Nic Salts 101: What Are They All About?

Nic Salts 101: What Are They All About? Oliver Norman

Let’s talk Nic Salts: What Are They?

Nic Salts vs Freebase

Before we get into the nitty gritty of what Nic Salts are, it's important to know how they found their place in the vaping world; after all, you may ask yourself – why do we need another type of e-liquid if vaping’s already so popular? The standard e-liquids that you’ll see sold, contain what is known as freebase nicotine.

Freebase nicotine is a pure and refined form of nicotine with a naturally high, alkaline pH level. It was first developed in the 1960’s by the big cigarette corporations of the day in an attempt to meet consumer demand for a more easily accessible form of nicotine.

Freebase nicotine is used in the majority of contemporary e-liquids as an industry standard, because when it’s added to carrier liquids like PG and VG, it delivers an e-liquid with a consistent level of nicotine throughout the batch. One of the downfalls of freebase however, is that when vaping at high nicotine strengths it can create a harsh hit at the back of the throat due to it being so naturally alkaline.

This can be unpleasant for new vapers who are using high nicotine strengths in order to transition from smoking cigarettes and can end up leading to them being put-off from vaping altogether.

Freebase Nicotine was the only option for vapers until fairly recently, however this pitfall left a consumer desire for a nicotine alternative with less alkalinity and a smooth taste even at high strengths, something that takes freebase to the next level: enter Nicotine Salt e-liquids! (Or Nic Salts, for short!)


What Are Nic Salts?

Nic Salt e-liquids use a modified form of nicotine that is designed to deliver a more satisfying and longer-lasting hit to help manage even the strongest cravings but without a harsh throat hit. Some Nic Salts occur naturally within the tobacco leaf but can also be created by adding a weak acid to a nicotine base, in science these combined elements are described as a “salt”, hence the vaping nomenclature “Nic Salt”.

A good example would be Nicotine Salicylate, which is made by adding salicylic acid to freebase nicotine, modifying its properties in ways many vapers will find appealing.

The nicotine found in traditional e-liquids is called “freebase” – this is because concentrated nicotine is diluted into Propylene Glycol (PG) and is “freely” suspended in the “base” PG to create a mixture we can then accurately blend as part of our e-liquid recipes. Nic Salts are different – when manufactured, the nicotine is typically combined with an extra ingredient called an “organic acid”. While this might sound a little scary, these acids are perfectly safe, occur naturally in many other products we consume every day, and actually work for you!

Nicotine is naturally very alkali, which is why at high strengths like 18mg, freebase/standard e-liquids typically deliver a harsh throat hit when vaped. The “organic acid” added when making a Nic Salt neutralises the alkali pH of the base nicotine, greatly reducing throat hit, allowing you to vape as much as 20mg while enjoying a smooth taste experience normally reserved for vapers of 6mg juices and below.

Not only that, their modified structure also means that Nic Salts can actually permeate your blood/brain barrier with more ease than freebase. This results in a faster, more intense hit and leaves you feeling satisfied for far longer.

There are a few different types of nic salt currently used in e-liquids such as Benzoate, Ditartrate, Levulinate and Salicylate, with some varieties even modifying aspects beyond throat hit and nicotine absorption – boosting or reducing an e-liquids sweetness or flavour intensity, and even adding mild cooling effects!

At LiQuid we use Nicotine Salicylate in our LiQuid nic salts because our trials found this formulation to be the best performing on flavour delivery, satisfaction, and safety.


Are Nic Salts Safe? Will They Damage My Lungs?

All LiQuid products, regardless of their nicotine content, are subject to rigorous testing from start to finish; above and beyond traditional TPD regulations to ensure your total safety and satisfaction. Our Nic Salts are no different and are subject to strict quality controls to ensure they meet your standards every time.

Public Health England’s landmark study has positioned vaping as 95% less harmful than smoking, and is yet to be disputed, with multiple subsequent studies consistently finding vaping to be a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes including Yorkshire Cancer Research’s 2021 Vaping Demystified investigative film. While research is still ongoing, Nic Salts have not been linked to any risks beyond any of those posed by traditional e-liquids (which are very minor).

Depending on the needs of your vaping journey, you may find Nic Salts to be better for you in other ways than those concerning health. Due to the deeper, longer lasting satisfaction delivered by its unique properties, a Nic Salt e-liquid could last you a lot longer than a normal bottle as you may find your cravings are manageable while consuming far less juice – better for your body and better for your wallet!

