What are Nicotine Salts? The Vape Town Guide | Vape Town Online

Nicotine salts, otherwise known as nic salts, have been used in e-liquid for a few years now. Nicotine salt e-liquids are particularly popular in the United States, where they commonly vape a massive 50mg of nicotine salt in their vapes. The EU versions of nicotine salts are limited to the 20% nicotine level allowable by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations in 2016.

This rise in demand has seen us massively expand our own nic salt e-liquid range. We created this guide to explain what nicotine salts are, how they work, and how they compare to e-liquids and freebase nicotine. We also aim to help you make an informed decision about whether vaping nicotine salts is right for you. Let’s get right to it!

What are nicotine salts?

Firstly, let’s dispel a myth - nicotine salts will not make your vape juice taste salty and will not increase your sodium intake. They are, in fact, a form of nicotine that is blended with other organic compounds to generate a smoother vaping experience with higher nicotine concentrations. Whilst different from pure nicotine found in tobacco leaves, nicotine salts often resemble it.

Nic salts are a cigarette replacement product specifically designed for people who have longer breaks in between vaping. This is because the nicotine hit from nic salts ensures that cravings are curbed for longer and prevents the temptation of topping up with a quick cigarette. Although many people do successfully quit smoking with starter kits such as vape pens and similar products, a key issue is often their needs are not being satisfied, leading to withdrawal and cravings because of the insufficient levels of nicotine.

When you consider how many people have kicked the habit thanks to the advances in vaping products, something as revolutionary as nic salts could prove to be a game-changer for smokers who need to quit.

If you need any clarification for other definitions, be sure to check out our vaping glossary.

How do nicotine salts work?

Rather than bore you with the precise molecular breakdown, we can sum it up in two words: pH levels.

If you increase the acidity of pure nicotine salt, you can deliver much higher doses of nicotine without the nasty throat hit.

Acids bond really well to nicotine. There are certain acids that occur naturally in every cell of the human body that are perfect for the job of converting natural nic salts to ‘vapable’ nicotine salts.

The most commonly used acid is benzoic acid, which has three key benefits:

  1. It gives nicotine a chemical structure which is far more rapidly absorbed by our bodies
  2. It enables the nicotine salt to vaporise at lower temperatures
  3. It lowers the pH level, resulting in a much smoother throat hit

By raising the acidity of nicotine salt, it delivers a concentration of nicotine to the blood comparable to standard cigarettes in roughly the same amount of time.

Why people choose to vape with nicotine salts

There are many reasons why people choose to vape with nicotine salts. Vaping in this way might be right for you if you can tick yes to any of the following questions:

  • Do you want to quit smoking?
  • Have you tried vaping before without success?
  • Are you happier with a more basic vaping device?
  • Do you prefer higher nicotine levels than regular e-liquid can provide?

The allure of nic salts lies in their capacity to provide an authentic experience similar to smoking a cigarette. With their high nicotine content, smooth throat hit, and quick nicotine delivery, they’re particularly attractive to those looking to quit smoking.

Salt nicotine vs nicotine: what’s the difference?

It’s crucial to recognise the differences between nicotine and tobacco. Tobacco makes up the main body of cigarettes and poses the most health risks, while nicotine is an addictive chemical that carries significantly fewer toxins. 

Nic salts are the same form of nicotine you would find in tobacco, hence our need to point out the difference. This natural state of nicotine is blended with liquid to create e-liquids for people to vape. The salts adjust the pH level of the liquid and make it more suited to how bodies process substances. 

Simply put, nic salts provide a much more efficient way for nicotine to be absorbed into the bloodstream and, therefore, offer much better, long-lasting results.

Cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapies, and regular vape juices all contain freebase nicotine. Freebasing is achieved by converting nicotine from its natural ‘salt’ state into its base ‘pure’ form. It’s a way of increasing strength without increasing the quantity. Protons are stripped from the nicotine salts using ammonia, which increases their pH level (alkalinity). 

Take a look at the table below to see the salt nicotine vs nicotine comparison broken down in simpler terms. 

 Nicotine Salt Freebase Nicotine
Contains benzoic or citric acid

Contains no additives

Is absorbed faster into the bloodstream

Has a slower absorption rate

Is smooth at high doses

Is harsh at high doses

Does not enable large cloud production

Enables large cloud production

Suited to mouth-to-lung vaping

Suited to mouth-to-lung or direct-to-lung vaping

More expensive by volume

Less expensive by volume

Suitable for high nicotine strengths

More suited to low and medium nicotine strengths

Ideal for new vapers or mixed users

Suited to vapers with lower nicotine requirements

Less liquid needed for comparable nicotine hit

More liquid needed for comparable nicotine hit

Slow oxidation means longer shelf life

Faster oxidation means shorter shelf life

Well-suited to pod vapes and lower-power vape devices


Typically burn coils slower than freebase nicotine


Are nicotine salts better than regular e-liquids?

