Nic Salts – The What, Why and How

/ 6 min read

Nic Salts – The What, Why and How

What is a Nic Salt and how it is different?

Freebase Nicotine

Before we get into nic salts themselves, we should first understand a little more about the other, more common form of nicotine in vaping – freebase, which is present within most of the e-liquids on the market today. 

Freebase nicotine is created by purifying natural nicotine found within the tobacco leaf, isolating the nicotine molecule, and separating it from the other materials found in its natural state.

This process, called “deprotonation” creates a highly concentrated form of nicotine that is then added to base material like PG for use in e-liquids. This process, called “deprotonation” has a drawback, however – by increasing the concentration of the nicotine, its alkalinity (the opposite of acidity) is also increased.

That’s why many vapers experience a harsher throat hit in higher strength e-liquids.

Nic Salts

In chemistry, a salt is formed from a chemical reaction that has a positive charge (acid) and a negative charge (base) and Nic Salts are no different – A good example in vaping would be Nicotine Salicylate, which is made by adding salicylic acid to freebase nicotine, modifying it’s properties in ways many vapers will find appealing.

The addition of the acid lowers the natural pH level of the nicotine, which means it has a less harsh throat hit even at higher strengths like 18mg, not only that, it also makes it easier for your body to absorb the nicotine, delivering deeper satisfaction for your cravings.

There are a few different types of nic salt currently used in e-liquids such as Benzoate, Ditartrate, Levulinate and Salicylate, with some varieties even modifying aspects beyond throat hit and nicotine absorption – boosting or reducing an e-liquids sweetness and even adding cooling effects!

At EDGE, we use Nicotine Salicylate in our nic salts because our trials found this formulation to be the best performing on flavour delivery, satisfaction, and safety.

Why Should I Use Nic Salts?

Using a Nic Salt E-liquid provides two main benefits:

  1. When inhaled, the nicotine absorbs much faster into your body through the blood/brain barrier. This results in not only a bigger hit but also a much faster-acting and longer-lasting satisfaction that recent ex-smokers will find much closer to the experience of a traditional cigarette. 
  2. The reduction in the natural pH of the nicotine means that even at higher strengths, your e-liquid will provide a very smooth vape with a greatly reduced throat hit – essentially your 18mg now feels like a 6 on your throat, but packs more craving-busting punch than ever before. 

Ex-Smokers and New Vapers

A common bugbear for ex-smokers struggling with the transition to vaping is that they find the experience to be less satisfying or less effective in suppressing their cravings. In fact, within the September 2019 ASH GB Vaping Report, it was found that of the 43% of smokers who had tried vaping, failed to sustain their vaping journey, with the main reasons reported being:

  1. Vaping did not feel like smoking a cigarette, 
  2. Vaping did not help deal with cravings,
  3. They only tried them to see what they were like.

Using nic salts is likely to give these recent converts a far better chance of sustaining their vaping journey and ensuring that their switch is a successful one. The properties of nic salt e-liquids resolve the first two issues highlighted in ASH’s study, delivering significantly more craving satisfaction as well as a vaping experience that is far closer to a traditional cigarette. 

Another common issue for new vapers, particularly those who were previously heavy smokers is that even if they persist with vaping, they find themselves using their device significantly more frequently than they ever used to smoke, just to match the level of satisfaction their cigarettes used to provide. Nic salts once again act to resolve this issue.

Having such a rapid absorption rate and longer-lasting satisfaction means that Nic Salt users will likely not have the desire to continuously vape. That also means you’ll get through fewer coils and less e-liquid in general, saving you time and money, which can be important factors in sustaining a vaping journey.

Don’t just take our word for it though - The chart below displays results from a 2020 study, where a consistent dosage of different nicotine salts was compared against freebase nicotine, and Pall Mall cigarettes, to assess their effect on blood nicotine levels.

The results found that nicotine salts performed much more in-line with Pall Mall cigarettes, with some even outperforming Pall Mall, while the freebase nicotine found in standard e-liquids was significantly behind. 

Source: Lauterstein, D., Savidge, M., Chen, Y., Weil, R. and Yeager, R.P., (2020). Nonanimal toxicology testing approaches for traditional and deemed tobacco products in a complex regulatory environment: Limitations, possibilities, and future directions. Toxicology in Vitro, 62, p.104684. / Bowen, A. and Xing, C., PLOOM Inc, 2014. Nicotine salt formulations for aerosol devices and methods thereof. U.S. Patent Application 14/271,071.

EDGE Nic Salts

AT EDGE we offer a fantastic range of Nic Salts for you to try. Featuring e-liquid flavours you know and love, re-created using our carefully developed Nic Salt formula

Heizen - Our classic crowd-pleasing blend of blue raspberry, white grape aniseed and menthol.

Very Menthol – our all-time best-selling blend of cool menthol and crisp peppermint.

Forest Fruits – our lush combination of rich, dark fruits.

In addition, our latest development – Menthol Tobacco combines delicately balanced light and dark tobacco notes with a refreshing menthol wave. With the unbeatable satisfaction of our nic salt formula, this is the perfect alternative for menthol-seekers left wanting in the fallout created by the 2020 menthol ban.

For a limited time only we are also offering special twin-packs of our award-winning Very Menthol and new Menthol Tobacco Nic Salt – with beautifully designed cartons reminiscent of golden-era cigarette pack design, these eye-catching offerings get you twice the liquid for less and are a great companion for new and seasoned vapers alike.

In Conclusion

Nic salt e-liquids won’t be for everyone, and in any instance, the user should always measure the benefits against their own needs. We have listed some scenarios below that could suggest a suitable time to try Nicotine Salt products:

  1. You are trying, or possibly struggling to quit smoking, and would like to assess an easier transitional alternative.
  2. You are a first-time vaper that has just converted from smoking.
  3. You already tried vaping but felt that the nicotine hit and craving suppression was ineffective.
  4. You already tried high strength e-liquids that satisfied your cravings but felt the throat hit was an unpleasant experience.
  5. You feel like you currently vape too much or too regularly because it’s not providing you with the “same” feeling as cigarettes (i.e, nicotine rush).

Ultimately, Nic Salts offer the user a myriad of benefits whether they want to ease their transition to vaping, simply reduce the amount they need to vape to feel satisfied, or even if they want to quit nicotine altogether.

While it might seem counter-intuitive to purchase a higher strength nic salt product when you are trying to beat a nicotine addiction. The reality is that they can empower you to better manage your cravings, control your usage and ultimately give your vaping journey a more secure start. Giving you can most effectively work your way down to a lifestyle you are comfortable with.