Choose the correct nicotine strength

Nicotine Strengths: How To Choose What’s Right For You

Let’s get one thing straight. Switching from smoking to vaping will be a jarring change to a habit you’ve spent a long time cultivating. And to be honest, completely switching over from smoking will 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 with a proper nicotine strength level.

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), flavourings, and optional nicotine. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that thousands of different products are 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.

Regular E-Liquid

For most vapers, this will 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, has a peppery taste, and has a longer effect duration than its competition.

There are a few considerations besides the level of nicotine. Still, it 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. The majority of devices you’ll be looking at will utilise freebase liquid. Some other positives about this type of e-juice include the unending banquet of flavours, highly varied levels of nicotine content, and being less expensive than nicotine salt.

If you already know that regular juice is perfect for your device, visit our best nicotine vape juice page to help find your next flavour.

Nicotine Salt E-Liquid

Nic Vape Juice

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 utilises 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 show the percentage of nicotine compared to the total volume, nicotine levels are most often shown in milligrams per millilitre. We could go into an easy formula to show how to calculate percentages, but that seems pointless.

You can 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 compared to a traditional cigarette.

The most important aspect of nicotine vape 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 comparable strength to a tobacco cigarette, I’d recommend most people start with a smaller bottle of 16 mg e-juice and see how they feel from there.

Why Use Higher Nicotine E-Juice?

Assuming that you’ve gone with my prior recommendation, there are several reasons 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 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 to pick out a slightly stronger bottle 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, which is not something you want to do if you’re planning to eliminate 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. 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 chemical intake.

What Nicotine Variability Means For Smoking Cessation

Choosing the nicotine level in your e-juice is a considerable boon to slowly lowering your dependence. For those of us looking to quit all forms of nicotine altogether, it’s far easier to reduce your dosage from bottle to bottle instead of going cold turkey.

And when the time comes that you take the step to purchase 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 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; your 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 consider before purchasing e-juice. For those making the change from smoking to vaping, pick out a bottle with a nicotine strength equivalent to that of tobacco cigarettes. 

Still, even with 16 mg per mL of nicotine, you’ll be feeling ever so slightly ‘off. You’re going to be making a change here, and people are nothing if not creatures of habit. Keep in mind that you’re consciously deciding 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, your lungs will have an easier time with vapour 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 flavour. In contrast, higher VG juice will be a smoother, cloudier experience.

As for taste, try out something you think you’ll enjoy. Some vapers tend to enjoy the familiarity of tobacco flavours, while others like something reminiscent of dessert.


Picture of Jim Lawson
Jim Lawson
I’m Jim Lawson, the Chief Editor at OzVapour. After smoking since my late teens, I found vaping in 2012 and have been smoke-free since. As a tech geek, I love trying new vaping setups & innovations. When not testing vape products, I enjoy the EPL or hiking in a national park.