What Nicotine Strength Should I Vape?

Posted by Michael Makara on

Wondering what nicotine strength you should vape?

It's a simple question with a complex explanation if you want to get scientific; and trust me, I can get scientific.  I've read thousands... okay lie, but I've read hundreds of websites, blogs, literature, and even actual scientific studies on this topic, so I know what I'm talking about.  There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about vaping  ,,,and anything really.  Have you ever googled a health symptom you are having only to find out that you are dying of cancer, when really in fact you just have a cold?  Exactly.  Misinformation.  I take vaping seriously, and have sifted through this vaping, cigarette, and nicotine information to give you the facts.  I will try to keep it simple, so you can easily understand, and not have to spend countless hours doing the research yourself.  Furthermore, I will stick to averages when giving figures.


Nicotine strength is commonly measured in mg, but here is where it gets confusing (yes, right off the bat it gets confusing.  Don't blame me, blame science).

Most cigarettes contain an average of 12mg per cigarette, however the amount of nicotine you absorb into your bloodstream (what really counts) when smoking is only an average of 1mg per cigarette!  This is because cigarettes are combustible and most of that nicotine goes up in smoke.

Some may argue that different cigarettes have different strengths, such as light, and as I used to call them when I was a teenager, death green smokes.  (Oh that green pack of smokes knocked you on your ass!)  Anyways, different strengths such as 9mg, and 18mg cigarettes should give you a different absorption, right?  Wrong.

Studies have proven that people smoking lighter strength cigarettes will draw more in, whereas higher strength cigarettes people won't suck them back like there's no tomorrow.  They will draw lighter.  In the end it doesn't matter the strength you smoke, as you will relatively come close to the same absorption rate of the 1mg per cigarette.

Another noteworthy fact about smoking is there are over 600 chemicals that specifically go into cigarettes for the sole purpose of increasing nicotine absorption faster.  When you have a cigarette you will feel the effects of nicotine within 10 seconds, thanks to those 600 "booster" chemicals.

The last cigarette fact I will present to you is that half of the nicotine you have absorbed will leave your body after 2 hours of your last puff.

So now that we figured out cigarettes, lets talk about vaping...

Vaping is available in many different nicotine strengths just like cigarettes.  Actually, vaping has more of a spectrum, and a lot of people use the variety in nicotine strengths to gradually cut down until they are non-nicotine dependent.  I highly recommend that you do this as well.  I'm currently at a 3mg strength, and it is a fact that the lower your nicotine strength is in vaping the better the flavor tastes.

VapeCloudz.ca offers regular (freebase) nicotine in 1.5mg, 3mg, 6mg, 9mg, and 12mg strengths.  Of course you can always opt for the 0, and have no nicotine.

Back to the books...  now unlike cigarettes that have been around commercially for close to 300 years, vaping has only been around commercially for 12 years (although it was actually first patented in 1965, but never went commercial).  In the lifespan of both products a ton of studies have been done on smoking, however not so much on vaping.  Point being there isn't a conclusive scientific figure as to how much nicotine is absorbed during vaping, however of the studies done we do have an average figure of 1/3rd absorption rate.

This brings us to the next factor... how much liquid one vapes.  Basically you take the mg strength you are vaping and divide it into 1/3rd, then times that by the amount of ml you are going to vape.  That will give you your total mg of nicotine absorption for the day.

When I started out I was vaping 5ml a day, and that seems to be the average, until you really get into it, or start sub-ohm vaping.  Now most companies that sell vape juice or e liquid will give the standard recommended guide that I will post below of what mg you should vape in comparison to cigarette smoking.  In those recommendations it says if you smoke a half a pack a day you should use a 6mg strength.

So we take 6mg and divide that in 1/3rd (for absorption rate) and you get 2mg.  We then take that number, 2mg, and times it by 5ml a day which equals 10mg a day.  (a half a pack of cigarettes is 10 cigarettes, and we know that smoking you absorb 1mg per cigarette, so that's 10mg a day in smokes).  That math works out for both the recommended dosage and the studies of absorption by vaping!

