It’s not always easy to know how much nicotine is best in your vapes. Here’s our guide.
More people than ever are making the switch from unhealthy smoking to vaping, a change that’s advised by UK health authorities including Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS. But, for some, it can be a bit perplexing at the outset. Now, instead of having a cigarette you just light up and puff away at, stubbing it out when you finish, you have a piece of electronics with different components, and it takes a while to get used to it.
It’s certainly worth getting the information you need, and getting it right, at the outset. Transitioning from cigarettes to vaping is beneficial in many ways, according to studies and research from PHE and other health bodies, because it means you’re no longer inhaling the many harmful chemicals generated by burning tobacco into your body. So it’s essential to not only get off cigarettes but to stay off them too. Having a bad experience when you vape for the first time instead of smoking, risks a return to cigarettes, as you were just not satisfied.
Those considering using an e-cigarette have a number of things to consider. For starters, there’s a large and growing array of e-cigarettes on the market, and knowing which one to start with can be confusing. We say start simply, with a vape kit containing a vape pen that’s easy to use and will give you the same tactile feel as a cigarette, in terms of holding and using it. Then there’s choosing the flavours you want to vape, and also the vape nicotine levels best suited to you. That’s a lot to take in, but it’s definitely worth getting it right at the beginning.
The Buzz about Nicotine
What is nicotine anyway, and is it as bad as it’s made out to be? The substance, which comes from the leaves of the tobacco plant, definitely has a bad reputation. But it turns out that most of it is unwarranted. That’s because while nicotine is highly addictive, the stimulant that gives you that familiar buzz is relatively harmless in the human adult body. The problem with nicotine is that when you get it from cigarettes (or snorting or chewing tobacco, which gives you more nicotine), you’re also taking in an enormous amount of other substances. These substances can and do cause serious harm to the body, causing various cancers, heart disease, stroke and many other potentially fatal diseases and conditions.
The other difficulty with nicotine is that when your body adapts to it, it’s incredibly hard to stop and go cold turkey. The symptoms can be so uncomfortable and overwhelming that many smokers light up all over again, thinking they don’t have the willpower, and strength, to give up. Common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal in smokers include powerful cravings that can almost overtake you, sweating, nausea and cramps in the stomach. They can also suffer from a sore throat, coughing and headaches; tingling in the limbs, and more — including the infamous feeling of irritability and general unhappiness.
That’s a lot to endure, and it’s why quitting smoking rates are so dismally low — with just over 7% of those who quit succeeding. It turns out that cold turkey is a dish many a smoker cannot stomach, but the good news is there’s help at hand because now you can have your nicotine cake and eat it — as long as you know what you’re doing.
The Right Vape Nicotine Levels for You
Once you’ve chosen what e-cigarette you’re going to use to vape for the first time — and as we suggest, starting simple and with something like a vape pen is a great idea — then it’s time to select what flavours you might like. There’s a huge range available — everything from strawberry to lemonade, traditional tobacco and menthol to just about anything you can think of. You’ll likely have to sample loads of them before you settle on the ones you love.
Your starter kit will most likely contain a sampling of e-liquids with different flavours, and also nicotine strengths. This latter part is crucial to not only your enjoyment of vaping but your overall success in using e-cigs to finally stop smoking. There are other factors to think about too. They include the throat hit you’ll get because the more nicotine in your e-liquid refills, the harsher — generally — you can expect the hit to be. How often you smoke(d) and expect to vape; and how much you’d get through in an average day, are also factors, as they directly affect the amount of nicotine in your body.
Nicotine strengths are lower in the UK than the US, due to EU rules that may be adopted after the Brexit process is complete. Currently they are: 16-20mg, 11-15mg, 6-10mg and 1-5mg. You can also get e-liquid with no nicotine in it, only the flavour. Some people who switch from smoking to vaping like to gradually reduce their vape nicotine levels until they’re using low or no-nicotine refills.
Different Kinds of Nicotine Delivery
Something else to consider: e-liquid is commonly made using a vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) base, each with its own qualities — like better throat hit or the ability to blow bigger vape clouds. But now there’s another choice, and it’s been soaring in popularity in recent years: nic salts, which is added to VG and PG. Essentially, nicotine salts are packed full of more nicotine, and the formulation means it’s also a smoother and more enjoyable vaping experience. People used to high levels of nicotine often like nic salts, because they make them feel more satisfied compared to VG and PG e-liquids with lower nicotine levels.
So the big question is, how do you know which vape nicotine levels are right for you? And something else that’s often thrown into the mix — potentially making it even more difficult to work out what the best nicotine level is — is the temptation to vape a lot more than you might smoke. This is because the vape pen or other type of e-cig is usually always within reach, and you can vape away for ages, without even thinking you might be overdoing it and taking in too much nicotine. That could very well make you feel dizzy and even slightly nauseous. It’s something people new to vaping are especially prone to doing.
A general rule of thumb when you’re choosing from the different vape nicotine levels is to go for a high one if you are or were a heavy smoker. A medium level is appropriate if you don’t or didn’t smoke that much and low nicotine strengths are best for casual smokers, who might only smoke at the weekend or at social events. Whatever the strength, remember to take sufficient breaks between your vaping, so you don’t overdo it. Then you’ll be all set for a whole new, healthier and happier world, free from the smoke that’s so hazardous to you and those around you.