JUUL labs is credited for the development and popularization of nic-salts with their small ejuice pods. Nicotine salts, also known as nic-salts, were created as a way to give vapers a smoother and more satisfying hit. Since they contain a higher concentration of nicotine than regular vape juice, it was also an excellent way for smokers to transition away from cigarettes but still keep that strong throat hit. It was also a great way for vapers to save money by consuming less e-juice and still getting a smooth satisfying vape hit. E-juice companies began offering nic-salts in their popular flavors and nic-salts were off to a great start. More nicotine, same flavor, more satisfying, and better tasting.
WHAT NIC-SALT MEANS
Nicotine salts, also known as nic salts or salt nic e-liquids, are actually a chemical reaction of nicotine. To be specific, it is what happens when a neutrally charged ionic compound is made from a base as well as an acid. The nicotine molecules are neutralized by an acid to create a form of nicotine that is smooth and satisfying to inhale. JUUL Labs takes credit for the creation and sale of nic-salt in the industry, and states that the chemical process is very similar to the nicotine found in tobacco leaves, right before it gets stripped in the extraction process.
The name is a bit misleading, as there is absolutely no salt in the liquid. Vaping the liquids won’t increase your sodium intake, and you won’t get a salty aftertaste when vaping these eliquids. The point of nic-salts, as mentioned before, is to give the vaper a strong kick of nicotine with less vapor. It’s a great way to be more discreet about your vaping habits, and allows smokers to decrease their cigarette usage while still getting the desired amount of nicotine.
NIC-SALTS VS. TRADITIONAL E-LIQUIDS
Traditional e-liquids are what the vaping world has been using since its inception. Usually a large bottle of e-liquid will last for several weeks, depending on the frequency habits of the vaper. However, traditional eliquids (also known as freebase nicotine) have several downsides that can make vaping difficult for new users. Freebase nicotine can give a harsh throat hit, depending on what strength you choose. Freebase nicotine also needs to be vaped at high temperatures/wattages to reach the desired flavor, which in turn produces large plumes of vapor that are highly desirable amongst the cloud chasers. But what if you’re just looking for something small and discreet that won’t take up a lot of pocket space and is considerably cheaper than the box mods and tanks you see in stores? Say hello to nic-salts and pod devices!
Nic salts have a gentler throat hit and are easier to vape at low temperatures. Sub-ohm tanks won’t work with nic-salts; you’ll have to get a small pod device that either comes pre-loaded with nic-salt flavors or has a small cartridge that you can refill with your preferred nic-salt e-liquid.
Nic-salts also have a greater concentration of nicotine. This is ideal for smokers as cigarettes contain a higher level of nicotine than traditional e-liquids. Nic-salt nicotine content can range from 25-60mL of nicotine per mg. The higher amount of nicotine in every puff allows smokers and former smokers to feel like they’re having a cigarette, minus the tar and heavy smoke odor. For traditional e-liquid to have a similar effect as cigarettes, the nicotine levels would need to be around 50mg per mL. But since most vaping devices are geared toward high temperatures and wattages, such a strong nicotine level would have users tearing at their throats and coughing uncontrollably. Nicotine salts were created as an easier alternative for smokers and ex-smokers, and are also an option for those looking to reduce their e-liquid usage for long-term concerns with their health.
ARE NIC-SALTS MORE ADDICTING THAN REGULAR E-LIQUID?
With nic-salts containing a higher nicotine content, this brings an interesting question...are nic-salts more addicting than regular e-juice? Even more interesting is the answer...we simply don’t know. Not enough studies have been done on regular e-juice and there is even less research for nic-salts, as they were recently introduced to the market. With cigarettes, the nicotine is rapidly delivered to the brain and creates a difficult bond to break (also known as a craving). With nic-salts and free-base liquids, there are very few studies that break down how quickly the brain receives the nicotine and which one delivers the nicotine faster.
One opinion by Jacques Le Houezec (a nicotine expert, neuroscientist, and pharmacologist) is that since nic-salts contain more nicotine, there is a higher potential for addiction. However, it would be more relative to look at how much nicotine is consumed over time, not solely because the e-liquid is a nic-salt e-liquid. The user may be using a higher amount of nicotine, but since the nicotine level is higher, it won’t need to be used as often to get that satisfying nicotine kick similar to cigarettes. Once more studies are done and their findings published, we’ll be able to answer this question more adequately.
ARE NIC-SALTS SAFE TO USE?
We discussed that nic-salts are the chemical reaction between a base and an acid, specifically benzoic acid. The benzoic acid is the main difference between freebase nicotine, leading many to believe that nic-salts would be no more or no less safe to use than traditional e-liquids. The WHO (World Health Organization) has a program, specifically the International Program on Chemical Safety, that advises the safe consumption of benzoic acid is no more than 5mg per kilogram of body weight per day. For a 150lb person, that’s around 345mg; 1mL of nic-salt e-liquid contains a mere few milligrams of benzoic acid. This would require almost 350 bottles of nic-salt e-liquid to be vaped by a single person in a single day...an absolute impossibility for even the most accomplished vaper! Again, there are very few studies that have shown the long-term effects that vaping has on the body, either with nic-salts or traditional free-base nicotine, so it is up to the user to determine what he/she feels safe with.
HOW TO DETERMINE NICOTINE STRENGTHS IN E-LIQUID
A common question amongst new vapers is what strength to buy e-liquid in. This is largely a personal preference that can only be determined by trial and error, but here’s a few tips to help you make that decision confidently.
Freebase nicotine levels range from 0mg-6mg. Due to their low nicotine levels, these e-liquids need to be vape at high levels in sub-ohm tanks. However, one particular brand called Mr. Salt-E offers nic-salt liquids in 3-5mg that can be vaped in sub-ohm tanks as well. Here at ejuice.deals, you can check out our entire lineup of this brand here and see which flavors appeal to you! These e-liquids offer a clean and smooth taste, and are ideal for vapers looking for good flavor.
For the most part, salt-nic ejuice nicotine levels in nic-salts range greatly, from 20-60mg. New nic-salt users should start out with 20-35 mg of nicotine. Generally considered the middle of the nic-salt nicotine options, these nic-salts are excellent options for users who are intimidated by the high nicotine content in 50mg. Fun fact: Europe will not sell nic-salt any higher than 20mg.
If you’re transitioning from cigarettes to nic-salts, you can start out a little higher than that to mimic the effects of cigarettes. 50mg+ offers the highest level of nicotine, which is ideal for smokers who consume high quantities of cigarettes every day. Since these nic-salt nicotine levels are high, it’s not recommended for non-smokers, or low-nicotine level vapers. You’ll need to use low-power MTL devices for these high nic-salt levels, but many are easy to find in brick-and-mortar and online vape shops alike.
And there you have it! Everything you need to know about nicotine salts and how they differ from traditional free-base e-liquids. If you still have more questions, feel free to shoot us an email, call us, or drop a comment below! Tell us about your favorite nic-salt flavor, how nic-salts have changed your life, and suggestions for others on how to start using nic-salts. We always love to hear from you! Stay safe out there and as always, may your clouds be flavorful and puffy and your tank forever full!