What nicotine strength e-liquid should I get?


The number of cigarettes you smoke can be used as a guide when choosing the nicotine strength of your e-liquid.

1 - 5 a day 0.6% (6mg/ml)
5 - 15 a day 1.0% (10mg/ml)
15 - 20 a day 1.4% (14mg/ml)
20+ a day 1.8% (18mg/ml)

This is an extremely simplified explanation of choosing your nicotine strength. Ultimately you need to choose a nicotine strength that allows you to vape instead of smoke.

What is nicotine strength?

You may see nicotine strength displayed in different ways. Either as a percentage or in mg (milligrams). They both display the same thing, the amount of nicotine within each millilitre (ml) of e-liquid.

Let’s break this down.

A 10ml bottle of e-liquid that is 10mg/ml or 1.0% has 100mg of e-liquid in total. Or 1% of the entire contents of the 10ml bottle is nicotine.

The lower the mg/ml or percentage, the less nicotine is contained in the e-liquid. So, an 18mg or 1.8% is much stronger than a 3mg or 0.3%.

As a general rule the stronger the e-liquid the more nicotine is delivered to the vaper and the more pronounced the throat hit. So, someone who is a heavier smoker would choose a higher nicotine strength than someone who only smokes 2 a day.

But there are other factors that can affect this choice, such as the e-cig you are using or the way that you vape. Let’s take a look at these.

E-liquid strength and your e-cig

When e-cigs were first released e-liquid strength was extremely important, because the choice was extremely limited.

Smokers looking to start vaping were faced with a typical cig-alike or an extremely basic electronic cigarette that did little to satisfy the needs of an ex-smoker.

In their infancy, electronic cigarettes had no mechanism to allow vapers to control the amount of vapour or throat hit produced. This has now changed, with a vast majority of e-cigs being variable output.

This means that you can control your throat hit and nicotine delivery simply by turning up your output wattage or voltage and changing your atomizer head resistance.

The higher the resistance the longer the atomizer takes to heat up, meaning less vapour and throat hit from your e-cig.

The lower the resistance (usually sub-ohm) the quicker your atomizer will heat up, meaning more vapour and throat hit.

If you choose a sub-ohm atomizer your 1.8% nicotine strength will probably be far too strong for you.

On the flip side if you chose a higher resistance atomizer head, you might not get the nicotine delivery and throat hit you need from your 0.3% e-liquid.

It is all about finding the right balance of vape mod, e-cig tank and atomizer head, the right combination will compliment your e-liquid strength and allow you to vape all day without craving a cigarette.

Nicotine strength and vaping technique

You might see some vape lingo banded about that includes MTL and DL. Let’s break these down.

MTL = Mouth to lung

This is a traditional inhale that most people use. You draw the vapour from your e-cig into your mouth, then inhale it back.

DL = Direct lung

The mouth part from MTL is bypassed here. You take one long draw from the e-cig, inhaling it straight in.

Let’s look at why might you need to use these two different draws.

An MTL draw is forgiving when it comes to nicotine strength. It is the technique most vapers use and means you can use strengths from a 0.0% all the way up to a 1.8% comfortably.

You wouldn’t usually DL vape on a high nicotine strength. Why? Because using this technique means you get a much greater throat hit and produce more vapour. So, a 1.8% e-liquid would be uncomfortable to vape by directly inhaling. Most people who DL vape use an extremely low nicotine strength, usually around a 0.0% - 0.3%.

All of this can seem confusing, but it isn’t. In short, vape as you feel comfortable.

Nicotine strength that stops you smoking

As previously mentioned, you need to choose a nicotine strength that allows you to vape instead of smoke.

If you still feel like you need to smoke, you may need a higher nicotine strength. If you ever feel that your nicotine strength is too high, vape less throughout the day or choose a lower nicotine strength.

You will know if you have chosen a nicotine strength that is too high quite quickly. You may experience the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Mild nausea
  • Coughing

If you do, don’t panic, just stop vaping and these symptoms will pass quickly.

Adversely, you will also know if you have chosen a nicotine strength that is too low. You may find yourself having to vape much more than usual or you may still crave cigarettes.

If this is the case simply pick up an e-liquid that has a slightly higher nicotine strength.

It is ok to alter your nicotine strength. It doesn’t matter if you have to choose a higher strength, as long as you are vaping instead of smoking, then you are well on your way to making the switch for good.

Choosing your nicotine strength

If you follow the above advice you cannot go far wrong when it comes to choosing your ideal nicotine strength.

Use the below guide as your starting point:
I smoke 1 - 5 a day: 0.6% (6mg/ml)
I smoke 5 - 15 a day: 1.0% (10mg/ml)
I smoke 15+ a day: 1.8% (18mg/ml)

Remember your e-cig has a direct bearing on what strength e-liquid you should choose. If you have a sub-ohm atomizer and vape at higher powers, you will probably need a lower nicotine strength. Low resistance atomizer heads and high-powered e-cigs provide a more pronounced throat hit and nicotine delivery.

If you are using an e-cig starter kit or lower powered device, you may need a higher nicotine strength. The throat hit and nicotine delivery are less pronounced with higher resistance atomizer heads and lower powers.

The same can be said for vaping technique. If you inhale directly, opt for a lower nicotine strength. If you prefer a more restricted draw then you may need a higher strength e-liquid.

It is important to note that none of these are set in stone and each vaper is different.

If you need any help in choosing the right nicotine strength, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

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