Nicotine Salts for Vaping — What Are They & What Are the Advantages (& Disadvantages) of Vaping on Them

Nicotine salt e-liquids have been all the rage in the vaping world for the last couple of years.

Vaping juice flavors infused with nic salts are being released left and right, and they are what every vape store owner recommends to a beginner vaper.

But… are nicotine salts the right fit for every vaper?

If you’ve been vaping for several years now, should you abandon your favorite e-liquid in favor of something that’s been infused with nicotine salts?
Probably not.

You see, nicotine salts might not be your cup of tea, especially if you don’t enjoy the heightened experience of nicotine. A veteran vaper usually enjoys the vape because of the flavor, not because of the nicotine kick (which is why a lot of us vape on zero nicotine vape liquids).

On the other hand, beginner vapers can find more success when vaping on nic salts because they’re better at providing a more substantial nicotine kick (much like a regular cigarette).

Want a device that can handle both regular vape juice and NIC salts?
Spice is the variety of life. Your vaporizer shouldn’t prevent you from switching up your vaping game every once in a while — it should encourage it!

If you’re still on the fence about nicotine salt vape juice, you’re at the right place. In this post, I’ll talk about what nicotine salts are; how are they different from regular nicotine vape juice, and what are the advantages of using nicotine salt e-juices (as well as the disadvantages).

Let’s dig in!

What Are Nicotine Salts Anyway?

Before we go into the nitty-gritty of nicotine salts, it’s important to note that there are several different types of nicotine, the most popular of which is freebase nicotine.

Freebase nicotine is an invention of tobacco companies, who created it in order to increase the yield per tobacco plant. In its natural form, all nicotine is in salt form. By adding ammonia to the manufacturing process, tobacco companies are able to squeeze every leaf out of every drop of nicotine it contains. During this process, the nicotine molecule loses a bit of itself, transforming from salt into a free base. Additionally, Phillip Morris discovered (in the 1960s) that freebase nicotine provides a more satisfying hit because it’s more bioavailable (meaning that more of it ends up in your bloodstream). That’s why freebase nic is the most common form of nicotine you can find on the market today.

Nicotine salts are simply nicotine in its natural form. They are created by adding a touch of acid to freebase nicotine (usually benzoic acid) which then helps nicotine to turn back into its natural salt form. When it comes to vaping, nicotine salts are popular because they can be mixed in higher concentrations (up to 50mg/ml vs, 18mg/ml for freebase nicotine), so they can quench your nic cravings faster.

What is Better — Freebase Nicotine or NIC Salts?

If freebase nicotine is more bioavailable, why is everyone who wants stronger nicotine hits going loco for the salts?

Well, that’s a good question… and it has a good answer.

Under certain conditions (low temp vaping vs. burning the tobacco leaf), nicotine salts actually deliver an oomphier punch, driving up the peak concentration of nicotine in the blood.

Here’s a graph from PAX Labs:

PAX Labs invented the Juul, and are single-handedly responsible for the popularity of nicotine salts right now. Their research shows that nicotine salts can deliver a similar (chemical) experience as that of smoking, which is why a lot of beginner vapers prefer them.  

In the nutshell, NIC salts make it easier for you to transition from smoking to a less harmful alternative because they’re as close to regular cigarettes as you can get.

Can You Use Nicotine Salts In a Regular Vape?
Ooof… there’s a lot of debate about this in the vaping community, as you can see from this Reddit thread on vaping.

The fact is — nicotine salts were created to be used in pod vaping systems. 


Because pod vape systems generally use very high Ohm coils (1Ohm and up). And because nicotine salts are usually 30mg/ml, they need to be vaped slowly, otherwise you end up with nicotine poisoning.

However, there’s a way to use nicotine salts in your regular vape setup… if you’re smart about it.

First of all, you have to make sure that your nic salt is on the lower end of the spectrum. Anything between 6mg/ml and 18mg/ml can work here. Also, you need to have a high Ohm coil (1Ohm and up) and make sure that you’re vaping on a very low wattage setting (10 to 15 watts, max).

