Everything you ever wanted to know about Nic Salts
Over the past year, the term “Nic Salts” and “Freebase Nicotine” have both been bantered around in the vape industry. In this article, we are going to do our best to cover everything you ever wanted to know about nicotine salts. This content was created in good faith in an attempt to inform & educate our customers in the most comprehensive, non-bias manner possible. The information below is in no way a substitute for medical advise and we strongly recommend you take all precautions when making decisions relating to your personal health, wellness, and lifestyle. In the end, we hope you are able to decide if nicotine salts are an appealing option for you.
What is “Freebase" Nicotine?
Freebase nicotine is another way of saying “pure nicotine” with nothing changed to it chemically. It is the standard form of nicotine base used to create the vast majority of our Canadian made e-liquid at Canada Vapes and simply means that there is nothing added or removed from the nicotine. The nicotine base is added to a mixture of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) as well as flavoring to create e-liquid that is ready for use. Until the recent emergence of nic salts as an alternative to traditional nicotine, freebase nicotine was the only form of nicotine used to create e-liquid.
What is the difference between Nicotine Salts and Traditional E-liquid?
Nicotine salts are identical to traditional nicotine except for the addition of benzoic acid. Benzoic acid is added to the nicotine in order to reduce its PH levels (Alkalinity). Nicotine has a high PH level which can lead to a harsh throat hit when vaping higher nicotine levels. By reducing the PH levels using benzoic acid nic salts are able to be used in higher nicotine levels with a greatly reduced throat irritation. Vaping at higher nic levels means nicotine salts are well suited for lower-power devices. Click HERE for a complete list of compatible devices!
Is vaping Nicotine salts safe?
Generally speaking, nicotine salts are similar to traditional e-liquid as it relates to their safety. It is estimated that all forms of vaping are about 95% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes (Source: HERE). But, there are a few additional considerations with nic salts. Firstly, there may be an increased addiction to nicotine salts due to their higher strength. If you currently vape a very low (3mg or less) traditional e-liquid moving to nicotine salts could increase addiction to nicotine. This can be offset because typical nic salt users state they vape much less per hour then with traditional e-liquid.
Secondly, there are still no long term studies as to the effects of inhaling benzoic acid. This is the ingredient in nic salts that reduces the PH level and aids in the e-liquid smoothness. While it is widely considered to be a safer alternative to smoking, and some studies have lead to results that favor its safety, officially it may pose a potential risk (Source: HERE). Benzoic acid is GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the USDA, and is naturally found in many foods and added to many others, including cranberries, plumbs, beer, processed meat, soft drinks, cinnamon, pickles, ice cream, fruit juice, jams, and jellies. It is also used as a food preservative in many processed foods to extend their shelf life.
How long has nicotine salts been around?
Nic salts have been around for a number of years, but, a company called JUUL popularized them several years ago. Since then there has been a growing movement within the vaping world were nic salts have become more popular amongst vapers while also becoming more widely available.
What are the pros and cons of nic salts vs. traditional nicotine?
There are a number of potential benefits to using nic salts e-liquid while vaping, but there are also a number of considerations as well. Below we will outline the pros and cons of vaping nic salts, but, at the end of the day, it is up to you, the consumer, to make the best decision that works best for your personal health & wellness.
Advantages of Nic Salts:
- More nicotine / Less chain vaping: A common thread among vapers is chain vaping. Vapers tend to hit their vaping devices much more often than compared smokers. This is because the nicotine absorption of standard e-liquid is quite low, and requires ‘maintenance drags’ to keep the nicotine levels high. Since nic salts have a higher nicotine level that is absorbed into the bloodstream, you will need to drag from your nic salt device much less frequently than a traditional e-liquid. In fact, take too many drags close together and you might feel nauseous.
- Uses less E-liquid: Piggybacking from the first point, taking less drags equals using less e-liquid. Nic salt e-liquid will last you much longer than with traditional e-liquid, as you will very likely be vaping less often. Nic Salts are preferred by many first time vapers since nicotine salts better replicate the high levels of nicotine delivered by a tobacco cigarette. Many first time customers seem to prefer the feeling of nic salts compared to traditional e-liquid which tends to make it more popular with vapers who are quitting smoking.
