They may be gaining in popularity, but many vapers still don’t know what nic salts are. Despite this, more and more people are deciding every day that nic salt pods—both pre-filled and refillable—are the right choice for their vaping lifestyle. By working to better understand nic salts and why they can be a better vaping choice, you can make a more informed decision as a consumer and make sure that your vaping is the best it can be.
Don’t Get Salty
Despite the name, nic salts are completely unrelated to the table variety that goes on your french fries. In chemistry, a salt is the result of combining an acid and a base—table salt, for example, is a combination of sodium and chloride. In much the same way, what nic salts are is a combination of high-pH pure nicotine with an acid. Naturally occurring nicotine in tobacco plants is in a salt state, and that was a problem for big cigarette manufacturers in the last century.
Big tobacco was looking for ways to make their cigarettes more potent and addictive. To do this, they extracted the pure nicotine from tobacco leaves and combined it with another base, ammonia, to increase its ability to enter the body. By infusing cigarettes with this freebase nicotine, brands could offer their customers a stronger, faster-acting smoke. This same freebase nicotine was the basis for traditional e-juice, long before nic salt pods came along.
The nicotine salts being offered for vaping are not the same as the naturally occurring salts found in tobacco leaves, but they are closer in composition to freebase nicotine, which was the point of their development. In order to find a more cigarette-like experience, researchers experimented with combining various acids with nicotine. That is what vaping nic salts are. Pure nicotine combined with (usually) benzoic acid and various flavorings.
The Chemistry Between Benzoic Acid And Nicotine
The naturally occurring nicotine salts in the tobacco plant would not make good vaping nic salts. They are harsher and take a much higher heat (like the smoldering fire in a cigarette’s cherry) to release the nicotine compound for inhalation. They also aren’t very efficient at absorption. After all, that’s why big tobacco was trying to find ways to boost the nicotine hit their smokers were getting. The chemical reactions between benzoic acid and nic salts are what allow vaping salts to work so well.
- First, a salt of nicotine and benzoic acid lowers the atomization temperature to something more manageable in a handheld device, like those that use nic salt pods. This lower temperature means that less power is expended and less heat is created. From safety and battery life cycle considerations, this is huge, as it allows frequent all-day vaping without as much risk of dangerous overheating or overload.
- Second, the chemical reaction as the nic salt heats releases the nicotine in a form that more easily enters the bloodstream. This creates a bioavailability similar to freebase nicotine, but with much higher nicotine concentrations. This is what gives salts a reputation of hitting harder faster.
When combined, these qualities are what make nic salts so popular.
How The Vaping Experience Evolved
Vaping is based on taking a traditional action—in this case, smoking—and evolving it with technology to create a better experience. The creation of nic salts is the most recent extension of this evolution, and had an impact on vaping that is still being felt:
- Smoother Hits - Due to a combination of lower pH levels as compared to freebase nicotine solutions and a lower atomization temperature, the feel on your throat and lungs is far more mellow with nic salts. For traditional vapers who are tired of irritated mucosa, nic salts can let them get their nic without returning to cigarettes or other tobacco delivery methods.
- More Efficient Vaping - While you can always create bigger tanks and batteries, nic salts are what make some of today’s small-yet-powerful devices possible. Depending on the configuration, they can use less power and less liquid per puff, stretching both your money and the time you have between refills and recharges.
- Stronger, Faster Vaping - Everyone has had to rush a vape break because a meeting ran over, you had places to be, or company had arrived. With the stronger hits possible using nic salts, you can get your nicotine faster, making even the quickest puffs satisfying.
- Increased Convenience - One of the big developments to come from nic salts are the creation of systems designed for nic salt pods. Devices like the Juul make swapping flavor easy. Just take a pod and pop it in. Rather than cleaning a tank, swapping coils, etc. that is necessary on some large traditional vapes, you can be ready to go in seconds without wasting or cross-contaminating any of your vaping liquid.
While nic salts are what’s best for many vapers, if you’re new to salts, you should be aware of a few things.
- Stronger Hits Can Be Too Strong - If you’re new to vaping or just salts, the increased potency can easily be too much. While most users can find their footing by starting slow and paying attention to their bodies, it’s still an experience that’s best avoided.
- Total Cost Can Be Higher - While you’re using less liquid to get the same amount of nicotine, bottle to bottle the cost for nic salts can be higher. This is highly dependent on your vaping style, strength preferences, and preferred brand. In addition, while some hardware will use both traditional and nic salt liquids, most do not. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need a new vape to explore nic salt benefits.
Vaping The Way That’s Right For You
Whether you prefer freebase nicotine or nic salts, we offer the best vaping supplies at fantastic prices. If you have any questions about our products or what nic salts are right for what equipment, contact our customer service team. Live your best vaping life with Elevated Vaping today.