Nicotine Vs Nicotine Salts…What’s the Difference?

Looking to break up with cigarettes? Vaping could be the perfect solution. 

Not only does vaping offer the same hand-to-mouth motion of smoking cigarettes, but it allows you to customize the amount of nicotine you’re consuming. This means it’s well suited to helping smokers taper down on the nicotine while avoiding many of the nasty side effects of smoking. 

Of course, the amount of nicotine isn’t the only thing you can customize with vaping. You can also choose the type of nicotine you ingest. There are two key options that you’ll find in vape juices: nicotine and nicotine salts.

Confused about nicotine vs. nicotine salts? You’re in the right place.
In this post, we’ll demystify the difference between nicotine and nicotine salts to help you make a better choice about which one is right for you. But first, a few basics…

What is Vape Juice? 

Before we delve into the different types of nicotine-containing vape juice, let’s get on the same page about what vape juice is and how it’s used.

Vape juice, also known as e-juice, vaping liquid, or e-liquid, is a vital ingredient if you want to vape. It’s the fuel that powers your vape device.

Without vape juice, nothing will happen when you fire up your vape device. It’s almost like the gas in your car: you need this fuel to get anywhere. 

To use vape juice, it’s deposited in the tank of a vape device. Then, when you fire up the device, it heats up, generating the vapor that you inhale. The juice is necessary to generate that vapor! 

Vape juice comes in bottles that often have a dropper for easy loading into the tank. Some come with squeeze bottles instead of droppers.  

Does All Vape Juice Contain Nicotine?

Nope. You can absolutely buy vape juice without nicotine. 

However, for many individuals who are trying to quit smoking cigarettes, a “cold turkey” approach proves challenging.

Often, the favored method for former smokers is to start vaping using vape juice that contains nicotine. Over time, they gradually taper down the level of nicotine and may get to the point where they use vape juice without any nicotine at all. This can help with avoiding nasty withdrawal symptoms! 

Nicotine Versus Nicotine Salts: What’s the Difference? 

Now that you have a basic understanding of vape juice, let’s talk about the difference between nicotine and nicotine salts in a vape juice. Here, we’ll define both types and talk about the differences and considerations to take into account with both.  


Until recently, nicotine or “freebase nicotine” vape juice was the only option in the vape universe. 

What is simply referred to as “nicotine” in vaping follows a method that tobacco companies have used since the 1960s, where nicotine was combined with ammonia to deliver a more powerful nicotine punch. 

The process of “freebasing” nicotine makes it more readily and quickly absorbed into the body, and makes the experience of consuming nicotine more immediate and powerful. 

Freebase nicotine is the norm in gums, lozenges, and nicotine patches. It’s also what’s used in cigarettes. 

In terms of vape juice, a nicotine solution can be added to VG (vegetable glycerine) and PG (propylene glycol) juices, which act as carriers that deliver the nicotine. 

Nicotine Salts

If nicotine is the norm, then what exactly is salt nicotine? In spite of the name, it has nothing to do with table salt––and it won’t leave a salty aftertaste in vape juices. 

Rather, nicotine salts are the result of a little clever chemistry. 

Nicotine salts start with unadulterated nicotine––what you’d find in a tobacco leaf. However, it’s not quite ready for vaping just yet. If you tried to vape this unadulterated nicotine, it would require extremely high temperatures to be effective, and it wouldn’t be as quickly absorbed into the body. 

However, when you add a little benzoic acid to the mix, it lowers the pH level of the nicotine. This brings down the levels of alkalinity, which reduces the harshness of the throat hit when you vape.  

This is beneficial in a few ways. 

For one, traditional nicotine can be harsh to the throat in higher quantities. So you may have to reduce your dose to a lower level than you’re comfortable with to protect your throat. With nicotine salts, on the other hand, the smoother experience means that you can use a higher concentration of nicotine and still have a gentler experience. 

Differences Between Nicotine and Nicotine Salts

Here are a few of the specific differences between nicotine and nicotine salts:

Quality of the Throat Hit 

If you’re new to vaping and are quitting smoking, you may require a higher amount of nicotine to satisfy your cravings. 

However, the amount of nicotine required in conventional liquids to satisfy your cravings could leave you with a sore throat due to the harsher vape experience.

Where cigarettes might include additives to soften the nicotine, that’s not the case with vape juices. So adjusting the pH of the nicotine with benzoic acid, as in the case of nicotine salts, helps to deliver a softer and gentler throat hit. 


For a new vaper, traditional nicotine can be disappointing because it doesn’t deliver the same nicotine punch as cigarettes. 

However, increasing the amount of nicotine isn’t always the answer, due to the increased harshness of the throat hit as discussed above. 

Nicotine salts can help, since the softer throat hit means that you can have a higher amount of nicotine. 


Nicotine can have an assertive flavor in vape juice. This means that regardless of the flavor of the vape juice, you’ll still be able to taste nicotine pretty prominently.

However, nicotine salts have less of an impact on the overall flavor.

As you begin to decrease the amount of nicotine in your vape juice, you’ll notice a change in the flavor of nicotine vape juices over time. This is because the assertive flavor of nicotine is becoming less pronounced as you decrease your dose. 

Nicotine salts, on the other hand, don’t affect the flavor as much, so you’ll enjoy greater flavor consistency over time, even when dropping your dose. 


The wattage of your device matters when it comes to choosing nicotine vs. nicotine salts vape juices. 

Nicotine salts tend to operate better in lower wattage devices. They don’t require the same heat that nicotine does, so a higher powered device could impart excessive levels of nicotine that could make for an unpleasant overall experience. 

On the other hand, a higher wattage device may be more effective when using a traditional nicotine vape juice, since it needs a higher temperature to heat up to the point where it will be easily vaporized and absorbed. 

Nicotine Vs. Nicotine Salt: Is there a Winner? 

When it comes to nicotine versus nicotine salts, is one better than the other?

Nope. They’re just different. 

Nicotine and nicotine salt juices both offer a different vape experience, and deciding which one is best for you is a personal decision. 

For example, if you’re looking for a smoother throat hit, you might be more interested in nicotine salts juice. On the other hand, if you prefer a high wattage device, you might prefer nicotine juices. The decision is yours! 

Nicotine Vs. Nicotine Salts: The Final Word 

Nicotine and nicotine salts offer two different vape experiences. 

In reading through this post, you’ve learned a lot about the differences between nicotine and nicotine salts, including what they are and some of the advantages or desirable characteristics of each. Perhaps you’ve also gotten some insight about which one you might prefer! 

Enquire Now

Alert: Content is protected !!