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Choosing The Right Nicotine Strength: A Guide To Vape Liquid Strengths

hand reaches to ecigarette

One question that we consistently hear is ‘what strength of nicotine should I use?’. The article below aims to give you all the answers, including the different factors to consider when finding the right nicotine level for you.

But first…

Before we get started, we should note that vape nicotine levels can be displayed in two different ways – as a percentage, or in milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml).
These are just two different ways of telling you how much nicotine is within each millilitre (ml) of liquid. At blu®, we offer two strengths: 9mg/ml and 18mg/ml, which you may sometimes see written as 0.8% and 1.6%.

Don’t be thrown off if you see a percentage when you were expecting mg, or vice versa. Just remember, the higher the number or percentage, the more nicotine is in the liquid.

Things to consider when selecting your vape nicotine level

  • Whether you are a light, medium or heavy smoker

  • The type of vape device you choose

  • The content of your vape liquid

  • Your vaping method

How often do you typically smoke?

blu vapes are designed for people who already vape or smoke, so if you have smoked previously, think about how much you would smoke on a typical day. If you would describe yourself as a medium smoker, we would recommend trying our 9mg/ml or 0.8% strength e-liquid.

If you are more of a heavy smoker, our 18mg/ml or 1.6% strength vape liquid will likely be the most appropriate. Remember though that if you smoke lights or ultra-lights, you may enjoy a lower strength e-liquid than you think! In this case, it may be worth trying the 0.8% strength and seeing whether you need to increase.

How much nicotine is in a cigarette?

It’s also important to know that e-liquids don’t automatically provide the same amount of nicotine as cigarettes. The average cigarette provides 10-12 mg of nicotine, but only some of this will be inhaled as you smoke.

women vaping guitar

What type of vape device do you have?

Typical vaporisers have a medium to high resistance, measured in a unit called ohms. Because of this resistance, it takes them time to heat up and vaporise the e-liquid. This means that they are suited to all nicotine strengths, with higher percentages or mgs able to be inhaled comfortably. Our myblu™ device and blu PRO™ are both examples of this type of vaporiser.

Sub-ohm vape devices have a heating resistance of less than 1 ohm, meaning they heat up faster, vaporise more liquid, produce more intense flavours and generate thicker clouds of smoke. Due to this, many smokers find they can reach their required nicotine level on a lower strength than expected, while higher nicotine levels are not recommended due to the intense vaping sensation.

What is the content of your vape liquid?

The ingredients of an e-liquid typically include Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), flavourings, nicotine or nicotine salts, and sometimes water.

Vape liquids with significantly more PG than VG are known as High PG. High PG vape liquids typically produce a more intense sensation in the throat while vaping, so are better suited to lower nicotine strengths for maximum enjoyment.

Vape liquids with significantly more VG than PG are known as High VG, and are known for producing thicker clouds of smoke and offering a sweeter taste. Despite offering a smoother inhale, higher strengths may still offer a mild throat sensation.

Vape liquids with an equal amount of PG and VG are known as 50/50. A good all-rounder choice, 50/50 e-cigarette liquids are often preferred by people just starting out as a vaper, and are suitable for every strength of nicotine.

Then, there’s the nicotine element of the liquid, which can either be in its freebase form, or conjugated as a nicotine salt.

The form of nicotine used in most e-liquids is known as “freebase” nicotine. Freebase nicotine easily evaporates from e-cigarette aerosol when it is inhaled, resulting in the release of nicotine from the aerosol droplets in the mouth/upper respiratory tract, where it is slowly absorbed into the body. Freebase nicotine produces a throat sensation more typical to a traditional cigarette.

The reaction from introducing a special acidic compound to the freebase nicotine results in the creation of nicotine salts and their unique properties. Nicotine salts are less volatile than freebase nicotine, and remain in the inhaled e-cigarette aerosol until the aerosol reaches the lungs, where the nicotine is absorbed, and thus giving what most adult smokers would consider to be a smoother, more satisfying vaping experience. If this appeals to you, why not try our blu 2.0 pods.

Whatever your e-liquid preference, at blu® we create high quality liquids that are designed, tested and produced by Nerudia, the world’s largest integrated nicotine products and services company, alongside specialists at its quality control lab in Liverpool. See how our liquids are tested and produced here.

quality control

How do you vape?

There are two main methods of vaping: Mouth-to-lung (MTL) and Direct lung (DL). Some devices will allow for both MTL and DL, whereas some will specify which method of vaping they are designed for.

MTL is what most people do and is most similar to the traditional smoking experience; MTLers draw the vapour from their e-cigarette into their mouth, then inhale it back into their lungs. Because the vapour is diluted when it hits the mouth, the MTL method allows you to comfortably enjoy high nicotine strength liquids.

The DL method means that you ignore the mouth, taking a long draw and inhaling the vapour straight into your lungs. This method is much more intense, giving a more intense throat sensation and producing more vapour. As a result, you likely would not want or need to use a high strength e-liquid as a DLer. Most people who DL use a very low strength of nicotine.

Find out more about how to inhale vapour here.

group vaping band

Find your perfect fit

Altering your nicotine strength is a natural part of vaping, and the strength you need may change over time. If you’re unsure where to start, try a lower strength liquid first and assess how you adjust to it. It’s important to focus on finding the perfect strength for you.

If you would like some help finding your right fit, please take a look at our blu 2.0 pods or blu™ e-liquids, or read our handy post ‘How to choose your next e-liquid’.