Choosing the Right E-Liquid Nicotine Strength
If you’re making the switch from traditional smokes to a vaporizer, you’ll need to make sure you understand the nicotine strength of the e-liquid you’re purchasing. Most manufacturers produce a wide range of different strengths, but they’re not labelled the same way that cigarettes are. You won’t find full flavour, light, and ultralight. Instead, you’ll find the ratings in milligrams of nicotine contained in the bottle.
The Most Common Ratings
There are several pretty common nicotine strength ratings for e-liquids. They range from very strong, at 36 mg to moderate at 18, and then decrease to 6, 3 and 0. Obviously, the more milligrams of nicotine in your e-liquid, the stronger the liquid will be. However, that doesn’t actually equate to the same experience you’d have smoking a full flavour cigarette versus an ultralight. While 36 milligrams is very, very strong, it doesn’t come with the same super-strong throat hit and taste you’d find with a cigarette. It’s the way the nicotine affects your body that counts, not the harshness or mildness of the smoke.
Finding the right nicotine strength is important for enjoyment as well. For example, if you’re coming from a light cigarette, but use a strong e-liquid, it’s likely to result an unenjoyable experience. The converse is also true. If you’re going from smoking a full-strength cigarette to a light e-liquid, you’ll end up vaping more often to give your body the nicotine intake it’s used to enjoying.
Generally, super strong 36-mg formulas are good for very heavy smokers, as in those who smoke two or more packs per day. 12-mg formulas are better for those who smoke about a pack a day. Those who smoke less than a pack a day can make do with 6 mg or less e-liquids, as your body will already be used to the lower nicotine content.
If you’re a social smoker, you might even consider going with one of the 0-mg formulas, as this will give you the sensation of smoking, but not the nicotine, which your body doesn’t actually want anyway.
How to Choose
It’s best to start out with the equivalent nicotine strength e-liquid as what you’re used to smoking and then see how you respond. If you’re trying to step down, start with your normal strength and then work down (36 to 18 to 10, for instance). This lets you gradually decrease your nicotine intake without encouraging you to vape more often, as would be the case with a direct step-down.
You should also pay attention to the liquid type. You’ll find two primary options – vegetable glycol (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). Of the two, VG offers more vapour production, while PG gives a stronger throat hit, more closely mimicking smoking a full flavour cigarette. VG is also sweeter, while PG is tasteless on its own, allowing the additive flavouring to shine through a bit stronger.
In the end, experimentation with strengths and liquid types is probably unavoidable. Try to start off with the closest e-liquid nicotine equivalent to what you smoke, and see how things go.