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Differences Between Salt Nic and Regular E-Liquids Differences Between Salt Nic and Regular E-Liquids > Differences Between Salt Nic and Regular E-Liquids

Differences Between Salt Nic and Regular E-Liquids

Vaping has evolved significantly, offering various e-liquid options. This article delves into the distinct characteristics of salt-nicotine and regular e-liquids.

In the ever-expanding world of vaping, we face new concepts in nicotine, e liquids, vape devices and even replacement parts. New tech arrives on the market every day. With vaping expos held internationally and top brands in big competition to create newer, better products, it is an exciting time to be part of the vaping universe.

Salt nicotine is a new way of describing a process which big brands use to extract better quality nicotine from the leaves of the tobacco plant. When comparing salt nic vs regular e liquids you can see a definitive difference in strength and throat hit. 

Let’s start by exploring the different nicotine forms available so that we can describe the differences between them.


Differences Between Salt Nic and Regular E-Liquids 1

Nicotine Forms 1

What are Nicotine Salts? 2

What is Freebase Nicotine? 2

Advantages of Nicotine Salts 3

Easier Absorption 3

Stronger Potency 3

Immediate Satisfaction 3

Mouth-to-Lung Vape Style 3

Long-lasting Relief 3

Disadvantages of Nicotine Salts 3

Physical Symptoms 4

Higher Dosage 4

Harsher Throat Hit 4

Advantages of Freebase Nicotine 4

Disadvantages of Freebase Nicotine 4

Which One is Safer? 5

Nicotine Salt Vs Freebase Nicotine 5

Which is Best for You? 5.

Nicotine Forms 

There are different types of nicotine form based on how it is extracted and processed. On top of that, there are multiple nicotine delivery systems, such as through NRT, using gum or patches, and of course through vaping. The important thing to remember when discussing nicotine forms is that vaping is one of the healthiest, even though it is not without risk.

As to the different forms of nicotine, there are many ways you can treat the tobacco plant to extract the nicotine. Traditional cigarettes don’t try to bring out the nicotine. Rather, the nicotine content comes from the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which is then smoked. 

When it comes to nicotine forms used in e-liquids, which is a specific type of nicotine form, there are still choices in how the manufacturer extracts the nicotine from the plant. Scientifically speaking, nicotine can exist in three different forms. There is free base nicotine, which is un-protonated, and is usually used in the production of regular e-liquids. There are also deprotonated and mono-protonated forms. Of these forms, freebase nicotine is most common.

Non-protonated nicotine is the one we use in most forms of e-liquid. It is taken directly from the tobacco plant. However, protonated nicotine, such as those found within nicotine salts, has the highest nicotine content and the highest absorption rate of all. Protonated is a chemical term which relates to the use of chemicals to extract compounds.

You can learn more about nicotine facts here.

What are Nicotine Salts? 

Nicotine salts are extracted from the leaves of the nicotine plant using acidic treatments. When manufacturers create nicotine salts, they use benzoic acids to draw the salt-like compound out of the tobacco plant. 

Freebase nicotine is made by using ammonia to draw out the nicotine from the plant matter. On its own, nicotine cannot be absorbed into the body.

Nicotine becomes a salt when extracted using acids this way – in becomes protonated. To do this, the toxin is removed from the plant in its purest form, as a freebase nicotine. Treating the freebase nicotine with acid makes it easily absorbable into the human body. This means freebase is better for cigarettes and standard vape juices, while nic salts are the upgraded, super version.

As a result, salt nic is a refined version of pure freebase nicotine. It goes through one extra processing step wherein it becomes a salt. This salt can then be liquified by adding it to the VG and PG solutions used in the manufacture of regular e-liquids. Many vape users prefer salt nicotine because of the faster absorption rate and the smoothness which comes with that.

We sell a range of beginner e-liquids if this all sounds a bit complicated! Ease yourself into the vaping world by starting with an easy e-liquid.

What is Freebase Nicotine?

Freebase nicotine is created using tobacco leaves and ammonia. To do this, the plants go through several steps. 

Firstly, the tobacco plant is grown in large amounts on farms in countries with temperate climates. Once it reaches maturity, the plant is harvested and transported to a treatment centre. 

When they arrive in the sterile treatment area or laboratory, the leaves and stalks of the plant are macerated. This just means that the plants are pulped up so that they start to break down into a liquid form.  If you were making a nic salt at this point, you would add in the benzoic acid to aid in the separation of the nicotine from the pulps. In the case of freebase nicotine, ammonia does this job.

The liquid is soaked in the mixture for long enough to saturate it. Next, the liquid is strained to remove all the plant particles from within it. 

The strained liquid is allowed to dehydrate down into a concentrated liquid product, or into a dry powder which can be added to other ingredients for use in nicotine administration.

Using this process, freebase nicotine is the simplest, most effective way to remove nicotine from the leaves of the tobacco plant. However, using an acid instead of ammonia to extract the nicotine results in a salt-like substance rather than a liquid. It also further concentrates the macerated tobacco leaves’ nicotine content. 

Advantages of Nicotine Salts 

There are several advantages to using nicotine salts instead of a traditional freebase nicotine e-liquid. Primarily these include the following things

Easier Absorption

Salt nic is far easier to absorb into the human bloodstream than freebase nicotine is. This is because the purer nicotine is, the harder it is for the body to ingest it. Pure nicotine cannot interact with the body. We must treat it a certain way for it to interact properly. Although freebase nicotine works, nic salts work quicker. 

Stronger Potency

Nicotine salts also have a higher concentration of nicotine per drop than freebase nicotine does. This means manufacturers need less of it for the same effect. It is also better for your body since nicotine is a toxin. The less you use, the better off you will be.

