Nicotine Salt vs Freebase Nicotine 2018-08-15T18:01:16+00:00

Nicotine Salt vs Freebase Nicotine

Nicotine salt is the most ground-breaking advancement in smoking cessation options since the advent of e-cigarettes themselves!

To bring you up to speed, in a nutshell, the recent discovery of nicotine salt technology basically allows you to vape at higher nicotine strengths without getting the corresponding rough throat hit that you’re typically used to.

Up until now, the trade-off transitioning smokers had to make was the higher the nicotine level they used, the harsher the throat hit became. It was a trade-off which unfortunately stopped a lot of smokers successfully transitioning from cigarettes to vaping, as the nicotine concentration they required to fully satisfy their nicotine cravings came at the cost of a throat hit too harsh to endure, or at the very least, enjoy.

For those who are interested in learning more about this ground breaking nicotine salt technology, and what it can do for you, you’re in the right place. So, what’s the difference between nicotine salt and rest of the nicotine eliquids on the market?

The nicotine used in the eliquid that you are familiar with is something called freebase nicotine. It is a method that tobacco companies have been using since the 1960’s.

Freebase means that the nicotine is in its purest form compared to the other nicotine derivatives. As a result, the nicotine is much more potent when heated, and it can be absorbed much faster into your lungs, and eventually, your brain.

This discovery was made by Phillip Morris International in the 1960’s, the company that owns Marlboro. What they found was that if they manipulated the pH levels of the nicotine, it provided more of a kick than the previous cigarettes sold in the 1950’s, without increasing the dose, making Marlboro cigarettes more addictive. This was a major breakthrough for Marlboro, and they exploited this dirty little secret as their competitive advantage for years, and subsequently became one of the most popular brands of cigarettes in the world!


In order to understand what nicotine salt is, it’s important to understand how freebase nicotine works. We’re going to try and avoid sounding like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory here, so let’s take a trip down memory lane to year 9 science class, and try to just cover the basics.

Nicotine in tobacco leaves has the chemical composition of a salt. A salt is made up of a chemical reaction that has a positive charge (Acid), and negative charge (Base).

Nicotine’s chemical nature is a weak base and made up of negatively charged particles. As a base, it seeks to find positively charged particles (Protons) to find stability and become ionized. Nicotine in tobacco leaves, or ions is not the most effective way of delivering nicotine into our bodies because ions have a harder time moving across organic membranes, and are not easily vaporized.

This is where freebasing takes pole position. The clever scientists at Phillip Morris International found that if the nicotine was de-protonated (via ammonia), removing its positive charge, it could go back to its free state where it became much easier to travel across the membranes in our bodies. In a nutshell, nicotine in its freebase form increases its bioavailabilty to your lungs, and subsequently to your brain, which makes it more potent, and addictive.

They found that by impregnating the tobacco with a salt like diammonium phosphate, it released ammonium when the cigarette was combusted, thereby transorming the nicotine into freebase form.


But hang on, If freebase nicotine is more potent, then why are smokers gravitating to nicotine salts?

Nicotine salt as we explained above is the natural state of nicotine in tobacco leaves.

We also mentioned that nicotine salt is much more stable, and not as volatile as the freebase form. Nicotine Salt eliquids also require higher temperatures to vaporize, and the ions don’t travel as easily to the nicotine receptors in your body.

To put simply, it’s not the most effective way to deliver nicotine to your body compared to the de-protonated freebase form.

Ok Sheldon, so why are they so ground-breaking then?

Recent scientific break-throughs have found a way to use nicotine salt as a means to make eliquids containing nicotine strengths up to 50mg palatable, increasing the bioavailability of the nicotine beyond the existing capabilities of freebase nicotine options in the market. The scientist’s ultimate goal was to replicate the sensation of smoking a cigarette, and nicotine delivery efficiency as closely as possible, and from the rapid growth in popularity, it looks like they’ve nailed it.

How is this possible though?

The secret ingredients that finally overcame the infamous throat hit trade-off were naturally occurring acids which are already present in every cell of the human body. Blending the nicotine with our proprietary mix of acids, , serves two key purposes:

  1. It helps nicotine salt vaporize at lower temperatures, as well as lowering the pH levels in the nicotine eliquid which results in a smoother throat hit
  2. A chemical reaction occurs that makes the nicotine more rapidly absorbed, similar in speed to free base nicotine

What this means is that you can comfortably vape at nicotine levels as high as 50 mg, whilst also absorbing the nicotine more quickly and efficiently. As illustrated in the graph below, the nicotine salt e-liquid can adequately satisfy your nicotine cravings at a comparable level, and speed to a traditional cigarette, and vastly more effectively overall than regular eliquids.


One thing to keep in mind is that nicotine salt eliquids operate best in lower wattage devices. It is strongly recommended to avoid using high powered devices to vape nicotine salt eliquids. Using sub-ohm devices to vape nicotine salt eliquids which can have nicotine levels as high as 50 mg will give you excessive amounts of nicotine absorbtion, deliver an incredibly unpleasant throat hit, and could be potentially harmful to your health.

As we have stated above, the nicotine salts are specifically designed to be used in lower wattage devices due to their comparably higher efficiency of nicotine absorption to the receptors in the brain.


  • User-Friendly Device– It’s easy to use and hassle-free. Pod Style devices like the Nicovape Nica can be a lot more convenient since you don’t have to make a mess refilling open-system tanks, and offer plug and puff simplicity. Not only that, it fits in your pocket like a charm, provides you the safety of a metered dose, and if you’re not into getting huge clouds then nicotine salt eliquids are the right choice for you
  • Higher Nicotine Levels– This is a huge step forward for the vaping community since the higher nicotine levels and rapid absorption you get from nicotine salts will help immensely in quitting cigarettes. Some experts claim that nicotine salts are far more effective in fighting cravings than the other devices in the market.
  • Smoother tasting and less nicotine bite– Nicotine salts can create a better vaping experience in general for those who want to vape at higher nicotine levels. The throat hit will not be as harsh compared to the freebase nicotine at the same levels.
  • Use Less E-liquids– Because of the high nicotine levels and better absorption, you will not need to consume as much eliquid. Less vapour production is needed and can be a big plus for someone who is looking for a more low profile device that works arguably better for your nicotine craving satisfaction
  • Longer shelf life – Due to nicotine salt being in its natural state, it is more stable and less likely to oxidize as fast as freebase nicotine varieties.

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