Choosing An Eliquid Nicotine Strength

Choosing An Eliquid Nicotine Strength

Vaping is gaining in popularity, in fact nearly half a million people took it up in the UK last year alone. This is great news as it’s really safe, much cheaper and healthier than normal smoking and it’s a pretty fun hobby to have as well.

When you smoke E cigarettes, you always need eliquid, that’s just part of the package. And it’s part of the fun bit as well! Choosing your flavours is a real joy as you perhaps try stronger flavours, or new flavours on the market. There are so many eliquid flavours available now you can pretty much vape a three course meal if you want to!

So if you have recently started vaping, firstly ‘yay!’ you’ve chosen a fabulous alternative to traditional cigarettes which means your health and the health of those you may have previously smoked around is already improving.

Now comes the tricky bit – choosing the nicotine strength of your eliquid. Flavours are all well and good, but when you have an addiction to nicotine, your first priority is likely to be getting the strength right so you can adequately satisfy your cravings the same way you did with normal cigarettes.

It’s actually quite easy to understand the strength you’re going to need with an open mind, a bit of trial and error and by considering a few simple things.

The Strength

The first thing you need to understand is what the actual strength listing means. You’re used to smoking a cigarette and knowing it satisfies your nicotine craving, but cigarettes don’t tend to be purchased based on their nicotine strength so it’s unlikely it’s something you’ve considered before. So when you’re faced with 0mg, 12mg, 24mg and so on, you’re likely to be a little bewildered.

The strength listing of nicotine in eliquid basically means how much nicotine in milligrams is in every millilitre of eliquid. So a 6mg nicotine eliquid contains 6 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre. A 24mg nicotine eliquid contains 24 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre – it really is that simple. It may be the case that with some companies you see the measurement listed as a percentage, so 2.4% instead of 24mg, but they are both the same thing.

Eliquid In Relation To A Cigarette

The second thing you need to know is how eliquid nicotine strength relates to cigarettes you previously smoked. This is where is gets a little bit more mathematical but don’t worry, it’s more simple than it seems.

So, as above, you now understand that eliquid lists nicotine density as milligrams of nicotine per millilitre. So this means that a 10ml bottle of 6mg nicotine eliquid would have 60mg of nicotine in it. Or a 30ml bottle of 6mg nicotine eliquid would have 180mg of nicotine in it.

Amount of eliquid X nicotine strength = amount of nicotine in entire bottle of eliquid

It is likely you refill your E cigarette, which means you’ll need to know the nicotine in your eliquid refills. Understanding there are roughly 20 drops of eliquid per milliletre means your maths changes a little bit when working this out. So a 6mg nicotine eliquid would contain 0.3mg of nicotine per drop.

Eliquid nicotine strength – divided by 20 = nicotine strength per drop of eliquid

So 4 drops of eliquid into your atomiser (or similar) means that you will be consuming 1.2mg of nicotine from your e cigarette until you refill again.

It is also important to note that how much nicotine you absorb when vaping is dependent on a lot of different things, not just the nicotine strength of the eliquid consumed. Some of these factors are – the nicotine strength of your eliquid, the e cigarette itself, how much you smoke and when you smoke, and how you smoke. Some of the nicotine will be absorbed by the vapor but it is impossible for eliquid to be 100% absorbed by the vapor. So when you vape 24mg eliquid you won’t get the full 100% of nicotine in it, but more like 50% of it depending on the various factors affecting its absorption.


Nicotine is highly addictive but it is not a carcinogen like many of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke. If you are sensitive to nicotine, are expecting a baby, breastfeeding, or have heart problems it is recommended you consult a medical expert before consuming eliquid.

Nicotine In Eliquid – At A Glance

You can get eliquids with lots of different nicotine strengths, so you can choose exactly what strength suits you. Most people moving from smoking normal cigarettes to vaping will start with a nicotine strength matching their current smoking habit and then opt to gradually decrease the amount of nicotine in their eliquid over time. Many people successfully work their way down from a high nicotine eliquid to a 0% nicotine eliquid over a period of time, slowly weaning themselves from their addiction.

