Article in the Vapouround Magazine December 2017
Dr Salt give us an education on the rise of salt-based nicotine at the Vaper Expo
When it comes to the purpose, mission, growth, sustainability and benefits of vaping, nicotine remains the name of the game, the key to driving its role as not just any smoking cessation tool, but the tool. With regulation and new findings about nicotine making the headlines lately, vape company Dr Salt has successfully spearheaded the sudden emergence of the salt-based phenomenon, and are helping smokers discover a product with appropriate nicotine levels with none of the harshness. It’s impossible to trawl the gigantic floor of the Vaper Expo without finding something new and promising for the vape market, and this October show was no different.
Darren Burns of Dr Salt offered us a crash course on salt-based nicotine and what it means for the market consisting of current smokers and new vapers. We realised that the mass market now has gone toward short fills and sub-ohm juices, and we wanted to produce a product that would cater to the average smoker that comes into the shop and wants to make the switch to vaping,” Darren says. “The major complaint about freebase nicotine is that in high amounts it can be harsh on the back of the throat, and we wanted to find a way to produce a liquid with high nicotine content and a smoother throat hit. And through research and development, Ben – the owner of the company, sourced the product and started producing a salt-based nic. We had in-depth testing done to make sure the PH levels were in line with freebase nicotine, so everything was within the limits of safety. The tests returned with no issues and we’re confident in the product going forwards. “After trials and testing were complete, we found that even at a 20-milligram strength, it was extremely smooth, it gave good flavour and a stronger, longer-lasting nicotine rush. “Amazingly, this breakthrough in nicotine delivery is less than a year old for the majority of the UK market. It has, however, found great success across the Atlantic, and its best days are yet to come. The Vaper Expo in May was a turning point for Dr Salt.
“The major complaint about freebase nicotine is that in high amounts it can be harsh on the back of the throat, and we wanted to find a way to produce a liquid with high nicotine content and a smoother throat hit”
Go back nine months, and nobody had really heard of salt-based nicotine. When we launched, nobody knew us or our product and the UK market at the time probably wasn’t ready for it, whereas it was massive in America. As the saying goes, what happens in the USA happens here eventually and salt-based nicotine was no different. We were confident that good marketing and persistence would get the message out; the benefits were obvious to anyone who tried it. And at the last Expo, which as only six months ago, we did extremely well; we had new shops and new distributors on board and it’s been a snowball effect since then. With a new audience and wider distribution network assured, Dr Salt did a rebranding of their product. “It was a bit bland and lacking appeal, and everything in vaping is in bright colours these days. We adopted a new image and haven’t looked back since. though we currently work with four main distributors, we feel that we shouldn’t saturate the market, working closely with those distributors and supporting them as they support us. But we’re on board with an awful lot of shops now, so it’s growing all over the country. The awareness of salt-based nicotine, through reviews and marketing has risen massively. “Sometimes the switch to vaping can come with a brief transitional period of getting used to the new sensation; usingthe device properly, adjusting to a throat hit. Bypassing the harsher throat hits can cut that step out and immediately initiate people into vaping with no obstacles. Darren put this to the test with a personal trial run involving smokers who had backslidden out of vaping. “On our database, we had a lot of vapers that we marked off as having gone back to smoking, so we didn’t email market to them. I contacted ten and brought them into the shop, sat them down and offered them a salt-based juice. They all agreed that it was a much better starting point for quitting smoking. We set them all up with brand new starter kits and enough liquid to last a month. Every single one returned to vaping and haven’t smoked since. They’re known to us as regulars now, coming back in to refill their salt-based liquid supplies. It works. A market for salt-based nicotine is now all but assured, in the UK and beyond. “It’s unique, and it’s going to become more and more popular. There are still only two companies in the UK specialising in this kind of nicotine, and we were the first. We’re going from strength to strength at the moment.” Whether salt-based nicotine will make significant in-roads into the wider vaping community remains to be seen, but it’s a strong niche nonetheless.“We’re not even going to impact on the mainstream market because that’s not our target audience. The audience we care for is anyone who wants to switch to vaping or needs a higher nicotine level with a smoother it. It could be a light smoker, it could be a five-a-day smoker, it could be a forty-a-day smoker, we can adjust the levels like any other liquid company.”