- Smaller, discreet devices: Since nic salts do not require high wattage to work the majority of nic salt vaping kits and tanks are quite small. Since you don’t use as much e-liquid you don’t need a large tank. This allows for small, pocket-sized pen style vaping kits to be used with nic salts. Very convenient & hassle-free!
- Longer battery life: Much like the point above regarding tank size, since you don’t vape as often you will find that batteries in vape device or pod system last longer. This lets manufacturers make smaller devices with smaller batteries which are lighter & faster to recharge.
Disadvantages of Nic Salts:
- Limited devices: There are is a limited selection of vape pens that are specially designed to work with nic salts; so be sure to carefully review product specifications prior to making a purchase. Nic salts are not as compatible as usual e-liquid, and if you have a large battery system, it likely won’t work with nic salts. Canada Vapes strongly recommend you avoid using nic salts in sub ohm vaping devices. Click HERE for a complete list of devices compatible with nic salts!
- Fewer flavors: Nic salts are new to the market so there are not nearly as many nic salt e-liquids being produced as traditional e-liquid flavors. You may be somewhat limited in flavor options with nic salts. Canada Vapes currently carries seven unique nic salt flavor options produced by Twelve Monkeys.
- Less flavoring: The chemical composition of nic salts reduces drag length so the user tends to experience less flavoring with each haul/drag. So, Nic salt tends to mute the flavor profile & taste of the e-liquid which can come as a surprise to those not expecting this difference compared to traditional e-liquid.
- Less cloud production: For cloud chasers, nic salts will never be cool. With low levels of VG, small heating coils, and lower wattage batteries, nic salt devices simply don’t produce nearly the vapor of a full sub-ohm kit. If part of your vaping enjoyment comes from chucking huge clouds, we have an excellent assortment of High VG e-liquid & sub ohm hardware options. Want massive vapour production? Click HERE for compatible devices.
- Potentially more addictive: As we discussed earlier, if you are already using very low nicotine in your vape using nic salts may increase addiction to nicotine. While we do sell nic salts as low as 12mg/ml, most customers choose to vape nic salts at higher levels of 24mg/ml or even 36mg/ml.
- Bad press: With higher levels of nicotine and when we start using words like ‘salts’ and ‘freebase’ in our vocabulary the general public may look down on nic salts, especially as it relates to teenagers vaping. Unfortunately, there are some teenagers using vapes, particularly in combination with nic salts, as a way to produce a nicotine 'buzz' or 'high'. Canada Vapes takes every precaution to protect minors when producing, promoting, selling and shipping vaping products.
Can I mix Nic Salts and Traditional E-liquid?
Absolutely! You can easily dilute Nic Salt e-juice the same as may with traditional e-juice. As is typical when combining different ingredients/products, you may find a decrease in the flavor you experience when vaping as a result of dilution. It is fun the experiment, so do so with confidence friends!
Do Nic Salts Expire?
Yes, after approximately 2 years if unopened. This range varies depending on the brand, exposure to sunlight, how the product is stored, and other factors. Steeping your e-liquid for a time can yield some delicious results, but, if you leave it too long the product may spoil. Our recommendation; when in doubt, throw it out!
Should I start using nic salts?
This is really up to you. If you are a smoker and just starting to get into vaping, using nic salts may make it easier to quit smoking. If you want to reduce chain vaping, nic salts may let you reduce the amount of vaping. If you are happy with your current setup of e-liquid I would not recommend switching to nic salts. Before you start vaping Nic Salts ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I a heavy smoker (one or more packs a day)?
- Do I want a more genuine smoking experience, or am I looking for something new?
- Will I want smooth vapor and high nicotine?
- Do I need a stronger or more subtle nicotine "punch" (buzz)?
- Is discretion important, or are massive clouds my thing?
- How much money do I at first want to spend?
For some people using nic salts is something they do from time to time when they need it as this does not have to be an either-or situation (Traditional vs. Salts) and for many people, nic salts is a nice addition to the lineup versus something they will use exclusively. Ultimately, they're designed for people looking for that analog cigarette experience on a lower-powered device. Think: maximum hit with minimum fuss!