Equally, the increased stability of Nic Salts mean they remain at their best for longer, cause less coughing thanks to the reduced throat hit and provide a very efficient way to vape, making the switch from smoking a much more manageable process. While vaping is considered to be less harmful than smoking, inhaling anything other than fresh air will always pose an element of risk – always bear this in mind when deciding if vaping is right for you – if you have never smoked or vaped, don’t start!


Are Nic Salts Right For You?

Nic salt e-liquids won’t be for everyone and in any instance, you should always measure the benefits against your own needs. We have listed some scenarios below that, if relevant to your journey, might mean it’s the right time to try Nicotine Salt products:

  1. You are trying, or possibly struggling to quit smoking, and would like to experiment with an easier transitional alternative.
  2. You are a first-time vaper that has just converted from smoking, particularly a heavy habit.
  3. You already tried vaping but felt that the nicotine hit and craving suppression were ineffective.
  4. You already tried high strength e-liquids that satisfied your cravings but felt the throat hit was an unpleasant experience.
  5. You feel like you currently vape too much or too regularly because it’s not providing you with the “same” feeling as cigarettes (i.e, nicotine rush).


Ultimately, Nic Salts offer the user a myriad of benefits whether they want to ease their transition to vaping, simply reduce the amount they need to vape to feel satisfied, or even if they want to quit nicotine altogether.

While it might seem counter-intuitive to purchase a higher strength nic salt product when you are trying to beat a nicotine addiction, the reality is that they can empower you to better manage your cravings, control your usage and ultimately give your vaping journey a more secure start – so, at your own pace, you can most effectively begin working towards a lifestyle you are comfortable with.


What Are The Best Devices For Vaping Nic Salts?

Thankfully you won’t need to get hold of any specialised equipment to enjoy vaping Nic Salts, you should approach them in the same way you would any typical higher strength 50/50 e-liquid.

Most Nic Salt e-liquids will typically be available in high strengths only, most commonly 11 and 20mg. As such it is recommended that you try to use a device with a coil rating of 1.0ohm or higher. Most MTL (mouth-to-lung) style vaping devices will be well suited to Nic Salts such as the EDGE Pro.

Some devices even claim to be specifically designed to optimise the Nic Salt experience – so shop around! We stock a great selection of leading vape devices for you to choose from! While sub-ohm vaping of Nic Salts is not recommended for high strength products, the addition of a Nic Salt Shot to a Short Fill HVG (High Vegetable Glycerol) e-liquid will result in a much lower total strength, closer to 3 or 6mg.

In these cases, you will be able to safely vape your Nic Salt juice with a coil of less than 0.9ohm and below (sub-ohm) – but ensure you take care to select the right type of e-liquid for the device you are using.


What Are Nic Salt Shots?

A traditional freebase Nic Shot is a high strength, (usually 18mg) HVG, 10ml flavourless e-liquid, designed to be exclusively added to a Short Fill product with a PG/VG ratio that matches the shot; adding up to two of these to a Short Fill allows for custom Nicotine dosing.

For example: adding 1 x 10ml 18mg HVG Nic Shot to a 50ml 0mg HVG LiQuid Short Fill = 60ml of 3mg HVG juice – because they are both HVG, there is no dilution, and the e-liquid will perform properly.

Nic Salt Shots are simply a Nic Shot that uses Nic Salt instead of freebase nicotine, but function just like the shot described above. Complete Nic Salt e-liquids are not to be confused with Nic Shots as they use a different type of nicotine altogether and can be vaped by themselves – Do not vape a Nic Shot by itself!


Can I Mix Different Nic Salts?

All LiQuid Nic Salts use Nicotine Salicylate, but this is just one of many types of Nic Salt available on the market. We would not recommend mixing different types of Nic Salt without first doing the proper research. You can however mix up different LiQuid Nic Salt flavours in your tank as you see fit! Fancy Mixing Blackcurrant and Heizen? Go for it! All our Salts use the same ingredients with the exception of our premium flavourings, so you can be confident in combining them safely – just ensure the strengths match to avoid inaccurate dosing!


£1 Nic Salts From LiQuid

Liquid Nic Salts are available now in your favourite flavours! We’ve taken our best-selling collection and infused them with our ultra-smooth nicotine salt formula to make them even more satisfying.

From Heizen and Double Menthol to our classic British Tobacco, we’re sure you’ll find a favourite among the range! Watch this space – 2021 is the year of the salt! We’ve got even more great flavours lined up for you to enjoy with a Nic Salt twist! Don’t worry – we know other Nic Salt products out there can be more expensive, not here at LiQuid, it’s still 1 bottle for just 1 pound!

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