Nicotine Salts - POD salts, Nic Salts, what they are and who are they for?

Following on from an Article ( Nicsalts and "Freebase" Nicotine - Which one for me ? ) we wrote back in 2018 when Nic Salts first started to surface ,in In this article, Manabush describes what nic salts are, why they are used, the benefits vapers might notice and possible reasons not to use e-liquids containing nicotine salts. Hopefully, by the end, we will have answered all of your questions. If not, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information or guidance.

Do all e-liquids contain nicotine?

Not necessarily. Some people reduce their levels down but enjoy vaping so they continue to vape with non-nicotine eliquid.

Is all nicotine in e-liquid the same?

No. There are two different types of nicotine used in e-liquid. Nicotine itself is found in many forms.

In Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes, published by National Academies Press, the authors write: “Nicotine, 3-(1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinyl) pyridine, consists of a pyridine and a pyrrolidine ring, is volatile, and has a molecular weight of 162.23 (Benowitz, 2009). It is the most abundant tobacco alkaloid, making up about 95 percent of the alkaloid content of combustible tobacco cigarettes and 1.5 percent by weight in cigarette tobacco (Benowitz et al., 2009). The nicotine content of commercially available e-liquids varies from low to high (commonly 0.3–5 percent by volume) (Cameron et al., 2014Cheng, 2014Etter and Bugey, 2017Etter et al., 2013Goniewicz et al., 2015). Most of the nicotine in tobacco is the levorotary (S)-isomer; (R)-nicotine is found in much smaller quantities (0.1–0.6 percent) (Benowitz et al., 2009).”

What is freebase nicotine?

At first, all e-liquids used pharmaceutical grade freebase nicotine, a chemical compound produced from the leaves of tobacco plants. Salt nicotine occurs naturally in leaves and so freebase is an altered form of nic salts.

The nicotine is present in the leaves as a natural defence mechanism against predators, making the leaves poisonous to insects and therefore not good for eating.

It is an alkaloid occurring in the nightshade family of plants - tobacco, tomato, potato, aubergine, and green pepper.

How do nicotine salts differ from freebase nicotine?

Tobacco companies had been accused of doctoring their products to make them more addictive, something that was denied, and involved a protonated (or salt) form of freebase nicotine.

Protonating involves adding a charged atomic particle (a proton) to nicotine’s chemical structure. Freebase nicotine is made by de-protonating salt nicotine extracted from the leaves – so adding the proton back in is reverting the compound to its native form.

Commentators attribute the rise of the Marlboro cigarette brand due to its inclusion of nicotine salts in products. In 2014, PAX Labs obtained a patent for nic salts that were produced when mixing freebase nicotine with an acid to produce the salt version of nicotine.

Why did companies want to produce nic salts?

Pax Labs discovered that it was possible for nicotine users to inhale higher strengths of nic salts easier than higher strengths of freebase nicotine. This meant that while competitors were supplying products that typically contained 12mg/ml nicotine concentrations, Juul pods were able to contain 50mg/ml – a concentration that, were it in freebase form, most would find unvapeable.

Research showed that at multiple levels of power output from an electronic device, the user experienced a higher nicotine yield after vaping with nic salt e-liquids than by using the more traditional freebase nicotine juices. This means the vaper would be satisfied quicker, with fewer inhales.

How are nic salts produced?

Most commonly, manufacturers of pharmaceutical grade nicotine use benzoic acid to change freebase nicotine back into salt nicotine.

What is the difference produced by using salt nicotine?

Vapers can experience a number of benefits:

  1. Salt nicotine vaporises at a lower temperature compared to freebase nicotine, meaning a vaper can apply less power from their device to obtain a satisfactory vape.
  2. Salt nicotine has a lower pH than freebase nicotine as a result of protonation, i.e salt nicotine is less alkaline than freebase nicotine. This means the user finds salt nicotine eliquids smoother to vape.
  3. Salt nicotine is more readily absorbed into the blood stream which leads to a sense of fulfilment quicker than using freebase nicotine of a comparable strength.

Are there any other differences I would notice when using salt nicotine?

Many vapers say that the experience they get from using e-liquids containing nic salts is more similar to the taste they used get from smoking.

Who should use nic salts?

Nic salts would be appropriate for those looking for a more authentic smoking experience, given the similarity to the flavour of the nicotine produced by cigarettes.

Given the taste difference, the speed of absorption into the blood system, and the potential to use higher strength liquids, nic salt e-liquids would be particularly recommended to current smokers trying to switch to vaping or recent ex-smokers trying not to fall back into using cigarettes.

Are nic salts more suited for one style of vaping?

Yes. Noting that people are all different and this may not apply, nic salts are generally used by mouth-to-lung (MTL) vapers.

It is generally accepted that nic salt e-liquids are best used at low wattages due to the fact that nicotine is absorbed more readily.

An additional benefit of vaping in this style using salt nicotine is that you will consume less e-liquid and cut down on your monthly outlay.

Why shouldn’t I use nic salt liquids?

Some people just don’t need a lot of nicotine. If you are a current vaper using VG-heavy juices and higher wattages, you are probably already finding satisfaction with the level of nicotine you consume.

Light smokers may also find that nic salts would deliver too much nicotine for them. You would notice this because vaping them may make you feel nauseas or give you a headache.

Are nic salt e-liquids safe?

Nicotine salt e-liquids are as safe as freebase nicotine ones.

The relative safety of using e-liquid instead of smoking tobacco has been assessed by Public Health England, it says that vaping either form of nicotine is “at least 95% safer than smoking”.

What Nic-Salts do Manabush supply?

Manabush have quite a range of Nicotine salt E-liquids for your MTL Vaping pleasure, we have a small number of our own Firewater ones, and are curating a large collection from some of the finest Nic-Salt manufacturers which can be found here : Nic Salts E-liquids. POD salts


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