How to Choose the Right Nicotine Strengths to Vape

choose right vape nicotine strength

Navigating the world of vaping can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing the right nicotine strength. Whether you’re transitioning from smoking or simply looking to fine-tune your vaping experience, selecting the right nicotine level is crucial. Here’s a detailed guide to help you make an informed choice, ensuring your vaping journey is smooth and satisfying.

Understanding Nicotine in Vaping

Nicotine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in tobacco, also features prominently in many e-liquids. It stimulates dopamine release in the brain, which induces a sense of pleasure and boosts mood. However, its addictive nature can lead to cravings. While nicotine isn’t without risks, vaping offers a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, providing flexibility in nicotine levels to match your needs.

The Importance of Nicotine Strength

Choosing the right nicotine strength is essential for a satisfying vape experience. It helps replicate the sensation of smoking, making the transition smoother and reducing the urge to revert to cigarettes. Nicotine is one of the main components in vape juice, along with flavorings, propylene glycol (PG), and vegetable glycerin (VG). Getting the nicotine level right also helps in choosing the appropriate PG/VG blend and vape device.

Nicotine Strengths Explained

Nicotine strength in e-liquids is typically measured in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) or as a percentage. Common strengths include:

  • 0mg (no nicotine)
  • 3mg
  • 6mg
  • 12mg
  • 18mg

Some e-liquids can go up to 24mg, but these are generally for very heavy smokers making the switch to vaping. Understanding these measurements can help you select the right strength based on your smoking habits.

choose right vape nicotine strength

Nicotine Strength in mg/mL vs. Percentage

Nicotine levels can be confusing. Here’s a breakdown:

  • mg/mL: Indicates the amount of nicotine per milliliter of liquid. For instance, a 3mg/mL e-liquid has 3mg of nicotine per milliliter.
  • Percentage: Shows the nicotine by volume. For example, 3mg/mL is 0.3%, and 18mg/mL is 1.8%.

Understanding this helps calculate the total nicotine content. For instance, a 10ml bottle of 3mg/mL e-liquid contains 30mg of nicotine.

Why Nicotine Strength Matters

Selecting the appropriate nicotine level ensures a satisfying experience and helps avoid returning to cigarettes. If your nicotine intake isn’t sufficient, you may be tempted to go back to smoking. Nicotine is one of four ingredients in vape juice, so choosing the right strength will also help select the appropriate PG/VG blend and vape kit.

Choosing the Right Nicotine Strength for Your Needs

The nicotine strength you choose should match your smoking habits to ensure a smooth transition from cigarettes to vaping. Consider the following guidelines:

  • 0mg: Suitable for social smokers or hobbyists who enjoy vaping without nicotine.
  • 3mg: Ideal for light smokers or those on the final step of quitting smoking.
  • 5mg-6mg: For those who smoke around 10 cigarettes a day.
  • 10mg-12mg: Best for average smokers who consume up to a pack a day.
  • 18mg-20mg: Suitable for heavy smokers consuming over a pack a day.

Keep in mind that certain strengths are better suited for mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping, which produces less vapour but requires higher nicotine strengths, while others are optimised for direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping, which produces more vapour but works better with lower nicotine strengths.

If you have recently quit smoking, start with a higher nicotine strength and gradually reduce it as you feel more comfortable without the urge to smoke. If you are unsure, opt for a slightly lower strength to avoid nicotine headaches and ensure a positive first vaping experience. Remember, vaping allows nicotine to absorb into your system more slowly than smoking, so give it a few minutes when you first try it and see how you feel.

Tips for a Successful Transition

  • Experiment with different VG/PG ratios to achieve the desired throat hit without excessive nicotine.
  • Start with a higher nicotine content if you are a heavy smoker and gradually reduce the strength over time.
  • Choose the right vape kit for your nicotine strength, as not all devices are designed for high-strength nicotine.
  • Consider alternative nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, gums, and heated tobacco products, if you are looking for options beyond vaping.
  • Store your e-liquid correctly to ensure the best flavour experience and prolong its lifespan.