Generally you will find you see 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg and 24mg nicotine strength eliquid available, however there are many other strengths in between. Always check the amount of milligrams of nicotine per milliliter as companies differ in the strengths they offer and can list the nicotine strength as ‘low’ or ‘high’ which is quite vague.

Getting The Right Eliquid Strength To Suit Your Needs

It is important you get the right eliquid strength to suit your needs, as vaping too low an amount could cause you to suffer nicotine withdrawals and potentially relapse back into normal smoking, and vaping too high an amount too much could make you ill.

Here is a rough guide to the type of nicotine eliquid users who opt for different strengths of eliquid:

0mg – This is completely nicotine free eliquid. 0mg eliquids tend to be used by people who have never smoked, but who take up vaping for the enjoyment of it and the social aspect of it. Or it is used by people who have successfully weaned himself off nicotine but still enjoy vaping or need something to satisfy their hand to mouth habit.

6mg – Generally on the current market you cannot get a lower level of nicotine than this apart from 0mg. This type of nicotine level eliquid is generally used by people looking to enjoy the lowest possible level of nicotine, or people looking to enjoy switching to the last stage of nicotine consumption before quitting nicotine completely.

12ml – Although this is still considered to be a low amount if nicotine, it is still satisfying enough for people who perhaps smoked low amounts of cigarettes or cigarettes low in nicotine, or for people who prefer nicotine eliquids but who don’t vape all the time.

18mg – This is the most popular level of nicotine used by people who used to smoke generally because it supplies a steady but balanced amount of nicotine.

24mg – This amount of nicotine is generally used by people who used to smoke around 20 cigarettes a day.

36mg – This is generally the highest nicotine amount you will find in eliquid and tends to be used by people who used to chain smoke, or who smoked a lot more than 20 cigarettes a day.

Your Personal Smoking Habits

Understanding the nicotine amounts in eliquid is important, but if you’re truly looking to get the right level of nicotine eliquid it is important to look beyond the amount of nicotine. Your personal smoking habits really do play a big part in selecting the right eliquid nicotine strength.

Someone who used to smoke maybe one or two cigarettes a day could happily vape 6mg nicotine eliquid, or even 0mg eliquid if they didn’t consider themselves to be addicted to the nicotine. Whereas a person who previously chain smoked, or who smoked perhaps 30-40 cigarettes a day would need 24mg or 36mg nicotine eliquid in order to satisfy their cravings. Most smokers generally smoke between 15 and 20 cigarettes a day, which is why the middle range 18mg nicotine strength eliquid is so popularly used.

Consider –

How regularly do you smoke and how much do you smoke when you do?

If you smoke perhaps half a cigarette quickly at a few points in the day, a higher nicotine eliquid vaped less often could be a good way for you to get quick hits of nicotine.

If you tend to smoke regularly throughout the day, a lower nicotine eliquid is a good option because it means you can take a steady dose of eliquid throughout the day without making yourself ill from taking in too much nicotine.

Lots of people fall into ‘chain vaping’ when they first start because of the novelty of vaping inside, which means plenty of people can fall victim to overdosing on nicotine because they get the level of nicotine right for what they used to smoke, but then vape a lot more than they used to smoke cigarettes resulting in them consuming more nicotine than their body is used to.

It could also be worth adapting your nicotine strength eliquid to the situation you are in. If the first thing you do in the morning is reach for a cigarette, it may be the case you need a higher nicotine eliquid in the mornings, but a weaker one to vape throughout the day. Tailoring the eliquid you use to suit what you’re doing can be a really good thing to do, as it means you won’t overdo the nicotine or find you’re not getting enough of a hit. It’s certainly worth trying out different strengths at different times to tailor your nicotine use to your own personal habits.

High Strength At First Isn’t Necessarily The Right Choice

Many new vapers opt for high nicotine eliquids straight away. This is because quitting smoking is horrific and nicotine withdrawals are extremely difficult to get through. Understanding how hard those attempts to quit can be, smokers switching to vaping immediately opt for a high dose of nicotine because they fear enduring that same, horrible nicotine withdrawal craving they had during previous attempts to quit smoking.

