Contrary to its name, salt nicotine doesn’t resemble salt. It is a liquid just like the freebase nicotine you have used in the past.
Pharmaceutical nicotine commonly known as freebase nicotine is extracted from tobacco leaves, although typically not from the same family of tobacco used for smoking. This is due to smoking tobacco usually having much less nicotine per plant than is needed to produce freebase nicotine.
Nicotine is found in all members of the nightshade family ranging from tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and of course tobacco. However, only certain species of tobacco can yield enough nicotine to produce a freebase nicotine.
To create nicotine salts one or more organic compounds are bonded to the freebase nicotine. This process in effect makes a more PH neutral compound. Creating less harshness or ‘throat hit’ to the vapour allowing for a higher level of nicotine without the harshness freebase nicotine would add.
Freebase nicotine is not bonded with any other compound making it rather volatile. In vaping, we will see this diluted in PG or VG to make it safer to work with. If adding your own nicotine to your e-juice we recommend PG with 100mg of nicotine per millilitre due to its shelf life, ease of use and primarily safety.
How does this affect its application in sub-ohm devices?
Low wattage devices typically are Mouth to Lung and have a coil at or above 1 ohm in resistance. These typically produce less vapour meaning the nicotine level can be higher before becoming too harsh on the throat to be comfortable. Pod devices such as the Suorin Drop or Uwell Caliburn/Koko fit this category well. High strength salts like the 20mg and up lines such I Love Salts by Mad Hatter, NKD 100 salts and Dinner Lady Salts should generally only be used with low wattage or pod-style devices.
With sub-ohm devices and particularly Direct to Lung sub-ohm devices commonly available nicotine salts can still be used. Such as the One Hit Wonder line up which comes in 3mg and 6mg. Most of the time, you will see a warning in the product description letting you know when the juice is not suitable for sub-ohm use. We see nicotine salt base used commonly for this purpose.
What does all that mean for me?
A longer shelf life due to the compound being more stable it can be stored in the same way as freebase nicotine but takes longer to degrade.
Faster absorption into the bloodstream, freebase nicotine is generally much slower to enter the bloodstream than both nicotine salt and tobacco. Nicotine salt is much closer the way the body processes nicotine from tobacco, it peaks fast and holds its ground.
Less throat hit due to having a more neutral PH content the vapour isn’t as harsh allowing to go a higher milligram without the same discomfort experienced from freebase nicotine.
The devices designed to use nicotine salts consume less e-liquid with a higher milligram it allows less wattage to be used, this creates a smaller, more discrete device that produces less vapour and uses less e-liquid.
It is comparable in strength to freebase, 100mg/ml salt nicotine is the same strength as 100mg/ml freebase nicotine and is calculated the same way when mixing. Using our calculator, it can be found here.