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Nicotine salts have become all the rage with vapers, and people trying to get off of combustible cigarettes over the past two or three years.
So, what's the difference in the the two types of nicotine. Nicotine is nicotine right?
Well. yes and no...
Lets take a look, without getting too deep into the science.
The nicotine you are used to in your e-liquid is what is called "freebase nicotine".. It was originally discovered back in the 1960's by a chap called Phillip Morris. If that name is in any way familiar to you, that is because that's the company name that owns Marlboro cigarettes, and a whole raft of other brands. He discovered that by using ammonia he could make nicotine more readily absorbable to the human body, thus making marlboro the favoured brand of cowboys everywhere. Nicotine in the untreated state is acutually pretty hard to absorb.
This has remained the standard method of making "freebase" nicotine ever since. At low concentrations it does the job quite nicely, but the stronger the solution, the harder it hits you in the back of the throat (its all to do with the alkalinity levels, where its been treated). Its why some strong e-liquids can feel quite harsh.
Then a few years ago, the clever people at PAC labs dicovered they could get strong nicotine, without it making you go cross eyed, by using benzoic acid. The benefits of this are clear straight away. You can use high strength nicotine without it burning your throat, and because of the changes in the nicotine, the body absorbs it more readily, and you can vape it at a MUCH lower temperature, so you don't have to use a powerful set up. to get the same effect (see my piece on pod systems)
The nic salts really do make for a much smoother alternative to standard nicotine solutions, and also seem to work really well in the "short fill" big bottles where you mix your nicotine with a flavoured solution. I use them on a regular basis in my Voopoo nano pod, and I'm normally on a 0.3mg liquid, but can happilly puff away on a 20mg with the nic salts.
The market for them is ever increasing too, with many of the big hitters in the e-liquid business waking up to the fact that there is a much nicer way to get your nic fix.
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