To truly understand the different health effects of traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, you must first understand how nicotine works both when it is combusted and when it is vaporized. We will take a look at the nicotine content of cigarettes so you can see how that nicotine is absorbed and how it compares to the content of non-smoking products.
How Much Nicotine is in a Cigarette?
Despite what you may believe about different strengths of cigarettes, they all contain roughly the same amount of nicotine. A typical cigarette contains around 9 milligrams of nicotine, but that is not exactly how much the smoker is taking in. If you know anything about secondhand smoke, you know that a portion of that nicotine is lost before it ever reaches the smoker’s mouth. Also, the cigarette filter absorbs a large amount of the nicotine. Only about 1 mg of nicotine is absorbed by the smoker directly.
What This Means for You
If you’ve shopped for e-liquids, you may be shocked to see that they are labeled with 3, 6 or even 12 mg of nicotine! This must seem like a lot compared to the 1 mg that is a regular cigarette. However, there are several differences. For instance, someone who chains smoke cigarettes will build up a significant amount of nicotine in their bloodstream. Also, cigarette nicotine can be absorbed through your pores, mouth, nose, and lungs so that the nicotine can take effect in many different ways.
By contrast, the number marked on e-liquids refers the amount of nicotine contained in 1 ml of liquid, which brings us to our next point: puff counting.
How Many Puffs in a Cigarette?
Research suggests that most smokers get six to eight puffs per cigarette when they smoke. This accounts for some loss because the cigarette is idly burning part of the time and that most smokers put out their cigarettes before they burn all the way down to the filter. On the other hand, vapers tend to take longer draws, but they get between 60 and 120 puffs per 1 ml of e-liquid.
For many, this means that 1 ml of e-liquid are roughly equivalent to a full pack of cigarettes.
Due to the differences in the way vapor delivers nicotine and how we vape, the science of discovering your ideal nicotine level is not an exact one. However, by comparing the amount of nicotine in each type of product, we can ensure that you are transitioning to a vapor system that will be roughly equivalent or less than your previous nicotine intake as you move away from cigarettes.