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Why Is Nicotine Salt E-Liquid So Popular?

Blog Post, Jason Artman, News, Salt Nic -

Why Is Nicotine Salt E-Liquid So Popular?

As we examined the state of the vaping industry in 2018, one fact was indisputable: 2018 definitely was the year of nicotine salt e-liquid. New and experienced vapers alike bought bottles of nicotine salt e-liquid by the thousands last year, and we expect that trend to only continue in 2019. So, have you tried a nicotine salt vape juice yet? If you haven’t, now might be the time. In this article, we’ll discuss why nicotine salt e-liquid is so popular and explain why it might be a good fit for your vaping setup.

The Problem: Traditional E-Cigarettes Don’t Deliver Nicotine Efficiently

A 2014 study compared the nicotine absorption profile of vaping vs. smoking. The study found that the e-cigarettes available at that time varied drastically in their ability to deliver nicotine. Some e-cigarettes delivered only about a quarter of the nicotine that one would get from smoking. The most efficient e-cigarettes delivered 72 percent of the nicotine of smoking. Even if a person switched from smoking to a newer-generation vaping device, though, he or she would need to adjust to a reduced nicotine intake. The study found that traditional vaping devices simply weren’t as good as cigarettes at delivering nicotine to the bloodstream. The study further concluded that the ideal e-liquid nicotine strength for a cigarette-like vaping experience was about 50 mg.

If you’ve been vaping for a while, you know that traditional e-liquids are just about impossible to find at nicotine strengths anywhere near 50 mg. That’s because, at strengths above 18 mg or so, traditional e-liquids become too harsh to inhale. The vaping experience becomes unenjoyable.

The inefficient nicotine delivery of traditional e-cigarettes presents a stumbling block that makes it difficult for some people to switch from smoking to vaping. If you’re a full-time vaper, you’ve adjusted successfully to a reduced nicotine intake. Some people, though, have tried vaping and failed to get through that transition. Those people returned to smoking.

The Solution: Nicotine Salt Makes Higher-Nicotine E-Liquids Possible

The reason why traditional e-liquid is difficult to inhale if the nicotine concentration is high is because of the process used to extract the nicotine. Ammonia is the solvent used to obtain the best possible yield. Ammonia has a high pH, and it raises the pH of the resulting nicotine extract. Ammonia also causes a chemical transformation to occur within the nicotine, changing it from a salt to a free base. While freebase nicotine is easy for the body to absorb, the fact that the nicotine has such a high pH causes throat irritation when it’s inhaled.

To create nicotine salt e-liquid, a vape juice manufacturer adds an acid such as benzoic acid to a traditional e-liquid. The e-liquid reverts the molecular structure of the nicotine back to that of a salt. More importantly, though, the acid brings the pH of the nicotine closer to neutral. The lower pH makes the e-liquid much smoother and more pleasant to inhale, and the smoothness of nicotine salt e-liquid allows manufacturers to create much stronger e-liquids that are still completely pleasant to inhale.

The most popular concentrations for nicotine salt e-liquids are:

  • 25 mg: For current vapers who have already adjusted to lower blood-nicotine levels
  • 50 mg: For smokers who want to transition to vaping without reducing their nicotine intake

We expect a greater variety of strengths to appear as nicotine salt e-liquid becomes more popular.

Does Nicotine Salt E-Liquid Work With All Vaping Devices?

As you’ve seen above, most nicotine salt e-liquid comes in strengths much higher than those of traditional e-liquids. If you’re using a high-nicotine e-liquid, you need to use it with a low-temperature vaping device such as a pod vaping system. We expect lower-strength nicotine salt vape juices to become more common in the future. Unless you’re using a nicotine salt vape juice with a strength of 3 or 6 mg, though, you should not use that e-liquid in a powerful sub-ohm vaping device.

Nicotine Salt E-Liquid Is Ideal for New Vapers

As the study referenced above suggests, an e-liquid nicotine strength of about 50 mg is ideal if you’d like to switch from smoking to vaping without reducing your current nicotine intake. Maintaining a consistent nicotine intake will help to make the transition as easy as it can be. If you’re a current smoker, in other words, we believe that you’ll have the easiest time switching to vaping if you use a pod vaping system and a nicotine salt e-liquid with a strength of 50 mg.

Many Existing Vapers Also Love Nicotine Salt E-Liquid

While nicotine salt vape juice is undeniably the best option for new vapers, it has also become very popular among current vapers. To understand why that’s the case, think about your current vaping experience. If you’re a long-term vaper, you probably use a powerful vaping device with a low-nicotine e-liquid. Long-term vapers have discovered that with traditional e-liquids, the best way to absorb nicotine efficiently is by using low-nicotine e-liquids with vaping devices that create large clouds.

Using low-nicotine e-liquid, though, has three drawbacks.

  • The more e-liquid you use, the more e-liquid you need to buy. Although e-liquid has become less expensive in recent years, it’s still costly if you go through a large bottle every few days.
  • People love sweet e-liquids, and many modern e-liquid makers use large amounts of sucralose in their blends to cater to that preference. Sucralose causes a black crust to form on vaping coils, leading to a burned taste and reduced coil life. If you use a heavily sweetened e-liquid with a powerful vaping device, you may need to replace your coil every day – and daily coil replacements can grow costly.
  • Some people wouldn’t use powerful vaping devices if they didn’t believe it was necessary to maintain consistent nicotine intake. You might be one of those people. Are you concerned that others may find your huge vapor clouds obnoxious? You might appreciate a smaller setup that allows you to vape more discreetly.

If the drawbacks of low-nicotine e-liquid get on your nerves, nicotine salt vape juice might be perfect for you. Using a lower-power vaping device lowers your e-liquid consumption. The reduced e-liquid consumption will also mean that your coils will last longer – even if you use heavily sweetened e-liquids. Switching to nicotine salt e-liquid, then, means that you’ll enjoy more discreet vaping while spending less on your hobby. For many people, that’s a big win!


~Jason Artman



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