What E-liquid Nicotine Strength Should You Choose?
The mass popularity of e-liquids and vaping is largely due to how effective e-cigarette liquids are as a replacement to smoking. It doesn’t smell, it’s cheaper, it’s easier to stockpile, and the vape flavours are practically endless! Every single success story of a converted smoker speaks to the ways in which vaping vape juices has taken over.
One of the major changes from smoking to vaping is understanding which nicotine strength you should be using in your e-liquids. While picking a vape flavour is fun, choosing a strength can be a bit of a headache, since it’s not something you’ve had to think of so much while picking out cigarettes. To help you understand, let’s explore how nicotine strength affects the liquid vapour experience.
Why is nicotine so important?
When we talk about smoking, we often talk about nicotine, but what is it exactly? As one of the many, many compounds in tobacco, nicotine acts as a stimulant, as well as providing the sense of release and satisfaction that many associate with smoking. The difference with e-liquid is that none of those other nasty chemicals are there, just the purified nicotine.
When you smoke nicotine, it’s known as freebasing it since it blends with the salts found in the tobacco leaf. This provides a more efficient hit than every-day e-liquids but nic salts follow a very similar process! For the closest experience to smoking, nic salts are your best bet.
The reason e-liquids only contain nicotine rather than any of the other compounds (even though it only makes up around 3% of the dried weight of tobacco!) is because it’s the main addictive substance found in tobacco. When managing withdrawals, taking nicotine in isolation has been shown to be very effective as a substitute.
How to Choose the Best Vape Device for You
Choosing the best nicotine strength e-cig liquid for you isn’t simply a matter of power, but of considering the vape device and e-liquid you own or are planning to buy first. If you haven’t got a vape device or a vape liquid yet, you can circle back to this section after.
When using a mouth-to-lung vape, you’ll typically draw smaller clouds, meaning that you’ll want a higher nicotine strength vapour juice than you would with a direct-to-lung device, which produces giant clouds on each inhale. So, just consider the amount of liquid vapour you’ll produce and how much nicotine each inhale will hit—that’s nic strength 101!
Choosing the Right E-liquid
Just like your device will have an impact on how much nicotine you get on each pull, your vape juice can change it too. This can also be impacted by what device they’re in, but let’s focus on the vape liquids themselves for a second, and what the best e-liquid is for you. The main distinction you’re going to see is between nic salts and normal e-juices.
What are Nic Salts?
Nic salts, or nicotine salts, are so named because they’re derived from the salt-form of nicotine found in tobacco leaves. Since they use a natural acid, the throat hit is smoother, meaning you can take much higher nicotine strengths. They're also able to offer satisfyingly fast nicotine delivery compared to other e-liquids, making them more than ideal for complete beginners who have made the switch from smoking.
The Nicotine Strength Journey from 20mg to 0mg
Standard nic salts come in either 5mg, 10mg or 20mg strengths. When it comes to choosing between strengths, this will all be dependent on your personal needs. If you've recently quit smoking, we recommend starting with 20mg nic salts using a Mouth-to-Lung device and working your way down to 10mg and 5mg nic salts once you're ready. Many vapers will then move onto lower-strength freebase nicotine 50/50s in 12mg, 6mg and 3mg before vaping with 0mg shortfill e-liquids using a higher-powered Direct-to-Lung device.
Nic Salts VS Freebase Nicotine
Nicotine salts absorb far faster into the bloodstream compared to standard freebase e-liquids, or 50/50 e-liquids as they're also known. On average, nicotine from a nic salt e-liquid only takes around 6 to 8 minutes to fully absorb into the body. In that time, nicotine salts can deliver around 15 nanograms per millilitre of nicotine to the bloodstream, which is close to the levels of a cigarette. Freebase nicotine will only deliver around three to four nanogram per millilitre in the same time, which is why we always recommend starting with nicotine salts as a beginner.
Your Nicotine Tolerance
This might not be something you’ve ever had to consider, but everyone’s tolerance for nicotine and desire for nicotine in their vape liquids differs dramatically. If you smoke a deck of strong cigarettes a day, you’re going to have a significantly higher tolerance than someone who smokes roll-ups twice a week.
We’re going to break the next section down based on your smoking usage, but generally we’d advise starting in the middle, then shifting up or down depending on how effective it is. Alternatively, you can buy shortfill e-liquids and adjust your nicotine intake by using nic shots gradually!
Choosing the Right Nicotine Strength
For each of the below options, we’re going to give a range of nicotine strengths, since everyone is different. However, if you’re using a mouth-to-lung vape device, always go to the higher end of that range, and if you’re sub-ohm vaping, opt for lower.
If you usually smoked 1-5 cigarettes a day, then there are plenty of lighter e-liquid options for you to try out. Generally speaking, you should be looking for 3-6mg nicotine concentrations.
If you smoked 6-10 cigarettes a day, we suggest trying higher nic concentrations, generally somewhere between 6-12mg for a 10ml e-liquid.
If you were smoking more than 10 a day, then you’ll have to experiment a bit more. Anywhere between 12-20mg for a normal 10ml e-liquid. If you keep playing around, you’ll find the hit you need!
Getting Started with Vaping Nicotine
With all that in mind, the best start is to grab a vape device and try a few concentrations out in your rough ballpark, whether they're 10ml e-liquids or nic salts. We always think that a mouth-to-lung vape is the best start for someone who is used to smoking.
In terms of buying e-liquids, you’ve got way more options! There are so many crazy concoctions out there that are sure to take your fancy. In fact, we're convinced that there truly is an e-liquid flavour for everyone!