What Are Organic Nicotine Salts and Why Do They Matter?
You may have heard the buzzwords “organic nic salts” or “natural nicotine salts” in the vaping world and wondered what the fuss is all about. In this post, we’ll cover the basic definition of nicotine salts, how to make sure they’re organic, and the best organic e-juice brands with organic nic salts. You’ll also find a side-by-side comparison of nicotine salts versus “freebase nicotine,” which is the other form of nicotine found in e-liquids.
Nicotine Salt 101
Nicotine salts (or “nic salts” for short) are the newest form of nicotine in e-juices. They emerged from JUUL Labs around 2015.
Nicotine salts aren’t anything like table salt. In the world of chemistry, as defined by Wikipedia, a salt is simply an “ionic compound that can be formed by the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base.”
When it comes to nicotine salts, the nicotine is the base. Typically, a chemical called benzoic acid is the acid used to neutralize the base. This lowers the alkalinity and pH level of the base nicotine.
The result? Much, much smoother vape hits that are gentler on the throat.
Organic Nic Salts
Organic nicotine salts are the healthiest form of nicotine used in e-juices because they are derived from natural sources. Unsurprisingly, the most popular natural source of nicotine is found in tobacco leaves. However, you may be surprised to learn that nicotine is naturally present in plants like cauliflower, eggplant, and tomatoes.
Interestingly, even certified organic e-juices will not have their nicotine listed as “organic” in their ingredients list. This is because the USDA doesn’t consider nicotine an organic product, even if it is completely free from chemicals and additives! This is true for both freebase nicotine and nicotine salts.
The “code” word for organic nicotine on a vape juice ingredients list is “pharmaceutical grade Kosher nicotine.” For example, Dragon E-Liquids is a certified 100% Kosher e-juice brand. Dragon E-liquids uses only 100% vegetable glycerin juice, and they refuse to use any genetically modified organisms, artificial ingredients, or fake sweeteners.
Another hint that an e-juice brand carries the purest form of nicotine is if they source their nicotine from certified organic tobacco plants. For example, Kai’s Virgin Vapor is a premium e-juice brand that grows their own organic, pesticide-free tobacco on U.S. soil. They also list their nicotine as “pharmaceutical grade Kosher nicotine.”
If you want the purest form of nicotine, Kai’s Virgin Vapor is the best healthy e-liquid brand to look at first. Their production involves a specific process of sealing the nicotine in airtight containers immediately after extraction. This keeps it from being contaminated with oxygen, which can compromise the nicotine’s original flavor.
What Are the Best Vaporizers for Nic Salts?
It is always best to use vape pods and pens with less power when using e-juice with nicotine salts. There are two main reasons for this.
- First, nicotine salts vaporize at lower temperatures.
- Second, nicotine salts typically deliver more potent hits of nicotine, so it’s easier to overdo it on the nicotine in larger vapes.
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Freebase Salts: The Original Form of Nicotine in E-Juice
So, what existed before nicotine salts? The original form of nicotine in vape juice is called “freebase nicotine.” Freebase nicotine is similar to nicotine salts, minus the benzoic acid. Tobacco companies have been using freebase nicotine since the 1960’s, and many e-juices still contain freebase nicotine.
The process of creating freebase salts involves removing a portion of the protons that naturally exist in nicotine and replacing them with ammonia. This process makes the nicotine more potent and more readily absorbed by your lungs.
Freebase Nicotine vs Nic Salts
Now that we’ve defined nicotine salts and freebase salts, let’s look at how they compare. After all, both types of nicotine are very much available in e-juices today, so it’s a good idea to know the pros and cons of each.
Benefits of Nic Salts:
- Nicotine salts tend to vaporizer at lower temperatures, so they work best for small vaporizers that don’t pack as much power as larger vape mods.
- As discussed above, nic salts have much lower alkalinity and pH levels than freebase salts. As a result, they aren’t as harsh as freebase salts. This is good news if you have a sensitive throat!
- Nicotine salts exist in higher concentrations in e-liquids than freebase salts, so they provide you with more nicotine per hit than freebase salts.
- Have you ever noticed how zero nic e-juice has a cleaner flavor profile than e-juices with nicotine? This is because freebase nicotine can change flavor significantly. However, the great thing about nicotine salts is that they alter vape juice flavor much less than freebase nicotine.
- If you are a heavy smoker trying to replace your bad habit with vaping (good for you!), nicotine salts are an excellent choice. This is because, due to their high concentration of nicotine, it’s easier for you to vape the amount of nicotine that you are used to smoking.
Disadvantages of Nicotine Salts:
- While it’s nearly impossible to overdose from nicotine, there is a wide variety in the amount of nicotine that any given person can handle. It depends on your tolerance level and varies from person to person. However, since nicotine salts usually contain higher concentrations of nicotine, they can cause unpleasant side effects for someone who isn’t used to elevated nicotine levels.
- Another disadvantage of nicotine salts is that they really limit the type of device you can use. They’re fantastic for vape pens and pods, but you really should use e-liquids containing freebase salts with larger vape mods. If you are using a sub-ohm tank, then you should make sure to choose an e-juice with a lower concentration of nic salts, preferably 3-5mg.
Advantages of Freebase Nicotine
- Freebase nicotine mixtures are more versatile because they work well in both small vape pens and large, sub-ohm vape mods.
- Since freebase nicotine e-liquids have been around longer, there are more options. This includes a wider variety of cheaper choices.
- Are you a cloud chaser? If so, you may find that you are able to produce bigger vape clouds with e-liquids containing freebase nicotine. (And of course, remember to always choose 100% VG e-juice for the best clouds!)
Disadvantages of Freebase Nicotine
- If you have a sensitive throat or are new to vaping, you may find that free base nicotine e-liquids irritate your throat more than e-liquids that have nicotine salts.
- As discussed above, freebase nicotine messes with the flavor profile more than nicotine salts. So, if you want the best flavor possible, you might want to opt for nicotine salts instead of freebase nicotine.
Should You Choose Nicotine Salts or Freebase Nicotine?
At the end of the day, it’s your decision. But to help you decide, take a glance at the checklist below. Each bullet point will help guide you depending on your personal preferences.
- If you smoke a pack or more of cigarettes per day, and you are trying to replace smoking with vaping, then you’ll probably benefit from nicotine salts.
- Are you a vape trick junkie? If chasing clouds is your thing, your best option is e-juice with freebase nicotine.
- How comfortable are you vaping in public? If you want a smaller device that produces less vapor, pairing it with nicotine salts is the best option.
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As always, thanks for stopping by. Keep calm and vape on!