What are nic salts? The ultimate guide to nic salt shots

The world of vaping can be confusing for beginners. This is mainly due to the fact that its extensive terminology isn’t always that clear. If you keep up to date about recent developments in the vaping industry, chances are you will have heard about “nicotine salts” “nic salt shots” or “salt nic”. But what are nic salts? 

In order to demystify this substance, and find out if it could benefit you, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.

Luckily, you needn’t worry about dedicating hours of time to a new research project, because MIST has compiled a comprehensive and easy to understand guide on nic salts. 

Below, we answer some of the most common questions regarding nicotine salts and nic salt shots, and whether they could be a good choice for you!

  1. What are nic salts?
  2. Nic salts vs freebase nicotine
  3. How do I use nic salts
  4. Can I sub ohm nic salts?
  5. Are nic salts less safe or more addictive than regular vape juice?
  6. Are nic salts tasty?
  7. Should I use nic salts? Are nic salts right for me?
  8. How do I try nic salts?

1. What are nic salts?

In 2015 PAX labs received a patent for something that was going to take the vaping world by storm. Along with its trend-setting e-cigarette, JUUL, PAX introduced a game-changing substance to go with it: nic salts. So what are nic salts?

Simply put, nicotine salts are the exact same type of nicotine that is found in the tobacco leaf. Because of the unique chemistry of nicotine salts, they deliver nicotine to the body more effectively than “freebase” nicotine (the type of nicotine found in most e-liquid). 

When you vape freebase it evaporates easily and most of the nicotine ends in your mouth or throat. Because of this it is slowly absorbed into your bloodstream. Nic salts and nic salt shots on the other hand, contain nicotine bound into a chemical compound. This means the nicotine is able to reach your lungs where it is absorbed at a much more rapid rate.

2. Nic salts vs freebase nicotine

In a recent study that compared nic salts and freebase nicotine, nic salts were found to have “statistically significant higher ratings of appeal, sweetness, and smoothness, and lower ratings of bitterness and harshness”.

This is partly due to the fact that freebase e-liquid has a rather high PH level which means—if you remember cramming for that chemistry test—it’s very alkaline. 

A high alkaline e-liquid, when vaped, can be quite harsh on the throat; it’s generally what gives 50/50 or high-PG vape juice the characteristic throat and chest “hit” upon each inhalation.

Of course, while the “hit” freebase delivers is pleasant to some, others find it a bit too rough to enjoy. Particularly those who have just weaned off of a strong smoking habit. 

Many ex-smokers complain about vaping being harsh in comparison to smoking, and they aren’t wrong! While smoke briefly paralyses the lungs (ever noticed that smoking a cigarette when you’ve got a cough actually makes it go away for a few minutes?), heated vapour will generally agitate the nerves in the lungs.

Some come to enjoy the sought after “lung punch” you often get from PG based e-liquids, but those who find it disagreeable are often forced to use larger, more powerful machines designed to use high-VG e-liquids (VG or Vegetable Glycerine is the ingredient responsible for giving users more vapour and a comparatively smoother hit).

The problem with going the high-VG sub-ohm route is that nicotine delivery becomes less of a focus. Cloud chasing is mostly associated with flavour, fun and recreation, with less of a “switch to vape from smoking” mission statement behind it. Often high-VG e-liquid will only come in very low nicotine strength because the assumption is a sub-ohming vaper considers nicotine delivery to be a secondary concern.

This is why nic salts could be the perfect solution for those vapers who feel like they’ve been forgotten.

Because nic salts and nic salt shots are mixed with benzoic acid, this drastically reduces the PH level and therefore the alkalinity, which makes for a far smoother vape.

Not only this, but nicotine salts allow you to get high doses of nicotine in a relatively simple vape pen that won’t put out vast, anti-social clouds. The cherry on top? It’s as satisfying to the lungs as a traditional cigarette! There’s no need to worry about inhaling trace amounts of benzoic acid either—it is primarily used as a food preservative, so you’ve already been consuming it for years already! So perhaps you’re thinking about ditching the freebase in favour of nic salts or nic salt shots. But “how do I use them?” I hear you ask? Read on!

3. How do I use nic salts and nic salt shots?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “what are nic salts?”, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of how you actually use them.

