What are Nicotine Salts?

Summary: What are Nicotine Salts?

Nicotine salt (also known as nic salt) is naturally synthesised in the tobacco leaf and is widely considered to be the most stable form of nicotine. It outclasses the traditional freebase nicotine found in most e-liquids in this respect, while also being tolerated in higher concentrations by the human body.

The Benzoic Acid which nic salts contain makes the nicotine more bioavailable. Furthermore, the lower pH content allows users to consume e-liquids with higher nicotine concentrations without having to deal with the harsh throat hits delivered by similar strength freebase nicotine e-juices.

Freebase Nicotine

In order to understand why nicotine salts have recently surged in popularity, we must first look to the type of nicotine which they are displacing in the market: freebase nicotine.

Freebase nicotine is purer than other nicotine derivatives, making for a faster absorption rate and higher potency. This type of nicotine was first discovered in the mid 1950’s by tobacco companies and has been a mainstay since the early 60’s.

In order to produce freebase nicotine, the pH levels in nicotine are tampered with until the substance is deprotonated. Once deprotonated, nicotine particles can move more freely and swiftly through organic membranes, making freebase nicotine more potent than unaltered nicotine. The deprotonation process also removes all naturally occurring salts from the chemical.

Visual representation of nicotine's chemical make-up

Photo credit: khuntapol/Shutterstock

What are Nic Salts?

Nic salts move further towards fine-tuning nicotine for human consumption by engaging in further chemical optimisation. This time, Benzoic Acid is added to the naturally occurring nicotine salts.

Synthesised naturally in the tobacco leaf, nicotine salts maintain their chemical make-up even after being extracted and inserted into e-liquid. However, this naturally occurring chemical would still:

  • require being heated up to exceedingly high temperatures to be vaped;
  • be less bioavailable when compared to freebase nicotine.

Thus, vaping using unaltered nic salt e-liquids is not the most efficient way of satisfying your body’s nicotine craving, as these are not as easily absorbed by the body compared to their freebase counterparts. However, the reason why nic salts have surged in popularity is because they have been improved using a special ingredient called Benzoic Acid. This makes them much more palatable at higher nicotine concentrations when compared to freebase nicotine e-liquids.

Benzoic Acid allows:

  • for vaporising at much lower temperatures;
  • for a smoother throat hit, due to lower pH levels;
  • the body to absorb nic salts just as easily as freebase nicotine.


Nicotine Salts vs Freebase Nicotine

Nic salts are better due to:

  • their simulation of the sensation felt when smoking regular cigarettes;
  • the smoother throat hit provided;
  • their ability to quench one’s nicotine craving in fewer puffs.

For those wanting a vaping experience that comes as close as possible to smoking real cigarettes (if you are transitioning from smoking to vaping, for example), nic salts are the better option. Nic salts mirror the sensation felt when smoking regular cigarettes closer than anything else currently on the market.

Furthermore, the smoother throat hit can prove to be an important selling point for many vapers. Moreover, another advantage of nic salts over freebase nicotine is that users will be able to quench their nicotine craving with fewer puffs. This not only translates into less time spent vaping, but also into reduced e-liquid usage and less overall costs.

two men talking to vape shop owner in his vape shop while vaping

Photo credit: Iconic Bestiary/Shutterstock


Overall, nic salts are better for those wanting to vape higher concentration e-liquids. They will also satisfy those who have just recently given up smoking and are looking to replicate the sensation felt when using regular cigarettes as closely as possible. Even though there is not enough evidence to fully support the claim that vaping is healthier than smoking, making the switch from cigarettes to nic salt e-liquid will still provide some immediate benefits in terms of throat pain and nicotine absorption.

Keep in mind that not all vaping devices can be used in conjunction with nic salts. If you’re unsure as to whether the device you own can be used for vaping nic salts, contact us and one of our experts will be in touch as soon as possible. 

< Back to Blog
Posted in News
< Previous Article Next Article >


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.