For many vapers, understanding some aspects of the vaping world is often difficult; one of these subjects is quite possibly the most important component, nicotine. Most users are vaping, having given up smoking and using a vape device as a form of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Many manufacturers of e-liquid are moving away from the traditional type of nicotine and switching to a newer form that has a different refining process. We’ll look into both types of nicotine, their history, manufacture, and relative characteristics.
The History of Nicotine
As a naturally occurring part of the Tobacco plant that originated in South and Central America and was brought to Europe in the 1500s, nicotine is a salt and not easily absorbed into the body. To combat this, Tobacco manufacturers led by Marlboro devised a chemical process that created a form of nicotine called Freebase; this allowed the nicotine to be absorbed more easily in its cigarette form. The method uses ammonia to increase PH levels which means when burnt, the lungs quickly absorb it, but this also creates a harsh sensation as the strength of the nicotine increases. Until recently, Freebase has been the only option as the nicotine element of e-liquid, that is until the development of a newer form called nicotine salt or salt nic.
The Newer Alternative
This newer form of nicotine uses the same naturally produced nicotine salts in tobacco but, unlike its older counterpart, does not use the same harsh chemical manufacturing process. The manufacture of Salt nic uses natural acids to change its chemical makeup; instead of increasing the PH levels as Freebase does, it lowers the PH. This process creates a situation where the nicotine is absorbed at a lower temperature giving the vaper a much smoother even vape. Salt nic also has a further important quality in that it allows higher doses to be added to e-liquid with no increase in harshness or decrease in vapour production. These characteristics are why it is becoming the nicotine type of choice for manufacturers looking to produce high-grade e-liquids to pass on to vapers like myself.
Mixing Your Own E-Liquid
Due to Nic salt being less harsh than Freebase, it is also the best option for the vaper that mixes their own e-liquid as much as 50mg of Nic salt shots can be combined with shortfill e-liquid without any noticeable harshness increase. But one must remember that this will also dilute the flavour of the host shortfill liquid. An increase in Salt nic levels may also result in vaping less as more nicotine is absorbed in fewer puffs of vapour.
What Devices Work Best with Salt Nic?
While you can vape e-liquids containing Nic salt in any device, some are more suited; starter vape pens and Pod systems can produce a super smooth quality vape. On the flip side, it is not advised to use Salt nic e-liquids with sub-ohm machines; they are designed for large intakes of vapour, resulting in a dosage of nicotine higher than is recommended.
So, there we are, the lowdown on the nicotine in your e-liquid; now you’re more informed and can choose where your vaping journey takes you.