Ultimate Guide to Nicotine Salts - [Are they for You?]
I think you'll agree with me when I say:
Trying to understand the difference between nicotine salts and traditional e-liquid with the information available today is confusing.
The information out there is either overly complicated or far too simple.
What nicotine salts are and how they work is a straightforward idea.
It doesn't have to be complicated, and you don't need to be a chemist to understand what nicotine salts can offer you and your vaping needs.
Don't worry though;
In this guide, I will show you the critical information without bogging your brain down and wasting your time with anything unnecessary or irrelevant!
Nicotine salts are the hottest new thing to hit the vaping scene in a long time! It seems like everywhere you look; more and more people are using salt nic vape juice and pod systems for delivery.
At White Label, we're known for years for our Max VG 100ml bottles of affordable vape juice in a huge variety of flavors.
Even though this is how we've made our mark,
Every day we are flooded with emails and phone calls asking if we offer products containing nicotine salts and nicotine salt vape juice!
But that's not all!
When I walk around the office each day, it seems like more and more members of the WLJC family are dropping their cloud-chucking gear for a tiny nicotine salt vape device and using on nicotine salts!
It's clear to me (since we only staff the best and brightest in the industry) that there must be something here.
There must be a reason for these tiny clouds and these high nicotine strengths.
There must be a reason why I am seeing e-cigarettes that look like what we had when I first started vaping way back in 2010(it was not a pretty sight, but trust me, these new systems work orders of magnitude better than the ce4 and 306 dripping atomizers of old).
And there must be a reason why, for the first time in four years, I can see in a straight line from one end of the hall to the other.
Let's start with the standard: Freebase nicotine.
Freebase nicotine is the type of nicotine from which most e juice on the market today is made.
Since nicotine (as it naturally occurs in tobacco plants) is actually present in a salt form ([positive charge), it naturally wants to find balance with negatively charged particles.
Positively charged substances have a harder time crossing membrane barriers in our bodies, and as such, freebase nicotine needs to have its positive charge stripped to increase its bioavailability without increasing the dose.
Typically, this process is done by tobacco companies with nasty chemicals such as ammonia.
I'm sure you know:
With increased nicotine levels comes increased throat-hit and a potentially unbearable harshness.
Nicotine salts, simply put, allow you to increase the nicotine content of an e-liquid without causing this undesirable effect.
So, what are nicotine salts?
Simply put, nicotine salts are the most natural state of nicotine available and the form in which nicotine naturally occurs in tobacco leaves.
E liquids that contain nicotine salts generally have much higher concentrations of nicotine than you would typically see in e liquids that are made for high-wattage and sub-ohm devices.
Nicotine salts are typically made for use with low-wattage devices such as pod-systems and sometimes run as high as 5% nicotine concentration (That's 50mg of nicotine per one milliliter of e-liquid!). If you're picking out a nicotine salt vaporizer, I would recommend sticking to Pod devices. The best tank for nicotine salts are pods that you use with pod systems.
Quick Nicotine safety Disclaimer:
If you have been paying as much attention to the nicotine salts craze as I have, you've noticed that most nicotine sale vape juices have some crazy high nicotine content. It's not uncommon to see these pushing 50mg/ml or even higher.
Nicotine is incredibly poisonous, and somewhere in the range of 30-60mg is considered a "lethal" dose for most adults.
So, what does that mean for you?
Just one milliliter of high-strength nicotine salt e-liquid could be considered a lethal dose of poison.
One milliliter, that's it.
Please don't try to use high strength nicotine salts sub ohm. You will likely get sick fast if your throat doesn't make you stop after one puff.
I personally think it's irresponsible for vape companies to be peddling bottles of 50mg + nicotine salt e juice.
So please, if you do decide to go that high in strength, keep it away from your skin, small children, and pets.
But won't that kill my throat?
Well, typically, you'd be right. I absolutely cannot recommend to anybody to use these high concentration e liquids containing nicotine salts with sub-ohm and high wattage devices.