Remember when I said nicotine absorption occurred within 10 seconds of smoking a cigarette?  It takes approx 30 minutes for nicotine to be absorbed via vaping.  This may be bad news if you are on your break and totally nic'ing out, but simple planing and changing of habits will help.  Just like smoking there will only be half the nicotine you intake 2 hours later, as it is leaving your body, but in the case of vaping it is 2 1/2 hours later, because it takes a half an hour for it to get into your system.

Interesting fact...  the European Union decided to put a BAN on the sale of vape juice / e liquids containing over 20mg/ml, and has been in place for the last 3 years.

Here is the standard recommended guide for vaping strengths in mg vaping 5ml a day:

Non Smoker Starting Vaping - 0mg

Social Smoker Transitioning to Vaping - 1.5mg

Light Smoker Transitioning to Vaping - 3mg

Half a pack a Day Transitioning to Vaping - 6mg

3/4 a pack a Day Transitioning to Vaping - 9mg

Pack a Day Smoker Transitioning to Vaping - 12mg


That's about it!  ...for freebase (regular) nicotine.  However, if you've done some googling, or have spoken to a few people about vaping, or have heard or seen people using a JUUL, then you probably have heard the term Salt Nic or Nic Salts (They are interchangeable).

Salt Nic or Nic Salts

Salt Nic is nicotine that is processed differently that Freebase (regular) nicotine.  It is actually the natural state of nicotine found in the tobacco leaf.  Sounds good, right?

Well it is, and it's quite popular right now thanks to the marketing of JUUL.  (Which by the way, there are cheaper and better alternatives than a JUUL - read my blog on a perfect JUUL alternative... click here)   Salt Nic is easier to inhale (smoother) than freebase nicotine, and thus you are able to increase your mg in your vape juice without throat irritation.

So, if you want an even higher strength mg of nicotine for your vape to give you that kick you get from smoking a real cigarette try out Salt Nic.  If you are transitioning from smoking to vaping, and find that regular freebase nicotine isn't cutting it, nic salts will probably help.

VapeCloudz.ca offers Salt Nic (nicotine benzoate salts) in 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, 23mg, 30mg, 36mg, and 41mg strengths.


So as far as absorption goes Salt Nic absorbs faster then regular freebase nicotine.  As a matter of fact Salt Nic absorbs within 5 - 10 minutes, as opposed to a half of an hour.  Another plus for Salt Nic.

So what strength should you vape in Salt Nic?  Well the absorption rate is still the same, it just absorbs faster, and for you math geeks out there you will have figured out by now that a JUUL pod does not equal a pack of cigarettes, which is why JUUL users will typically go through a 1 1/2 - 2 pods a day.  With such a high mg strength you will feel it hitting you, but at the end of the day the math works out to just 14 cigarettes in a pod. (.7ml)

When you vape Salt Nic you vape less in terms of ml.  Approx 1.5ml a day on average; as mentioned this is due to the strong hit.  Yes, it is smoother, but typically people vape Salt Nic due it for high mg nicotine.  The higher the nicotine, the stronger the throat hit.  The more it feels like smoking a cigarette (minus the thousands of chemicals).

Interesting fact...  Some companies, like JUUL, market their strengths in % as opposed to mg.  However, the % is the % per mg.  Since JUUL sells their pods in .7ml there is a little bit of math and the result is a 3% pod is actually 23mg and a 5% pod is actually 41mg.

(23mg of Salt Nic is the max I can personally vape, but then again I am a 3mg freebase nicotine vaper.)


Here is my recommended guide for vaping strengths in mg vaping Salt Nic at 1.5ml a day:

Existing Salt Nic Vaper cutting back from 6mg  Vaping - 3mg

Social Smoker Transitioning to Salt Nic Vaping - 6mg

Light Smoker Transitioning to Salt Nic Vaping - 12mg

1/2 a pack a Day Transitioning to Salt Nic Vaping - 18mg

3/4 a pack a Day Transitioning to Salt Nic Vaping - 23mg

Pack a Day Transitioning to Salt Nic Vaping - 30mg

Heavy Smoker Transitioning to Salt Nic Vaping - 36mg

Someone Quitting Smoking and has failed using other methods - 41mg

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