In our previous article, we discussed some of the most basic points on how to vape, especially as a beginner. We went over inhalation techniques, starter kits, and different kinds of e-liquids. A very frequent question that many vapers get asked is, “How much nicotine is in your vape?” This is a very broad question, so in this article, we’ll break down some of the details that go into the actual answer.
NICOTINE: WHAT IS IT?
Nicotine started out as a naturally occurring chemical in the nightshade plant family (yes, all of my Nightmare Before Christmas fans are going wild), including eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, and of course, tobacco. In 1828, a doctor named Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt and a chemist named Karl Ludwig Reiman isolated nicotine from the tobacco plant. For years, nicotine was thought to be the most dangerous chemical in cigarettes; however, recent studies have shown that there are multiple harmful chemicals in cigarettes, making it nearly impossible to figure out the negative side effect of each. Chemists have studied the side effects of nicotine exhaustively, and discovered that there are both pharmacological and psychodynamic side effects due to nicotine consumption. The pharmacological effects show an increase in heart rate and an increase in how much oxygen the heart muscle consumes. The psychodynamic effects show heightened alertness, relaxation, and euphoria.
NICOTINE: IS IT ADDICTIVE?
Nicotine is listed on the warning label of e-liquids, cigarette boxes, and all e-juice websites as being an addictive chemical. You might be surprised to learn that nicotine as a chemical is not completely proven to be addictive. It’s more of an addictive habit formed by the user that makes it frustratingly difficult to give up nicotine. However, since nicotine is one of the main ingredients in cigarettes, and cigarettes are addictive, it is challenging to figure out which if the nicotine is responsible for the addiction or if the addiction is caused by other chemicals in cigarettes. Regular nicotine consumers should expect to have minor withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of nicotine use, such as headaches, irritability, and nausea. One of the best advice tips we can give you is if you don’t use nicotine, don’t start.
NICOTINE: IS IT DANGEROUS?
Now that we’ve learned that nicotine might be addictive, your follow up question is probably, “Is nicotine dangerous?” Some might even take that question a bit further, and ask, “does nicotine usage increase your risk of cancer, long-term health problems, or even death?” And the answer isn’t all that reassuring...because we honestly don’t know. Not enough long term studies have shown the long-term effects of vaping e-liquids with nicotine in them. There are, however, plenty of studies that show that smoking is harmful to your health, due to the tar buildup in your lungs, and pose a greater threat to developing some form of cancer.
In short, the vaping nicotine is no more responsible for causing cancer than nicotine patches and nicotine gum are. Although nicotine overdose is possible, you’d need an insane amount of nicotine to do so. The CDC states that 50-60 mg of nicotine is deadly for persons weighing around 150lbs, but other officials believe it to be much higher than that. However, this amount is impossible to reach through vaping alone, even vaping at 12mg, the highest level of nicotine found in vape juice. Your body absorbs precious little of the nicotine, and thanks to nicotine’s half-life, your body’s level of nicotine decreases dramatically once you finish your vaping session.
HOW MUCH NICOTINE IS IN MY VAPE JUICE?
One excellent advantage of vaping over smoking is that the ingredients for vape juice are clearly listed and talked about in great detail. (You can check out our article about what’s in your vape juice here). Each free-base vape juice bottle clearly states the nicotine amount, from 0mg all the way to 12mg. Unfortunately, smokers don’t have that option, and are often left wondering \ how much nicotine is actually in their cigarette. Since nicotine exists naturally in tobacco already, the chemicals and added nicotine make it impossible to tell exactly how much nicotine they’re using with a single cigarette, let alone an entire pack. This becomes a problem when smokers turn to vaping in an attempt to quit smoking, but are left unsatisfied because the nicotine in freebase nicotine may not equate the the nicotine found in cigarettes. This problem was somewhat resolved with the introduction of nicotine salts. Nic-salts offered smokers higher levels of nicotine in low-powered devices, and were often very similar to the nicotine kick and throat hit of cigarettes. You can check out our article about nic-salts here!
HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHAT NICOTINE LEVEL TO USE?
For the most part, choosing a nicotine level is based on trial and error. Not something you want to hear when you’re just embarking on your vape journey, but it’s the honest truth. There are some bits of advice we can give you, but you’ll have to figure out what nicotine level you’re most comfortable with. Nicotine is absorbed into the body differently by every vaper, and it can vary based on how often you crave nicotine as well as how much you inhale. We’ve created a list of what nicotine levels might be right for you based on how much nicotine you may have been using a day.
- As we mentioned before, 12mg is the one of the highest nicotine level that most brands are willing to carry in free-base e-liquid, and even then it may be difficult to find good flavors with this high of a nicotine content. This level of nicotine is ideal for hard-core cigarette smokers who go through as many as 30 cigarettes a day.
- 6 mg is much less than that, but still high on the scale of nicotine levels. Most brands won’t make e-liquid with a stronger nicotine level than this, so if you feel like you need more than 6mg of nicotine in your vape juice, you can try searching for 12mg or switch to nic-salt e-liquids. If you smoke moderately, around 15-20 cigarettes a day, this nicotine level is more suited to you.
- 3 mg is often considered “the sweet spot” of nicotine content. If you smoked around 10 cigarettes a day, this level should be enough to satisfy your cravings. 3MG of nicotine is also the most popular nicotine level, so you should be aware that it may be the first to run out of stock.
- 0mg is the option of no nicotine at all, and is suitable for users who want to eliminate their nicotine content entirely, but enjoy the flavor and clouds too much to give it up.
Keep in mind that none of these levels are set in stone. You can vape as little or as much nicotine as you feel like you need, either working your way down or settling in comfortably at a certain level. You can even add more nicotine to your e-liquid if you feel like it needs just a touch more, or you can experiment with brands that advertise 2, 4, and 8 mg of nicotine in their vape juice. These numbers represent the amount of nicotine per 1mL, and can also be used in percentage form.
Hopefully this article has shed some insight on how much nicotine is in a vape. This is often a difficult subject to cover, since nicotine comes in many forms and presents many challenges. Nicotine found in vape is used as a way for smokers to reduce their exposure to the known harmful chemicals in cigarettes. As technology and science improve, we’ll learn more about the long-term effects of nicotine as it is found in vape, but for the time being, vaping nicotine has been touted as a godsend for helping smokers kick the habit. Do you have a story about how vaping nicotine helped you reduce your cigarette intake? Let us know! Is there a topic about nicotine in vape that you need more explanation or that wasn’t covered? Shoot us a phone call or email, and we’ll be happy to chat with you! Until next time, my fellow vapers. May your clouds always be flavorful and may your tank always be full of delicious all-day vape juice!