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Salt Nicotine Reference Chart

Posted by Eden Sorrell on

Key Takeaways:

  1. Our salt nicotine strength is changing and the numbers on the bottle will be stronger than the numbers you're used to, in accordance with the new regulations and ISO20714 nicotine testing standard being used by Health Canada.
  2. A new 20mg/mL salt nic base (or ejuice) will now be as strong as an old 36mg/mL. There's a chart below showing how this affects everything from 1-20mg/mL.
  3. Not all manufacturers or retailers will understand this situation just yet until the information has had sufficient time to disseminate, and be incorporated into business processes. As a result, DIY salt nic bases and ejuice across different stores likely won't be apples to apples until all businesses are up to speed.
  4. 35mg/mL users are safe, but 50mg/mL is gone. Long live 50mg/mL.

Long Winded Explanation:

With the new nicotine regulation in Canada, 20mg/mL is the maximum nicotine concentration we can now sell. There is a small silver lining though. There wasn't broad consensus about how nicotine salts should be expressed until Health Canada recently specified an ISO testing protocol to determine the nicotine concentration in eliquids for the purpose of enforcement. 

Why does this matter? Some companies like ourselves erred on the side of caution to be compliant with the first TVPA (Tobacco and Vapour Products Act - 2018) nicotine cap, which was 66mg/mL up until July 23, 2021, and expressed salt nicotine concentration based on the mass of the nicotine salt molecule. This was before any ISO testing protocol had been specified, of course. In fact, salt nicotine wasn't even on the radar when the TVPA was drafted. The nicotine benzoate salt solution we use has a starting concentration of 180mg/mL. Of that 180mg mass in 1 mL of solution, 100mg is actually nicotine and 80mg represents the mass of the salt molecule. From there, we dilute it with PG or VG to make the legally compliant nicotine we sell for DIY. The choice for the manufacturer back in 2018 was to use the 180 value and be compliant for certain with the TVPA nic cap when selling a "66mg/mL" nicotine product, or else use the 100 value and risk enforcement action if the government ended up basing their testing on the 180 value (E.g. the whole nicotine salt molecule).

Since we and many of our competitors were displaying salt nicotine concentration but only 55.6% of that value was actually nicotine, this means that a 60mg/mL bottle of salt nicotine you're used to would be expressed as 33.3mg/mL in terms of ONLY the nicotine, ignoring the salt molecule. In other words, on a new label as of July 23, 2021, 20mg/mL is actually as strong as what we and many others would have labeled a 36mg/mL, previously. 

The following image shows why a 180mg/mL solution of the nicotine benzoate salt would be expressed as 100mg/mL of nicotine, if we exclude the benzoate salt from the concentration statement on our labels. With the new regulations and ISO 20714 standard for testing nicotine content, this is how all vaping companies should be expressing nicotine salt going forward, but companies that aren't aware of this may still be expressing the full nicotine-salt concentration, which in this case would be 180mg/mL. 

nicotine benzoate salt mass

Essentially, if you vape at 35mg/mL salt nicotine, then buying the new-label 20mg/mL solution (which only measures nicotine, NOT salt molecule) will still basically get you there. As of July 23, 2021, buying premixed 20mg/mL VG+PG nicotine gives you a base that is equivalent to 36mg/mL, in pre-nic-cap terms. Alternatively, you could buy separate VG nic and PG nic to make your own VG:PG ratios and still have the same nicotine as a premix. Adding flavouring dilutes it from there. This is great for 35mg/mL vapers, but unfortunately there is no simple solution for 50mg/mL users, other than to cut back nicotine and tough it, vape more to get more nicotine, or increase the device power. Basically if you vape twice the volume, you get twice the nicotine and so forth. You will use more juice, battery charge and coils, but you get the same amount of nicotine as before the nic cap and more flavour (unless you reduce the flavouring % used...)

This is difficult to explain and may be a lot to understand, so we've made a table to provide a visual aid. If this still doesn't make sense, please feel free to email us and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have. 

As of today, July 24, 2021, most DIY ejuice websites still have their salt nicotine products down as everyone is trying to figure out what to do and the new pricing. Up until now, most retailers were very close to one another on price, but it's highly likely that not everyone will know all this before setting new prices for 20mg/mL salt nic.
If you see a price that's nearly half the amount you see on our website, it's almost certain they're using the old value and thus you're getting less actual nicotine content with their 20mg/mL vs our 20mg/mL. This apples to oranges comparison means the apparent savings could in fact cost more per mg of nicotine salt, and the weaker competitor product would drastically limit how strong you can make your ejuice. If you see a competitor's price pretty close to ours, they're likely up to speed with the topic of this post. As the market stabilizes around a set price, you may see minor fluctuations up or down on salt nic prices in the near term, but we've set ours to essentially provide nearly the same nicotine-to-dollar value you're used to, keeping in mind that now you will basically be forced to pay for more PG or VG and packaging to get that same amount of nicotine you used to get.
Again, we hope we've done a good enough job to distill and explain the new changes, but we're always here to answer additional questions you may have. Thanks and take care!

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