Are Nicotine Salts Worth the Hype?
Wed 16 May 2018
Just reading the word salt makes me salivate. Salt is a wonderful product. It enhances the flavour of our favourite foods, and it tastes damn good on its own. When I heard about a new phenomenon called salt-based nicotine, I just had to try it.
The nicotine traditionally used in e-liquids is commonly known as “freebase” nicotine. The main benefits of freebase nicotine is how easy the nicotine is delivered to the end user, it vapourises with ease and doesn’t really lose any potency when being turned into a gaseous form. As a liquid, the density is ideal for mixing with the PG and VG. The cost is low too.
So why the alternative? Well, as many vapers will testify, coming off cigarettes is difficult even with great tools because of the body’s craving for nicotine. The natural thought process for somebody stopping smoking is to get as much nicotine as possible to kill off any cravings for a smoke.
With freebase nicotine, higher mg levels often results in a serious throat hit, and an uncomfortable introduction to vaping, on many occasions putting would-be vapers off for good.
The major benefit to and big selling point of salt-based nicotines it is said, is that this problem is resolved, vaping 18mg salts is as comparably smooth as vaping 0mg freebase. This is reportedly due to an ingredient called benzoic acid, added to reduce and somewhat neutralise the high pH level of freebase nicotine. Some tests have reported that the nicotine gets to the blood more quickly too which could reduce puffs per vape. We thought we would put it to the test.
I gave up nicotine some time ago but was willing to put myself on the line (for science of course, not the great buzz I knew I would get!) The salts were to be vaped at 6mg, 12mg and 18mg at 30, 50 and 70 watts over 2 flavours.
In all honesty, I have to say it was by and large spot on. The memories flooded back, but not of sore throats. The consistency was almost as good as the freebase, if it says 12mg, it is pretty much exactly as you would expect which is great.
The higher 70 watts of power did change the feel a little bit and became a little unpleasant. A little sickly is the best way to describe it, and overpowering in some way. But nothing you would call a big throat hit. This was the case at all mg levels, the best results were certainly at 30 and 50mg.
The downsides however compared to freebase nicotine are the price, and the impact on coils. The coils (from my vaping anyway) seemed to clog a lot quicker. As a buyer of coils rather than a builder, this was a concern, but I least I know that it isn’t too much hassle to remedy. The prices I have seen are variable too, expect to pay roughly double what you pay for standard freebase nicotine. Like all markets though, if salts become more popular, the market will quickly grow and prices will reduce.
My view is this, if you enjoy nicotine at 10mg or above, I would highly recommend salts. The price difference can in theory be negated if you vape purely to satisfy addiction than for pleasure, as you can comfortably increase the mg, reduce how often you vape and therefore buy less juice.
If you vape between 6mg and 10mg and rebuild your own coils, or replace them regularly anyway, then again I would recommend this as an alternative. Anything less than that and I probably wouldn’t bother.
Overall, I am glad that I tried this nicotine. Ultimately, if the aim is to stop smoking, then this is a truly great product to help do so. Please let us know your views!
Written by ELFC content creator Alex Blatherwick
Further reading: Nicotine Shots - What are they used for?