Salt Nicotine vs Regular Nicotine

Salt Nicotine vs Regular Nicotine

June 17, 2019

What’s the big deal with the salt nicotine craze the last few years? And what are the pros and cons of regular nicotine vs salt nicotine? Let’s get down to some of the most common questions and concerns about nicotine as well.

Regular Nicotine(freebase


  • Cheap
  • Easily accessible
  • Longer lasting affects
  • Less addictive potential
  • Throat hit (can be a negative)
  • Less additives
  • Generally Tasteless


  • Slower absorption
  • Harsher throat hit
  • Higher nicotine strengths are not as tolerable
  • Large variance in quality


Salt Nicotine


  • Fast absorption rate
  • Smooth throat hit even at high levels
  • Mimics cigarette the closest
  • Higher success rate for conversion
  • Discrete devices
  • User friendly
  • Cost effective



  • Requires acid to convert to salt form
  • Higher addictive potential
  • Has a slight taste
  • Harder on coils
  • Expensive
  • Inconsistent quality
  • Social stigma attached to it
  • Device batteries usually don’t last as long
  • Unknown health effects due to relatively new use


FAQ Regular Nicotine

Why is my e-juice throaty or harsh?

When speaking about throat harshness in vaping liquids the most common issue is nicotine strength. Higher nicotine strengths of regular nicotine can be very peppery or “harsh” to the throat. We call this throat hit. The reason regular nicotine does this is because it doesn’t match our bodies PH level as well and this difference can cause the feeling of a burning or tingling in the back of the throat. While not always attributed to nicotine, harshness can be one of the issues with regular nicotine.

Is it made from tobacco? I have heard of synthetic nicotine.

Yes, for the most part 99% of nicotine is derived from tobacco. The extraction process is complex, however the reason for using tobacco is due to the high concentration of nicotine in the tobacco leaf. This allows the manufacturers to extract the nicotine in enough quantity to keep the price down. There is a synthetic nicotine made by and as far as we know they hold the patent and are the only company worldwide making true synthetic nicotine that isn’t derived from tobacco. While it is expensive it is a big leap forward that we hope eventually will lead to it being more readily available to manufacturers at a lower price.

Is it safe?

While nothing should ever be regarded as 100% safe, nicotine in the use of e cigarettes generally is considered safe. Without the thousands of chemicals in regular cigarettes present, nicotine has the addictive potential of caffeine. While the safest option would be to never use nicotine or vaping products, it is seen as a much safer alternative to smoking. Some estimates go as far as saying 95% safer[1].

FAQ Salt Nicotine

Why is acid added?

Salt nicotine is created by first starting with regular nicotine. An acid is added to the nicotine and it is heated and stirred at a specific temperature. By doing so the nicotine is converted to its salt form from its freebase form. If you picture regular nicotine as its true form which is an Alkaloid, it needs to be acidified to allow nicotine salt to form. For example, say we add Citric acid to the regular nicotine, we will then be converting it to Nicotine Citrate (its salt form). If using benzoic acid, we get nicotine benzoate, lactic acid into nicotine lactate etc. Without an acid this process would not be possible.


Are the acids dangerous?

Yes and no. The acids themselves in high concentrations are generally irritants, however in the amount used to convert nicotine to its salt they are such small amounts[2]. Furthermore they are also diluted further when added to a final product like eliquid. While the name Benzoic acid may seem scary, it does not actually contain or emit benzene when heated. We only need to look as far as Propylene Glycol commonly known as PG for a great example. PG’s chemical name is propane-1,2-diol. While the name propane is commonly associated with the gas in our barbeques, PG doesn’t contain or emit propane during the vaping process. Chemical names sound scary but that doesn’t mean they’re harmful.

Why do I get lightheaded when vaping salt nicotine?

You may experience light headedness or dizziness when vaping salt nicotine due to its higher concentration and powerful absorption. Nicotine in any form at high levels causes disorientation that manifests as lightheadedness or a spacy feeling. This is due to constricted blood vessels and higher blood pressure caused by the released of endorphins (mainly dopamine) from the pleasure center of the brain. This is easily fixed by either lowering your nicotine strength from say 50mg to 35mg or 20mg. Or try not to take as many puffs on your salt nicotine device. The effects of the lightheadedness are usually short lived, however if you have any health concerns please contact a medical professional.

Why is my  nicotine dark brown?

Nicotine in its pure form of 997mg or higher is generally clear and slightly fishy smelling. It can also have a chemical smell if the solvent content is high. Solvents are used and distilled off during the extraction process from tobacco leaf. Sometimes these don’t get fully distilled off and can leave a smell. Back to why nicotine goes dark. Usually nicotine is stored in a container with an inert gas such as Argon or more commonly Nitrogen. This absence of oxygen helps keep the Nicotine from Oxidizing. The oxidation process on the molecular level is complex however similar to many other elements oxidation processes. This oxidization causes the nicotine to become darker and have an acrid taste. Ways to slow this process down are simple. Store your nicotine in the fridge, keep out of sunlight and keep the container closed. While oxidized nicotine is still considered safe it can take on a rather dark appearance and have a harsher throat hit.

Can I buy pure nicotine? And how do I store it?

Most nicotine is never sold in its pure form due to the inherent risks associated with its handling. Usually it is based down in VG or PG to 100mg/mL. This allows safer handling and easier mixing. When in its pure form it’s okay to store nicotine in a lab freezer down to temperatures of -22 f. However when VG or PG are added it’s recommended to not store in any freezer due to the risk moisture could freeze causing problems with your mix. VG and PG are hygroscopic meaning they absorb water very readily, even from the air. So you risk forming ice crystals in your nicotine by storing it in the freezer if it isn’t pure. If you are not a chemist or industry professional, we do not recommend using pure nicotine due to its high toxicity and relative danger to the person handling it.




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