Nicotine Salt Vs. Freebase

On the 17th April 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert filed a patent for the world’s first electronic cigarette. The young business graduate from Pennsylvania used a battery powered heat source and flavoured water to create a smokeless based e-cig that cut out tobacco. 


Unfortunately for Gilbert, the world wasn’t ready for his invention, with tobacco companies promoting the glamour of cigarettes that were, at that time, still endorsed by doctors. Before he had a chance to realise any commercial success, his patent expired. His biggest issue however, was that his version of e-liquid didn’t contain nicotine, so it wasn’t a viable alternative to smoking. 


Fast forward to the early 2000s, when a Chinese pharmacist called Hon Lik was experimenting with nicotine replacement therapies to try and help his father quit smoking. He quickly realised that the only way to satisfy his cravings was to smoke cigarettes, so he decided to create a safer alternative. 


In 2003, he finally had a breakthrough. Hon Lik built a device that looked like a traditional cigarette, but used ultrasound to vaporise a nicotine solution. He then added resistance heating to create the smoke-like vapour we see today.


As a pharmacist, it didn’t take Hon Lik long to discover that propylene glycol (PG) was the perfect ingredient for e-liquid. It held nicotine well; created vapour when heated; was odourless and flavourless and, most importantly, it was already approved by the FDA for use in food and pharmaceuticals. 


Later, vegetable glycerin (VG) was found to be just as effective as PG, creating bigger vapour clouds with the added bonus of it being hypoallergenic. Since its discovery, e-liquid manufacturers have experimented with various ratios of VG and PG to find the perfect balance. This led to the evolution of the most common mixes on the market - 70VG/30PG shortfills and 40VG/60PG freebase nicotine 10mls. 


Nicotine Salt, on the other hand, didn’t hit the shelves until the mid-2010s, where it was predominantly being used in prefilled pod devices. This 50VG/50PG solution offered a quicker nicotine release than its freebase counterpart and a smoother inhale, even with a 20mg nic strength. 


But what is nicotine salt? How is it different from freebase? What are the pros and cons of freebase and salt nicotine? In today’s blog, we’re going to take a look at each variation and compare them to help you advise your customers on which would be best suited to their needs. 

What is freebase nicotine?

Let’s start with the original recipe. Freebase nicotine e-liquids are the most common type of vape juice, and use the same type of nicotine that's used in cigarettes and replacement therapies, like gum and patches. 


Former smokers choose freebase e-liquids as they deliver a harsher throat hit than nicotine salts, closely replicating the sensation of smoking tobacco. Compared to nic salts, freebase nicotine is absorbed more slowly by the body, so it'll take slightly longer to feel the effects. Freebase nicotine e-liquids are compatible with all mouth-to-lung vape kits and are available in four nic strengths - 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg.

What are nic salts?

Salt nicotine is a type of e-liquid that contains a purer form of nicotine found in the tobacco plant leaf. If your customers are looking to avoid a harsh throat hit, then nicotine salts are a perfect choice. They are pH neutralised, resulting in a much smoother inhale, even at the highest nicotine levels. 


New vapers who have just quit smoking are well suited to nic salts, as the nicotine is more easily and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. They are usually higher strength e-liquids, and are most commonly made with a 50VG/50PG ratio.

How to use nic salts

Nicotine salts come in 10ml bottles, and their VG/PG ratio means they’re best suited to mouth-to-lung kits. Due to their higher nic strengths, they’re ideal for ex-smokers who are used to getting through a pack of cigarettes a day. They’re also the best choice for anyone who doesn’t enjoy the harsher throat hit you get from freebase nicotine. 


You vape them the same way you would any other 10ml e-liquid, it’s just a smoother mouth-to-lung inhale that delivers a faster nicotine hit. Less powerful vape devices, like the Aspire Vilter or Favostix, are really well-suited to nicotine salts. 

Pros and cons of nicotine salts

One of the main reasons nic salts became popular is because of their smooth inhale. Vapers can draw on them all day and avoid a harsh throat hit. They also produce a relatively small amount of vapour compared to high VG e-liquids, so they’re great for stealth vaping too. 


However, if your customers are trying to cut down on nicotine, then they might not be the best option. Nic salts come in higher strengths than freebase vape juices, so if your customers are trying to vape less, then it’s a good idea to point out that nic salts might keep them hooked for longer. 

Pros and cons of freebase nicotine

Freebase e-liquids contain less nicotine than nic salts, so they’re a good choice for anyone trying to lessen their addiction. They’re also suitable for all MTL vape kits, so they’re perfect for any ex-smokers who aren’t looking to invest a lot of money into vaping. Many actually enjoy the throat hit you get from freebase e-liquids, so it’s a great vape juice for anyone looking to replace the sensation of smoking a cigarette. 


The obvious con to freebase e-liquids, especially for those used to nicotine salts, is the fact that it gives a harsher throat hit, which can cause irritation with excessive use. 

What is the best nicotine salt?

As our best-selling vape juice, the V4POUR collection is always a popular choice amongst former smokers. Well known for its great flavour, the V4 salt range offers unbeatable value for money with 15 super-smooth blends to choose from. 


One of our favourite flavours is Blackcurrant Ice. It’s a tasty fruit blend that serves up the perfect balance of sweet blackcurrant with a refreshing blast of ice on the exhale. This super-smooth nic salt is available in three strengths - 5mg, 10mg and 20mg, so it’s perfect for new vapers looking for something delicious to satisfy their nicotine cravings. 

What is the best freebase e-liquid?

Before we created our V4 Salts range, the collection started with our huge selection of freebase nicotine 10mls. With over 50 best-selling flavours to choose from, this range offers something to suit all tastes!


V4POUR Ice Drop is the ultimate ice menthol ‘basic’ e-liquid, perfect for use in starter kits, pod systems and MTL tanks. This tasty menthol blend is perfect for ex-smokers, offering unrivalled flavour with a satisfying nicotine hit. 


Throughout the month of October, we’re offering 30% off all our V4 10mls, including both the Salt and Freebase range! If you’d like to get your hands on some delicious vape juice to help your customers quit smoking for good this Stoptober, just get in touch with our sales team. 

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