It can be overwhelming as a new vaper trying to decide which form and strength of nicotine you should be buying. Finding what works for you will require some trial and error, though hopefully this guide can point you in the right direction as you begin your vaping journey.
What Is Freebase Nicotine?
Freebase nicotine has been the standard for vapers around the world up until the surge in popularity of pre-filled pod systems.
Nicotine found naturally in tobacco leaves has a chemical composition of salt. In it’s natural chemical state, nicotine is a weak base and is relatively ineffective at delivering nicotine.
Phillip Morris discovered that by raising the pH level of nicotine using ammonia, the nicotine would be put in a freebase state. This process increases nicotine’s bioavailability to the lungs and brain, making it more potent.
The biggest issue when it comes to vaping freebase nicotine is the undesirable throat hit at higher strengths. In high powered vape devices, vaping over 9mg/ml can cause a harshness on the throat which some find impossible to tolerate when switching from cigarettes. This is where nicotine salts come in!
What Are Nicotine Salts?
Nicotine salts are found in most of the popular pre-filled disposable vapes. They allow you to vape much higher strengths (up to 50mg/ml in some devices) without causing too much throat irritation.
Vaping high strength nicotine salts can be beneficial for smokers trying to quickly transition to vaping. Though users should also be aware of the increased risk of dependency at these strengths.
As mentioned above, nicotine salt is the natural state of nicotine within tobacco leaves and is less effective at delivering nicotine than freebase – so why the surge in popularity? Well, the secret ingredient was to introduce benzoic acid, which lowers the pH levels (making it smoother), and makes it more absorbable (increasing the pleasurable nicotine hit).
Which Nicotine Base Should I Choose?
The right nicotine type and strength will vary from person to person. If you want to get as close as possible to disposable vapes, you should go for a small refillable pod kit with high strength salts. If you prefer bigger clouds and more flavour, try a higher powered device with lower strength freebase.
It’s worth pointing out that these guidelines aren’t set in stone. So by all means you can mix it up with salts at lower strengths, or freebase at higher strengths if your lungs can handle it!
For an easy way to accurately measure your nicotine when mixing with ready made e-liquid, please refer to our handy mixing chart here. For information regarding obtaining a nicotine prescription in Australia, check out our guide here. Please be safe when handling high strength nicotine solutions and get in contact with us if you have any specific questions.