Choosing Your Nicotine Strength

E-Juice Nicotine Levels Explained Part 2 - Choosing Your Nicotine Strength: nicotine levels in your e-liquid

Alison Brown

Trying to decide what nicotine strength to vape?

Confused about what nicotine strengths mean?

This is a clear guide to help you decide how much nicotine to add to your e-juice.

How do I choose the right nicotine strength?

Deciding how much nicotine to vape is important.

Getting the right amount of nicotine will help you quit smoking for good and will mean you enjoy your vaping experience.

This guide tells you everything you need to know about nicotine in e-liquid:


How do I calculate my nicotine levels?

If you already know what nicotine strength you want and now want to calculate how to mix that strength e-juice, go to part 1 of this guide, E-Juice Nicotine Levels Explained Part 1.

It’ll show you how to mix your e-liquid and take you to our E-Liquid Nicotine Calculator.

If you’re still deciding on your nicotine strength, read on.

What do nicotine levels mean?

The amount of nicotine in an e-liquid is usually written as a number of milligrams (mg).
The most common in the UK are 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg – if you are making your own vape juice, this makes it really easy to calculate how much nicotine to add.

What often confuses people is the fact that this not the total number of mg in the bottle but the number of mg (milligrams) of nicotine in each ml (millilitre) of liquid.

It can sometimes be seen written as mg/ml (e.g. 3mg/ml).

If the bottle is bigger, the nicotine strength of the liquid remains the same, only you have a larger quantity of it.

Sometimes the nicotine strength is expressed as a percentage (although this is getting less common).
This tells you what percentage of the liquid is nicotine.

Instead of 3mg, you will see 0.3%

Instead of 6mg, you will see 0.6%

Instead of 12mg, you will see 1.2%

The nicotine is in a solution of PG and/or VG.

How Strong is Vape Juice?

What’s the strongest nicotine vape juice?

In Britain and the EU, the size and strength of nicotine liquids you can buy is restricted.
Nicotine is now not available in Britain and the EU in bottles larger than 10ml, or in a strength higher than 20mg.

What are the different levels of nicotine in vape juice?

With DIY vaping, you can decide how much nicotine goes into your e-juice.

You can choose not to add any nicotine at all.
The most common strengths are 3mg, 6mg and 12mg.

The calculations for these levels are easy.
This is the reason that (in Britain and the EU), nicotine is most commonly sold at 18mg strength.

How much nicotine is in vape compared to cigarettes?

There is no standard amount of nicotine in a cigarette.
It can range from 4mg-14mg.

How much nicotine you get from your cigarettes depends on:

The brand of your cigarette

The size of your cigarette

The number of cigarettes you smoke a day

The advantage with vaping is that you can control your nicotine strength rather than take a pre-packaged amount in a cigarette.

Is 3mg a lot of nicotine?

This is one of the questions we are asked most often.

It is hugely variable, but broadly speaking 3mg is ideal for people who smoked fewer than ten cigarettes a day.
People who smoke more than ten cigarettes a day will either want to increase their nicotine strength to 6mg or 12mg, or vape for longer or more often.

3mg is commonly used by long-term vapers who have cut their nicotine strength down.

What is non-nicotine vape juice?

Base e-liquid is the nicotine-free e-liquid. It consists of a mixture of PG, VG and flavour concentrates.
You can choose how much nicotine you want to add to that.

You don’t have to add nicotine at all.
You can vape this by itself to get the pleasure of vaping and taste the flavour of your choice.

Most commonly, vape juice comes in shortfills, which are bottles of flavoured e-liquid ready to vape, to which you can add your desired level of nicotine liquid.

How do I choose the right nicotine strength for me?

All of the following are suggestions based on experience but can be adapted according to your own personal preference.
Feel free to adjust and experiment.
Choosing the right nicotine level will mean you feel satisfied and are much less likely to go back to the old habit of smoking.
It’s generally recommended to start with a lower nicotine level and increase the strength if you need to as this is safer and easier.
Although vaping mimics the sensation of smoking, it is different and the amount of nicotine you inhale is different.
Even heavy smokers often find they don’t need a high nicotine strength in their

What mg nicotine vape should I use?

If you’re wondering what nicotine strength you should vape, you need to consider several things:
  1. your current nicotine intake
  2. your vaping goals
  3. your vaping habits
  4. your vaping device
  5. your taste preferences

Satisfying your nicotine cravings

To make the switch from smoking to vaping, your nicotine intake from vaping should match what your nicotine intake was from smoking, at least initially.
This ensures that you do not get nicotine withdrawal as you will feel satisfied by your vape and encouraged to continue with this safer option.
Once you have completely made the switch, you can start to slowly lower your nicotine intake.

Vaping tends to give you a slower nicotine hit than smoking, and is one of the reasons that vapers tend to vape small amounts regularly throughout the day.

Your vaping goals

If you’re starting to vape purely for leisure then we recommend vaping 0mg as nicotine is addictive.

If you’re using vaping as a way to quit smoking, you need to decide whether you want to maintain the amount of nicotine you’re inhaling or whether you want to gradually decrease it.

Vaping habits – frequency and length of sessions

This is one of the ways in which nicotine affects your overall vaping experience.

The exact dose of nicotine you get from vaping varies depending on the device, how long the session lasts, the nicotine strength and how you inhale.
It can even vary according to the time of day and your mood as they affect these things.

A lot of vapers vape small amounts regularly throughout the day, which satisfies their nicotine cravings and is extremely convenient.
It can mean that a low-nicotine strength will satisfy.

Your vaping habits might stem from your smoking habits, but they don’t need to.
For example, you can often vape indoors, which will make your relationship with your e-cigarettes different from your relationship with cigarettes.

One of the advantages and disadvantages of vapes is that there is no ‘end of cigarette’, which means you simply stop when you are satisfied and take no more and no less.
However, that can make judging the amount of nicotine inhaled in one session virtually impossible, as even with the same person it can vary each time.

Type of device you’re planning to use

With a sub-ohm device, you produce more vapour, meaning more nicotine is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
If using this device, you might want to reduce your nicotine as you inhale more vapour and therefore might get more nicotine than you intended.

A device designed for mouth-to-lung vaping generally produces less vapour and therefore you might choose to use more nicotine.

Your taste preferences

Nicotine liquid has a distinct taste and will flavour vape juice. Whether you like this taste or not is a matter of preference. Higher concentrations of nicotine have a stronger flavour.
Whether you like the harsh throat hit associated with smoking cigarettes is a matter of preference but this is unlikely to be affected by your nicotine strength. Your PG/VG ratio plays a much bigger part in this as higher percentages of PG give a stronger throat hit.

What is nicotine salt vape juice?

Nicotine salt still comes in liquid form. It can come in high concentrations.

Nicotine salt vape juice is usually used in Pod systems rather than sub-ohm devices as it doesn’t produce as much vapour.

It reduces the throat hit that is associated with high levels of nicotine liquid.

Nicotine liquid

  • Slower absorption
  • Low to medium strength options
  • More flavour
  • More vapour production
  • Less expensive

Nicotine salts

  • Faster absorption
  • Low to high strength options
  • Less flavour
  • Less vapour production
  • More expensive

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