Nicotine Salts: Origins
Over the past few years, nicotine salts have been making a name for themselves in the vaping community. It is different than your standard e-liquid. Many people have turned to nicotine salts as a means to help them cut down on their nicotine intake, or to quit smoking altogether. But what are the origins of nicotine salts? Where do they come from? Let’s take a look.
Nicotine salts come from the natural salts found in tobacco plants. They are made up of positively charged ionized nicotine molecules that are bound to negatively charged organic conjugates. We are used to freebase nicotine, which is the extraction of the tobacco salts and using ammonia to increase the pH level, returning the nicotine back to a neutrally charged freebase state. This is what is found in “traditional” e-liquids.
The nicotine on tobacco leaves is significantly more acidic than the nicotine found in common nicotine extract. On a pH scale, tobacco leaf nicotine would be around a 5, while the extract nicotine would be more of an 8. What does that mean? That means that the more acidic nicotine sits in the lungs longer. But nicotine salts are a lot smoother and does not give you that harsh “throat hit” like the more acidic nicotine does.
Nicotine salts aim to mimic the same nicotine provided by smoking a cigarette, as it is absorbed into the bloodstream a lot quicker than freebase nicotine in generic e-liquids. This means the nicotine hit is felt quicker from inhaling vaporized e-liquid containing nic salts. On average, it takes about 6 to 7 seconds for nicotine to take effect when smoking a cigarette or vaping freebase nicotine. Vaping nic salts provides a much quicker hit.
Although American manufacturers PAX are credited for introducing the market to nicotine salts in 2015, many companies like JUUL and Element E-Liquid are crafting their e-liquids using nicotine salts; mainly for closed system e-cigarettes and mods. Over the past year-and-a-half they have become a big hit with vape enthusiasts and those new to vaping, including former cigarette smokers or those looking to cut down on their nicotine intake.
But wait! Nicotine salts – or nic-salts – are not just for closed system devices. Nicotine salts are available for refillable – or open system – devices. Some prefer the flexibility to blend flavors of their liking and experiment with different tastes. A refillable system gives them that freedom to do so.
Keep in mind that salt-based nicotine tends to darken the liquid it is mixed with. Don’t panic, it is not oxidation (when nicotine spoils and makes the flavor harsher). The darkening is a pretty common occurrence.
Although nic-salts are just starting to break into mainstream vaping, numerous people have already said they see benefits to it. Some have used it as a form of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy). Others use it to bridge the gap between smoking combustible cigarettes to quitting smoking completely. Whatever the use, nicotine salts have already proved to be a much easier vape than traditional e-liquids.