What is Nicotine Salts?
The most important thing to remember is that NICOTINE SALTS IS ONLY MEANT TO BE USED IN SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS.
Nicotine salt is the form of nicotine found in tobacco leaves. Unlike the nicotine ordinarily used, these salts aren’t just nicotine; they’re compounds containing nicotine and another organic components. This could be in combination with one or more of the other chemicals in tobacco leaves, but the result is the same – a more stable molecule is formed.
The form of nicotine ordinarily used is called “freebase” nicotine. This is nicotine not bonded to anything else, and is generally considered preferable purposes because it’s a more “volatile” form of nicotine.
The story so far is a little confusing. Companies offering nicotine salt juices claim that it’s much more satisfying than traditional freebase nicotine, and yet the tobacco industry appears to have come to the exact opposite conclusion. Are nicotine salt products just a marketing gimmick?
This would have been the case were it not for some experiments performed by Pax Labs. Through many experiments with different formulations, their researchers discovered that specific nicotine salts actually appeared to work better than freebase nicotine. They call the finding “unexpected,” but tests of the blood nicotine levels obtained by users confirm the results.
The key ingredient was benzoic acid, which was added to control the specific nicotine salt formed. By considering the reactions that occur at high temperatures, they were able to create containing nicotine salts that still got you plenty of usable nicotine when used.
The additional benefit is the effect of the acid on the pH (i.e. whether it’s acidic or basic/alkaline). In general, a higher pH leads to more freebase nicotine, but it also makes the resulting mixture harsher.
By adding benzoic acid, the nicotine salt mixture has a lower pH and is less harsh, but chemical reactions occur when heat is applied that maintain high freebase nicotine content. This means you can comfortably use higher-nicotine mixers.
The truth is that the tobacco companies did have it right, but the reality isn’t quite as simple as “freebase is better.” Through more experimentation and consideration of conditions (where temperatures are lower in general), Pax Labs has found a way to make nicotine salts a viable method of usage, and arguably a better one.
Taking a step away from the science of nicotine salt, what does this all mean for you as a user? Why should you try nicotine salts rather than just sticking to ordinary freebase nicotine?
- You’ll get more nicotine, more quickly: In general, nicotine salts formed using a suitable acid and paired with the right sort of device seem to get nicotine to your blood more quickly.
- Nicotine salt has a longer shelf-life: Nicotine salts are more stable than freebase nicotine, which means that nicotine salts will last longer in storage without the nicotine degrading.
- You don’t need a powerful device: Nicotine salts are more efficient at getting you nicotine, so you don’t need to compensate with a 150 W box mod – a simple, tiny device can be just as satisfied.
Nicotine salts is intended for use in lower-power devices. The JUUL is a great example of a device that would ideally be used for nicotine salts. It’s compact and low in power output. Pod-style Hardware are optimal for nicotine salts, but you can use more conventional, easily refillable hardware too. A basic pen-like device will offer more than enough power to get a satisfying feeling from a higher-nicotine salt blend.
The big advantage here is for newer users, who will both benefit from the more efficient nicotine absorption and the fact that you don’t need overly complicated gear to get the most from it. If you have a higher-power device, you can also get nicotine salts in lower nicotine levels too. Whether these are actually noticeably better than ordinary freebase nicotine at the same nicotine level is unclear, because one of the big benefits of using nicotine salts is that higher nicotine levels can be comfortably used.
Is it Dangerous?
This is an understandable question, but the truth is that nicotine salt itself is probably just as safe as freebase nicotine. Ultimately, even if it’s originally in the form of a salt, the nicotine affects the body in the same way, so there are no real differences in terms of risks.
However, there is one important factor to consider. To make nicotine salts work in mixers, benzoic acid is added to the mix. While this isn’t known to be very toxic to humans, most of the evidence concerns ingestion rather than inhalation. Studies on animals suggest little risk, but the truth is that we’re not too sure what the long-term effects will be for humans inhaling benzoic acid at the concentrations found in nicotine salts.
Despite this big question mark over the risks of inhaling benzoic acid, it goes without saying that using nicotine salts is still going to be much, much safer than smoking. In addition, the reduction in the amount of cloud you’ll have to inhale could arguably make a high-strength nicotine salts even safer to use than an ordinary mix.