One thing that will make a massive difference to how successful your quit-smoking journey will be, is the nicotine strength of the eliquid you use. There are now SO MANY different types of eliquid on the market, with different PG/VG ratios, flavours, nicotine strengths and more, and I wouldn’t blame if you’d avoided trying vaping just because you didn’t understand it all. Seven years of vaping later and I *STILL* don’t understand it all. I do understand what I need to understand in order to successfully vape, however, and that’s what I’d suggest to you as a strategy. Just learn what you need to know and leave the rest to the others.
Eliquid nicotine strength is important when you vape, and it could make or break whether or not you become an ex-smoker. Here are a few examples of what could happen if you get it wrong:
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1 – Wrong eliquid nicotine strength = back to smoking
Vaping DOES work as a smoking cessation strategy. It’s worked for me. Twice. You do need to find the right combination of ‘ingredients’, though; and by ingredients I mean the right device, the right eliquid, and the right type of vaping for you.
Sub-ohm vaping requires a lesser strength eliquid than mouth-to-lung vaping. If you don’t know the difference between the two, you’ll need to. They require different pieces of equipment and entirely different ways of actually vaping them.
I vape 3mg sub-ohm eliquid.
Mouth-to-lung vaping — the type that is pretty much exactly the same as a regular cigarette — usually comes in higher strengths.
I vape between 6mg and 12mg mouth-to-lung eliquid.
Read the review: Sugar Pie Vapes 5050 Strawberry Donut Eliquid Review || Buy it from: TABLites
If you want to vape like you smoked but went out and bought a sub-ohm device with a bunch of sub-ohm juice, you’re probably not going to like it, cough up a lung, and eventually go back to smoking.
2 – Nicotine strength too high = coughing & unhappiness
While we’re on the subject of coughing up a lung, if you buy eliquid nicotine strength that is too high you’re going to cough up a lung. You absolutely won’t be ready for it. It’ll blow your head clean off. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
I once vaped 24mg mouth-to-lung eliquid on a daily basis, especially in those old-skool cigalikes. One brand — OK Cigs — actually had eliquid that went up to 36mg and even 45mg. I tried the juices and I almost died. That’s waaaaay too much nicotine for this vaper!
Over the last few years, I’ve seen myself come down from 24mg to 18mg, and then to 12mg. A few gruffer tobaccos even make me cough a bit at 12mg, but I just buy them in 6mg instead. When I vape a higher-strength mouth-to-lung liquid now (higher than 12mg), I can’t handle it. It actually hurts my throat and makes my chest feel like it is on fire. Who’d want to vape when it hurts like that every time? The same liquid in a lesser eliquid nicotine strength is actually pretty well suited to me, however.
Nicotine strength really does make such a difference. Don’t be afraid to play around with a couple of strengths before you finally commit.
3 – Nicotine strength too high = actually bad for you
If you accidentally vape eliquid that has a much higher hit of nicotine than your body is used to, there’ll be side effects. I tried nicotine salts for the first time in the Aspire Gusto Mini pod-style vape, with Element NS20 Designer Nic Salt pods. It’s 20mg but you’d never really know it. The nic salts are created in such a way that you get all the benefits of a higher nicotine hit, but without the throat harshness, coughing, and other negative effects associated with higher eliquid nicotine strengths.
Anyway, I vaped on that thing like a beast when it first arrived, and it wasn’t long before the excessive nicotine strength hit me. I had the worst head rush — the same as what I used to get as a 14-year-old kid puffing away on one of her Nan’s Red Band Superkings, in the alleyway up the road from school. I also felt a bit sick, had a headache, and started shaking. In fact, I had to allow myself a little lie-down.
One common problem for new vapers who were only light smokers is that they’ll often pick a higher eliquid nicotine strength than is actually necessary, so all of a sudden they’re getting double or treble the amount of nicotine that they would have had as a smoker. Someone who once puffed their way through 10-15 Marlboro Lights a day would be vaping the equivalent of a 30-a-day Superkings Black smoker in nicotine. That massive jump up is obviously going to have an impact on the body.
If you experience a “nicotine overdose” you’ll likely experience one or all of the following symptoms:
- Feeling sick
- Feeling dizzy
- Fast beating heart
It actually feels a little bit like a crazy-bad anxiety attack. It’s not nice.
