For many vapers, the most exciting part of shopping for vape juice is choosing a tasty line-up of flavors, which can play a huge part in the overall vape experience. But if you’re hoping to set yourself up for true vape session satisfaction, did you know you should also be paying attention to your e-liquid nicotine levels? It’s not unusual for new and seasoned vapers alike to be confused about vape juice nicotine levels, and trying to pinpoint your ideal nicotine content can be intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve put together a handy guide that details everything you need to know about e-juice nicotine levels, including exactly how to find yours.
What is Nicotine?
Most of us are pretty familiar with the term “nicotine”, but how many vapers actually know what nicotine is?
Nicotine is an alkaloid, or nitrogen-containing compound, that is naturally found in plants belonging to the nightshade family. Nightshades are a category of plants that includes the well-known tobacco plant; as well as potatoes, eggplants, green peppers, and tomatoes. In the early 1800s, a doctor and chemist team first isolated nicotine from the tobacco plant, and today it’s found in many different vape juices (as well as traditional cigarettes).
On the most basic level, nicotine is a stimulant that is similar to caffeine. Some common effects of nicotine include a slight increase in heart rate, a perceived decrease in tension, and a boost to mental focus and sensory information processing. If those effects sound familiar, it’s probably because they’re the same reasons many people enjoy beginning their day with a freshly-brewed cup of coffee.
Even though nicotine has gotten a bad rap over the years, especially because of its association with tobacco cigarettes, researchers are still learning about it. While it’s true that some scientists attribute cigarette addiction to the presence of nicotine, recent studies are showing that developing a long-term cigarette habit might have just as much to do with the way the pleasurable experience of smoking engages the brain.
Can I Get Addicted to Nicotine?
Although we’ve been told over and over that nicotine is the true villain of cigarette addiction, it now seems that it might not be the whole story. Researchers are still learning exactly why smokers have such a difficult time giving up the habit, and scientists are continuing to learn about the role played by nicotine versus the countless other chemicals in a typical cigarette.
It is known that for anyone that regularly enjoys products with nicotine, suddenly dropping all nicotine use could induce withdrawal symptoms such as irritability or headaches – similar to the effects of quitting your regular morning cup of coffee or afternoon soda.
Is Nicotine Dangerous?
Most people are aware that smoking is not a healthy habit – but is it nicotine that’s to blame? According to an article by Scientific American, many world-renowned scientists are leading the charge to stop the demonization of nicotine. A number of addiction specialists, researchers, psychologists, and other professionals are working to educate the public on the important distinction between the real dangers of smoking and nicotine as an isolated substance – they say that it’s cigarettes that are the issue, not nicotine.
When it comes to vape nicotine levels, some vapers wonder: can you overdose on nicotine? Technically, it is possible, but it’s also an extremely unlikely event when you consider how much nicotine is in a vape. A report by WebMD states that although the Center for Disease Control says that 50-60 milligrams of nicotine would be a dangerous dose for a mid-sized adult, the actual amount may be considerably higher. Even vapers that regularly enjoy the highest-nicotine vape juice wouldn’t be taking in anywhere near that amount of nicotine.
Nicotine Levels in Vape Juice
As a vaper, you have the major advantage of being able to purchase e-liquids that are clearly labeled with precise nicotine content. Unlike cigarette smokers, who can’t say for sure how much nicotine is in each cigarette, vapers are able to know the exact content of their e-juice of choice.
Generally, vape juice is offered in the following strengths:
- Zero nicotine (or no-nicotine vape juice)
Depending on which vape retailer you shop with, you may be more limited in terms of your nicotine choices (VaporFi offers the full spectrum of nicotine strengths). Each value above signifies the specific amount of nicotine contained in 1 ml of e-juice. Certain brands use percentages instead of milligrams to communicate the nicotine concentration levels, such as 1.8% for 18 milligrams of nicotine in every 1mL.
If you’re shopping for nicotine salts, you’ll usually see the nicotine labeled in milligrams, but the nicotine strengths will vary from standard vape juice.
How to Choose an E-Liquid Nicotine Level
Now that you have a better understanding of nicotine, and exactly what to look for when you’re searching for e-juice, it’s time to figure out which nicotine level will be ideal for you.
Though there are many different factors that affect your best-fit nicotine level, the following guide can give you a rough idea of where to begin:
- 0mg/mL (or no nicotine vape juice) is ideal for anyone who prefers to stay away from nicotine altogether, or vapers who have deliberately tapered off their nicotine levels to eliminate dependence. If you’ve never smoked cigarettes, and vaping is fairly new to you, 0mg/mL can be a great place to start.
