Understanding Nicotine Salts


Freebase Nicotine and Nicotine Salt

Pure nicotine, known as ‘freebase nicotine’, is derived from the chemical extraction of nicotine from tobacco leaves. It is the purest form of nicotine compared to other nicotine derivatives.

In contrast, nicotine salt is the form of nicotine found, in its’ natural and most stable state, in tobacco leaves. The term ‘salt’ doesn’t mean a powder or any other crystals, but rather an ionic compound (comprising positive and negative ions) forming a neutral product (without net charge).


Nicotine used in e-liquids for vaping

Freebase nicotine, which is ordinarily used in e-liquids, is not bonded to other components and has been considered preferable for vaping because it’s a more ‘volatile’ form of nicotine which, for example, makes it more easily vaporised. Nicotine salt for e-liquids, which is made by combing an organic acid with freebase nicotine, is less ‘volatile’ and more stable.

Because it has a high pH level, when freebase nicotine is used in e-liquids it will generally deliver a harsher throat hit and a more acrid taste than a nicotine salt (which is more acidic) based e-liquid.

This means that nicotine salt based e-liquids are smoother, that the throat hit is less harsh and that vapers are therefore able more easily able to use higher nicotine content e-liquids.

It’s also recognised that nicotine salt, when used in e-liquids:

  • because of its’ different molecular structure, can enable an effective and efficient delivery of nicotine, which gives the vaper a quicker intake of nicotine, which lasts longer than when using a freebase nicotine based e-liquid and which is closer to the comparable intake of nicotine when smoking a cigarette;
  • because it is more neutral in taste than freebase nicotine, can be more easily mixed with propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and flavours to obtain premium quality e-liquids
  • because it is more stable than freebase nicotine, oxidizes more slowly and so the e-liquids can be stored for longer.



Nicotine salt based e-liquids behave differently from freebase nicotine based e-liquids when vaporised and are formulated for use in small and lower powered devices (Resistance: 1.3 – 2 Ohms and Power: 7-9 Watts). Please note that nicotine salt based e-liquids are not recommended for use in sub-Ohm and high powered devices.

When using a nicotine salt based e-liquid, the user (whether already a vaper or a smoker who has not yet embraced vaping):

  • can enjoy a quick and sufficiently ‘intense’ intake of nicotine to closely replicate the experience of smoking and readily meet his/her individual nicotine requirements;
  • can use higher nicotine content e-liquids;
  • will be able to use a small, discrete, simple and easy to use device;
  • will use less e-liquid; and
  • will enjoy the benefits of using e-liquids which have a longer shelf-life.