4 – Eliquid nicotine strength too low = angry & withdrawing
If you’re vaping on eliquid that has very low nicotine levels when you’re used to smoking stronger cigarettes, you’re going to go into withdrawal. It’s the same as trying to drop from 40 cigarettes a day to just 5 or 10 cigarettes a day, without any warning. Your body will not be ready for it, and it certainly won’t appreciate it. At all.
You’ll be mad. Raging mad. You’re going to be mean to the people around you. Your appetite will disappear … or it might come in with a vengeance. You’re going to be irritable. The mood swings will be awful, and not just for you.
You’ve probably guessed where this is going. Unless you have the willpower of a saint, you’re going to start smoking again.
“Vaping just doesn’t work for me.”
It might if you use the right device and the right eliquid nicotine strength.
5 – Wrong strength eliquid = malfunctioning device
The world of vaping is a pretty confusing one now, but it comes down to that sub-ohm/mouth-to-lung vape-style business.
You will not find a 12mg bottle of sub-ohm (high-VG) eliquid on the internet or in stores. You probably won’t find instructions on how to make it at home, either. If you buy mouth-to-lung eliquid (usually 50/50 VG/PG or higher PG), it won’t work if you have a sub-ohm device. At the same time, mouth-to-lung liquid probably won’t work through a sub-ohm device. This is to do with the VG and PG content and I go into a lot more detail in this blog post:
Essentially, and just in case you didn’t want to read the other blog post, it comes down to this: high-VG eliquid (for sub-ohm/big cloud vaping) is thicker, ready to be pulled through a lower-ohm coil, at higher wattages.
Mouth-to-lung eliquid, on the other hand, is thinner, with less VG. It’s ready to be pulled through a higher-ohm coil, at lower wattages.
Vapor Storm Puma || Buy it from: UKECIGSTORE
There are exceptions to this rule and a few devices/tanks/coils that offer both, but that’s the gist of it. If you use the wrong eliquid in your device, one of the following things will probably go wrong:
- The tank will hiss and gurgle
- You won’t experience any throat hit
- You won’t produce any vapour
- The mouthpiece and your mouth will fill up with eliquid
- You’ll get burned with spitting, fiery drops of eliquid
- The tank will leak from weird places
- You’ll taste burned cotton wick
The world of vaping is a complicated one, but it doesn’t need to be. Just master the basics — what you need to master in order to successfully vape and not smoke — and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how quick you can get used to it.
Eliquid Nicotine Strength — My advice
If you’re looking to quit smoking and don’t really know where to start, I’d recommend looking at mouth-to-lung devices. You vape with them in the same way that you would smoke a cigarette — inhale into the mouth and then down into the lungs, in a two-step process. Sub-ohm vaping is like using a shisha pipe — you inhale it all the way down, without stopping in the mouth first.
As far as nicotine strength is concerned, how many cigarettes a day do you smoke? And what kind of cigarettes? If you’re a ‘light’ smoker, smoking 5-10 cigarettes a day, I’d recommend 6mg MTL eliquid. A couple of my favourites right now are:
If you smoke more than that or smoke stronger cigarettes, look at 12mg or 18mg. I’d probably suggest starting off with 12mg if you’re not sure, or buying one bottle of each. Nic salts are also great for new quitters and those looking for a stronger nicotine hit/throat hit.
I’m still a regular vaper of tobacco-flavoured eliquids, and my particular favourites include:
- Black Note Prelude Eliquid Review (Naturally Extracted Tobacco – NET)
- Drake’s Eliquid Kentucky Review
- Jac Vapour SMOKING UK Tobacco Eliquid Review (Nic Salts)
I hope this has helped you out today, but please feel free to get in touch if you have more questions. Maybe you have a few recommendations you’d like to put forward? There’s a space for your comments below this blog post.
As always, thanks for reading.
I hope you have a damn fine day!
*Prices & information correct at time of writing.
HONESTY POLICY: Some of the devices + eliquids in this blog post were sent to me for reviews. These include Sugar Pie Vapes (sent by TABLites), the Aspire Gusto Mini (sent by Vape Club), and the Vapor Storm Puma (sent by Vapor Storm). I did not pay for the vape products sent to me for review. I was not paid for my reviews. All opinions are mine and in no way influenced by affiliate status, store, brand, or manufacture.
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