Which e-liquid nicotine strength should I get?

3 overlooked things to consider when choosing which e-liquid strength to get

Choosing e-liquid nicotine strength

Which e-liquid strength should I get? A simple question, but one that's not all that easy to answer without knowing the persons current smoking habits, how often they intend to vape, and on what e-cigarette device.

It's a commonly held belief that if you are a light smoker, or a social smoker, that you will only need a low strength e-liquid. And that if you are a heavy smoker you will need a high strength e-liquid. I've seen and heard that so many times it feels that it's become a generic response to the question and it's often stated in a way that suggests that it doesn't need further exploration or consideration.

But this isn’t true. That explanation doesn't really make sense in a lot of cases, and I absolutely think it does need a lot more consideration to answer properly.

As a brief recap, remember that nicotine is the ingredient in cigarettes which makes you crave smoking. Although it is addictive, it is relatively harmless… much like a caffeine in a cup of coffee. (I’ll be writing a more detailed blog about nicotine and in a couple of weeks’ time.)

E-liquids come in different strengths, depending on how much nicotine they contain. The most common strengths are:

  • 3mg/ml (0.3% nicotine – this is considered low strength)
  • 6mg/ml (0.6% nicotine content – this is considered low/medium strength)
  • 12mg/ml (1.2% nicotine content – this is medium strength)
  • 18mg/ml (1.8% nicotine content – this is considered high strength)

Consideration 1: More Vapour = More Nicotine, Less Vapour = Less Nicotine

It's a simple fact, the more vapour your e-cigarette device produces, the more nicotine you will inhale with each puff. So, for example, if you have two devices and one of them produces twice the amount of vapour, using the same nicotine strength e-liquid you'll be getting around double the amount of nicotine with each puff. It's for that reason that many people will put a higher strength e-liquid than they usually vape in a lower power pod device.

Thankfully, us e-cigarette users will naturally self-titrate, meaning you will puff as much as you need to and you will adjust how much you vape to get a level of nicotine that's the right level for you personally. We experienced this as smokers, we knew when we 'needed' a cigarette and when we'd had enough. If you are struggling with your e-cigarette and finding yourself vaping almost continually, then you may want to consider moving up to a higher strength e-liquid or using a device that can produce more vapour.

Consideration 2: Remember, it’s a hard habit to break!

Your current smoking habits are something else to consider carefully. Most new vapers are hoping to replace their current smoking rituals with vaping. If you are used to having one cigarette on your break and then working 2-3 hours until lunch, you'll want to use a high enough strength e-liquid to enable you to do the same.

It's no good thinking “I'm a light smoker I only smoke 2 cigarettes all morning, I'll use a low nicotine strength” then 30 minutes after your break you are making excuses to pop out again for another vape.

On the flip side, some smokers will smoke pretty much continually all day, taking only a puff or two at a time and putting it down for long periods, people that hand roll cigarettes can often be like this. I have a friend who would need to light his roll up about 4 or 5 times and it would last him an hour! If your current smoking habits are more like this, you may be better with a lower strength e-liquid and using it in a similar 'little but often' manner.

Consideration 3: Throat hit and taste

Many smokers will enjoy the feeling and taste of inhaling the nicotine in e-liquids, it contributes to what vapers refer to as 'throat hit' and it often helps in adding to the 'smoking-like' sensation of vapour products. The higher the nicotine strength the more throat hit you will experience. Whether you will be able to taste the nicotine in various strengths will vary from person to person.

As someone who was a heavy smoker for a long time and vapes predominantly tobacco flavours now, I enjoy the taste of the nicotine in 12mg and 18mg e-liquids. Some people may not though, and you may find that 6mg e-liquid tastes nicer to you and you might prefer less of a throat hit too.

In summary…

Like I've already mentioned, we are very good at self-regulating our nicotine intake overall. It's not just about whether you are a light or heavy smoker, it's about whether the amount you need to vape is fitting in with your work, lifestyle and your current habits. It's also about how much vapour your e-cigarette device is giving you and how little or often you actually want to vape.

I always found smoking was getting in the way of other things, I can remember having to pop out for a smoke during a film at the cinema once and completely missing a vital plot twist. The rest of the film made no sense to me at all! Now when I go out, I take a tank with 18mg in and I enjoy the freedom of not having to vape so much. I can go places I can't vape and I can go considerable amounts of time between vaping.

If I am at home, relaxing and having a nice glass of whisky, I might decide I would like to vape more. So I'll use a 3mg or 6mg e-liquid so I can just enjoy the experience of vaping a little more often. One of the great things about vaping to me is that I always feel like I am in control and I can change the strength of my e-liquid depending on the situation I'm in.

So where do I start?

For your first purchase I would recommend buying one each of 6mg, 12mg and 18mg. For most average smokers, using an e-cigarette device such as the ones sold at My Vape Box, I would usually suggest starting with the 12mg, that is just my personal opinion based on my own experiences. You always have the option of going up to 18mg or down to 6mg or varying what you use depending on your situation as I do.

And remember, if you’re not sure, you can get a free trial from My Vape Box here (postage does cost £2.50) so you can try a particular nicotine strength and flavour before you committee to a full shop.

But there really is no concrete answer as to what strength will work best for you unfortunately. Most people will decide quite quickly after starting if they need to go higher or lower. Hopefully this blog will help you make a more thoughtful decision about using what will work for you and your circumstances, not just what you think you should use.


Simon - My Vape Box

My Vape Box blog about e-liquid nicotine strength



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