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How to Choose a Nicotine Strength

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Finding the right nicotine strength e-liquid can be difficult. You will want to choose a nicotine level that right for you: a strength that is too low may not be satisfying, but a strength that is too high may feel harsh or too strong.

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is an extract of the tobacco plant. While many e-liquids do contain nicotine, e-liquids do not contain tobacco. Nicotine is the primary addictive component of cigarettes, but according to research (British Heart Foundation) is it not the component that causes the most harm. Not all e-liquid contains nicotine, but most new vapers do prefer nicotine-containing e-liquids as they can be found to help with cravings. Nicotine also provides a "throat hit" sensation while vaping - and many vapers feel that slight harshness is the key to making vaping feel like a real alternative to cigarettes. The nicotine strength you use can make or break your vaping experience so it's important to find the right one!

Should I use regular nicotine or nicotine salts?

Nic salts differ from standard (freebase) nicotine as they use an acidic compound to smooth out the throat hit. This means that higher nicotine strengths can be vaped without a throat hit that's uncomfortable harsh. In our experience, the throat hit of an 18mg nicotine salt is comparable to the throat hit of a 6mg freebase. Nicotine salt liquids normally come in higher nicotine strengths and are very popular for use with pod vapes and vape starter kits with a low power output. Nicotine salts are perfect for those who:

  • Feel they need a high nicotine strength, but find the throat hit too harsh
  • Are used to smoking cigarettes without much throat hit
  • Use a low-powered vape device which does not produce a lot of vapour

Can I vape without nicotine?

Yes! No matter what kind of device you have, you can find 0mg (zero nicotine) options. Vapers who use 0mg normally do so if they crave the action of smoking and inhaling rather than the nicotine. In the UK, all e-liquids in a bottle bigger than 10ml (also known as shortfills) must be nicotine-free - plus there are plenty of 10ml options to choose from too!

What if I want to quit nicotine?

If your end goal is to quit nicotine altogether, we would recommend starting with a nicotine strength that suits your current smoking habits. You can then start to lower your levels over time. 

Which nicotine strength is best for me?

In the UK, our legal maximum limit of nicotine is 20mg. This means you can choose e-liquids that are nicotine-free (or 0mg) all the way up to 20mg. When choosing a nicotine strength, the most important things to consider are your current smoking habits and the vape device you plan on using. If you smoke a heavily (a pack or more per day) or smoke very strong tobacco you will want to start at the higher end of the recommendations. If you smoke occasionally or socially or smoke very light tobacco you will want to start at the lower end of the recommendations.

My device produces small amounts of vapour:

This category includes most basic starter kits, pen-style vapes like the Innokin Jem Pen and most refillable pod vapes such as the Uwell Caliburn. These devices do not produce a lot of vapour, so you consume less nicotine per puff. Low-vapour devices normally have a high resistance coil. Most of our customers with lower-powered devices prefer:

Freebase/regular nicotine strengths: 6mg - 18mg

Nicotine salt strengths: 18mg - 20mg

My device produces medium amounts of vapour:

Devices in this category include pen-style vapes with an adjustable airflow or wattage control, pod vape kits with sub ohm coils (that are below 1 ohm of resistance) such as the Smok Nord and sub ohm tanks with a tight draw. Most of our customers with medium-vapour devices prefer:

Freebase/regular nicotine strengths: 6mg - 12mg

Nicotine salt strengths: 10mg - 18mg

My device produces large amounts of vapour:

High-powered devices with sub-ohm tanks that produce big clouds. This includes kits like the Vaporesso Luxe Nano or the VooPoo Drag 2. Does your vape resemble a steam engine more than it does a cigarette? If so, then you'll want to stick to lower nicotine strengths:

Freebase/regular nicotine strengths: 3mg - 6mg. Please note that most sub-ohm vapers use 3mg as even a 6mg creates a very strong throat hit in a powerful device.

Nicotine salt strengths: 10mg maximum

For product recommendations or any vaping related questions you can email us at or find us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or visit one of our central London vape shops.

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