Even if you are new to vaping, you’ve probably heard of nic salts. The new craze in vaping basically lets you vape at higher nicotine strength — but without the rough throat hit that you would get when using free-base e-liquids.
Are nic salts better than free-base nicotine? And if so, should you switch?
What are nic salts?
Nicotine salt is basically the natural state of nicotine in tobacco leaves. Its chemical makeup as well as the way it is extracted make nicotine salts a more stable form of nicotine.
The first company to use nic salts was Pax Labs. They found a way to use nicotine salt to deliver a high concentration of nicotine — 50mg. The goal was to give vapers the sensation that was as close to smoking as possible — and the attempt was very successful.
So, are nic salt e-juices just tobacco leaves extracts? Not exactly — there is also a secret ingredient, benzoic acid. What benzoic acid does is help nic salts vaporize at lower temperatures and helps achieve the afore-mentioned smooth throat hit.
What is the main difference between nic salts and free-base?
The main difference between the two is what you get from the experience. When you vape free-base, you will get a tougher throat hit as you increase the nicotine level. This happens because of a higher pH level that makes the liquid more alkaline. Thus, if you are an ex-smoker who used to smoke a pack or more a day, you may find it difficult to get the level of satisfaction when smoking free-base without getting a really harsh throat hit.
Nic salts are less alkaline — and this means you will be able to handle nicotine concentrations of as high as 50mg without the rough aftertaste.
How to vape nic salt e-liquids?
Pretty much the same way you would vape free-base. With one condition: you will need to use low wattage devices. With high-powered devices, nic salts would deliver too much nicotine into your system and the experience would not be at all pleasant.
As we have stated above, the salt nics are designed to be used in lower wattage devices due to the higher amount of nicotine absorbed as well as not requiring to vaporize at higher temperatures.
Using low wattage devices comes with its own set of benefits that would appeal to ex-smokers. They tend to be smaller, sleeker, more discreet, easier to use and most of them are draw-activated. Typically, you would be able to choose between open systems (where you can refill the tank with e-liquid manually) and closed systems (where things are even easier and you will simply need to replace your pod or cartridge when you’re out of juice). Currently, some of the most popular devices for vaping nic salts come from JUUL, IQ Vape, SMOK, Aspire and some others.
Do you vape free-base or nicotine salts? What is your favorite?