It is important to understand, before you make this mistake, that e cigarettes do deliver adequate amounts of nicotine, and you won’t get any withdrawal symptoms if you pay attention to your smoking habits and opt for the right strength nicotine eliquid for you personally. That’s another reason it’s important to always carry a spare battery around with you because no matter what strength nicotine eliquid you have, if your e cigarette goes flat, you’re not going to be getting any nicotine from it.

Generally the best approach is to start with a lower strength eliquid and then try a higher strength if that isn’t satisfying your cravings enough. Starting from the higher levels of nicotine and working your way down doesn’t work – it can make you physically sick and potentially make you more addicted to nicotine as well.

Nicotine Overdose Symptoms

When you don’t know what the right level of nicotine eliquid is for you, you are susceptible to a nicotine overdose. It is important to use common sense and avoid letting your fear of horrible nicotine withdrawals push you to vape a nicotine level that is too high for you.

If you start to feel sick or are sick, feel dizzy or have a headache it may be that you have had a nicotine overdose. If this happens, stop consuming any nicotine products and consult a medical professional immediately.

Choosing Your Nicotine Strength

As well as factoring in your personal habits when choosing an eliquid, it is important you also try to match your eliquid nicotine strength to the cigarettes or tobacco you used to smoke.

Smoking Relapse

You will be addicted to a certain amount of nicotine per day, usually satisfied by a certain amount of cigarettes per day. If you choose a nicotine strength eliquid that does not match the cigarette nicotine strength you are used to getting, you may find you have a smoking relapse. It may be the case you ‘fill in the gaps’ with normal cigarettes, or you may find you vape a lot more than you would have if your eliquid strength was right.

This can be detrimental to those making the transition to vaping from normal cigarettes as you may vape with a nicotine eliquid too low for your nicotine needs, feel vaping isn’t the right solution for you and then return back to regular smoking.

Understanding the eliquid strength you need and experimenting with different strengths is important so that this does not happen. If you have cravings you may need to vape more than you are doing, need to switch eliquid strengths to suit what you’re doing, or you simply need a higher nicotine eliquid strength. To avoid this happening a lot of people choose to vape and smoke normal cigarettes alternately during their transition. This can be less daunting and less pressured for some, and enable them to slowly replace cigarettes with vaping over a certain period of time. For example you may have a normal cigarette in the morning, but then vape during your first break at work. Then have a cigarette at lunch and then vape when you get home, finishing the day with a cigarette before bed. Usually the pleasant experience of vaping, combined with the lack of odour, adequate nicotine delivery, lack of need to go outside and cost effectiveness mean people tend to end up vaping and completely replace all their daily cigarettes with vaping instead.

A Bad Experience

If you tend to smoke light tobacco or cigarettes and then use a high nicotine eliquid, it may be that you get a very strong throat hit during your first experience of vaping, which immediately puts you off doing it. You may get the impression that vaping always feels like that, when in fact you simply need a lower nicotine eliquid.

Be Flexible, Sensible and Experimental

When you choose your nicotine strength eliquid, remember to be;

Flexible – Don’t assume you’ll get it right straight away. Pay attention to the signs of nicotine overdose, try out different strengths at different times and remember that vaping is a personal experience for everyone – it’s not a case of one glove fits all. What we can guarantee you is that you will find a glove to fit, you’ll just need to be flexible in your vaping approach in order to find it.

Sensible – Listen to the advice of veteran vapers and e cigarette and eliquid vendors. Vaping nicotine eliquid that is too high for you can cause you to be ill and can cause you to be put off vaping and relapsing back into smoking. Be sensible at all times when dealing with nicotine products.


– Try lots of different strengths, flavours and e cigarettes. Be experimental and enjoy yourself!

So congratulations again for quitting smoking and opting for e cigarettes, you’re well on your way to a healthier, happier you!