Nicotine is the active and addictive ingredient in e-liquid and usually comes in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg variants.
Nicotine is the reason why people smoke cigarettes. There is an old saying in the tobacco industry: ‘people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.’ With vaping, you get the nicotine you want, but without any of the poison that is produced by burning tobacco.
But nicotine is still an addictive substance, so it makes sense to control how much of it is going into your body. With traditional cigarettes, this was never really possible. However, with the electronic version, there are many nicotine strengths to choose from, which allows for greater control over one’s nicotine intake levels.
The smoothness or harshness of the ‘throat-hit’ delivered through your e-liquid is essentially determined by the nicotine level. When e-cigarettes first hit the market a number of years ago, they were powered by weak batteries and poorly-performing atomiser heads. The vapour produced by these devices was of a much lesser quality than the devices on the market today. Each puff delivered a very small amount of nicotine and an unsatisfactory ‘throat-hit’, so vapers used e-liquid with very high nicotine content (24mg or 32mg) to achieve a satisfactory vape.
With the more advanced and increasingly powerful devices available today, such as those found at Vaperama, the highest nicotine strength required to achieve satisfaction – even immediately after switching from cigarettes – will rarely be above 18mg. And as ex-smokers become more accustomed to vaping, they often find themselves lowering the nicotine strength of their e-liquid accordingly.
Nicotine also contributes to the flavour of your vaping experience. Too much nicotine, and your liquid can start tasting spicy and peppery; too little nicotine, and the satisfying ‘kick’ that every vaper (or smoker) is familiar with starts to disappear.
So, what nicotine strength should you choose? Well, if you smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day, or smoke Marlboro Red or a similarly strong brand of cigarette, go for 18mg. If you smoke between 10 and 20 a day, go for 12mg. If you smoke less than 10, go for 6mg. If you want a nicotine strength in between those amounts, say, 9mg, you can buy a bottle of 18mg and a bottle of 0mg and mix them together.
As with most things in life, the secret to sustained satisfaction is to find the balance that works for you!