Assessing Your Nicotine Needs

Your ideal nicotine strength largely depends on your current nicotine usage. Heavy smokers looking to switch to vaping might want to start with a higher nicotine strength, like 18mg or 24mg, while light or social smokers might find 3mg or 6mg sufficient. If you are vaping purely for the flavour and do not want any nicotine, choose the 0mg option.

Experimenting with Different Strengths

Everyone’s vaping experience is unique, so what works for one person might not work for another. Do not be afraid to experiment with different nicotine strengths until you find what works best for you. Start with a lower strength and gradually increase if you feel it is necessary.

Considering Throat Hit

The ‘throat hit’ is the sensation you get in the back of your throat when you inhale nicotine. Higher nicotine strengths provide a stronger throat hit, which some vapers enjoy. However, if you find the throat hit too harsh, you may need to lower your nicotine strength.

Health Considerations

While vaping is generally considered less harmful than smoking, nicotine is still a highly addictive substance and should be used responsibly. If you are trying to quit smoking, gradually reducing your nicotine strength can be an effective strategy to completely rid yourself of conventional cigarettes.


What Strengths of Nicotine Are Available in E-Liquids?

Nicotine strengths range from 0mg to 20mg. Higher numbers indicate higher nicotine levels.
– 0mg: Nicotine-free
– 3mg-5mg: Low concentration
– 6mg-11mg: Low to medium concentration
– 12-17mg: Medium to high concentration
– 18-20mg: High concentration

Is 2% Vape a Lot of Nicotine?

A 2% vape or 20mg of nicotine in an e-liquid is considered high strength, suitable for heavy smokers.

How Much Nicotine Is in a Cigarette?

A cigarette contains approximately 1.1mg-1.8mg of nicotine, equating to 22mg-36mg per pack. E-cigarettes deliver 0.5mg-15.4mg per 15 puffs on average.

Is 20mg the Same as 2% Vape?

Yes, 20mg is the same as 2% vape, meaning there is 20mg of nicotine per milliliter or 2% per volume.

What Level of Nicotine Should I Vape?

The level of nicotine depends on your smoking habits and device. Lower levels suit infrequent smokers, while higher levels suit heavy smokers.
0mg: No nicotine, suitable for those reducing from higher strengths.
3mg: Low strength, ideal for light smokers.
6mg: Low strength, best for light smokers.
12mg: Medium strength, for moderate smokers.
18mg-20mg: High strength, suited for heavy smokers.


Choosing the right vape nicotine strength is vital for a satisfying vaping experience. It ensures a smooth transition from smoking and helps avoid returning to cigarettes. By understanding your nicotine needs, experimenting with different strengths, and considering health aspects, you can find the optimal vaping experience. Vaping offers a customizable and potentially less harmful alternative to smoking, making it easier to quit cigarettes and enjoy a variety of flavors.

Legal Considerations:

  • Age Restrictions: Always ensure you comply with local laws regarding the minimum age for purchasing and using vaping products. In many regions, you must be of legal smoking age.

Alternatives to Vaping:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): If you’re looking to quit nicotine altogether, consider NRT options like nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges. These products offer controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes or vape juice.
  • Behavioral Support: Combining NRT with behavioral counseling can significantly improve your chances of quitting smoking successfully.

Additional Tips:

  • Consult with a Healthcare Professional: If you have underlying health conditions or are pregnant, consult with a healthcare provider before starting to vape or changing your nicotine strength.
  • Join a Support Group: Connecting with others who are trying to quit smoking or reduce their nicotine intake can provide valuable support and motivation.

Remember: The goal of vaping is to reduce harm compared to traditional smoking. Always prioritize your health and choose a nicotine strength that aligns with your personal goals.

Matthew Ma