A couple of years ago, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that nicotine salt vape juice would one day be more popular than traditional freebase nicotine e-liquid among mainstream vapers. Refillable pod systems had reached the point where they had become legitimately good vaping devices, and thousands of vapers were trading in their larger mods for the small devices and switching from freebase nicotine to nicotine salt.

Today, though, it seems like that trend is beginning to change. Nicotine salt e-liquid is definitely here to stay, but it’s beginning to look like it may not replace freebase nicotine e-liquid after all. Among those who use refillable vaping devices, in fact, it’s likely that nicotine salt vape juice will always remain a niche product.

Why is that?

The Nicotine Salt Explosion Explained

What was so appealing about pod-based systems that caused so many owners of larger mods and vape pens to switch? The tremendous initial popularity of pod systems came down to a few factors.

  • They were new and novel. Vapers have always loved to try whatever is different; that’s what keeps the hobby interesting and prevents people from being tempted to dabble in tobacco use.
  • Some people were a little nervous about the amount of e-liquid they were using every day. They looked at the volume of VG, PG and flavorings that they were inhaling, and they wondered if that was really the best thing to do for their bodies.
  • The amount of e-liquid that a vaper uses each day isn’t the only issue here; there’s also the fact that almost all vape juice today is sweetened. If you use a lot of e-liquid every day – and that e-liquid contains sucralose – what do you get? You get lots of dead coils. Yes, you can always build your own coils, but most vapers prefer the convenience of pre-built coils – and replacing your coil every day gets very expensive. Pod systems, therefore, promised to reduce e-liquid consumption and to help coils last longer.
  • The public attitude toward vaping – especially in the United States – hasn’t always been positive. Some people switched to pod systems simply because they didn’t want to be seen chucking huge clouds in public.
  • There’s also a significant percentage of vapers who never wanted to be cloud chasers in the first place. Many of the people who were early adopters of vaping also became early adopters of sub-ohm tanks and large mods because that was the only way to achieve any real level of satisfaction in those days; the small vaping devices just couldn’t deliver enough nicotine. Nicotine salt e-liquid changed that.

What Happened to Nicotine Salt Vape Juice? Pod Systems Evolved

So, refillable pod systems and nicotine salt vape juice were perfect for newer vapers who were ready to switch from their pre-filled devices and gain a little more freedom with regards to flavor selection. Pod systems were also perfect for more experienced vapers who were growing tired of the cloud chasing game. The vaping community had a new type of device, and people were happier than ever about their vaping experiences. Everyone lived happily ever after, right?

That, however, isn’t exactly the way that things went. Nicotine salt e-liquid never became more popular than freebase nicotine among the mainstream vaping community. Although vaping devices across the board were getting smaller and sleeker for several years, they are now once again starting to become larger and more powerful. 

So, what happened?

The answer is that pod vaping systems evolved – and they followed the exact same evolutionary pattern that all vaping devices have followed since the very beginning. Vapers, meanwhile, have proven that if they like the experience they’re currently having, then they’d be even happier with something that delivers more of the same. The manufacturers, meanwhile, are under constant pressure to continue innovating and releasing better devices, or they’ll lose publicity and hype.

Box mods are just about out of room for innovation, so the manufacturers have focused on pod systems instead. Development in the pod vaping segment has given us pod mods, larger vaping devices that look and perform like box mods but use proprietary pods rather than open-system tanks.

Other than the fact that they use pods for e-liquid storage, today’s pod mods have pretty much all of the features that you’d expect to see in a box mod, such as adjustable wattage, removable batteries, replaceable coils, mesh coils and more – and the sales figures have shown that pod mods are a big hit with the vaping community. Even former users of tank-based mods have been buying pod mods because they’re intrigued by the convenience and slick designs.

When you upgrade from a small vaping device to a more powerful one, what’s the first thing that you do? You lower the nicotine strength of your vape juice, and that’s exactly what’s happening among the people who are buying the latest and greatest pod mods. They’re finding – even if they use those systems for mouth-to-lung vaping – that nicotine salt vape juice simply has far too much nicotine to produce an enjoyable experience. So, as people upgrade from small pod systems to pod mods, they’re also using lower-nicotine e-liquids – just as the earliest vapers did when they bought the first mechanical mods and box mods. 

What’s the Future for Nicotine Salt E-Liquid?

So, what does the future hold for nicotine salt vape juice? Nic salt isn’t going away, of course. Without it, getting any level of satisfaction from a small vaping device would be impossible. Nicotine salt is the thing that fuels every pre-filled pod system on the market, and it’s also going to stay popular among those who use small refillable pod systems. It’s looking increasingly likely, though, the nicotine salt vape juice will always remain a niche product and that it won’t end up overtaking traditional freebase nicotine e-liquid in popularity. Instead of taking over the vaping industry, nicotine salt will remain just one part – albeit a vital one – of a much wider tapestry in which just about every type of vaper can find something that’s absolutely perfect for their individual needs.

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