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What Nicotine Strength Should I Go For?
If you’re planning to switch from smoking cigarettes to vapes or you just think you’d like to give vaping a try, you need to know a few facts in order to get the best from the experience. There’s a lot more information available about the strength and ingredients of vape juice than there ever was about cigarettes, but let’s start with a few comparisons.
The nicotine content of cigarettes can range from 8 milligrams to 20 milligrams, and the average is about 12 milligrams. You won’t find that on the packet, so you’ll have to take our word for it. The nicotine strengths of vape juice have a much wider spread, from 0 to 50 milligrams. Most ex-smokers will stick with a level between 3 and 15, but people kicking a heavy habit may go as high as 24.
To make it more complicated, nicotine strength is also frequently expressed as a percentage rather than a concentration. You’ll see figures like 0.3%, 2.5% or 5%. A straight milligram measurement is telling you how much nicotine is contained in every milliliter. So, for example, 6mg/ml means there are 6 milligrams in every milliliter. A percentage is telling you how much of the total amount in the bottle is made up of nicotine. If you want to make it easy to compare, just divide the milligram measurement by 10 to get the percentage. In our example, 6mg/ml divided by 10 gives you 0.6%. And to move the other way, just take the percentage figure and multiply it by 10. Easy, right?
Then there is also the question of what device you’re using because this will influence the strength of the hit, too. In one type of machine, the same nicotine level may feel noticeably stronger than in another.
One of the most recognizable features of a vape device are the fume clouds they produce, which are usually a lot bigger than the smoke from cigarettes. It so happens that the size of these clouds is also an indicator of the nicotine released in every drag, so we’ve broken them down into low, medium and high devices.
Devices in this range are the closest to the output of cigarettes, producing fairly modest clouds. They include pod systems and mouth-to-lung tanks, both of which have tight airflow. For that reason, you’ll generally want to go for the higher nicotine levels of between 12 and 24 mg/ml. Bear in mind that it has become harder to buy flavored e-liquids containing nicotine as manufacturers have started to scale down this end of their operations.
These are devices like pods with sub ohm coils and mouth-to-lung devices that allow freer passage of air. The clouds will be pretty obvious without being overwhelming, and users will find e-liquids with a nicotine content of between 6 and 12 mg/ml to be perfectly adequate for a good draw.
With high vapor, we're talking about things like rebuildable atomizers and high-powered sub ohm tanks. These are devices that will cloak you in clouds of vapor, and because they have such substantial airflow, the nicotine hit can be very strong. That’s why most users tend to go for the lowest content level of between 1.5 and 6 mg/ml. You could try some really interesting flavor combinations like our Dark Espresso or our Smokey Oakey.
If you’re a heavy smoker, it probably makes sense to start with a high nicotine level as that will seem closer to what you’re used to smoking. However, it may also be advisable to use a device with the most restricted airflow because this will come closest to replicating the experience of dragging on a cigarette.
One of the biggest differences between cigarette smoking and vaping is the incredible range of flavors available in e-liquid. Some users have found it difficult to find one they like because too often the sweetness and strength of fruit flavors and confectionery overwhelms them. It’s something you can only really determine by trial and error, but if you’re an ex-smoker or vaper who prefers the purer experience, it’s best to avoid the heavily flavored varieties.
However strong the flavoring might be, don’t get the idea that this has any relation to the nicotine content as the two are completely separate. Flavoring will suit users who simply want the nicotine effect, while unflavored liquids will satisfy those who are attached to the familiar sensation of cigarette smoking. There’s something for everyone.