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What is Nic Salt?

4th Oct 2023

A bottle of Nic Salts on a Table

First developed in the mid-2010s for vapers with higher nicotine needs, nic salt e-liquid quickly emerged as the top choice among owners of smaller vaping devices and has achieved about the same level of popularity as traditional freebase nicotine vape juice.

Nic salt juice adds another option for vapers who want to customise their experience, and that’s a good thing because having more options available can only increase your odds of giving up smoking successfully.

Having more than one type of e-liquid available can be confusing, though, if you’re new to vaping and are buying vape juice for the first time. If you buy the wrong type of e-liquid for your vaping device, you could end up feeling unsatisfied and might have difficulty managing your nicotine cravings. It’s also possible to experience the other extreme and find vaping unpleasant because you’re consuming much more nicotine than you need. We want to make sure that those things won’t happen.

So, what is nic salt, and do you need it for your vaping device? It’s time to learn the answers to those questions.

Nic salt vape juice is the top choice for pod systems and other small vape starter kits, and we carry the widest range of nicotine salts in the UK.


Getting Started: Where Does the Nicotine for E-Liquid Come From?

Before you can truly understand what nic salt juice is, it’s helpful to understand where the nicotine for e-liquid comes from. Until nicotine salt e-liquid was invented, all of the vape juice on the market used freebase nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves. For that reason, standard e-liquid is also called freebase e-liquid.

Nicotine is naturally a salt before it’s extracted from tobacco leaves. However, the process of extracting it usually involves the use of an alkaline solvent such as ammonia. Adjusting the alkalinity frees the nicotine from the salt and converts it into a free base, increasing the yield of the extraction. Freebase nicotine is the basis of virtually all nicotine replacement products such as gums, lozenges and patches. Until e-liquid with nic salt was developed, all of the vape juice on the market used freebase nicotine.

What Are Nic Salts?

Although freebase e-liquid works well for most vaping scenarios, it does have one shortcoming in that it is fairly alkaline. The alkalinity isn’t noticeable at low nicotine strengths. Most smaller vaping devices, though, deliver the best performance with high-nicotine e-liquids – and at high strengths, some people find that freebase e-liquid creates a scratchy and irritating sensation in the throat.

Nicotine salt e-liquid is created by adding a mild acid to a standard vape juice base. The acid lowers the alkalinity of the nicotine and triggers a molecular change that converts the nicotine from a freebase back into a salt. In terms of ingredients, that’s the only difference between freebase e-liquid and nic salts – nicotine salt e-liquid contains an added acid.

What About Synthetic Nicotine?

Although most e-liquid uses nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves, synthetic tobacco-free nicotine has also become popular in recent years. Synthetic nicotine is created in laboratories. It’s not made from tobacco and contains no tobacco-derived ingredients. Some companies have marketed tobacco-free nicotine as a purer option for e-liquid, but the pharmaceutical-grade nicotine used by the vaping industry is already nearly 100-percent pure. The main benefit of synthetic nicotine is that it has helped the vaping industry to further distance itself from the tobacco industry. Synthetic nicotine is available in both freebase and nic salt forms.

Nyx Juicy 10ml Nic Salt E-Liquid

What Is the Benefit of Nic Salt Juice?

Some vape juice makers have marketed nic salt juice as an option that allows you to get a stronger nicotine hit. That isn’t strictly true. Freebase nicotine is actually more volatile than nicotine salt, and that allows it to enter your bloodstream more quickly. Nicotine salt e-liquid only gives you a stronger nicotine hit than freebase e-liquid if it has a higher nicotine strength.

The fact that nicotine salt has a more neutral pH than freebase nicotine is its main benefit. At high nicotine strengths, nic salt juice feels smoother and is less likely to cause throat irritation. Nicotine salt improves the vaping experience for people who might otherwise be unable to use high-nicotine e-liquids due to the overpowering throat hit.

Should I Buy Nic Salt E-Liquid for My Device?

Now that you understand what nic salts are, it’s time to decide whether nicotine salt e-liquid is the right choice for you. Nic salt juice usually comes in high nicotine strengths ranging from 10 mg/ml to 20 mg/ml. Because of the higher strengths, it’s important to make sure that you’re using the right type of device for nicotine salt. If you’re using a device with higher vapour production, using nic salt may cause you to consume more nicotine than you need.

The best type of vaping device for nic salt is a small device that’s designed for mouth-to-lung inhalation and produces small vapour clouds. The ideal devices for nicotine salt include:

If you’re new to vaping and are using a small device like the ones mentioned above, nicotine salt e-liquid is probably the right choice for you because it will allow you to enjoy a cigarette-like level of satisfaction without throat irritation. If you decide that you need a bit more throat hit, you should consider trying a high-strength freebase e-liquid instead. Our V2 Platinum E-Liquid is a great option for those who want a more robust experience.

Are you having trouble choosing the right type of e-liquid for your needs? Try a disposable vape. You’ll get a preview of what the experience is like with nic salt e-liquid without the need to invest in a full starter kit and a bottle of e-liquid.

What Nic Salt Strength Should I Buy?

If you use a refillable vaping device, you’ll buy your vape juice by the bottle – and that means you’ll need to choose your nicotine strength. Most brands of nicotine salt e-liquid have two different strengths available, and the two most common strengths are 10 mg/ml and 20 mg/ml.

  • You should usually start with the higher strength if you’re currently a full-time smoker and are trying to switch to vaping. If you don’t enjoy the experience because you feel like you’re getting too much nicotine, step down to the lower strength.
  • You should consider using the lower strength if you’re a part-time or social smoker because your nicotine requirements aren’t high. You should also use the lower strength if you’ve already switched from smoking to vaping and want to try nicotine salt simply because you’re curious about it.