How Much Nicotine Is Right for You?
When you first start out as a new vaper, you’ll have several choices to make, including what type of device to try and which flavours of e-juice you think you’ll enjoy the most. One such choice (and one of the most important) involves how much nicotine should be in your vape juice. This decision is critical because the correct nicotine strength can be the difference between enjoying vaping and giving it up before you’ve even given it a fighting chance.
The trick to finding the right vape juice strengths is to be honest with yourself about how much nicotine you currently use through smoking, smokeless tobacco, nicotine patches, or any other means. Pinpointing the right nicotine dosage for you can save you a lot of future hassles when vaping.
Generally speaking, new vapers should aim for lower levels instead of automatically going for the highest nicotine vape juice. You will notice that some e-liquids have nicotine strengths ranging from 0mg all the way up to 50mg; others may measure nicotine in a percentage, further complicating the issue. Here is a brief guide to help you make the right choice and enjoy a satisfying vaping experience.
Nicotine salts vs. freebase nicotine
Before you can figure out which nicotine strength is right for you, it’s important to understand the two types of nicotine used in most vape juice: freebase nicotine and nicotine salts. These two types of nicotine differ in a few key ways.
- Freebase nicotine: Freebase nicotine is the original and perhaps the most common type of nicotine used in e-liquid. It is the purest form of nicotine and one that the body absorbs rapidly. Freebase nicotine can produce a rather harsh throat hit, so it is often found in e-juices with lower nicotine strengths.
- Nicotine salt: Nicotine salt is a newer form of nicotine that provides a smoother yet highly satisfying throat hit and a more even absorption rate. Nic salts are growing in popularity as more vapers discover their benefits, including their usefulness in pod systems and in situations where discretion is key (as devices using nic salts tend to produce less vapour).
Understanding nicotine strength measurements
Let’s assume that you’ve found an e-juice flavour and brand you like, and you’re trying to decide what nicotine strength is right for you. What seems like a simple process can be complicated by the way some manufacturers display the amount of nicotine in their products. You’ll either see the amount of nicotine listed as mg/mL or a percentage (i.e. 0.3%).
- Nicotine levels listed in mg/ml: Mg/mL, the most common way that nicotine levels are displayed, refers to milligrams of nicotine per millilitre. In other words, for every millilitre of e-juice in the bottle, there is a certain amount of nicotine.
- Nicotine levels listed as percentages: Nicotine strengths listed as percentages make it a little easier to tell how much nicotine is actually in a bottle. The amount listed on these bottles (0.3% or 2.4%, for example) tell you exactly how much nicotine the bottle contains, with the remaining weight comprising the e-liquid itself.
It’s easy to convert the amount of nicotine in a given bottle of e-juice from one type of measurement to the other. If you have the mg/mL and want the percentage, divide the amount by 10. So, if you have a 6mg bottle of juice, it will be 0.6%. To convert the other way, simply multiply the percentage by 10, so a 0.6% bottle becomes 6mg.
Choosing the right strength for you
Now that you know a little more about the types of nicotine and how the amounts are displayed, it’s time to select the right amount of nicotine for you to vape. The highest nicotine juice that you can find is not necessarily the right choice, even if you are a heavy smoker. Be aware that too much nicotine will quickly become a turn-off, possibly leading to side effects such as nausea, headache, eye irritation, and dehydration.
The smartest move is to start with a lower strength – you can always go up if you need to. What’s our recommendation? If you usually smoke less than a pack of cigarettes per day, look for a 1.2% e-liquid. If you smoke one to two packs a day, go for 2.4%. These are good starting points and should provide about the right amount of nicotine for people who are attempting to replace smoking with vaping.