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How to Pick The Perfect Nicotine Level for Vaping

How to Pick The Perfect Nicotine Level for Vaping

How to Pick The Perfect Nicotine Level for Vaping

How to Pick The Perfect Nicotine Level for Vaping
February 28, 2023

Whether you are new to vaping or have been vaping for years, finding your perfect nicotine level is an important part of optimizing your vaping experience. Nicotine levels vary from product to product, and the optimal strength will vary from person to person. In this blog we will explore some considerations and tips for finding your perfect nicotine level.


Understanding Nicotine Strengths in Vape Juice

The Nicotine Concentration in Vaping Products Regulations establish a “maximum nicotine concentration of 20 mg/mL for vaping products manufactured or imported for sale in Canada.” Most e-liquids come in strengths of 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg.  The nicotine strength is expressed as the number of milligrams per millilitre of liquid.  For example, Mint Condition – LIX is available in a 60ml bottle in strengths of 0mg, 3mg, 6mg or 12mg per ml. If you choose the 6mg/ml option, the entire 60ml bottle would contain 360mg of nicotine.


Finding your perfect nicotine level often takes some experimentation, trial, and error. We will explore some factors that contribute to varying preference below. However, the following can be used as a starting point and general rule of thumb.

  • 0 mg/ml – Ideal for individuals looking to vape without consuming nicotine.
  • 3 mg/ml – Lowest available level. Ideal for vapers who are decreasing their nicotine intake or light smokers who previously smoked less than 10 cigarettes per day.
  • 6 mg/mlIdeal for new vapers who were previously light to moderate smokers.
  • 12 mg/ml – Ideal for those who used to smoke 1 pack a day.
  • 18 mg/ml – Ideal for those for those who used to smoke more than 1 pack a day.

Individual Tolerance and Smoking Equivalency

Individuals transitioning from cigarettes to vaping often desire a nicotine level that matches what they were getting from cigarettes. The nicotine level must be high enough to satisfy the craving for a traditional cigarette, otherwise the transition is likely to be unsuccessful. Once they have found a strength they are satisfied with, vaping provides them the ability to lower their consumption over time, potentially all the way down to zero. On the other hand, if you have never smoked cigarettes and solely vape for the experience and flavour, there are many 0% juices to enjoy.


Nicotine content in cigarettes can vary greatly from brand to brand, but the average cigarette contains about 10 to 12 mg of nicotine. However, you do not inhale every milligram of nicotine. Absorption depends on several factors like how deeply the person inhales and length of breaks between puffs. As a result, you inhale approximately 1.5 mg of nicotine by the end of each cigarette. Meaning, for a pack of 20 cigarettes you will inhale approximately 30 mg of nicotine.


A major reason people decide to switch from cigarettes to vaping is because they can continue to consume nicotine without being exposed to the other harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke. As with smoking, the amount of nicotine consumed via vaping depends on a variety of factors including how deep you inhale, time between puffs and type of device being used. 


With vaping you have significantly more control over your nicotine levels, but regardless of e-liquid strength, only a portion of the nicotine will be consumed. According to Nicotine & Tobacco Research, on an average, 50%–60% of nicotine from vaping cartridges is vaporized.


Unlike smoking traditional cigarettes, when vaping, there is a slight delay in the nicotine hitting your system. As a result, it is important to use caution when first making the switch to avoid over consumption. Look out for common symptoms of nicotine over consumption, including restlessness, headache, nausea, rapid breathing, and muscle twitches. It’s also important to stay hydrated! For more information on transitioning from smoking to vaping, check out our guide on the Best Vaping Options for Smokers


Sensation and Experience

The nicotine strength of an e-liquid has a large impact on the vaping experience and sensation. Higher levels of nicotine will result in harsher taste and stronger throat hits. Low strength e-liquids provide a smoother hit and allow for a more flavourful experience. Individuals transitioning from cigarettes often desire a nicotine level that mirrors the throat hit of a cigarette. It is important to keep in mind that the type of vaping device you use will also play a role in the throat hit sensation, as well as your PG vs. VG ratio.



How often you vape will also play a role in finding your perfect nicotine level. Individuals who only vape sparingly throughout the day may be more satisfied with stronger e-liquids. On the other hand, those who enjoy longer vaping sessions may prefer e-liquids with low levels of nicotine. Engaging in long vaping sessions or vaping too frequently with high strength e-liquids can lead to feelings of dizziness and nausea.


An Alternative: Nic Salts

For individuals desiring higher levels of nicotine, nic salts may be a good alternative to traditional e-liquid. Nic salts generally have higher levels of nicotine but produce a smoother throat hit than high strength e-liquids and nic salts absorb faster into the bloodstream. To keep nicotine absorption in a reasonable range, nic salts should only be used with low wattage devices specifically designed for nic salts. More in-depth information about nic salts can be found in our past blog post Everything You Want to Know About Nic Salts



There is no one size fits all approach to vaping. The process of finding the perfect nicotine level can be frustrating. If you have a specific question, or have any concerns, the Wicks & Wires team will be happy to assist you.

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