If you spend any time reading news about vaping, you’ve probably seen the term “nicotine salts” come up more than once. There’s good reason for that; nicotine salts have revolutionised vaping by creating a level of satisfaction that many people feel is closer to that of a tobacco cigarette than ever before. We feel that nicotine salts will be transformative for many people, and we believe that demand for nicotine salts will increase significantly in the coming year. Look for a Liberty Flights product addressing that demand soon! In the meantime, we’d like to take a moment to explain what nicotine salts are and tell you a bit more about why this new form of nicotine e-liquid might excite you.
In its natural state within the tobacco leaf, the nicotine molecule is a salt. Humans have used tobacco for approximately 2,000 years. Throughout nearly all of that history, we have consumed nicotine in its salt form. In the mid-20th century, though, tobacco company researchers discovered that freeing nicotine from the acid that binds it as a salt allows the body to absorb the nicotine more quickly. By adding ammonia to cigarettes, the tobacco companies created cigarettes with free base nicotine. Ammoniated cigarettes gave the user a more powerful nicotine rush – and were potentially more addictive – than standard cigarettes even though the actual nicotine amount was the same.
Ammonia is also an important part of the nicotine extraction process. Nicotine extractors impregnate the plant material with ammonia to free the nicotine before using a solvent to perform the extraction. Ammonia converts the nicotine to a free base, and it also allows extractors to get the best possible yield from the tobacco plants. Nicotine replacement products – and the concentrated liquid nicotine used to make e-liquids – use free base nicotine.
The use of nicotine salt in e-liquid began with research from the American company Pax Labs dating back to 2013. Pax Labs studied different e-liquid formulations and their effects on the body in an attempt to find something that was as satisfying to the user as a cigarette. Based on the tobacco company research from the mid-20th century, the conventional wisdom suggested that using free base nicotine was the best way to create a nicotine product that the body could absorb quickly. Nevertheless, Pax Labs experimented with adding benzoic acid to liquid nicotine to convert the nicotine back to a salt. Pax Labs found that, in a low-temperature vaping device, an e-liquid containing nicotine salts and a high nicotine strength can potentially produce a blood-nicotine concentration nearly as high as what one would get when smoking.
The rest is history. Pax Labs obtained a patent for its nicotine salt e-liquid formulation, and the resulting e-cigarette – the Juul – became one of the most popular vaping devices in the United States. Around the world, companies have answered the growing demand for nicotine salts by producing new e-cigarettes designed to use nicotine salt e-liquids in pods. Stay tuned as we will soon offer a pod e-cigarette using nicotine salts.
Now you understand what nicotine salts are – but are they right for you? That’s what we’ll address next.
The first potential benefit of nicotine salts is that they may increase the satisfaction you derive from vaping. If the nicotine strength that you select is the correct one for your needs, you may find that switching to nicotine salts will give you an experience similar to that of smoking a cigarette. The research cited above suggests that using an e-liquid with nicotine salts is almost the same as smoking from the standpoint of blood-nicotine concentration.
If you switch to a new form of vaping that you find more satisfying, the logical result is that you’ll likely reduce your e-liquid consumption. You won’t need to vape as often, and you won’t need to buy e-liquid as often. You’ll probably spend less money on vaping than you currently do. If you currently use a larger e-cigarette, switching to nicotine salts may enable you to start using a smaller one. That may be a benefit if you prefer to vape discreetly.
E-liquids with nicotine salts produce the ideal performance characteristics in smaller e-cigarettes that operate at lower wattages and temperatures. That’s partially because nicotine salt e-liquids are available primarily in higher nicotine strengths – they contain too much nicotine for sub-ohm devices that produce enormous vapour clouds – and partially because research into the effectiveness of nicotine salts doesn’t include usage in higher-power devices.
Although recent studies suggest that people may find e-liquids with nicotine salts more satisfying than standard e-liquids, you may not. Your nicotine needs – and your tastes – are not like anyone else’s. Research can’t account for individual tastes, and there is a chance that you may not detect a significant difference between nicotine salt e-liquid and the e-liquid that you currently use.
You should absolutely try nicotine salts if you currently smoke. One of the most difficult aspects of switching from smoking to vaping is adjusting to the different way in which the body absorbs the nicotine in e-liquid. With standard e-liquid, you don’t really feel a “nicotine rush” as you might with smoking; the nicotine absorbs more slowly. The research suggests that nicotine salts may produce a faster plateau in the amount of nicotine in the blood. Feeling that familiar nicotine rush – and maintaining a higher blood-nicotine level overall when you vape – may ease the transition from smoking to vaping.
If you already vape, you have nothing to lose by trying nicotine salts. You may not have much reason to try nicotine salts, though, if you’re already completely happy with the vaping experience. Nicotine salts are ideal, however, for those who vape sometimes but haven’t switched fully to vaping yet. If you still smoke occasionally – perhaps because e-cigarettes don’t satisfy you fully – nicotine salts may make it easier for you to transition fully to vaping.