Nicotine Salt E-Liquids

While nicotine salt e-liquids or nic salts are still fairly new to the market, they’ve already been adopted by a wide variety of vapers and have gone hand-in-hand with pod systems. Nicotine Salt eliquids used to contain up to 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, or even 60mg of nicotine but with new regulations from the Canadian government have limited the nicotine strength of eliquids to 20mg. However, it goes without saying that Nic Salt eliquids deliver more for each hit compared to Freebase eliquids.


While Nicotine Salt e-liquid, often called Nic Salts, does closely resemble its freebase counterpart, it does feature a few key differences, namely in the nicotine that’s used and how that nicotine affects the body. In essence, nicotine salts allow for a more even distribution of nicotine throughout the body and will allow the user to more quickly feel the effects of nicotine. Nicotine salt also produces a less harsh throat hit and is used in higher quantities in nicotine salt e-liquids. These key features make this form of e-liquid quite compelling for certain vapers, but it should be mentioned that nicotine salt should only be used in low-power MTL devices as the high concentration of nicotine can be harmful to vapers who use nic salt e-liquids in DTL devices.

The Rise of Nic Salts

Like any technology, trends, or hobby, vaping has always pushed towards innovation and has managed to find new ways to appeal to an ever growing base of users. From the birth of sub-ohm vaping to the rise of pod systems, innovations in vaping have generally been focused on mods and hardware, but nicotine salt e-liquids showcase an interest in development on not just how we vape but what we’re vaping.

Originally developed by PAX Labs, the original maker of the JUUL e-cigarette, nic salts have quickly become a favourite among vapers looking to ditch high-wattage devices. With the increasing popularity of disposable vapes, nicotine salt eliquids are used to achieve a bigger hit from a small, pocket friendly device. Unlike freebase nicotine, which is the purest form of the substance, nicotine salts are more akin to the substance in its natural state which is better absorbed into the body thanks to the addition of benzoic acid contained in the nic salt. In essence, nicotine salts offer a more satisfying experience, a smoother nicotine hit, and less of an obstruction to flavour when compared to freebase options.

180 Smoke carries a wide range of nic salt eliquids include premium brands like All Day Vapor and select Twelve Monkey's Vape Juice.

Freebase Nicotine vs. Nicotine Salt

While the two are variations on a naturally occurring substance, there are fundamental differences between the two. Without getting too technical, the two variations of nicotine differ primarily in their production and their effect on the human body.

Freebase Nicotine

Originally developed by Philip Morris in the 1960s, freebase nicotine has been the go-to option for e-juice manufacturers since the beginning of vaping. This form of nicotine has a higher pH level, meaning it will be slightly harsher, but this version is also more potent when heated. Generally speaking, finding e-liquids with freebase nicotine should be easier, considering the prevalent use of the substance across vaping and with the majority of e-liquid manufacturers.

Nicotine Salt

At its core, nicotine salt is composed of the same nicotine found in the natural state within the tobacco leaf. However, nic salts are further augmented with benzoic acid, allowing it to be properly vaped and absorbed into the human body. Nicotine salt also offers a more even rate of absorption into the body and can provide a less harsh throat hit, if in lower percentages.

Why Choose Nicotine Salt

While not necessary for every vaper, nicotine salts offer vapers the most effective and efficient nicotine absorption experience. The substance, when mixed in an e-liquid, makes it easier to commit to vaping. Nicotine salts also give us the ability to vape in a much more discreet way, as this type of e-liquid is typically paired with low vapor MTL devices.

Nicotine salts also offer new vapers a platform to enter vaping that is quite similar to smoking a cigarette. The effects of nic salt are quite similar to traditional tobacco, especially in terms of absorption rate, sensation, and overall experience. This is incredibly beneficial for users hoping to replace smoking with vaping, but are unsatisfied with the experience offered by freebase nicotine.

How to Vape Nicotine Salts

While freebase nicotine e-liquids can be vaped in virtually any device, nicotine salts can really only be vaped in restrictive MTL tanks or pod systems. This has to do with the concentration of nicotine in the nic salt e-liquid and its potency. Vaping nic salt e-liquid in a sub-ohm tank or DTL device can be somewhat dangerous and can lead to a nicotine overdose.

In terms of devices, we recommend only using pod systems, or other low wattage devices. Many of these devices are made to work nicotine salt e-liquids and will provide the proper amount of power to use this form of nicotine. Using a lower wattage device will also allow vapers to be exponentially more discreet in their vaping and allows for a greater sense of portability.

For more information on pod systems, take a look at our list of the best pod systems we carry.

Disadvantages of Nicotine Salts

For some vapers, mostly those that aren’t use to consuming a lot of nicotine, nicotine salts may be overwhelming. For lighter vapers, anything in the 3-12mg range is ideal, which is generally only offered in freebase nicotine e-liquids. For these vapers, freebase offers a better option and should be satisfying and effective.

Nicotine salt e-liquids can also be somewhat limiting, in terms of the various flavours available on the market. This carries over into the devices available for nicotine salts, as the market is still somewhat focused on high-power mods and sub-ohm tanks. The limitations of nicotine salts will dissipate over time, especially since nicotine salts and the devices that use them gain in popularity.

The final disadvantage of nicotine salts focuses primarily on the experience of the vaper and has to do with the entertainment aspect of vaping. For some vapers, blowing massive clouds is an incredibly fun thing to do and can be very satisfying. This is completely lost when switching to nicotine salt e-liquid as the experience is much more akin to smoking a cigarette.

Are Nicotine Salts Right for You?

When making this decision, it’s imperative that you are honest with yourself and acknowledge just how much nicotine you consume. Understanding and coming to terms with this will help you make an informed purchase and will ensure you maintain a satisfying vape experience.

If you’re seriously considering the switch to nicotine salts, take some time and ask yourself some of these questions:

    • Am I a heavy vaper or smoker?
    • Am I looking for an experience more akin to smoking to something more entertaining?
    • Do I enjoy a throat kick or something more smooth?
    • Do I need a strong nicotine hit or something more subtle?
    • Is discretion important, or am I more focused on massive clouds?
    • How much money do I want to spend?

While these questions should help you make a decision, they are not the only things to consider when deciding whether or not nicotine salt is right for you. Reading about the e-liquid is helpful in understanding why you may want to switch, but the best way to tell is to experience nicotine salts for yourself.

If you would like to try nicotine salts, stop by your nearest 180Smoke location and speak to our amazing staff.

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