The pod systems that are used for most e-liquid containing nicotine salts operate at a much lower wattage (only 10-16 watts for the smok infinix, a favorite around our office) than the high-wattage (200 + Watt box mods are not uncommon) devices that have been more popular in recent years.
Here's the deal:
If you are using e juice containing nicotine salts at high concentrations with the right equipment, you have nothing to fear. If you're not chain vaping for hours, you won't have to worry about ingesting too much nicotine or hitting something that feels similar to being throat-punched by Satan himself.
In fact, nicotine salts are (in many cases) much smoother than vape juice made with freebase nicotine. With a 2.4% (24mg/ml) concentration being akin to the experience of vaping somewhere around a .4% (That's 4mg/ml) e-liquid from a high-wattage device.
So, what are the differences between nicotine salts and traditional(freebase) nicotine?
Although the actual chemical differences between nicotine salts and freebase nicotine are slight, they have an enormous impact on your vaping experience.
Freebase nicotine is HARSH in high concentration.
What mostly causes the harsh sensations associated with higher nicotine concentration in e juice is due mainly to the alkalinity of the solution.
Since freebase nicotine has much higher pH levels (and is more alkaline in nature) than a nicotine salt solution, as you increase the strength, you also increase the harshness that you perceive when vaping it.
Nicotine salts retain their smoothness even at high concentrations.
Due to a chemical process in which benzoic acid is introduced to salt nicotine, it has much lower pH levels (and alkalinity) which allows it to retain its smooth nature even as the nicotine levels are raised to much higher values.
But that's not all Benzoic acid does for you!
In addition to creating a seriously smooth experience, Benzoic acid increases the bioavailability (the measure of how efficiently your body can make use of foreign compounds) of the nicotine content.
You're probably wondering:
"What salt nicotine devices are out there?"
Salt nic devices that are used for nicotine salt vape juice are called Pod Mods or AIO(all-in-one) devices.
Additionally, these devices are either closed or open system devices.
Open systems are devices where the user refills the pods, cartridges, or tanks with their own vape juice.
Pod systems are generally a better way to save money in the long run. Having the ability to refill your own pods and reuse them obviously saves you a bunch of money over time.
On the other hand:
Closed systems require you to continually buy proprietary, pre-filled cartridges that are made and sold by the manufacturer.
In California where we're located, a 5 pack of pods for the popular Juul device sold in gas stations everywhere will run you almost $30.
There is less than 1 milliliter of liquid in each of these pods. ONE MILLILITER.
Obviously, if you're a dedicated user of a closed system device, you're going to spend a ton of extra money over time keeping up with buying the refills.
To put it in perspective, if we're just talking about the vape juice, you would have to buy $180 in Juul pods to get the same amount of liquid in one of our SALTED 30ml bottles (which retail for 16.99).
Pod Mods are:
While high-wattage and sub-ohm devices can quickly run into the hundreds of dollars, Pod systems can be purchased at a fraction of the cost, often times under $20.
However, you're still going to have to purchase empty pods to refill every few times you fill them up.
Not to worry though,
A one-month supply of empty pods will normally only run you around $15.
Pod systems are a breeze to set up and use. Pod systems use refillable pods instead of requiring you to keep building your coils or swapping the pre-made ones out.
All you have to do is fill it up, and you are good to go for a full day in most cases.
Most Pod systems are small in size and fit easily into your pocket, making them easy to take with you wherever you go.
They also usually charge through a standard USB cable, so they're a breeze to keep powered up.
Easy to upkeep and maintain.
There will be no rebuilding coils with these devices.
The disposable but refillable pods can generally be used a handful of times before being discarded.
When you throw the old one out, just fill a new one up and pop it in and you are ready to go.
Everyone is switching to nicotine salts!
Like I said before, many of our staff have switched to mostly using nicotine salt vape juice, but it's not just our little community doing so.
Given the benefits that nicotine salts can offer a vaper, it's no real surprise that many people are at least trying and experiencing with this new vaping technology.
To sum this up it all up, Nicotine Salts are a great option if...
