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What Are Nicotine Salts?

We know it sounds weird, and your first thought undoubtedly was ‘is it the same as what I add to make food taste nice’? But this type of salt is very different. Taking it to its simplest level, in chemistry, when you bond an acid to an alkaline, you get salt… for example, that stuff on your chips? It’s sodium (heavily alkaline), bonded to chlorine (heavily acidic). If you had either of them on their own it would not be at all pleasant to say the least, but combined as sodium chloride, it dances like magic in your mouth. Nicotine is alkaline. So, when you bond it to an acid, many things can happen, depending on the acid. Just as bonding sodium to chlorine changes the effects of both, the same is true of nicotine. Nicotine in the tobacco plant is naturally partly in salt form, and partly as ‘freebase’ (unbonded nicotine). That’s why high strength nicotine in vapes can feel harsher on the throat than the cigarettes you [hopefully, used to] know and love.

So, nicotine salt has many benefits:

  • Neutralised pH - Just as sodium chloride isn’t in any way abrasive (compared to either sodium or chlorine), nicotine salt doesn’t irritate the throat anywhere near as much, if at all – depending on the type of salt.
  • Nicotine salicylate - (nicotine with salicylic acid) is the best for this – but no other benefits.
  • Nicotine benzoate - (nicotine with benzoic acid) increases the speed at which you feel the nicotine ‘kick in’. It provides an intense rush, but we don’t use this, as there are questions surrounding the health impact.
  • Nicotine levulinate - (nicotine with levulinic acid) allows the nicotine to affect more areas of the brain. This can increase the level of satisfaction you experience, and the length of time you experience it for.
  • Nicotine bitartrate - (nicotine bonded to two ‘moles’ of tartaric acid… it’s a chemistry term. No moles are harmed in the making of our products), provides a quicker rush than nicotine benzoate, and the concerns over health are no different to nicotine on its own.
  • Nicotine lactate - (nicotine with lactic acid), like salicylate, provides a very smooth vape, but it also slightly speeds up the rate of uptake, and allows the effects to last longer.
  • Nicotine pyruvate - (nicotine with pyruvic acid). Again, this provides one heck of a rush, and a longer effect duration, but it tastes a bit like burnt matches. When we use it, it’s only one component of an overall mix of salts. Works surprisingly well with tobacco flavours.
That’s the A-Z of salts, what we use and what we don’t, and why we do or don’t use them. They all have different tastes as well as effects, but we won’t give you information overload just yet (but may do in a future blog).

Why Use Nic Salts?

Eliquid containing Nicotine Salts are made for people who don’t like the throat hit provided by ‘freebase’ nicotine. Freebase is just a fancy word for ‘the chemical on its own, when it has been isolated from a more complex group of compounds’. Here you are just looking for something to vape, and here we are giving chemistry lessons! Sorry about that – we just want to answer all the likely questions you may have. As we said above, nicotine salts are perfectly natural within the tobacco leaf, and using nicotine salts makes it easier to use higher e-liquid strengths without the ‘throat hit’ that some people don’t get on with. It’s also made for heavy smokers. If you smoke 20 or more per day, then it’s likely you’ll want lots of nicotine and you’ll probably want a fair amount of power from your vape device. If that’s the case, you may find freebase nicotine too harsh to manage. Nicotine salts allow you to get more oomph from your vape without tickling your throat in the process. It’s also made for people who, when they need nicotine, they really need nicotine, and need to feel it as quickly and fully as possible. It’s not as kind to coils as freebase nicotine, so you will get through standard coils at a faster rate than with our standard nicotine products. That said, some devices come with coils specially designed for salts, and they last much longer than standard coils with salt forms of nicotine.
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