Good day, class! We have an exciting and important lesson for you today. The question of how much nicotine should you vape is an important one. Getting the right level of vaping nicotine can make the difference between a good experience, a bad experience, or even a dangerous experience. How much nicotine you want in your vape juice depends on your personal needs, the device you're using, and even the wattage you're running the device at. So take your seats, if you please, and let's answer the question: how much nicotine should I vape?
Why do we care about this, again?
The level of nicotine in your e-liquid affects two things, primarily: throat hit, and satiation. Throat hit is the sensation in - yeah, you guessed it - your throat when you inhale the vapor. A higher nicotine concentration provides a stronger throat hit, but more isn't always better: a nicotine level that's too low won't give that inhalation sensation you're used to, but a level that's too high will leave you coughing. Satiation is a little more nebulous: it's the experience you get from the nicotine itself. If you're used to getting a lot of nicotine - if, for example, you're used to smoking a lot - your body needs a certain level of nicotine in order to get that rush. Again, more isn't always better: too little nicotine and you're sucking on your vape all day without satisfaction; too much and you're going to feel nausea and headaches and just generally awful.
Determining the right level for you requires having a standard of measurement. Most vape juice has a nicotine concentration measured in milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml, or often just mg), with nic strengths available in 0 mg to 24 mg and beyond. (Note that some companies use a percentage system, where 12 mg / ml measures out to approximately 1.2%, but these are in the minority.) Mister-E-Liquid, for example, is available in a broad range of nicotine strengths, including 0 mg, 1.5 mg, 3 mg, 6 mg, 9 mg, 12 mg, 18 mg, and 24 mg. (Though some e-liquids have so much flavor we can't release them in some nic concentrations; we like flavor here!) Other MEL brands, like Reverb high-performance vape juice are only available in 0 mg, 1.5 mg, 3 mg, and 6 mg, because they're intended for higher-performance devices, about which more in a moment. Most companies don't offer nicotine as low as 1.5 mg, which is just another example of why Mister-E-Liquid is pretty awesome.
A tale of two nicotines
Another consideration is what type of nicotine you're vaping. There are two kids of nicotine: freebase nicotine and nicotine salts. We talk all about it in our accurately-titled lesson What are nicotine salts?, but in short, salt nic brings a quicker rush of nicotine sensation, and more nicotine, but with a much smoother throad hit than the high nicotine level would suggest. Nic salts are perfect in starter kits, vape pens, and pod systems, as they let you get maximum rush from your low-powered device, but the counterpoint is that it's way too much nicotine for sub-ohm devices, and would be very unpleasant and maybe make you sick.
Generally there are only two nic strengths available in salt nic, usually around 25 mg and 50 mg, and which you use depends mostly on how much you've smoked: if you're a heavy smoker, consider 50 mg, but otherwise, it's good to start low.
Okay, but what about me?
Now that you know what's available, let's find out how much nicotine you should be vaping, personally. It's primarily going to depend on three factors: your nicotine tolerance, your device, and your wattage. We're going to establish a baseline with a low-wattage device such as a pod system or a vape pen, and then look at how that number is affected by your hardware.
Eleaf iCare 140 starter kit and Uwell Crown Pod System
Starter kits, pod systems, vape pens, and other low-wattage devices
As a general rule, the recommendation is to use 3 mg per quarter-pack a day of cigarettes you smoked. If you smoke a quarter-pack a day, 3 mg is good; half a pack, 6 mg; a full pack, 12 mg. On starter kits, vape pens, and pod systems, as well as other one-piece, low-wattage devices, this is going to give you the throat hit and satiation you're looking for. You can adjust upward or downward as needed, of course, but when in doubt, aim low: it's always easier to vape a little more than vape a little less.
For nicotine salts, like I said before, shoot for 25 mg if you smoke less than a pack a day, and try the 50 mg if you're a heavy smoker who sucks in more than a pack a day. It's much easier to aim low than aim high: too much nicotine and you can always just vape more, but it's a real bummer to get a nic strength too high and have to vape less.
Tank atomizers, at medium wattages
When you start stepping up to sub-ohm devices like the Aspire Nautilus 2s, or even the excellent Kanger ProTank 4, you're looking at much greater vapor output, and as a result, substantially more nicotine and throat hit. For devices like this, up to around 30 - 40 watts, we recommend using half the nicotine concentration you would on a starter kit. Using 12 nic on your Uwell Caliburn? Try 6 mg of nicotine in your Atlantis Evo tank.
Remember that there's no place for nicotine salts in the sub-ohm world! That's for starter kits and pod systems only. Stick with the normal freebase nicotine at this level and above.
Uwell Crown IV Kit
High-wattage sub-ohm tanks and rebuildables
When you start vaping on high output devices like sub-ohm RDAs like the GeekVape Peerless RDA, high-wattage rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs) like the Wotofo Serpent Mini RTA, or high-performance sub-ohm tanks like the Freemax Mesh Pro Tank, at power levels of 40+ watts, you really want to cut that nicotine concentration in half again. If you were smoking a pack a day, and using 12 mg vape juice in your starter kit, and 6 mg vape juice in your 30-watt Kanger SSOCC coil, consider 3 mg vape juice for your Vaporesso NRG Tank or Uwell Crown IV Kit.
Obviously, nic salts are right out. Stick with regular freebase nicotine when you're sub-ohming!
How much nicotine you use in your vape juice is an important question that can mean the difference between enjoying vaping and sticking with it, and leaving it behind. Nicotine is at the heart of vaping, and only by getting the right amount are you going to get the most out of your vaping experience.
If you're still struggling to pick the right nicotine level for you, don't forget one of your best resources when it comes to vaping: stop into one of our local Mister-E's or BloNoSmoke vape shops and try out a variety of devices and nicotine strengths! If you're a bit far afield for that, hey, we're an internet company: please don't hesitate to contact us, either by phone at 855-647-8373, by email at CustomerService@Mister-E-Liquid.com, or via live chat on any page of Mister-E-Liquid.com. If social media's more your thing, you can find us on Facebook: we're always happy to help!
Thank you for joining us today at Vape University. Class dismissed!