Extracted from tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum, nicotine is an alkaloid that can be synthesized through an expensive and rarely used process. Common foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, and aubergine contain a small amount of it. Nicotine can be a relaxant, as well as a stimulant, with users reporting effects such as alertness, calmness and even mood elevation.
Nicotine is usually touted as a physically and psychologically addictive, which explains why some vapers who smoked cigarettes earlier resort to using e-juices with different levels of nicotine. While you can buy e-juice without nicotine, it usually comes with a range of strengths. It is imperative for a beginner to choose the right nicotine strength.
Using a higher strength of nicotine could lead to coughing; too weak will not deliver the true sensation of vaping. There is a possibility that you might end up shelling out a lot of money on a top-branded juice with nicotine strength that doesn’t satisfy your cravings.
E-liquids are available in different strengths ranging from zero nicotine to more than 50 mg/mL. You are also likely to come across nicotine strength stated in percentage instead of concentrations. While all this may seem quite confusing, it isn’t. This guide is crafted to help you choose the right nicotine strength, and also show how you can navigate the market.
It is worth mentioning here that the information shared in this article is about nicotine strength in commercial e-liquid.
While one of the most popular, Juul is not the only influential vape available in the market. Among other impacts the brand has had on the market, the most important one is the introduction of nicotine salt e-liquid, which radically overhauled the way how many users stop smoking and start vaping. nic salts comprise a compound called benzoic acid that smooths out the throat sensation of nicotine, allowing users to consume larger concentrations without experiencing any sort of discomfort.
Nicotine strength indicated in milligrams and not a percentage, a single-digit usually indicates that it is good ol’ regular nicotine (a.k.a. freebase” nicotine). Strengths over 20 mg/mL are possibly nicotine salt e-liquid. While there is no direct correlation between these two, a lot of vapers claim that the throat hit derived from 6mg of regular nicotine is comparable to about 20-25mg of mg nic salts.
These high concentrations have made salt nicotine a common term used when discussing pod systems, as well as other devices that offer low power and vapor output.
How to determine the best nicotine strength for you?
If you are a novice, you need to consider two factors before selecting the nicotine strength: your smoking habits, and the type of device you fancy using. Those who smoke socially or about ten cigarettes daily fall in the lower range of each suggestion. Around a pack, on the other hand, will place you somewhere in the middle, while those who smoke two packets of cigarettes on a daily basis are placed on the higher area.
Low vapor production
Discreet clouds, comparable to the amount produced when smoking a cigarette. Most of the pod systems come under this category, along with mouth-to-lung (MTL) tanks offering a very tight airflow. The most common choice for this section includes a high percentage of nic salt, as most companies no longer manufacture nicotine juices over 6 mg/mL.
- Regular nicotine: 9-18 mg/mL
- Nicotine salts: 30-60 mg/mL
Medium vapor production
Clouds, but not exactly massive ones. This category includes devices coming from any product range. For instance, it includes pod systems that take sub-ohm coils, airier MTL tanks, and even sub-ohm tanks that offer restricted lung draw.
- Regular nicotine: 6-9 mg/mL
- Nicotine salts: 20-30 mg/mL
High vapor production
Big clouds. This section features rebuildable atomizers with large airflow channels and powerful sub-ohm tanks. FInding nic salts for this section can prove to be a backbreaking task, and most vapers choose regular nicotine juices.
- Regular nicotine: 1.5-6 mg/mL
- Nicotine salts: up to 10 mg/mL
If you are trying to quit smoking, it is advised that you go for low vapor devices that include a pod system and an MTL tank. This will offer a similar draw that you get while smoking, and therefore the transition into vaping becomes easier. Some people prefer either a restricted direct-lung draw or a fully open draw, and in these cases, it is recommended that you go for a powerful sub-ohm tank or a pod system.
Converting percentages to mg/mL
Even after settling for a specific nicotine strength that satisfies your cravings, if you try to narrow it down, it can still be confusing. Manufacturers usually list nicotine strength by percentage, like 0.3%, 0.6%, 2.5% and 5%. The immediate question likely to pop into your mind is what is the difference between nicotine strengths listed in mg, and those written as a percentage, but we got your back.
Aside from shedding light on that, we will show how you can convert from one to the other.
Nicotine strength in mg/mL
Usually, e-liquid nicotine strengths are shown in mg/mL (milligrams per milliliter). In other words, for every milliliter of e-liquid in the bottle, there is a specified amount of nicotine present. For instance, in a 6 mg/mL e-juice, every milliliter contains 6 mg of nicotine. You can multiply the strength in mg/mL by the number of milliliters of it you have to find the total amount of nicotine in a tank or a bottle.
Nicotine strengths as percentages
Despite being similar, nicotine strength as a percentage is relatively easier to understand. Rather than combining a mass (in mg) and a volume (in mL), the percentage uses the volume of both. In other words, figures such as 0.3% or 1.8% simply indicate the exact amount of liquid in the bottle that is nicotine.
This method of measurement is referred to as “nicotine by volume.” It is sometimes shortened to NBV. Alternatively, you can work out the percentage by mass as well, but e-liquid companies do not do this.
Converting from mg/mL to percent and back
Converting from a nicotine strength mg/mL to percent is as easy as ABC. All you need to do is to divide the amount in mg/mL by 10. For the sake of an instance, a 6 mg/mL e-juice is equivalent to a 0.6% e-juice, 25 mg/mL e-juice is equal to a 2.5% e-juice. To convert back from percentage to mg/mL, simply multiply it by 10. The conversion couldn’t be any simpler than this.
You can now navigate the e-liquid market, buy juice in the strength range that satisfies your cravings without breaking much of a sweat. Aside from that, you can now explain what exactly mg/mL means, what the percentage value mentioned on the e-liquids stands for, and even convert between them easily.
Regardless of where you are ordering from, you’d always know what you are getting. However, if you fail the first time, don’t give up. The market is teeming with different levels of nicotine, and you will sooner or later find the exact e-liquid strength that works for you.
Have you tried e-juice that you felt was too strong or too weak for you? Have you found the exact nicotine strength that satisfies your cravings yet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!