You want to save money.
You might be thinking:
"What? nicotine salts cost around $20 - $25 per 30ml bottle!"
While this is true, and definitely more expensive per ml than most max VG vape juices, pod systems are lower-wattage devices, and as a result, they burn through e juice at a much slower rate.
Where a 30ml of max VG 3mg e juice might only last the heaviest vapers a day or two, it's not uncommon for a 30ml of nicotine salt vape juice to last MULTIPLE WEEKS!
You are someone who is looking to switch from analog cigarettes for the first time.
Nicotine salts more closely mimic the sensation of smoking a traditional cigarette.
Pod systems have tighter airflow than most sub ohm devices.
This, coupled with the increased nicotine content (which provides more throat-hit) is an ideal scenario for someone who wants to stop smoking but doesn't want to stray too far from what is familiar.
The closer you can get a new vaper to the experience of a traditional cigarette, the higher the chance of success when trying to make the switch.
I think you'll agree, that's something we can all be in favor of.
You tried vaping before but went back to analogs.
Sub-ohm devices are for the most part extraordinarily complicated and require more maintenance.
It is entirely understandable why someone might be quick to give up on vaping when confronted with a high learning curve, proprietary replacement parts, and devices that break down frequently and are expensive to replace.
Not to mention,
These devices often just DO NOT feel, taste, or resemble in any way the experience of using a traditional tobacco product!
Current industry standard devices seem far too complicated.
I can't blame you.
When I started vaping back in 2010, the devices, for the most part, were much more straightforward and user-friendly than what is commonly used today.
Most pod systems that you use with nicotine salts are the polar opposite of these complicated, enthusiast level, advanced devices.
They're much easier to learn how to use and don't need as much maintenance over time.
You want something with a convenient form-factor.
Most of the popular vape mods today are large and bulky.
Pod systems, on the other hand, are generally much smaller in size and more convenient to take with you if you just want to carry them in your pocket.
You're looking for a more satisfying experience.
Many new vapers quickly turn back to analogs because they find that the popular e-cigarette systems available today do not satisfy their cravings enough.
Nicotine salts provide much more of a punch while maintaining a very smooth hit.
You're looking for a more flavorful vape.
Nicotine salts affect the flavor of vape juice much less than freebase nicotine.
We've also known since the early days of vaping, that a tighter airflow usually gives you a more flavorful experience. Pod systems have a tighter draw which will up the flavor of the juice you're using.
Pod systems and nicotine salts do have some downfalls though...
As I noted earlier in this guide, most of the vaping industry has been built around high-wattage, sub-ohm devices.
There are just more juices made to tailor to these devices and user preferences. That being said, there are plenty of high-quality options available for both sub ohm vapers and members of the pod squad.
For many, vaping is a hobby or even a lifestyle.
The constant tinkering that sub-ohm devices require can actually be a big draw for people who enjoy vaping as a hobby.
Pod Systems are straightforward and user-friendly.
While incredibly practical and useful, you may look to upgrade in the future should you want to go down the enthusiast path.
You definitely won't be winning any cloud comps with a pod system, if that's your thing.
My mind is blown when
I look back on everything that has occurred in our little industry over the past nine years.
We have gone full circle.
First, we had devices that worked for a couple of days at best and at worst required hours of frustrated tinkering just to get them to work correctly.
Then things went crazy, and everyone was running around with tube mods trying to blow the fattest cloud possible.
After all that calmed down, it looks like we're back at square one with smaller devices that are more like a traditional cigarette, except this time, they work well and are easy to use.
About nicotine salts because of what they offer a ton regarding value to would-be vapers or people looking to make the switch.
While I'm still a massive fan of all the enthusiast level vaping gear, let's not forget the place where most (if not all) new vapers are born; out of a desire for a better life, free from cigarettes.
I hope this guide has been helpful to you.
Nicotine salts are not as complicated as they may seem at first glance.
If you are interested in giving them a shot, check out our line of nicotine salt vape juice, SALTED.