Let’s get one thing straight. Switching from smoking to vaping is going to be a jarring change to a habit you’ve spent a long length of time cultivating. And to be honest, completely switching over from smoking is going to be difficult at first.
You’re already going to be feeling ‘off’ due to the change in your routine. There’s no reason to make the transition harder on yourself by not starting off with a proper level of nicotine strength.
What is E-Liquid
Affectionately known as juice, e-juice, vape fluid, and other descriptors, e-liquid is a blend of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavorings, and optional nicotine. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that there are thousands of different products on the market. It may seem like a lot to take in, but things like PG/VG ratios are something you can worry about later.
The first thing you need to consider is the type of juice you’ll be using for your device, of which there are two.
For most vapers, this is going to be the fluid you’ll be filling your device with. Known as freebase nicotine, this type of juice is generally used in higher powered devices, have a peppery taste, and have a longer duration of effect compared to its competition.
There are a few considerations to be made besides the level of nicotine, but it basically boils down to how smooth it is, how it tastes, and how hard the juice is on your coils.
At this level the most you have to worry about is how strong a nicotine blend you want, and the majority of devices you’ll be looking at will utilize freebase liquid. Some other positives about this type of e-juice includes the unending banquet of flavors, highly varied levels of nicotine content, and is less expensive than nicotine salt.
Nicotine Salt E-Liquid
Developed primarily for use with pod vapes, nic salts are made by adding benzoic acid into freebase nicotine. Given the smaller size of pod vapes, normal e-juice would be used up way too fast. The addition of the benzoic acid allows for the resulting nic salt to last longer, and absorb into your bloodstream more effectively than an equally strong freebase liquid.
Other than pods, you can use nic salts with low powered devices that use coils with a resistance of over 1.0 oh and utilizes restricted airflow.
Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend beginners to use nic salts unless they are specifically using a pod system. Rebuildable atomizers (RBA) are an entirely different beast to tackle to the comparative simplicity of picking out e-liquid.
Nicotine to Fluid Ratios
While some bottles do show the percentage of nicotine in comparison to the total volume, nicotine levels are most often shown in milligrams per milliliter. We could go into an easy formula to show how to calculate percentages, but that seems sort of pointless.
You can just look up this link here. The article contains a neat little chart that quickly explains the amount of nicotine within a given e-juice blend to how it compares with a traditional cigarette.
The most important aspect of e-juice a former smoker turned entry level vaper needs to worry about, is getting the same level of satisfaction from an electronic cigarette. Being of a comparable strength to a tobacco cigarette, I’d recommend most people start off with a smaller bottle of 16 mg e-juice and see how you feel from there.
Why Use Higher Nicotine E-Juice?
Assuming that you’ve went with my prior recommendation, there are several reasons as to why you might want to switch to a higher nicotine percentage.
The first is the level of satiation you’ll get from stronger nicotine blends. E-liquids with a higher nicotine content often have a harsher throat hit that helps to hit that burn smokers are familiar with. While you might find yourself chain vaping with something weaker, you’ll find yourself less liable to do so with a stronger e-juice.
If your lifestyle leaves you with little time to enjoy a vape break, it might be prudent for you to pick out a bottle that is slightly stronger than the one you are currently using. That being said, I would recommend being cautious of using more powerful blends too often.
Too much nicotine at once can leave you feeling lightheaded, not something you want to be if you’re walking about much less driving. You’ll also be increasing your body’s tolerance to nicotine, not something you want to be doing if you’re planning on completely eliminating your reliance on the substance.
Tips for Handling Stronger Juice
- Raise your nicotine percentage in increments.
- Try not to use stronger nicotine juices more than you need to.
An Argument for a Lower Nicotine Dosage
Some of you must think I’m crazy for advocating this stance, but hear me out. Yes you won’t get the same sense of satisfaction from weaker blends, and yeah, you’re going to have the urge to chain vape to make up for your cravings.
Just about everyone is educated on how terrible smoking is for the body. What is less known is how nicotine itself is a dangerous substance, even ignoring how addictive it can be. This chemical can cause all manner of health problems including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, changes in heart rate, increased risk of stroke, and plaque formation on artery walls.
Besides taking the steps to slowly ceasing nicotine dependence completely, the above are all valid health reasons to limit your intake of said chemical.
What Nicotine Variability Means for Smoking Cessation
Being able to choose the level of nicotine in your e-juice is a huge boon to slowly lowering your dependence. For those of us looking to completely quit any and all forms of nicotine, it’s far easier to lower your dosage from bottle to bottle instead of going cold turkey.
And when the time comes that you take the step to purchasing e-juice without any nicotine content at all, you’ll still be able to rely on the now firm routine of vaping.
Sure, it doesn’t really do anything for you physically, but mentally speaking, the placebo of following an everyday habit will do wonders for curbing your cravings.
Tips for Lowering Nicotine Consumption
- Take it slow, you’re body is going to have a tougher time adjusting to dramatically decreased nicotine intake.
- Be aware and put a limit on the number of draws you take.
Picking Your First Bottles
So now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s reiterate the most important point you need to keep in mind before purchasing e-juice. For those of you making the change from smoking to vaping, pick out a bottle with a nicotine strength that is equivalent to that of tobacco cigarettes.
Still, even with 16 mg per mL of nicotine, you’re going to be feeling ever so slightly ‘off’. You’re going to be making a change here, and people are nothing if not creatures of habit. Just keep in mind that you’re consciously making a decision to switch from one bad habit to another that isn’t quite as dangerous for your long term health. And while vaping isn’t risk free by any means, you’re lungs are going to have an easier time with vapor than it is with tissue charring carcinogens.
Ending with a few further tips away from nicotine strength, there are two points I’ll touch on briefly. Regarding PG/VG ratios, higher PG will garner you slightly more flavor, while higher VG will prove to be a smoother, cloudier experience.
As for the topic of taste, just try out something you think you’ll enjoy. Some vapers tend to enjoy the familiarity of tobacco flavors, while others like something reminiscent of dessert.
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