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How to Pick A Nicotine Level for Vaping

At first glance, vape juice nicotine levels can seem pretty confusing – after all, there is a myriad of options, each one with the potential to change your vape experience. 

So, how do you know how much nicotine is enough for you? You start with some basic information about vape nicotine levels, then figure out your personal preferences, and you’ll have a pretty solid idea of which e-juices to choose. And in this guide, we’re giving you all the answers you need to do just that.

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What is Nicotine?

If you’re a vaper or a former cigarette smoker, then you’ve heard the word “nicotine” more times than you can count. But exactly what is nicotine, and why is it so important to the overall vape experience?

Nicotine is a naturally-occurring compound found in the tobacco plant. It falls into a category of organic compounds known as “alkaloids.” Another well-known alkaloid is caffeine, which you’ll find in anything from your morning cup of coffee to that afternoon soda. 

The effects of nicotine range from a spike in adrenaline to increased dopamine production. Essentially, like caffeine, nicotine can give you a mind and body “boost” that simply feels good. But also like caffeine, nicotine can easily turn into a habit that can be tough to break – which is why so many former smokers are intrigued by nicotine vape juice.

For anyone that’s aiming to make the switch to vaping, pinpointing the right nicotine levels in vape juice can make the transition considerably more enjoyable. 

How Much Nicotine is in Vape Juice vs. a Cigarette?

One of the most common questions about nicotine content is the amount in a cigarette vs. e-liquid. However, the answer isn’t necessarily cut and dried.

Most tobacco cigarettes have anywhere from 4 to 14 mg of nicotine, per cigarette. 

The actual amount of nicotine absorbed during smoking largely depends on how deeply the person tends to inhale, as well as how much of the cigarette they smoke. 

These same guidelines also apply to nicotine and vaping. How much nicotine you absorb while vaping can vary, based on how deep of breaths you take, your number of puffs, and the device you’re using. And of course, the actual nicotine content of e-juice makes a major difference as well.

For most vapers in the making, at the heart of this question is another, more specific question: how much vape does it take to equal a cigarette? But because there are so many factors at play, the best way to figure out the answer – for your own personal experience – is to simply try a few different vape juice strengths to find your ideal option.

Why Does Vape Juice Contain Nicotine?

It’s no secret that vaping has become a popular choice for individuals that are looking for something other than traditional cigarettes. 

But with nicotine e-liquids, you can still get the enjoyment of nicotine without the actual cigarette. Not only does the e-juice nicotine fulfill a craving, but it also creates a sensation that’s remarkably similar to smoking. You can look forward to a satisfying throat hit (via mouth-to-lung vaping), one that will provide enjoyment similar to an old-school cigarette.

Not all e-liquids contain nicotine, though. There are many nicotine-free vape juices out there that are a great option for anyone that wants the experience of vaping but without nicotine. 

How to Calculate Vape Juice Nicotine Levels

When you’re browsing vape juices, you’ll see the amount of nicotine listed in milligrams per milliliter. Nicotine strengths range from 0 (which is labeled as 0%) to upwards of 50 mg per milliliter. 

So, if a 10ml bottle of vape juice is labeled with a nicotine strength of 18mg/ml, you’re getting a total of 180 mg of nicotine. You’ll simply do a little math (total ml of vape juice X nicotine strength) to figure out how much nicotine is in e-liquids you enjoy.

Understanding how to calculate nicotine content is the first step. From there, you’ll need to determine how much nicotine you prefer to have for an enjoyable experience. 

Keep in mind that different vape devices generally correlate with different nicotine delivery levels. For example, e-cigs are usually known for high nicotine strengths, whereas sub-ohm vaping works best with lower nicotine concentrations. 

Basic Nicotine Levels in Vape Juices

Even though every vape juice manufacturer sets its own standards for nicotine content, there is a generally-accepted scale.

For vapers wondering, “how much nicotine should I use?”, these guidelines can be extremely helpful. 

  • 0 mg/ml is a no-nicotine vape juice, meaning that it contains no nicotine at all
  • 3 mg/ml is the lowest level of nicotine in vape juice, often selected by individuals who are working towards reducing their nicotine intake
  • 6 mg/ml delivers a full-bodied e-liquid flavor with a relatively low level of nicotine
  • 12 mg/ml is a good target for individuals who are used to smoking approximately one pack of cigarettes a day
  • 18 mg/ml is typically an ideal fit for individuals who used to smoke more than 1 pack a day, but less than 2
  • 24 mg/ml is a high level of nicotine that is suited for heavy smokers, including those who used to smoke 2-plus packs per day
  • 36 mg/ml and above are the highest-nicotine vape juices you’re likely to find in a standard vape supplier’s catalog, and are commonly used in pod systems and other low-output devices.

Nic Salt vs. Freebase vs. Synthetic Nicotine

  • Nic salt offers the highest levels of nicotine in vape juice, and is designed to deliver a smooth and satisfying experience with just a few puffs. 
  • Freebase nicotine is the “classic” form of nicotine and is what you’ll see in many standard vape juices. 
  • Synthetic nicotine vape juice uses nicotine produced in a lab, rather than extracted from the tobacco plant. With synthetic nicotine, many vapers describe a smoother vape experience with a noticeably less intense throat hit.

So, which is the best option? Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference. 

Can You Overdose on Nicotine?

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever need to worry about nicotine poisoning while vaping, simply because that would require you to intake an extremely large amount of nicotine in a very short amount of time.

That being said, consuming more nicotine than you’re used to can result in some not-so-pleasant sensations. Too much nicotine – much like too much caffeine – can leave you feeling lightheaded, nauseous, jittery, or with a stomach ache. 

Vapers refer to this as being “nic-sick,” and it’s not fun. So, start slow and work your way up to find your ideal nicotine concentration – this is one situation in which “go big or go home” doesn’t apply.

Get Your Ideal Nicotine Level with Premium Vape Juice from DIRECTVAPOR

Whether your goal is to wean off of nicotine or you’re simply searching for the most satisfying vape possible, DIRECTVAPOR has the quality e-liquids you want and need. Our vape juice selection features a massive variety of top brands, flavors, and nicotine strengths, making it easy to find your favorites. And thanks to our low prices, you can afford to sample as many e-liquids as you’d like to find the best options for you.

Check out our full collection of e-liquids, including nic salt, freebase, and synthetic options, now from DirectVapor.

Photo Credit: Vladyslav Horoshevych

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