E-Juice Levels: Nicotine vs. Low-Nicotine vs. No-Nicotine Vaping
One of the prime differences between smoking combustible cigarettes and vaping is the ability to select from different e-juice nicotine levels. Most e-juice companies let consumers choose from nicotine levels that may range from 24 mg all the way down to zero. The amount of nicotine in e-juice has an impact on the overall experience, especially when vaping natural tobacco e-juice or other e-liquids where flavor nuances are a major factor.
E-Juice Nicotine Levels Explained
The first step in choosing a nicotine level is to understand how the levels are measured. Nicotine in e-juice is calculated by a percentage, which indicates the amount of liquid nicotine in a bottle in relation to the total amount of e-juice in a bottle. The percentages can also be expressed by weight in milligrams (mg), indicating how many milligrams of nicotine are in a specific e-juice blend.
Common nicotine levels are:
- 2.4 %, or 24 mg nicotine
- 1.8 %, or 18 mg nicotine
- 1.2 %, or 12 mg nicotine
- 0.6 %, or 6 mg nicotine
- 0.3 %, or 3 mg nicotine
- 0 %, or zero nicotine
Vaping with Nicotine
Nicotine levels: 24 mg to 12 mg
- Pros: Matches pack-per-day smoker levels, solid throat hit
- Cons: Decreases taste of e-juice, especially natural tobacco e-juice
The highest nicotine levels e-juice manufacturers typically offer are either 2.4 or 1.8 percent. Some companies, like Black Note, keep the highest nicotine level at 1.8 percent, which is an ideal starting point for one-pack-per-day smokers looking to transition to vaping.
Higher nicotine levels can more fully satiate the nicotine cravings smokers get when they first put down cigarettes, since they can provide similar levels of nicotine the smoker is used to experiencing. Higher nicotine levels also tend to provide a more robust throat hit, another factor important for smokers making the switch.
On the downside, the higher the nicotine level, the less the flavor comes through. This may not be the case for low-quality e-juice, but it is definitely a factor for high-quality e-juice, particularly tobacco e-juice created through extraction of natural flavors.
Vaping with Low-Nicotine
Nicotine levels: 6 mg to 3 mg
- Pros: Lower nicotine than pack-per-day smoker levels, more flavorful than higher nicotine levels
- Cons: Possible decrease in throat hit, nicotine can still impede full flavor enjoyment
Low-nicotine e-juices are generally considered those containing between 0.6 percent and 0.3 percent nicotine. Smokers who are used to smoking one pack or more of cigarettes per day may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms if they head directly for a low-nicotine e-juice option.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can include an intense craving for nicotine, sweating, headaches, nausea, difficulty concentrating, anxiety and irritability. The flexibility of nicotine levels in e-juice, however, can address nicotine withdrawal symptoms by switching to higher levels of nicotine and then gradually decreasing nicotine levels over an extended period of time.
E-juices with different nicotine levels can also be mixed to produce more customized levels. If a former smoker using e-juice with 1.2 percent nicotine wants to decrease levels but finds 0.6 percent nicotine is producing withdrawal symptoms, he can mix equal amounts of the 1.2 percent and 0.6 percent e-juices to produce a nicotine level in between the two.
Reducing the nicotine to low levels allows more of the e-juice flavor to come through, especially with natural tobacco e-juice and other quality liquids. Some e-juices may produce less of a throat hit with lower levels of nicotine, although that is not always the case with higher-quality liquids.
Vaping with No Nicotine
Nicotine levels: 0 mg
- Pros: Break the nicotine addiction, enhanced flavor of quality e-juices, still maintain ritual, hand-to-mouth habit, satiation for smoking
- Cons: Possible decrease in throat hit, low-quality liquids may have distasteful flavor
Vaping with no nicotine is the ultimate goal for many who turn to vaping in an attempt to quit smoking. Gradually decreasing e-juice nicotine levels until the e-juice contains absolutely no nicotine effectively breaks the nicotine addiction while still allowing for the ritual, hand-to-mouth habit and satiation former smokers often continue to seek.
Another major benefit, particularly for natural tobacco e-juice and other high-quality e-juice, is enhanced flavor. When quality and natural ingredients are used in e-juice, their true taste comes through best when there is no nicotine in the mix.
Again, low-quality e-juice may actually taste worse and produce less of a throat hit without nicotine. That’s because such liquids may have actually been relying on nicotine to both mask disagreeable flavors and produce the throat hit.
Quality e-juices that rely on quality ingredients will instead be at their best without nicotine. The lack of nicotine allows all flavor nuances to come through, especially with natural tobacco e-juice. And vapers can still enjoy the throat hit, ritual and overall satiation without the nicotine addiction.