- 3mg/mL can be a good fit for vapers who formerly smoked less than 10 cigarettes a day or those who are working to decrease their overall nicotine intake.
- 6mg/mL is typically best for vapers who consider themselves to have been light to moderate smokers or former smokers who preferred “light” cigarettes.
- 12mg/mL and up can be ideal for vapers who are former heavy smokers (30 cigarettes or more every day), or former smokers who preferred unfiltered cigarettes.
Keep in mind that each person’s body experiences nicotine differently, so even two vapers with very similar former smoking habits might not want the exact same nicotine level. How often and how deeply you inhale on your vape can also influence your nicotine absorption, making it a completely personal decision that only you can make.
In addition to the basic guidelines above, there are many different things to take into consideration when choosing the best nicotine level to suit your preferences.
Preferred Taste and Throat Hit
Often, a high nicotine level can cause an e-juice to produce a harsher throat hit and taste, similar to the sensation of smoking a cigarette. Though some vapers enjoy this sensation, others would rather decrease their nicotine levels and experience a much smoother hit and gentler flavor.
Your Vaping Style
How you vape also plays into your selection of e-liquid nicotine levels, especially if you consider yourself a marathon vaper. For example, if you vape sparingly, with vape sessions spread throughout the day, you’ll likely have no issue with a high-nicotine e-juice. However, if you prefer extended vape sessions, you might find that high concentrations of nicotine may be too strong for you to enjoy.
Furthermore, if you want to sub-ohm vape, a lower nicotine percentage is generally a better choice. Because sub-ohm mods create larger, more voluminous clouds, you’ll be able to enjoy more nicotine at a more efficient pace.
So, extremely high nicotine levels might end up leaving you feeling unpleasant, while low to moderate nicotine percentages offer a potentially smoother taste and feel. We usually recommend that sub-ohm vapers avoid our 24mg and 36mg e-liquids and instead start with a 3mg or 6mg option, just to see if those may be suitable.
Personal Nicotine Goals
For vapers that are transitioning away from old-school cigarettes, tapering off their nicotine intake may or may not be a priority. If you aren’t concerned about making any changes to your nicotine levels, then you are free to find your nicotine “sweet spot” and stay there. But some vapers want to work towards eliminating nicotine altogether, in which case, vape juice can serve as an excellent support system.
If you are interested in making this a personal goal, then you can slowly decrease your vape juice nicotine levels until you reach zero. Begin at a nicotine level that feels comfortable for you, ideally one suited to your former smoking habit, then take your time working your way down the ladder. If you find that a lower level of nicotine just isn’t suitable, it’s simple enough to bump up your intake by swapping out your e-juice.
Just when you think you’ve figured out nicotine in e-juice, a new type of vape juice comes along to switch things up – but it’s actually a good thing! Nicotine salts, also called nic salt or salt nic, contain a different form of nicotine. A simple chemistry process decreases the overall pH of the nicotine salt vape juice, producing a smoother, much milder throat hit and vape experience.
Many vapers notice that nicotine salt vape juice offers the benefit of increased vapor production and richer flavor, as well as a much more efficient (and cost-effective) nicotine delivery system. You can enjoy a solid nicotine boost without dealing with the harsher throat hit, which for many vapers, is reason enough to make the switch. Nic salt juices are usually recommended for use with lower-wattage devices, such as pod-style vapes, so keep that in mind if you’re considering them next time you vape.
Find Your Perfect Nicotine Vape Juice from VaporFi
Whether you’re searching for a high-nicotine vape juice, nicotine salts, or something with absolutely no nicotine, VaporFi has you covered. We carry a massive selection of the best vape juice in the business, so you can stock up on a huge variety of delicious flavors and high-quality formulations.
Our e-liquids contain premium nicotine in a full range of concentrations, making it simple to find your ideal nicotine level and enjoy your best-ever vape experience. Or, if you want to DIY your own e-liquid blend, our handy custom juice tool makes it incredibly easy to create something that’s completely tailored to you. Explore our collection of top-rated e-liquids and discover the VaporFi difference.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/SPF
Audrey Durand is the Senior Brand Manager for VaporFi Online Division for the US and Australian Markets. She is an early adopter of e-cigarettes and vaporizers and uses her market expertise to continue developing the marketing programs of the brand, Audrey looks forward to the dynamic operations and growth opportunity with VaporFi. She is also the founder of BlogIntoLife, a platform that helps beginner bloggers start a professional blog and grow their business in the CBD market and in other verticals.