Comparison of Nicotine Levels Between Cigarettes and Vapes

How much nicotine is in a cigarette compared to a vape?

Nicotine Levels Between Cigarettes and Vapes

Are you among the many who have ever wondered, “How much nicotine is in a cigarette compared to a vape?” Well, you’re not alone. This question has sparked quite a lot of discussions, given the dramatic rise in the popularity of e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, especially in the UK. The controversial nature of this topic arises from the potential health implications and the trend of young people taking up vaping. So, let’s delve into it and shed some light on this subject.

Cigarette (Tobacco)

When it comes to traditional cigarettes, the amount of nicotine inhaled by the smoker typically ranges between 1mg to 2mg per cigarette. Sounds a bit off, considering a cigarette contains between 8mg and 20mg of nicotine, right? This difference comes from the fact that only a fraction of nicotine is actually inhaled – about one-tenth of the total amount. Several factors, such as the strength of the filter, personal smoking habits, and the amount lost in the smoke, can influence this ratio. But, as a general rule of thumb, expect about 1mg to 2mg of nicotine per cigarette.

E-cigarettes (Vapes)

E-cigarettes, much like their traditional counterparts, have varying levels of nicotine, depending on the brand and the product specifications. As per the Tobacco Products Directive enforced in the UK in May 2017, vapes are limited to 2 millilitres of e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 20mg per millilitre or less.

Thus, some of the market-leading vapes come in nicotine strengths of 0mg, 10mg, and 20mg/ml. Consequently, a 2ml vape usually contains 0, 20mg, or 40mg of nicotine, translating to about 600-800 puffs.

When compared, a 20mg/ml vape, which has 40mg of nicotine, equates to smoking one to two packs of 20 cigarettes. So, in essence, vapes can potentially offer a more controlled dose of nicotine compared to traditional cigarettes.

Illegal Vapes

However, not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Illegal vapes can complicate the situation further. Such products may contain a higher quantity of e-liquid and significantly more nicotine per millilitre than allowed. Consequently, these illegal vapes can offer thousands of puffs, making them equivalent to smoking hundreds of cigarettes.

If you’re considering switching from regular cigarettes to vapes, choosing the right nicotine strength is crucial. Regular cigarette smokers, who are accustomed to brands like Marlboro Red, which provide about 1.2mg of nicotine per cigarette (or 24mg per pack), are generally recommended to opt for a vape offering 20mg of nicotine. On the other hand, smokers of ultra-light cigarettes like Silk Cut, which contain approximately 0.4mg of nicotine per cigarette or 8mg per pack, might find a vape with a quarter of that nicotine content more suitable.

In Conclusion

As we can see, the amount of nicotine in a cigarette compared to a vape can vary significantly, depending on a variety of factors. Understanding these differences and being informed about the potential risks and benefits is crucial, especially for those considering a switch from traditional cigarettes to vapes.


  1. How much nicotine does a regular cigarette contain?
    A regular cigarette contains between 8mg and 20mg of nicotine. However, a smoker typically absorbs 1mg to 2mg of nicotine from a single cigarette.
  2. How much nicotine is in a vape?
    The nicotine content in a vape can vary, with popular vapes on the market containing nicotine strengths of 0mg, 10mg, and 20mg/ml. A 2ml vape can contain 0, 20mg, or 40mg of nicotine.
  3. How does a cigarette compare to a vape in terms of nicotine content?
    A 20mg/ml vape, with 40mg of nicotine, is equivalent to smoking one to two packs of 20 cigarettes.
  4. What nicotine strength should I choose for my vape if I’m a regular smoker?
    Regular smokers are usually recommended to select a vape that offers 20mg of nicotine.

Matthew Ma