There is no right answer to whether nicotine salts are better than regular e-liquids; both have their place, and it depends on the vaper. 

The most notable differences between the two are how your body absorbs the nicotine (and also how long cravings are curbed) and the vaping experience itself. Nic salts are absorbed into the bloodstream quicker and, therefore, offer an ideal solution for people who take longer intervals when vaping. Plus, they provide a smoother throat hit, and for some, this means a more enjoyable vaping experience.

You should note that it’s not a good idea to smoke nic salts in the same way you would standard e-liquids, as they are much stronger and will make you feel unwell. We want your first experience with nic salts to be beneficial, so just be wary and always ask an expert if you have any questions.

Are nic salts better overall?

There are many ways in which nic salts may appeal to you over other vaping products.

  • Higher nicotine levels

Nic salts offer a solution for vapers who require a higher strength nicotine intake to curb cravings or for those who cannot vape as frequently as they would like. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to quit smoking is using e-liquid that fails to satisfy their needs, which can lead to people resorting to old habits and smoking cigarettes. Many different situations and instances can bring on cravings, so it’s essential for your vape kit to do its job — with nic salts, that job is more straightforward.

  • Vape less

If you’re on the fence about nic salts, just think; they allow you to vape less while still maintaining the level of nicotine required to give your body and your mind what they crave.

  • More enjoyable vaping experience

Also, as we mentioned above, nic salts offer a much smoother and less harsh vaping experience — this creates a more enjoyable and less disruptive habit.

  • Inexpensive

If you’re on a budget or don’t want to spend too much on vaping, nic salts are perfect! They are compatible with a wide range of pod systems, meaning you won’t have to invest too much to reap the rewards.

Can you use nic salts in any vape?

Nicotine salts were initially designed for usage with pod systems. Now, they can typically be utilised in a variety of kits, such as vape starter kits and mods. Nic salts with a lower strength of nicotine can even be utilised in sub-ohm devices, providing a satisfying throat hit and intense flavours.

Can nicotine salts help you quit smoking?

Vaping products have helped millions of people quit smoking, so much so that it is now considered a more effective solution than nicotine replacements, such as gum and patches. Nic salts give you a strong nicotine hit that lasts much longer than regular e-liquids, meaning you will actually decrease the amount times you vape each day.

This installs a positive pattern and helps guide you towards not needing to vape at all. Yes, Vape Town is very much in the vape business, but other people's health and well-being will always be a top priority — if vaping can help you quit, that’s a huge victory in our eyes.

Are nicotine salts safe?

The truth is that vaping is safer for you than smoking regular cigarettes, as claimed by Cancer Research UK. Therefore, you can sleep easy knowing that making the switch from smoking to vaping is a better move for your health. However, understanding the potency of nicotine salts and the correct way to utilise them is critical for a safe vaping experience.

If you’ve never smoked before, you should not use nicotine salts or any other vaping product, as this practice is not without its own risks. Vaping is here to help smokers quit cigarettes and stay off them.

Get your nicotine salt fix at Vape Town

Now that you know what nicotine salts are and why they are better for you than smoking, you might want to give them a try! Please take a look below at our top nic salt brands here at Vape Town.

Vape Town's Own Nicotine Salts

If you’re looking for best value for money, Vape Town offers a selection of nicotine salts starting at £2 per bottle as part of our deals. We stock traditional flavours as well as more exotic ones, so you can always switch up your vaping experience.

Lost Mary's MaryLiq Nic Salt E-liquids

Lost Mary’s nicotine salt e-liquids also come in a variety of flavours. We particularly love Maryliq’s Pineapple Mango and Lime Rum juices to transport you to the Caribbean! 

Next Level Bar Salts

Next Level Bar Salts provide excellent value starting from only £2 when bought as part of Vape Town’s great deals! These nicotine salts come in nicotine strengths ranging from 5mg to 20mg, enabling you to find a nicotine fix that suits you perfectly. Whether you’re after a soft mint hit or a standard tobacco flavour to help you wean off smoking, we’ve got you covered.  

Elf Bar's Elfliq 10ml Nic Salts

With nicotine strengths ranging from 10mg to 20mg, Elf Bar’s range of delicious nic salts can cater to different vapers. The strawberry ice flavour is one of our favourites!

So, there you have it. Hopefully, you feel more confident knowing what nicotine salts are all about. If you’re interested in our nicotine salt e-liquid but don’t know which one to go for, reach out to us or visit one of our stores and one of our experts will be more than happy to help.

You can also check out our blog for additional vaping information, such as apps to enhance your vaping experience and our guide to beginner vape kits.