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Understanding Nicotine Strength: A Beginner’s Breakdown

22. Sep. 2023


  1. Introduction
  2. Why Nicotine Strength Matters
  3. How do you read nicotine strength
  4. Nicotine Levels Demystified
  5. Choosing the Right Nicotine Strength
  6. Gradually Lowering Nicotine Strength
  7. Factors to Consider
  8. Seeking Professional Advice
  9. Conclusion


Vaping as a popular alternative to traditional smoking, offers a variety of flavours and customization options. However, for beginners, the world of vaping can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding nicotine strength. Nicotine levels play a crucial role in determining the satisfaction and overall experience of vaping. In this guide, we’ll break down the complexities of nicotine strength, making it easier for beginners to choose the right option for their vaping journey.

Why Nicotine Strength Matters

Why Nicotine Strength Matters

Nicotine is the addictive substance found in both cigarettes and vaping products. The nicotine strength in your e-liquid directly impacts the satisfaction you derive from vaping. Understanding nicotine strength is crucial because it affects the intensity of the throat hit and the level of nicotine cravings you experience. By choosing the right nicotine strength, you can tailor your vaping experience to your preferences

How do you read nicotine strength?

Nicotine strength is typically measured in two ways: milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) and as a percentage. The conversion between these two measurements is straightforward. For instance, 3mg/mL of nicotine is equivalent to 0.3% nicotine. Familiarizing yourself with both measurements will help you comprehend nicotine strength labels and make informed decisions.

Nicotine Levels Demystified

E-liquids come in a range of nicotine strengths, often labeled as 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, and so on. These levels indicate the amount of nicotine in each milliliter of e-liquid. If you’re a non-smoker or looking to quit nicotine, 0mg is the way to go. For light smokers, 3mg to 6mg is a common choice, while heavier smokers might opt for 12mg or higher. Choosing the right nicotine strength depends on your smoking history and desired vaping experience.

Below is a breakdown of the most common nicotine levels.

Nicotine Strengths Nicotine levels
0 MG/ML, 0% Vapers who have never smoked before, or for former smokers who have weaned completely off nicotine. Zero/None
3 MG/ML, 0.3% If you smoke around 5 cigarettes per day Lowest level
6 MG/ML, 0.6% A good starting amount for someone who is an infrequent smoker, 10 light-strength cigarettes a day habit Low
12 MG/ML, 1.2% A good starting amount for light smokers, Ideally suits people who smoked between 10 to 15 standard cigarettes in a day Normal
18 MG/ML, 1.8% This amount is suited for people who smoke more than a pack a day, The top strength for people who smoked 20 cigarettes a day High
24 MG/ML, 2.4% A good starting point for people who smoke more than 2 packs a day. Very High
36 MG/ML, 3.6% This amount is often used to add to other e-liquids with a low level of nicotine Highest

Choosing the Right Nicotine Strength

Selecting the appropriate nicotine strength involves considering your smoking habits and personal preferences. If you’re a former smoker, starting with a nicotine strength that matches your previous cigarette consumption can provide a smoother transition. Keep in mind that higher nicotine levels deliver a stronger throat hit and quicker nicotine satisfaction. However, if you’re aiming to reduce your nicotine intake over time, it’s advisable to start with a lower strength and gradually decrease it.

Gradually Lowering Nicotine Strength

For vapers looking to quit vaping or nicotine altogether, a step-down approach can be effective. Begin with your current nicotine strength and gradually decrease it over several weeks or months. This method allows your body to adjust to lower nicotine levels, making the transition easier and reducing withdrawal symptoms.

Below is a recognised timeline of nicotine addiction and withdrawal – mild forms of these effects may be felt as you step down strengths, particularly if you choose to jump from high to low very quickly.

30 minutes to 4 hours The initial effects from the nicotine will wear off and you’ll start to crave more.
10 hours You will be very restless, physically craving a cigarette, and wondering how to fill the time. You may feel sad and hopeless.
24 hours Irritability will kick in and your appetite will increase.
2 days You’ll likely have headaches as the nicotine leaves your system.
3 days The nicotine should be gone from your system at this point. Your cravings should taper off but anxiety may start to rise.
1 week Pat yourself on the back, you’ve made it through the worst. Avoiding triggers is vital to avoid relapse.
2 to 4 weeks You still won’t have much energy, but any mental fog should be clearing, and your appetite will settle down. Your cough, depression, and anxiety should also improve.
5 weeks onwards With most physical symptoms behind you, the key is now remaining strong mentally.

Factors to Consider

While nicotine strength is a crucial factor, other elements contribute to your overall vaping experience. The PG/VG (propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin) ratio affects throat hit and vapour production, while the flavour intensity impacts your enjoyment. It’s essential to find the right balance between nicotine strength, PG/VG ratio, and flavour to create a satisfying and personalized vaping blend.

Seeking Professional Advice

Seeking Professional Advice

As a beginner, seeking advice from experienced vapers or professionals can provide valuable insights. Vaping preferences vary, and what works for one person might not work for another. Consulting those with more experience can help you make informed decisions that align with your goals and preferences.


Understanding nicotine strength is a fundamental aspect of the vaping journey. By grasping the significance of nicotine levels and how they influence your experience, you can make choices that enhance your satisfaction and cater to your goals. Remember that vaping is a personal journey, and experimentation is key to finding the perfect balance between nicotine strength, flavour, and overall enjoyment. As you embark on your vaping adventure, armed with this knowledge, you’re better equipped to make informed decisions and enjoy a satisfying and personalized vaping experience.