Nicotine Strength – Where to Start?
E-liquid, Vaping

Nicotine Strength – Where to Start?

Vaping, as we are already familiar with, is an effective and healthier alternative to cigarettes, which doesn’t pose any health risk to its users. Smoking entails both physical and psychological dependency, which makes the user addicted to the act the smoking. Physical dependency relates to getting your nicotine cravings meet, whereas psychological dependency relates to the triggers and gestures that give way to physical dependency.

When people quit cigarettes, they suffer from nicotine withdrawal, which is extremely hard to deal with, as it involves battling with your physical and psychological dependency. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms take the shape of headache, nausea, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, etc. Quitting methods like cold turkey, nicotine replacement therapy, medication, etc. have a really low success rate because they don’t help people deal with withdrawal. Whereas vaping has an extremely high quitting success rate because it helps people cope with nicotine withdrawal.

How Does Vaping Work?

Vaping mimics the act of smoking, but it doesn’t release the traditional smoke associated with cigarettes. Vaping replaces smoke with vapor, which is precisely a mixture of PG and VG. Now let’s talk about the ingredients of e-liquid. E-liquid or vape juice, which is commonly available in vape shops, is what goes inside a vape device to generate vapor. E-liquids comprise of 4 major ingredients namely, PG, VG, Nicotine, and flavors/sweeteners. PG and VG are both food-grade ingredients used in a variety of packaged food items and cosmetics.

Vaping is proven to reduce the risk of smoking by 95%. The act of smoking gives rise to more than 5000 known harmful chemicals and toxic carcinogens which make way for cancerous cells inside the body. Vaping doesn’t entail the burning of tobacco, which releases carcinogens, hence it doesn’t expose your body to any harmful chemicals or toxins.

Types of E-Liquids

E-liquids are generally categorized on the basis of their nicotine strength, nicotine type, and PG/VG ratio. With respect to nicotine type, there are two types of e-liquids: free-base e-liquids and nicotine salts. With respect to nicotine strength, an additional category comes in which is called short-fill e-liquids. Whereas, which respect to PG/VG ratio, you can find e-liquids categorized as 50:50, 70:30, 40:60, etc. In the end, it all boils down to what you want out of your vaping experience and what level of nicotine satisfies your needs

  • Strong throat hit, lower nicotine–free base e-liquids
  • Smooth throat hit, higher nicotine – nicotine salts
  • Bigger clouds, stronger throat hit – free base e-liquids
  • Less vapor, more flavor – nicotine salts

What Is the Purpose of Having Nicotine in Your E-Liquid?

Most e-liquids contain nicotine and in varying strengths and types. But the purpose of nicotine in your e-liquids is not to get you addicted to it but to slowly curb your addiction. The reason goes back to the start of this blog: nicotine withdrawals. Vaping has been one of the most successful smoking-cessation tools because it doesn’t abruptly stop the supply of nicotine to your body. Rather, it helps you monitor and regulate your nicotine intake and provides the necessary conditions to taper off your nicotine consumption.

How Much Nicotine Should a Person Consume When They Switch to Vaping?

There’s a simple rule of thumb when it comes to choosing your nicotine level. When you choose a nicotine strength, you’ll know that you’re taking in too much nicotine because you’ll experience dizziness and headaches. Likewise, you’ll know you’re not taking in enough nicotine if your cravings aren’t being satisfied.

In terms of free base e-liquids, the following are some nicotine strengths with respect to cigarette consumption.

  • For occasional Smokers – 0 to 6mg
  • For those who take 10-15 cigarettes per day – 6mg to 12mg
  • For those who take 20-25 cigarettes per day (a pack a day) – 12mg to 18mg
  • For those who take over 25 cigarettes per day (more than a pack) – 18mg to 36mg

Nicotine Transfer Efficiency (NTE)

Like cigarettes, not all nicotine present in e-liquid is consumed by the user. Some nicotine dissipates as it’s converted from liquid to aerosol (burned or evaporated). This process is referred to as the nicotine transfer efficiency (abbreviated to NTE herein). Just how much is lost depends on the device, your vaping style, etc.; unfortunately, not many devices are studied for this and manufacturers don’t disclose transfer efficiency either. But again, you can always tweak your nicotine level as per your need.

Wattage and Nicotine Consumption

The actual volume of e-liquid you’ll consume per puff is dictated by the configured power output of your device, measured in watts. A device configured for low wattage (under 15 watts) will meter out or deliver very little product per puff, allowing for high concentrations of nicotine to be used safely. A device configured for high wattage (40-200 watts) will deliver substantially more product per puff, requiring the use of low-dose nicotine to prevent overdosing.

The throat hit is also increased with higher wattage, as more nicotine is metered per puff. Wattage is also a significant factor in vapor production, flavor production, and potential health risks, and I hope to touch on these in a later post.

How Can You Lower Your Nicotine Consumption with Vaping?

Vaping allows you to taper off your nicotine consumption gradually with the help of short-fill e-liquids. short fill e-liquids usually don’t contain nicotine, and the bottles they come in, are usually larger, with enough space left to add your desired strength of nicotine shots. This way, you can start big if you’re a heavy smoker, and then slowly curb your nicotine intake, once you know you can do it. Vaping allows you to monitor your nicotine consumption and regulate it accordingly.

Unlike cigarettes, quitting vaping is not that difficult. Vaping allows you to win over both the physical and psychological dependency on cigarettes. Once it’s done, it slowly helps your gain control over your nicotine cravings and helps you slowly wane yourself off nicotine. In the end, there comes a point when you no longer need nicotine in your e-liquid. And that’s when you can easily let go of vaping.

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