When you switch from smoking to vaping, you’re making a drastic change in the way you consume nicotine. Smoking makes nicotine consumption relatively simple. When you open a pack of cigarettes, you know that the pack contains 20 individual smoking sessions. If you smoke a full pack of cigarettes in a day, your nicotine use is about average. With vaping, though, there’s nothing limiting your consumption, and there’s no real indication of how much you’re consuming. Many companies ship their vape juice in enormous bottles these days. How much nicotine are you actually using? How much nicotine is in that bottle of vape juice?
Companies label their e-liquid with the amount of nicotine that’s in each milliliter of juice rather than simply providing the total amount of nicotine in the bottle. That’s because e-liquid bottle sizes vary, so the only way to gauge the strength of one e-liquid relative to others is by stating the amount of nicotine per milliliter. To determine the total amount of nicotine in a bottle of e-liquid, simply multiply the nicotine strength by the total volume of e-liquid. A 100 ml bottle of e-liquid with a strength of 3 mg, for example, contains 300 total mg of nicotine.
You can get a general idea of how much nicotine you’re using each day by keeping track of how often you refill your tank. Let’s suppose, for instance, that your tank has a capacity of 7 ml, and your e-liquid has a strength of 3 mg. If you fill your tank twice per day, you’re using 14 ml of e-liquid and are therefore consuming 42 mg of nicotine. Keep in mind, though, that not all of the nicotine actually reaches your bloodstream. The same is true of nicotine consumed through smoking.
Vaping devices these days come in two primary classes. On one end of the spectrum, you have the small refillable pod systems that deliver potent bursts of nicotine in their small, wispy vapor clouds. On the other end, you have the big box mods that create enormous vapor clouds and are really more about flavor than nicotine delivery. The greater a device’s vapor output is, the lower the nicotine strength of the e-liquid should be.
Obviously, there’s a pretty big gap between 6 and 25 mg. You can find e-liquid in between those two strengths, but the in-between strengths aren’t common due to low demand.
It isn’t easy to compare the nicotine in e-liquid to the nicotine in cigarettes because, as we’ve just mentioned, the nicotine that you inhale doesn’t all reach your bloodstream. It isn’t known whether the nicotine in e-liquid vapor is more or less bioavailable than tobacco smoke. We do know, however, that a typical cigarette contains around 10-12 mg of nicotine. Of that, you’ll absorb about 1.1-1.8 mg.
Considering the relatively poor bioavailability of the nicotine in cigarette smoke, you probably shouldn’t worry too much if you calculate the amount of nicotine that you use each day through vaping, and it seems a bit high. Chances are that you aren’t actually absorbing much of it. If you’ve vaping significantly more than 40 mg of nicotine per day, you might want to consider cutting back a little. We’ll discuss some of the signs that you might be using the wrong nicotine strength in a moment.
Nicotine salt e-liquid is a form of vape juice that’s had its pH adjusted with an acidic additive such as benzoic acid. Freebase nicotine e-liquid is alkaline and can be harsh at higher nicotine strengths. Having a more neutral pH allows nicotine salt e-liquid to remain smooth at higher nicotine levels. That’s important with highly portable vapes like pod systems, because a device with low vapor output requires a high-strength e-liquid to deliver the same level of satisfaction as a cigarette. Learn more about the benefits of nicotine salt e-liquid.
You should let the type of vaping equipment that you use dictate the nicotine strength that you buy. As we’ve mentioned, e-liquid nicotine strengths generally fall into two distinct categories, so if you pick a nicotine strength in the correct range for your vaping device, you’ll be fine.
When you consider that the two different classes of e-liquid have nicotine strengths that differ drastically from one another, it shouldn’t surprise you that those types of e-liquid feel almost entirely different when you use them.
As a general rule, nicotine salt e-liquid produces a strong throat hit that feels very much like inhaling cigarette smoke. Nicotine salt e-liquid delivers nicotine to the body very efficiently thanks to its high strength, so it’s generally the right choice for smokers who have just turned to vaping.
Low-strength freebase nicotine e-liquid – especially at the 3 mg nicotine strength – produces almost no throat hit at all. People use lower-strength e-liquids with vaping devices that produce big clouds, so they still get all of the nicotine that they need. It’s absorbed more slowly, though, so you don’t feel the “nicotine rush” that you might feel with nicotine salt e-liquid. Low-strength e-liquid is much more about big, bold flavors than it is about throat hit.
If you’ve started your switch to vaping and don’t feel happy with your experience so far, you might be tempted to conclude that vaping isn’t for you and that you should switch back to smoking. Before you do that, though, you should examine the e-liquid nicotine strength that you’re using. If you’re unhappy with your vaping experience, it’s very likely that you’re simply using the wrong nicotine strength for your needs.
So, how do you know if your nicotine strength isn’t right for you?
Since you most likely switched to vaping as an alternative to smoking, you probably use e-liquid with nicotine – and you might be wondering why anyone would bother buying nicotine-free e-liquid. Actually, nicotine-free vaping is more common than you might think. People use it because they’re reducing their nicotine intake and, in many cases, because they’ve quit using nicotine entirely. One of the benefits of using a refillable vaping device is that you can choose your own nicotine strength and even make in-between nicotine strengths by mixing e-liquids of different strengths. If you’d like to stop using nicotine entirely one day, vaping is the easiest possible way to do so. You can reduce your nicotine strength so gradually that you hardly feel the difference. Once you’ve completely eliminated nicotine from your life, you can make the decision whether you want to continue vaping or not.
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