Immediate Satisfaction

Since the salt nic has higher potency and faster absorption than a standard freebase or dried tobacco leaf nicotine form, it hits you quicker. If you are the kind of person who only gets to vape on their break at work, or who goes a long time without a nicotine hit, then salt nic might be better suited to your vaping style.

Mouth-to-Lung Vape Style

Since nic salts use a higher PG liquid, they are best suited to the ex-smoker who uses an MTL vape style. 

Long-lasting Relief

The high absorption rate also means you derive long-lasting relief from your nicotine cravings. The nicotine will stay in your system, offering relief with every puff.

Nicotine salts are widely used since the initial introduction to the market by Juul back in 2015. Since then, they have grown in popularity due to the swift, effective, and satisfying delivery of nicotine, If you fancy making the switch yourself, you can browse our full range of nicotine salts online through the Vape Direct website

Disadvantages of Nicotine Salts

Likewise, there are some aspects of nicotine salts that vape users do not prefer when compared to regular e liquids. Ultimately, much of the choice you have in nicotine type and form comes down to both personal preference and the way you use tobacco products. The disadvantages of choosing nic salts over freebase nicotine and regular e liquids might include the following. 

Physical Symptoms

All types of nicotine can give you physical symptoms if your overuse them, or if you choose too concentrated a dose. Both freebase and nicotine salts will give you that nicotine rush you crave. However, use too much, too quickly and you stand to endure sweaty palms, a clammy body, hyper alertness and potentially nausea. 

Higher Dosage

Since nic salts are so concentrated, they deliver a higher dose with less encouragement. This means that nic salts tend to be present in higher doses. The strength of this type of nicotine means it lends itself better to the 15mg plus e-liquids. It is difficult to find lower strengths of nic salts since they would need to be diluted.

Harsher Throat Hit

The problem with nicotine salts is that they require a higher PG viscosity than standard vape liquids. This higher PG is suitable for those who have recently switched from cigarettes to vaping. This is due to the harsher throat hit a high PG liquid gives over a high VG liquid. That harshness imitates cigarette smoke hitting the back of your throat. 

If you are a new vape user who has never smoked, though, that harsher hit isn’t quit as nice. You also don’t need it to administer your nicotine dose. 

Advantages of Freebase Nicotine

Of course, nic salts are not for everyone. There are perfectly good freebase nicotine e-liquids which most vape users recognise as regular vape liquids. There are even some advantages to choosing that freebase formula over the nic salt variety. 

Advantages of freebase nicotine which has been extracted using ammonia include:

  • Lower concentrations of nicotine become possible with freebase. Disposables which have a lower nicotine percentage will likely use freebase nicotine.
  • Gentler throat hits – the higher VG liquids allow for less harshness to your inhale, meaning you get a smoother draw.
  • Lower VG vaping means lower temperature vaping, making a less powerful vape device work harder for your money.
  • Freebase nicotine can hold complex flavours.
  • It is better suited to DTL vape styles, often used by vapers who have never smoked before. 

Disadvantages of Freebase Nicotine

As with all things, freebase nicotine has disadvantages as well as advantages.  

Disadvantages of using freebase nicotine could include the following things:

  • Freebase nicotine can also have that harsh throat hit, depending on whether or not it is in a high VG or PG suspension.
  • Freebase nicotine is not absorbed into the body as quickly as nic salts are. This can lead to excessive intake before the nicotine hits you. Remember, too much nicotine and you will experience those shaky, sweaty physical symptoms.
  • High concentrations of freebase nicotine would be needed to create higher percentages of nicotine. This leads to a building up of a bitter taste. As a result, freebase nicotine regular e liquids are best used in lower nicotine strengths.

Which One is Safer?

When placed in a side-by-side comparison, neither type of nicotine form is safer than the other. Both use an external chemical to trigger the release of the nicotine from the tobacco plant. Both extract the same nicotine but in different levels of purity.

Scientific studies have actually shown that nicotine salts may be slightly safer than freebase nicotine containing regular e-liquids. This is because the lower viscosity allows you to burn it using lower strength vape devices. This therefore delivers less of the inhalant into your system to begin with. 

In short, health differences between freebase nicotine and nic salts are so miniscule that they come down to the device used to deliver them, having nothing to do with the type of nicotine at all. 

Nicotine Salt Vs Freebase Nicotine

There are mainly these two types of e-liquids to choose from. The next choice you make will be within the method of nicotine delivery which you choose. The cleanest way is to use a vape device over choosing cigarettes. You might also pick from a variety of other nicotine delivery systems such as chewing gum, an inhaler, or patches.

Nicotine salts are found in e-liquids of high quality and concentration. Freebase e-liquids are similarly found in high quality products, but these will often have lower nicotine concentrations than nic salts will be.

If you want an e-liquid that will burn at lower intensity and give you a shock of big nicotine, then a nic salt based e-liquid will help. If you prefer a slow burn, low nicotine option which keeps you going steadily all day, then you might prefer a freebase nicotine solution. has the full range, so no matter which you prefer we should have it in stock.

Which is Best for You? 

Your preference in regular e-liquids over nicotine salts or vice versa is a very personal thing. If you want that sharper hit of nicotine at a higher concentration, then opt for the salt nic. If you want a lower concentration of nicotine, the freebase solution works better. 

You should also stick to freebase nicotine if you like a standard disposable vape. These tend to stick to the weaker freebase solutions which allow for less concentrated doses. 

If you smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, you will prefer nic salts, since they are more likely to occur in the 20mg per 10ml states. It also has that smooth, clean feeling of vaping that many vapers tend to enjoy.

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