Nicotine salts and nic salt shots, while a relatively new development in e-liquid, aren’t going to cause a huge shift in vaping hardware. A simple mouth-to-lung kit like the T-18 II or a pod-system like the SMOK Nord are all you will need to utilise vape juice that is loaded with nicotine salts. 

Most MTL vape tank tanks are already perfectly ready for use, though you may find that your coil’s lifespan is reduced by a day or two. All things considered, It’s a small price to pay!

However, we don’t recommend using a sub-ohming kit for nic salts as the units generally use a lot more power and produce a lot more vapour—this may result in a painful overload of nicotine. 

Furthermore, most salt nic e-liquids are relatively “thin” and may fail to stay securely within a tank designed for thicker, gloopier vape juice.

As for nic salt shots, if you’re familiar with using normal nicotine shots you won’t have a problem. They work in exactly the same way—just add the desired amount to your favourite flavoured shortfill and hey presto! Using an online calculator will help you get this down to an exact science.

4. Can I sub-ohm nic salts?

Technically you can—salted nic-shots by Zap! can be purchased at a low price of £1.99 in our stores, and come as a free addition when purchasing Zap! or Aisu short fill bottles.

As of yet, we do not provide any 10ml bottles of high-VG e-liquid pre-mixed with nicotine salts, but you will find that purchasing a shortfill bottle, along with some nic salt shots, is generally cheaper in the long run than frequently buying smaller doses.

5. Are nic salts less safe or more addictive than regular vape juice?

Absolutely not! There have been no toxicology reports indicating that inhaling benzoic acid is any more harmful to you than regular freebase nicotine. 

Regarding addiction, nicotine salts are more likely to help you regulate the amount of vapour you’re inhaling, due to the often high strength of nicotine within.

6. Do nic salts taste salty?

Don’t let the name fool you! The fact is, it’s arguable that nicotine salts are actually even MORE flavoursome than many traditional e-liquids.

Freebase nicotine solution is known to have a slight dampening effect on vape juice flavourings. This is why people often let their short fill bottles ‘breathe’ when adding a lot of nicotine—the flavour concentrates need a little time to counteract the freebase and return to full flavour.

Nic salts have zero effect on the flavour of e-liquid, and so what you’ll be getting is a smooth, strong and sumptuous vaping experience! Many go as far as to champion nicotine salts as being far more natural in their composition than traditional e-liquids.

7. Should I use nic salts? Are nic salts right for me?

Nicotine salts may seem like the best thing since sliced bread, but this isn’t to say they’re necessarily for everyone.

There are some out there who report feeling frustrated by the lack of physical “hit” you get from nicotine salts, and some who have been vaping high-PG e liquid for some time already may find transitioning to nicotine salts a little uncomfortable.

Consider these questions…

  • Are you a recent smoker?
  • Were you a heavy smoker (15-20+ cigarettes per day)?
  • Does vaping make you cough to the extent you’re put off trying it?
  • Are you a bit embarrassed by the idea of ‘big clouds’?
  • Do you want vaping to feel as similar to smoking as possible?

If you answered “yes” to several of these questions then we definitely suggest that you give nic salts or nic salt shots a try. They’ve convinced many vape sceptics about the pleasant and satisfying effects of vaping, and may just be what it takes for you to finally put down the cigarettes. Remember, Public Health England still recommends electronic cigarettes as the best way to quit smoking. That’s a pretty reassuring stamp of approval!

8. How do I try nic salts?

Given their widespread popularity, any decent vape vendor is likely to stock nicotine salt e-liquids and nic shots. Here at MIST we keep some delicious examples in stock such as our signature MIST Nic Salt Range for just £3.99 per bottle, or 5 for £12.50!


We hope this guide has managed to give you a satisfactory answer to the question: “what are nic salts?” As well as provide you with enough information to decide whether they could be the right fit for you.

Our chief aim at MIST is to be as helpful to vapers as possible, especially those who are trying to kick their tobacco habit. We’ve been in the game a long time now, and are convinced that nic salts and nic salt shots could be invaluable stepping stones on your journey to cleaner lungs! 

So, now you’re all clued up, why not give them a try? 

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