How to Buy an E Cigarette with the Right Nicotine Strength
If you’d like to replace the nicotine that you get from smoking with nicotine from vaping, then an e-cigarette is one possibility
The majority of e-cigarette users buy their first e-cigarette because they want to quit smoking. This is why many doctors see e-cigarettes as a weapon in the fight against tobacco.
Many vapers start out by choosing an e-cigarette with a level of nicotine that matches their smoking habit. Those who are determined to quit smoking gradually lower their nicotine intake little by little until they are no longer addicted. The advantage of this method over going cold turkey is that it may be possible to eliminate some, if not all, of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
EU regulations state that e-cigarettes cannot be marketed as a stop-smoking product. We’re going to follow the letter of the law and remind you that e-cigarettes are not officially recognised as stop-smoking products. But we’re also going to point you in the direction of thousands if not millions of people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking anyway.
Can you use e-cigarettes to quit smoking and beat a nicotine addiction? Read the rest of our blog and make your own mind up.
What nicotine strength should I choose for my e-cigarette?
Ultimately, this is going to depend on you. A process of trial and error works best. Choose an e-cigarette or e-liquid that you think will work and adjust accordingly. Everyone’s different. We’ve provided the following rough guidelines should you need some advice on getting started.
I smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day
You should choose an e-liquid that is 20 - 24 mg nicotine (or higher). The nicotine hit is necessary for heavy smokers hoping to avoid symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
I smoke less than a pack of cigarettes a day
You should choose an e-liquid which is between 14 - 18 mg of nicotine. 18 mg is common for average smokers, light smokers can opt straight for 14 mg.
I’ve significantly reduced the number of cigarettes that I smoke
You’ll need an e-liquid which is 3 - 6 mg of nicotine. These low nicotine e-liquids are usually used by people who are in the process of quitting smoking.
I’ve quit smoking, but I can’t shake the ‘hand to mouth’ habit
You should use a 0 mg nicotine e-liquid. This e-liquid is free from nicotine so you won’t become dependent on nicotine again. If you still have an oral fixation, use your e-cigarette to satisfy your cravings.
It’s important that you keep experimenting with different nicotine levels until you find your own sweet spot. If you choose an e-cigarette which is too low, it’s likely that you’ll reach for a cigarette when your cravings aren’t satisfied. Equally, you don’t want to make your nicotine dependence worse by choosing an e-liquid that is too strong.
How much nicotine is there in an e-cigarette?
There’s no one answer to this question as it varies from product to product. All e-cigarettes contain an “e-liquid” which is turned into vapour when you vape. Sometimes the e-liquid comes in prefilled cartridges called cartomizers otherwise, you can buy little bottles of e-liquid and fill your tank up yourself.
Most e-liquids packets list the amount of nicotine that they contain. This is usually expressed in milligrammes (mg), indicating how much nicotine there is in every millilitre of e-liquid. This is why you’ll also see the nicotine content expressed as mg/ml or as a percentage, such as 2.4%
The VIP electronic cigarette has a medium nicotine content
Let’s use an example to make this clear.
VIP Cigarettes are very popular on our website. Let’s say you want to fill the tank with the VIP British Gold Tobacco e-liquid. It’s a 10 ml bottle and on the front it says “16 mg/ml”. This means that there is 16 mg of nicotine in each ml. As there’s 10 ml, the total amount of nicotine in the bottle is 160 mg. This could also be written as either 16 mg or 1.6% — the measurements all mean the same thing!
How much nicotine is there in an e-cigarette compared to a cigarette?
Smokers naturally want to know whether they are increasing or decreasing their nicotine intake by swapping to an e-cigarette. Again, it depends on two factors: how much nicotine did you get from smoking, and how much nicotine will you get from e-cigarettes?
Cigarettes also have varying nicotine strengths. They typically range from 8 mg on the low end up to 20 mg on the high end. The average cigarette contains 12 mg of nicotine, as lower strengths are more popular than higher strengths. So if we compare our pack of cigarettes to our e-liquid we’ll see that there is 240 mg of nicotine in an average pack of cigarettes and 160 mg of nicotine in our VIP cigarette e-liquid.
Having said that, it’s important to remember that it’s not the nicotine in the cigarette that counts, it’s the amount of nicotine that enters your bloodstream. Most of the nicotine in a cigarette or e-cigarette will never enter your bloodstream — some of it is exhaled, some of it is destroyed by heat. This makes it difficult to compare the nicotine intake between smoking and vaping.
As a super rough guide, most vapers find that a 10 ml bottle of e-liquid is equivalent to roughly five packs of cigarettes! Your mileage may vary :)
Tips for reducing your nicotine dependence
As we’ve said before, e-cigarettes are not a smoking cessation product. But, you can replace some of the nicotine that you would be getting through smoking by vaping instead. If your goal is to eliminate your nicotine cravings, you should think carefully about the type of e-cigarette that you buy. Will a ‘cig a like’ that looks and feels like a cigarette be best? Would it be better to have a familiar tobacco or menthol flavour, or make a clean break and try something new?
In our experience, smokers who want to try “stepping” (gradually lowering their nicotine intake until they no longer need it) usually have more success with a vaporizer that uses e-liquids rather than cartomizers. This is probably because they’ll have a greater range of nicotine strengths to use (and so can step themselves down a little at a time).
Nicotine in the body
If your e-liquid is too strong, you’ll probably experience one of the following:
- A burning sensation in the throat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness after just a few drags
- A headache after just a brief vape
These symptoms are a sign that you should reduce the nicotine strength of your e-cigarette. If you find yourself craving tobacco, or missing the throat hit, it’s a sign that your e-liquid is too weak. Many first time vapers experience this and assume that they don’t like vaping when in reality they just need to try a different e-liquid.
If you try an e-liquid that is too low right off the bat, you could experience nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are comparable to getting the flu. You may experience the following:
The withdrawal effects are strongest for the first 48-hours. Many smokers like to tackle these first two days in a stress-free environment. For a light smoker, your body will be nicotine free in three to four days. For a long-term smoker, it might take three weeks.
By gradually lowering your nicotine intake rather than going cold turkey, you have a good chance of avoiding the worst effects of nicotine withdrawal.