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Choosing the Right Nicotine Level

How to Choose the Right Nicotine Level for Vaping

As we all know by now, smoking cigarettes is bad for us. Really bad. Cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals that can cause cancer — a fact that medical experts from the American Lung Association confirm. But still, if you’re a smoker, there are no two ways about it: quitting is hard.  

What makes it so difficult to quit? Things like habit and giving up that five-minute smoke break definitely have a part to play, but the majority of the blame can be attributed to nicotine. Nicotine is what makes a smoker wake up in the morning and crave a cigarette. This is where vaping comes in. Vaping can provide that much-craved hit of nicotine without all the extra nasty stuff.  

So, if you want to quit smoking, vaping is a good way to do it. Studies show that vaping is 60% more effective at helping smokers quit than alternatives like the patch or will power alone. And it makes sense. With vaping, you get to keep your rituals. You can enjoy your five-minutes peace in a day, have a puff with your morning coffee and blow a cloud with your happy hour cocktail. But best of all, you can choose an e-juice with a nicotine strength that will satisfy your base cravings and keep you off the cancer sticks for good.  

That said, choosing the right nicotine level for vaping is a delicate balance and that balance is different for everybody. There are lots of factors to take into consideration, and you will likely have to experiment a bit before you hit your sweet spot.  

To choose the right nicotine level, it’s important to understand the following three things:

  1. The Difference Between Smoking and Vaping

  2. Vaping Devices Deliver Varying Levels of Nicotine

  3. Smoking Habits and Vaping Usage

The Difference Between Smoking and Vaping

Smoking and vaping are not made equal. Their similarities end at the inhale. You absorb nicotine differently when vaping vs. smoking. This is what makes it so tricky to choose the right nicotine strength since you can’t just go by how much nicotine is in a cigarette.  

On average, a cigarette contains around 10-14mg of nicotine, but you only absorb about 1-1.5mg from smoking. The thing is nicotine enters the bloodstream much quicker when you are smoking than when you are vaping. With smoking, you’ll get your fix in the first five minutes courtesy of the 5000 plus chemicals in your cigarette that exist solely to boost the effects of nicotine.  

On the other hand, e-juices contain only four main ingredients which means the initial hit isn’t quite the same. Studies show that it can take up to 35 minutes to feel the full effects of nicotine from vaping, which means it can also take a little longer to satisfy your craving. All this to say that when you start vaping, you may need to up your nicotine levels to get the same fix you would from a cigarette. Which leads us to the next factor to understand before you pick a nicotine strength!  

Vaping Devices Deliver Varying Levels of Nicotine

Different vaping devices are also not made equal. Devices have become more efficient in delivering nicotine and flavor over time, and improvements continue to be made to the technology.  

These days, sub-ohm devices are the most commonly used. These types of devices use high wattage batteries to increase the amount of vapor that is produced. What this does is allow for more direct lung to vapor action. As a result, you will get more nicotine by vaping with a sub-ohm device than you would using a lower wattage device. There is a huge rise of Nic Salt and Nic Salt devices. Higher nicotine, lower power, similar nicotine hit but quicker absorption because of the molecular changes to the actual nicotine molecules

If you use a sub-ohm device, you can choose a lower level of nicotine because of the amount of vapor being produced. Sub-ohm vapers often use 3mg or 6mg e-juices. Going above 12mg with a sub-ohm means you’ll get a harsher throat hit — what vapers call nicotine bite. If you are using this kind of powerful device, it’s best to choose a lower level of nicotine for your juice.  

Smoking Habits and Vaping Usage

Finally, your smoking habits have a lot to do with the level of nicotine you should choose for your vape juice. Choosing the right nicotine strength is different for everybody, but as a general guideline, the vaping community recommends the following:

0mg – Social Smoker (A cigarette here and there)

No nicotine e-juices are best for those who smoke very rarely or simply in social situations (because they enjoy the act rather than the effect). If you are a habitual smoker, 0mg won’t cut it. Habitual smokers can wean themselves down to this level over time.  

3mg – Light Smoker (Less than half a pack a day)

If you were a light smoker, then 3mg is a good place to start. With a high nicotine delivery device, this is a good option. 3mg is also a common choice for vapers who have been vaping for a while and have decided to wean themselves down.

6mg – Moderate Smoker (Half a pack a day)

6mg is the most common choice for former smokers who went through about a half a pack a day. Using a high nicotine delivery device, this level might also work for smokers who smoked up to a full pack a day. It depends if you prefer to enjoy the flavor of the juice and a lighter throat hit as opposed to getting more nicotine.

12mg and over – Heavy Smoker (A pack a day)

Anything from 12mg and up is best reserved for heavy smokers. If you smoked a pack a day, this would probably be a good place to start. If you have a high nicotine delivery device, this level is only recommended if you smoked upwards of 35 cigarettes a day.  

Remember, these are just guidelines, and finding the right nicotine level is highly personal. If you’re just starting out, talk to your local vape shop owner and do a little experimenting to figure out what works best for you. Silver linings: while you are figuring out your ideal nicotine level, you can try all our delicious VanGo juices in the process!

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