Nicotine Numbers And Which Strength You Need

When you’re making the switch from smoke to vape there’s one main question that you don’t think about until you’ve picked out your kit and your flavour of juice. What nicotine strength do you need?

That’s because obviously, cigarettes don’t have nicotine ratings. You just smoke one and then at some point in the future you’ll be wanting another, be that 20 minutes or 2 hours.

When you make the switch to vaping though, nicotine is something you need to consider when you’re picking out your kit and what you need depends on two things: how often you smoked, and what kit you get.

First though, let’s run through your options.

Vape juices will typically come in either 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg or 18mg. Some brands are funny and make it difficult to add new product variations and they’ll throw out 11mg and 16mg (Looking at you, 88 Vape). There’s also differences when vaping nic salts, which come in typically 10mg or 20mg.

The “mg” amount means how many mgs of nicotine per ml of vape juice. In the 10ml bottles this is easy enough to work out. For bigger bottles, you have to add the nicotine yourself and your options are very limited.

Smaller bottles allow for higher nicotine content. This is why many people new to vaping are guided towards starter kits. These kits have high ohm coils and fire at lower watts – they give the tight-draw sensation you’d expect from a cigarette and they use thin juice. They use this juice sparingly – where vapers with big kits might go through 30ml a day, smaller kits can get change from a 10ml bottle per day (we’d typically say around 4 bottles should last you the week for starter kits such as the T18E, PockeX or Arc 5).

Because these kits are aimed at recent quitters, there’s a range in nicotine strength. This is to match up with how much you used to smoke. For example if you were a 5 a day kind of person, 3mg might suit you fine. If you were a 40 a day, you’ll be eyeing up the 18mg.

You might also see nicotine levels displayed as percentages with 10ml bottles. They’re easy to work out though, 3mg is 0.3%, 6mg is 0.6% and so on! The measurement changes but the numbers stay the same – 12mg becomes 1.2%, 18mg becomes 1.8%.

So now you know what the numbers mean, which one do you need?

Well like we’ve said, you have these options if you’re using a smaller kit, so if you’re new to vaping, here’s a rule of thumb:

0mg – not an ex smoker, or you’re going cold turkey but want the sensation of smoking still.

3mg – you used to smoke up to 5 cigarettes a day.

6mg – you smoked between 5 and 10 cigarettes a day.

12mg – you smoked between 10 and 20 cigarettes a day.

18mg – you smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day.

But how often do you vape?

That being said, it also depends on how you’ll be vaping through the day. If you’re working a lot and you go out for “vape breaks”, stick to the above. If you’re sat at home and it’s logistically viable for you to vape all day, drop it down a strength. When the vapes sat in front of you it’s more likely you’ll pick it up – there’s no “ending” to a vape in the sense that you can finish a cigarette, so you may end up using it more often.

Now, if you’re not on a starter kit and you’ve gone straight to the mod and sub ohm clouds filling whichever room you’re in, then we’ve got good and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t really get juice in anything more than a 6mg, and that 6mg will be difficult to implement. Larger bottles of vape juice (50ml+) come with enough space in the bottle to make that juice a 3mg. 50ml juices come in 60ml bottles, 100ml juices come in 120ml bottles.

Big Mod, Small Nicotine

The reason for this is that for every 50ml of juice, you need to add 10mls of an 18mg nicotine shot to the juice to make it a 3mg. You can pour some of the juice out and take it up to a 6mg if you wish, but the flavour won’t be as good. That’s the bad news, the good news though, is that you wouldn’t want an 18mg anyway.

Even if you smoked 40 a day, 18mg strength juice in a sub ohm vape is far too much. The reason for this is that it produces much more vapour and you’ll be breathing it all in – you’re getting much more vape on your inhales, so you really don’t need that strength – 99% of people are absolutely happy vaping 3mg when they’re sub ohm.

EU Law states that nicotine can’t be present in any vape juice over 10ml – this is why we give you the nic shot options at the check out – you have to add it yourself.

How to add your nicotine

It’s not difficult though, you don’t need a GCSE in chemistry or anything. If you get a 50ml juice, you’ll need 1 nic shot. Simply take the lid off your vape juice, pull out the cap from the top of the bottle and squeeze the whole nic shot into the bottle of juice. Pop the cap back on, screw the lid back on, and give it a good shake. Good to go!

For a 50ml bottle, you need 1 nic shot to make it a 3mg. So moving up from that, 100ml juice needs 2 nic shots, 150ml needs 3 nic shots, 200ml needs 4 nic shots – you get the idea.

So the TL:DR (too long, didn’t read) version is this: If you’re new to vaping and you’ve just quit smoking, go with a starter kit that doesn’t give out tons of vape (the tight draw vapes we refer to as MTL, or mouth to lung, you draw the vape into your mouth, then inhale, like a cigarette.) and refer to the guide we gave above for which strength to go with.

If you’re sub ohm vaping then you’re stuck at a 3mg, but that’s absolutely fine for most cases. If you’re really against the idea of vaping a 3mg, go with something like a Smok Nord with its 0.6ohm mesh coil – plenty of vape, but you can use the 10ml bottles including nic salts, so you get the higher nicotine levels.

We hope that’s answered your nicotine questions, if it hasn’t, just leave a question in the comment section and we’ll get back to you!

Happy Vaping!

While you’re on our blog, you might find these articles helpful!
Nicotine Numbers and Which Strength You Need
How to clean your vape tank
How coils work and when to change them
How to make juice last longer
How to make Coils last longer
Why vape juice turns dark
MTL and DTL – What’s the difference?
Nic Salts vs Freebase: The difference and benefits
What happens when you quit smoking
Vaping: Twice as effective as patches and gum?
Using E-cigs to stop smoking
How to choose your first vape/e-cig
The Problem with Home Crew Vape Shops

Or you may like our new kit breakdown series “OUTTHEBOX” where we give in depth explanations of vape kits and an unboxing experience.

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