Nicotine salts: more addictive than basic nicotine?

A Californian clinical study carried out in a hospital setting on a cohort of 119 volunteers made up of smokers and vapers, investigated the sensory effect of nicotine salts. These are known to inhibit the scratching in the throat of nicotine (the hit) and thus allow vaping of liquids with a high nicotine content (> 20 mg / ml) without feeling the nicotine hit in the throat. During the study and over a period of 30 days, the volunteers divided into 2 separate groups vaped 10 flavored liquids.

The 1st group vaped liquids based on nicotine salt (benzoate, 23 mg / ml), the second conventional liquids titrated in nicotine base (23 mg / ml). The vapers were then asked to evaluate these liquids on sensory criteria (sweetness, acridity, sweetness, bitterness) and to note their preference. It is clear that liquids based on nicotine salts are more attractive and more pleasant to vape than liquids based on unmodified nicotine. The attraction to nicotine salts is even greater in volunteers who have never smoked. The authors insist on the need to better regulate the use of nicotine salts, the high levels of nicotine being known to be very addictive.

Effect of Exposure to e-Cigarettes With Salt vs Free-Base Nicotine on the Appeal and Sensory Experience of Vaping: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Adam M Leventhal & coll.JAMA Netw Open 2021 Jan 4;4(1):e2032757. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.32757

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