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Nicotine Salts - Why Are They So Popular

What are nicotine salts ? 

In a nutshell, nicotine salts are the natural salts found in the tobacco leaf and provide users with a smoother vaping experience, as opposed to the harsh throat hit from the standard nicotine used in e-liquids. Nicotine salts absorb quicker into the blood stream and allow users to benefit from a quick nicotine rush, similar to that of a cigarette. 

Why are nicotine salts so popular? 

  • Nicotine salts absorb into the bloodstream quicker and the effect is felt within a few seconds 
  • Nicotine salts are smoother and eliminate the harsh throat hit that is caused by freebase nicotine. 
  • The nicotine hit from nicotine salts is similar to the nicotine hit from cigarettes which makes it easier for starters to give up smoking. 
  • Nicotine salts affect the overall flavour of e-liquids less than freebase nicotine. 

What's the difference between freebase nicotine and nicotine salts 

Freebase nicotine is the standard nicotine that has been used in TPD compliant e-liquids and nicotine shots. Freebase nicotine is alkaline based where as nicotine salts are formed in the presence of acid and extracted directly from the tobacco leaf. Its the alkaline which gives you the harsher throat hit from freebase nicotine, whereas benzonic acid has the opposite effect. The lower PH levels in nicotine salts ultimately gives you a smoother vape. 

Nicotine Salt Variations (NicSalt-B & NicSalt-S) 

Manufactures typically choose to implement their e-liquids with either nicotine Salicylic (NicSalt-S) or Nicotine Benzoate (NicSalt-B). NicSalt-S is found in foods such as herbs, fruits and vegetables and is a more natural form of nicotine salt. The acidic levels in NicSalt-S are slightly higher than NicSalt-B, resulting in a smoother throat hit. NicSalt-B was initially used in e-liquids and is responsible for the initial hype around nicotine salts. It may have a slightly lower P.H content than NicSalt-S but it is still a lot smoother than freebase nicotine.  

Some manufacturers have started to use Nicotine Malate Salt (NicSalt-M). NicSalt-M can give a slightly sour flavour twist so it should only be used with e-liquids that are attempting to give a tangy twist to their profile. Some studies have shown that NicSalt-M can reduce coil life and it's not as smooth as the other two variations. However, NicSalt-M is not currently in mass circulation. 

Smoothness Scale 

NicSalt-S = Smoothest 

NicSalt-B = Smooth

NicSalt-M = Least Smoothest Nicotine Salt Form 

Freebase = Standard Throat Hit - Particularly Harsh at Higher Levels

Hybrid Nicotine

Companies such as Riot Squad have started to use a combination of nicotine salts and freebase nicotine in their recipes. The combination of the two is referred to as Hybrid Nicotine and allows users to enjoy the best of both worlds. You get the smoker's throat hit which is caused by freebase nicotine and the natural sensation of nicotine salts.


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