The trick with vaping nicotine salts in a regular tank is to do it slowly to avoid inhaling too much nicotine, or coughing like there’s no tomorrow (because the throat hit can be harsh).

Want a device that can handle both regular vape juice and NIC salts?
Spice is the variety of life. Your vaporizer shouldn’t prevent you from switching up your vaping game every once in a while — it should encourage it!

6 Advantages of Vaping On Nicotine Salts E-Liquid
Although I’ve touched on the benefits of using nic salts when you vape, let’s break them down here so that you know exactly what you’re getting with them. This way, you’ll be able to judge better if this type of vaping is for you.

·Nicotine salts reduce throat hit in high nicotine liquids — because the ph value of nicotine salts is lower than that of freebase nicotine, you won’t get those nasty throat hits when you grab that really high nic level juice (I’m talking about 50mg/ml here). Of course, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment for these types of juices (only pod devices… never sub-ohming tanks or really low Ohm coils).

·You don’t burn through your nic salt vape juices — with a high nic-level juice, you’ll vape less frequently. That’s because you’ll be able to satisfy your cravings with a hit or two (instead of 20, as is the case with regular freebase nicotine vape juices).

·Vaping is cheaper with nicotine salts — doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out, does it? Regular vape juice adds up in a year, and can cost as much as $1000, depending on the brand you use. Cutting that by 20 to 40% (which is the average reduction when you use nicotine salt vape juice) can leave a nifty little $200-400 in your pocket.

·You can use nic salts in a regular device — if you’re smart about it, you can. Use only lower-end nicotine salts (between 6 and 18 mg/ml), and only in a low wattage/high Ohm coil setup. This way, you’ll get the nicotine kicks that you’re craving, but you won’t risk harsh throat hits or nic sick.

·You’ll quit smoking more easily with nic salts — the reason why vaping is such a great cessation tool is because it’s so similar to regular smoking. Nicotine salts completely blur the line between vaping and smoking — you get the same feel, the same flavor, and the same level of nicotine in your blood. If you’re just starting out, this can be a great way to make sure you stay on track because you’ll hardly notice any difference.

·Nicotine salts are good for stealth vapers — pod devices are really great for stealth/discreet vaping because they are small. In addition to that, they don’t produce much vapor AND you only need to take a couple of hits — hardly anyone will notice you doing that if you don’t want them to.

4 Disadvantages of Vaping On Nicotine Salts E-Liquid
As with everything in life, there are some drawbacks to vaping with nicotine salts. Not many… but enough to make you reconsider this style of vaping if you value some of the things listed below.

·You can end up increasing your nicotine consumption — the goal of vaping is to cut back on the amount of nicotine you need until (hopefully) you don’t need any and can quit completely. If you’re already a vaper, switching to nicotine salts can result in increased nicotine uptake, which defeats the purpose here. So if you want to wean yourself off, start with nicotine salts and then move to regular freebase nic vape juice. Not the other way around.

·Don’t mess around with sub-ohming and nicotine salts — first of all, the throat hit alone could kill you here! Nic salts were not designed to be fired on super low coils, so you should avoid doing that. Additionally, it’s very easy to miss the mark and end up with nicotine poisoning — something that you definitely want to avoid.

·Don’t expect a lot of flavor with nic salts — nicotine salts have a peppery taste, especially at higher concentrations (30mg/ml and up). Sometimes, this can overpower the actual flavors in your vape juice to a point where everything kind of tastes the same — your fruits are peppery, your pies are peppery, your menthols are peppery. If you’re in this for the flavor, you would be better off sticking to regular vape juices.

·Nicotine salts are not for cloud-chasers — didn’t I already mention this? You need a lot of power to produce big clouds… and big clouds equal big inhales… which can make you sick if the nicotine inside is above a certain level.

There you have it — everything you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of vaping on nicotine salts. 

So… what do you say?

Are you ready to give them a try? Or are you a big flavor buff (like myself) and prefer the good old vape juices of yore? Come down to the comments section and let us know!