Since the 1960s, freebasing has been the conventional way in which we consume nicotine through cigarettes. One of the directors of Marlboro, Philip Morris, found that if you combined freebase nicotine and ammonia then you could deliver a higher concentration of nicotine while anesthetizing the throat and reducing harshness. This worked wonders at getting people addicted to smoking and because of how effective it was, it was the go-to for nicotine replacement therapies such as gum, patches, or sprays. With vape juice, this nicotine solution is added to vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, which both flavor and change the consistency of the vapor. Nic Salts came onto the market a few years ago and have been getting more and more popular as time passes. So what makes them different from traditional e-juices?
Unlike freebase e-juices, nicotine salts only have two ingredients in them: natural nicotine and benzoic acid. Without the acid, you’d have to vape the liquid at ridiculously high temperatures and the nicotine wouldn’t be absorbed as easily into your bloodstream. It also lowers the pH level of nicotine which in turn lowers the alkalinity of the vapor. All this basically means is that the vapor is smoother and doesn’t need as high a temperature to get going. What results is an easier, more pleasurable vaping experience.
There are 5 main benefits usually associated with switching from freebase nicotine to Nic Salts:
- A more satisfying hit of nicotine — it’s pretty common for people who have just started vaping to find it doesn’t quite hit the spot or doesn’t feel fully satisfying. Research has shown that Nicotine salts are more effective at getting nicotine into your bloodstream. They are also able to deliver a way higher concentration level of nicotine without it ruining the taste.
- A smoother hit — a lot of people are put off from vaping because of how harsh normal e-liquids often are. This is caused by the nicotine within them, so it isn’t completely avoidable, but the way that nicotine salt liquid is made makes them much, much smoother.
- More flavorful — the taste of conventional e-liquids is greatly affected by the freebase nicotine within it. With Nic Salts, this is completely avoided and you're left with an untainted taste that’s richer and uncontaminated.
- More cost efficient — Nic Salts are much nicer to use with your simple basic vape pens than conventional liquids are. This is pretty great as it means you don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars on a sub-ohm tank just for a nice hit.
- Increased shelf-life — freebase nicotine isn’t nearly as stable as when it’s in salt form. This means you can keep your Nic Salts for longer without having to worry about the nicotine degrading.
- Less pleasurable at lower nicotine levels - If you’re vaping liquids that have between 3 to 12mg of nicotine in them, then there’s no real reason to swap over. This level of nicotine is optimum for using with sub-ohm devices, and if you use a juice that’s high in VG, you’ll still be getting a smooth, satisfying toke.
- Less customizable — Nic Salts are only really compatible with vape pens and, as such, you can’t go down the fun road of customizing your tank or mod. This means you have less control over the size of clouds you produce and the intensity of flavor you’re inhaling.
- Less fun and less opportunities to mess about — it really depends on whether you’re looking for something for some fun or for its function. If you want a high dose of nicotine and more of a “smoking experience”, then Nicotine Salts are the way to go. If you want to produce big clouds and mess around with tank constructions, then go for freebase nicotine.
If you’re new to vaping — and a heavy smoker — it’s definitely worth starting off with a small cheap vape and nicotine salts. As time goes on, your addiction will shift from cigarettes to vaping, and you can then move to use freebase nicotine e-liquids with a lower nicotine content and use freebase nicotine instead. Alternatively, if you’ve just switched over and are finding vaping too harsh, or not quite satisfying enough, then moving to Nic Salts would also be just right for you. Other reasons to choose Nic Salts are if you’re looking for an experience that is more similar to smoking a cigarette, if you want a stronger hit of nicotine or if discretion is important to you and you don’t want to be blowing out stupidly big clouds. Nic Salts aren’t for everyone, though. If you prefer making massive clouds then you’ll definitely prefer normal e-juices. Your best option will always be to talk to someone working in a vape shop. They tend to be extremely knowledgeable and will be more than happy to help you find the right one for you.
Nic Salts work best with simple vape pens or pod-style vapes. As they’re so much more efficient at getting nicotine into your bloodstream, there’s really no reason to use them with high wattage mods. Just grab yourself a cheap, simple, low wattage and low powered pen and you’ll be good to go.