What Is Nicotine Salt?
Regular e-juices are sometimes called freebase juices to differentiate them from nicotine salts or nic salts. Nic salts are e-juices developed specifically for former smokers.
With a nicotine salt, you can use a stronger concentration of nicotine without turning the juice harsh and foul-tasting. Some nic salts come in nicotine levels of 25, 35 and 55 mg. In a regular freebase e-liquid, that level of nicotine would taste awful and probably give you a headache.
Why Do People Like Nicotine Salts?
Because they can inhale more nicotine and still enjoy smooth flavor, many former smokers prefer nic salts to regular e-liquids.
- Let you ingest high nicotine levels in a smooth, flavorful vape.
- Are hard to find in lower nicotine levels.
- Cost more than freebase e-liquids.
- Can I Use Regular Freebase E-Juice In a Pod Mod?
Some people say you should only use nic salts in a pod mod, but that’s not true. You can use any freebase e-liquid that has a PG content of 50% or more.
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to sample the many great flavors of vape liquid out there.
What’s the Difference between Nicotine Salts and Regular E-Liquid?
What is Freebase Nicotine?
First off, we all know where nicotine comes from. Er, from tobacco leaves.
Now, nicotine in this form has a similar composition to that of salt, able to react with both a negative and positive charge (ions). It is not effective to deliver nicotine into the body in this form since not only is it hard to vaporise, but also doesn’t move across organic membranes in our bodies easily.
Invented by Phillip Morris of Marlborough, freebasing seeks to get the nicotine ions into a free state by removing the positive charge (deprotonate) as it is much easier to travel across our body membranes this way.
This involves lacing the natural nicotine with a salt like diammonium phosphate which when combusted, releases ammonium. This, in turn, releases the nicotine into free base form (hence the name).
Nicotine in its freebase form is more potent so it is able to get into the lungs and brain more effectively.
This is the kind of nicotine used in regular e-liquid.
In addition to the potency, freebase nicotine is enjoyable as it exhibits a great flavour, boasts a smooth throat hit, and makes for good vapour production.
So, if it is more potent and has all these upsides, why are some vapers gravitating towards nicotine salts?
What is Nicotine Salt?
For all its advantages, the freebase nicotine found in regular e-juice has been found wanting in that the smooth throat hit is lost when you increase the nicotine content, making it extremely harsh to the taste.
For this reason, some people who might fancy a stronger nicotine content might find regular vape juice unsatisfying. And should they bump up the nicotine level, the overall vaping experience ends up being compromised due to the resulting harshness.
Always the mother of invention, necessity led some people to put their thinking caps on and figure out a way to boost the nicotine content in e-liquids without negatively impacting on flavour and smoothness.
And that’s how nicotine salts came about.
Also known as nic salt, salt nic or salt nicotine, nicotine salt, as we have just alluded to, is the natural nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves before it undergoes freebasing.
We have also noted that in this form, the nicotine is harder to vaporise (therefore the need for higher temperatures) and is also not absorbed into the body easily.
After hours in the lab, chemists at PAX Labs found there is a way to vaporise nicotine salt at lower temperatures while also making it more easily absorbable into the body. This would involve adding a magic ingredient known as benzoic acid.
In addition to helping the nicotine salt vaporise at lower temperatures and increasing its absorption rate, benzoic acid was also found to play another crucial role: it lowers the pH levels in salt nicotine and has no adverse effect on flavour as is the case with diammonium phosphate in freebase nicotine.
In other words, benzoic acid made it possible to bump up nicotine levels in e-liquid without affecting flavour, while also allowing for faster absorption.
Your vape tank is more important than you think
When you break a vaping device down, the basics are all essentially the same. A heating element, an atomizer and something to vape are all that’s required to get started, but there are so many nuances and mods in play that you vaping experience can be hugely different from someone else’s. That makes vaping a rather personal thing, and it’s why many aficionados spend a lot of time tweaking and experimenting – almost like a hobby. Some vapers may want a low key vape, whereas other may want huge, dense clouds. Some might want a strong throat hit, others may want a more mellow and frequent experience – we’re all different and finding that perfect balance while you’re vaping feels great. One of the things that makes the experience unique is your choice of vape tank. There are countless vape tanks available, but to make things easier for yourself you could easily break them down into two main types – MTL (mouth to lung) tanks and Sub-ohm tanks
MTL (Mouth to lung) tank
Mouth to lung is a vaping technique which you can learn more about here. It’s one of the most common methods of vaping and one which will come most natural to those who have experience with cigarettes. Most MTL-geared tanks are designed with in mind, using factory built coils with a more restrictive juice flow and air flow. Because they usually offer a tighter draw, those with high nicotine preferences often use this style of tank. It’s also perfectly suited for thinner, PG based juices due to the somewhat restricted airflow.
If you’re relatively new to vaping the term ‘sub-ohm’ might send you packing, but don’t be intimidated. The ‘ohm’ is a measurement of resistance, and sub-ohming refers to vaping using a device with a resistance level lower than 1.0 ohms, as suppose to 1.5 ohm to 2.8 ohms used in regular vapes. Naturally, this impacts the vape tank. Most vape tanks geared toward sub-ohm vaping will be capable of using coils with a resistance of lower than 1.0 ohm, and they typically have much larger juice channels. Larger juice channels means more juice on the wick, which can produce huge, dense clouds (one of the perks of sub-ohm vaping for those who like to cloud chase). These tanks typically demand more power and liquid consumption.
Which juice with which vape tank?
If you imagine your vaping device as a car with modifactions, then the juice is kind of like the fuel running the show. You need to pick the right fuel for your car to ensure a good ride, and e-juice is no different. MTL vaping is generally enjoyed at a lower heat and doesn’t need copius liquid flow to saturate the wick. That means a thinner juice (50% PG or higher) will deliver the best rounded experience. Using a high PG (thicker) juice in an MTL tank is doable, but not recommended as it’s far too easy to end up with dry hits and scorched cotton as the viscous liquid will have a hard time finding its way through your device.
Sub-ohm tanks on the other hand are far better with thick, heavy liquids. Because it’s all about big hits and even bigger vapour production, sub-ohm vaping requires a lot more heat and wider juice channels to get more on the wick. For this, a high PG juice is perfect as it will withstand the heat and be able to move freely through larger juice channels.
At the end of the day, your setup is your choice, and you may find a configuration that other people don’t quite understand. However, there are general guidelines like those mentioned above that can seriously help you on your journey.