Freebase nicotine has been utilized by most e-liquid manufacturers for many years. It is the purest form of nicotine. In the 1960s Phillip Morris started using it in cigarettes. Today it is also used in gums, patches, sprays and lozenges. Nicotine salts were discovered by Pax Labs, also known as Ploom, an American company founded in 2007. They manufactured the Juul e-cigarette.
Nicotine salts are comprised of the same nicotine that is found in the tobacco leaf. However, if this form were added to the liquid that is vaped, it would need to be vaped at very high temperatures and its ability to be absorbed by the body wouldn’t be as effective as freebase nicotine.
Freebase nicotine has a higher pH and increased alkalinity. This creates a harsher “throat hit”. Nicotine salts require the use of Benzoic acid which has the opposite effect. It lowers the pH of nicotine and reduces the alkalinity. This provides for a much smoother vaping experience and can be vaped at a lower temperature. E-liquids using nicotine salts can have levels as high as 50mg. Freebase nicotine also affects the flavor of the e-liquid while nicotine salts have very little effect on the flavor.
There are pros and cons to each method of vaping and these will need to be weighed by the consumer. Nicotine salts cannot be vaped in a sub-oHm device. They are found in devices that use pods and cartridges as well as pen-style devices. For people just starting out and trying to quit smoking, nicotine salts can provide the satisfaction that they need in a device that is similar in size to the cigarette. However, people that have been using much lower levels of nicotine or vaping at zero for quite some time, may find that using nicotine salts is not appropriate for them due to the level of nicotine provided by the salts. Because nicotine is used in much smaller devices, battery life is also an issue. It may be necessary to purchase a couple of devices to have one charging while using the other. Larger sub-oHm devices have much more battery life.
Because there are so many choices when it comes to e-cigarettes and e-liquids, it is important to determine what is more appropriate for each individual. Factoring into these choices are cost, size of the device, level of nicotine needed and how the device will be used throughout the day. While consumers can make all the purchases on line if they choose, they miss out on the expertise and advise that a good vape shop can provide. They can be advised on the pros and cons of each device and in most cases, try the e-liquids. The goal is to help people find safer choices that fit their individual needs.