Nicotine Salts Explained


There's been a lot of buzz lately around nicotine sourcing and nicotine alternatives – we've seen everything from tobacco-free nicotine that's synthesized in a lab rather than extracted from a plant to herbal supplements that claim to alleviate the need for nicotine at all. Another development that's gained traction over the last few months may be something you're less familiar with: nicotine salts. 

Wait, salt?
Well, yes and no – there are many scientific definitions of salts, and they go beyond the white (or maybe pink or blue) stuff you associate with a "salty" flavor. Basically the root draw of this stuff deals with pH balance, which means we're going to have to go a little Bill Nye here and get into chemistry.

The nicotine found on the leaves of tobacco is more acidic than the kind found in the typical nicotine extract – think of cigarette tobacco having an acidity of about 5 on the 0-14 pH scale, while the typical nicotine in e-liquid is more alkaline, somewhere around 8 (check out the linked chart for an example of what that might mean).

 Why does this matter? The more acidic nicotine can actually linger a bit longer in your lungs. Why should that matter? Basically, it means the nicotine salts are naturally smoother tasting and less likely to irritate. That irritation is what we know as "throat hit," particularly potent in high-nicotine liquids like 18 mg/ml or higher.

By using the salts, liquid makers can craft a smoother-tasting high-nicotine juice.

 This is particularly helpful for next-generation cigalike and pod mod manufacturers – JUUL pods contain a whopping 50 mg/ml of nicotine, making them more than 20 times as potent as the most popular 3 mg juices for tanks! Then again, each JUUL pod only contains 0.7 ml of liquid, and it's vaporized at a much lower power than most advanced mod users prefer, so to a degree it makes sense that they need to pack a bigger punch into a smaller, slower-draining package. As you might have guessed, the cigalikes are largely using nicotine salts to craft their liquids – even with a lower wattage and lower vapor output, there's no way to cram that much nicotine in without doing something to soften the blow. Nic salts are the solution many have waited for.

Many also use these new nic salt liquids to "hack" and refill closed pod systems... rather than limit themselves to what the manufacturers provide for them at a substantial markup it's worth a bit of aggravation to some refilling pods. Many report to save quite a bit of money, from what we hear JUUL pods can quickly start to add up! New ultra-compact kits with easy-to-fill and refill pods have entered the market to fill this niche and have been extremely popular!

But that doesn't mean salts don't have their place in juice for open-ended (refillable) mtl (mouth to lung) tanks and kits too – we've come across plenty of smokers who want to transition to vaping but just can't get around the throat hit or coughing that your average higher strength liquids can deliver. These people can now find the levels of nicotine they require in liquids without experiencing an unpleasantly harsh vape. 

Lower consumption, lower power requirements, more efficient vaping and a fraction of the cost. This also yields much higher rates of success for those who previously struggled with "dual use" and couldn't quite manage to make the switch. They're also perfect "on-the-go" solutions. Or perhaps maybe you're a true flavor chaser who only uses a tiny bit of nicotine but still seeks an ever-smoother hit to allow delicate flavors to shine through – nicotine salt enhanced liquids may be just the thing for you! Salt nic blends at lower strengths can also be found and are perfect for those seeking blends tailored for flavor but with a more subtle nicotine.

Another great thing about salts... THEY GO A LONG WAY!

More often than not, we see nic salts used in closed or refillable pod systems and high strengths. The more restricted the draw (tighter the airflow) on the device, the higher the strength is used to deliver a satisfactory level of nicotine. This means when used in these applications a typical bottle of nic salt enhanced e-liquid can last as much as four to six times longer than typical liquids! When combined with a low wattage "mouth-to-lung" setup you're certain to find out why many vapers are making the switch to salt enhanced e-liquids!

The KABUKI v1.5 510 Atomizer by House of Hybrids!
It's all boils down to simple math for the consumer... Nic salts + Low wattage platforms = More efficient nicotine delivery. The old days of purchasing 6-12 bottles of liquid every month and a dozen or more coils do not sound very appealing much now, do they? Not when the same job can be accomplished with a couple of pods or coils and a bottle or two of nicotine salt enhanced eliquid. No clouds, no frills. It's catching on, and for good reason.

Vaping has become affordable again in a time the industry is pumping out hardware products specifically designed to sell juice and replacement coils. Salt enhanced e-liquids demolish this new trend and re-directs focus where it belongs... tobacco harm reduction and efficient delivery of nicotine. Give 'em a try, your wallet may thank you!