What Strength e-Liquid Should I Use?

Your choice to toss out your pack of cigarettes and pick up an e-cigarette instead may be one of the most pivotal choices you can make when it comes to your decisions for the improvement of your life and of the lives of those around you. Now that you’ve made this choice, you need to figure out what level of e-liquid is the correct one for you.

When you switch from regular cigarettes to an e-cigarette it can be confusing. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when picking what you’ll end up going with. Not only do you need to decide the size, color and type of e-cigarette you also need to find a nicotine level that is the right one for you.

How do you do that? Most people make the mistake of just going with what someone tells you, or by picking the highest (or lowest) strength of nicotine based on assumptions. Because this is how many new e-cigarette users come to the choice for e-liquid strength, a lot of people become disheartened and feel like they’ve made the wrong choice. This is usually due to one of two things; either they’ve chosen a strength that is too strong and might give them headaches or it is too weak and they are not feeling satisfied. No matter the reason, there are some easy and tried-and-true ways to determine which strength is right for you.

One of the first questions we get as e-cigarette professionals is what exactly does a certain amount of nicotine mean? When you look at a bottle of e-liquid, one of the first things you will notice is the amount of nicotine that is found in that particular bottle. Typically the amount of nicotine is listed in one of two ways. Either it will be listed as a percentage (i.e. 1.2%) or in milligrams (i.e. 12mg). Both ways mean the same thing, but interpreted in a different way.

Another question that we are asked when it comes to choosing the right e-liquid strength is which one is equivalent to which type of cigarette brand they’ve been smoking. Typically, regular cigarettes average between 12mg (1.2%) – 18mg (1.8%). That having been said, a more cut and dried approach to choosing your nicotine strength is to become a bit more knowledgeable when it comes to the different strengths.

You nicotine level should be chosen more based on the amount of smoking you’ll be replacing, as opposed to how much nicotine is found in a cigarette. The reason for this is because when you are vaping, it is a more direct approach to receiving the nicotine and it has more to do with how often you are vaping.

For example, if you smoked full flavor cigarettes before trying to quit by using the patch but only smoked a cigarette or two a day, you wouldn’t want to start with the patch containing the highest level of nicotine simply because full flavor cigarettes are considered to have a high level of nicotine. Instead, you would be much better off choosing a lower strength of e-liquid that would better represent the actual amount of nicotine you were taking in on a daily basis.

Let me break down the difference between strengths. The majority of e-liquid companies offer several strengths to choose from: 0mg (0.0%), 6mg (0.6%), 11mg (1.1%), 16mg (1.6%) and 24mg (2.4%). 24mg (2.4%) is generally the strength used by heavy smokers. A heavy smoker is typically defined by smoking more than two packs a day. 11mg (1.1%) and 16mg (1.6%) both tend to be vaped by those who average a pack to a pack and a half a day. When someone smoked less than a pack a day, 6mg (0.6%) generally satisfies vapers. 0mg (0.0%) is reserved for those who enjoy the action and feel of vaping but don’t want to consume the nicotine.

One of the biggest misconceptions when choosing the nicotine strength is thinking that more is better. Just like the withdrawal symptoms you experience when you cut nicotine from your lifestyle completely and all at once, you can experience discomfort if you choose a nicotine strength that is too high. Symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and nausea can plague you if you’ve chosen a level of nicotine that is too high.

Just as people choose poorly by thinking more is better, equally you shouldn’t choose a lower strength of nicotine than your body needs based simply on the idea that you should be in taking a lower amount of nicotine. By doing this, you will most likely experience some withdrawal symptoms since your body is used to more than you are in taking. To combat this, we recommend starting at the level that best matches with the amount of smoking you do and stepping down slowly to a lower level to accommodate your body’s dependence on the nicotine to combat the withdrawal symptoms.

There really isn’t a defined science to choosing the correct strength of nicotine for your e-liquid. Everyone’s bodies and tolerances are different so the strength will affect each person differently. The best way to decide is still trial and error. That having been said, being informed before making a decision will give you the tools you need to make a better decision.

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By Eric
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