Most e-liquids on the market use freebase nicotine. This nicotine is extracted from tobacco leaves and other plants that naturally contain nicotine. The nicotine is mixed with a base (ammonia) in order to remove protons. When the nicotine is de-pronated it becomes more bioavailable and can be absorbed by receptors in the brain, lungs, and central nervous system. Generally, most people that are switching from smoking to vaping will notice that it takes a bit of time to get the “nicotine buzz” from freebase e-liquids. When smoking a cigarette, the user gets the buzz they are looking for almost immediately. When vaping freebase nicotine, the user will need to vape for several minutes before they get the same feeling.
If you are looking to mimic that instantaneous nicotine buzz you felt when smoking, you may be interested in trying nicotine salts. Unlike freebase nicotine, liquids with nicotine salts use nicotine crystals that naturally occur in tobacco leaves. Early research seems to indicate that better blood absorption rates occur when using salt based nicotines. This could be due to the fact that the nicotine is in a more natural state and can be used more readily by the body. Another advantage of nicotine salts is that they create a much different user experience as far as the throat hit. They tend to be very smooth and easy to vape even at much higher nicotine levels. For example, many users are comfortable vaping salt based liquids that range with between 25mg and 59mg of nicotine whereas most users of freebase nicotine tend to vape liquids containing between 1.5mg and 12mg of nicotine . Nicotine salts are used in lower wattage devices but deliver excellent user experience and an immediate buzz.
If you want to try nicotine salts, we have a few brands that we feel comfortable recommending based on our personal experiences. First, is the entire line of Mr. Salt E-liquids. They range in strength from 25mg to 45mg of nicotine and have several very tasty flavors in their line up including fruity flavors, tobaccos, and creamy dessert flavors. Another good option if you prefer closed systems is the Phix and Phix pods. The Phix combines a high mg nicotine salt based liquid with a tight draw so many users feel that it closely mimics the experience of smoking a cigarette. Phix pods are currently available in 4 flavors including butterscotch, tobacco, strawberry, and menthol.