Guide To Choosing The Right Vape Nicotine Strength

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New to vaping and trying to decide what nicotine strength you should use with your vape? You’re certainly not alone, which is why we’ve created this guide to help you choose the right nicotine concentration for your e-liquid.

Vape Nicotine Strength

While cigarettes are just about a one-size-fits-all world when it comes to nicotine concentration, e-cigarettes and the e-liquid that they use offer a wide array of choices when it comes to nicotine strength. Concentrations range from no nicotine (0mg) to very high strength (50mg+). On the upper end of the range, you are likely to find only nicotine salts, not freebase nicotine.

Nicotine Salts VS Freebase Nicotine

Before we jump right in and tell you about which strength might be best for you, it’s essential that you understand a less than subtle differences between freebase and salt nicotine. In its most basic form, nic salt is quite harsh when vaped, however, most modern formulations are designed to make it smooth. As a result, it’s possible to comfortably vape high strength e-liquids that contain nicotine salts, whereas to do so with freebase nicotines would most likely be unpleasant.

To clarify, you can vape high strength e-liquids so long as they’re made using nicotine salts. The same is not true for freebase nicotine, not unless you don’t mind an uncomfortably massive throat hit.

The other side of this that’s important to recognise is the rate at which the two main types of nicotine used in modern e-liquids absorb. Modern nic salts are designed to absorb quickly, allowing vapers to get their nic fix more quickly than vapers who use freebase nicotine.

To summarize, nicotine salts are superior because:

  • They’re still smooth (not harsh) at higher concentrations
  • They’re absorbed faster

Nicotine salts are often found in prefilled vape pods like those used by this vape. They’re also available in some bottled e-liquids, which are typically used in conjunction with refillable vape pods.

Vaper Empire Classic E-Liquid

These vape juice bottles from Vaper Empire’s Classic Collection are made using freebase nicotine.

Not All Vapes Support Nic Salts

When deciding between freebase and salt nicotine, it’s essential that you recognise the fact that not all e-cigarettes support nicotine salts. While virtually all vapes work with e-liquid infused with freebase nicotine, it is pod systems in particular that are most apt to support salts.

How E-Liquid Nicotine Strength Is Displayed

There are two ways that manufacturers display the nicotine strength of their e-liquids. As both are commonly used, some e-juice manufacturers opt to display both on their bottles and packaging.

One way strength is displayed is as a percentage. For instance, some high strength vape pods that use nicotine salts in their e-liquid are 5% strength. This translates to 50mg of nicotine per millilitre of e-liquid, which is commonly written as 50mg/ml. As another example, 3% nicotine strength can also be written as 30mg/ml.

The Right E-Liquid Nicotine Strength

For starters, we don’t recommend vaping to anyone that is not using it as a tool to quit smoking. That said, those who are new to vaping that are not already dependent upon nicotine should use 0mg e-liquid, which contains no nicotine in it whatsoever. While the numbers below are intended as a guide for smokers who are trying to determine how much nicotine to use, keep in mind that your own experience may differ and you can always go higher or lower if necessary.

Light Smokers

Those who only smoke casually, such as social smokers and those who only have the occasional cigar or cigarette, may not require much nicotine in their e-juice. For these types of smokers, a vape juice that contains a low concentration of nicotine such as 0mg to 6mg may suffice. In some cases, light smokers may want to go a little higher, opting for an e-liquid with a nicotine strength as high as 9mg.

Average Smokers

The average smoker that smokes between 10 and 20 cigarettes per day may be satisfied with a nicotine strength of around 12mg to 15mg, perhaps even as high as 18mg.

Heavy Smokers

Those who consistently smoke a full packet of cigarettes a day or more are considered heavy smokers, whose nicotine dependency is likely well established. For this category of smokers, an e-liquid strength of 18mg or higher may be the best fit. Some smokers have found concentrations as high as 50mg/ml to be well suited to their needs.

Deciding exactly where you fit on this scale can be a matter of trial and error. You can start high and move down if it’s too much or start low and move up if it’s not enough – the decision is yours alone!


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