If you’re considering making the switch from traditional smoking to vaping then it’s important that you know what level of nicotine is right for you. Whilst the jury is still out as to whether nicotine alone is enough to kill you or cause long-term health problems, the general rule is to be cautious because you can harm yourself if you use too high a level of nicotine. The American CDC have stated that somewhere between 50 to 60 milligrams of nicotine is enough to be a lethal dose to a person of around 150 pounds, but other research suggests the dose is a lot higher. With such inconclusive results, it is especially vital for you to start low and gradually work out which level works best for you.
The rule of thumb is that, if you’re unsure or you’re new to vaping, start with a low dose. A common mistake is to go straight in for an e-juice with a high level of nicotine but what a lot of people don’t realise is that nicotine in e-juice does not equate to the nicotine in cigarettes: an average cigarette contains around 9mg of nicotine but a lot of it is burnt away meaning you inhale around 1mg; when using a vape device, a 12mg teaspoon of e-juice is the equivalent of 60 cigarettes. From these numbers, it’s clear to see that switching from smoking to vaping can lead to a disastrous, accidental but dramatic increase in the intake of nicotine if you’re not careful.
Nicotine levels in e-liquids are standardised across the industry so, once you’ve settled on a preferred brand or flavour, you know that you can safely know what level of nicotine you’re using. Commercially, these amounts are 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, or 18mg (but can go up to as much as 36mg) and this represents the amount of nicotine per 1ml of the liquid and are sometimes represented as a percentage (e.g. 18mg = 1.8%) so, as long as you’re paying attention, it is easy to know what you’re buying and using.
Equally, as discussed, it’s important to recognise that if you were formerly a heavy smoker then using a higher nicotine level may not immediately translate when you make the switch to vaping. Whilst it’s good to experiment in finding the level that best matches your expectations of nicotine from smoking, it is still advisable to start low and build up. Higher doses can make flavours taste a lot harsher too which might be off-putting for some people, and they can also lead to you feeling quite dizzy or nauseous if they prove to be too high a hit of nicotine for you. Those people who prefer to vape lightly throughout the day may feel more comfortable with higher levels but for people who prefer longer sessions, a lower level might suit you better.
Generally, it’s fair to say that a former heavy smoker is likely to suit a slightly higher level whilst a lighter former smoker may prefer a lower level. However, this doesn’t always follow such black and white logic and, under any circumstances, it is best to seek advice from a vaping professional who can guide you in terms of flavours, equipment and nicotine levels. It is crucial to find the right level for you so act with caution and experiment to find what suits you.