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What Nicotine Strength Should You Be Vaping?

What Nicotine Strength Should You Be Vaping?

When you first start vaping, one of the most important things to figure out is what level of nicotine you should be vaping. 

If you choose a strength that’s too low then it won’t satisfy your cravings and you might be tempted to reach for a cigarette. If the strength is too high then it will feel too harsh and you won’t enjoy it.

The nicotine strength you vape will be determined by the type of device you're using and whether you like a strong or more gentle hit of nicotine. In the same way that different smokers will choose different strength cigarettes, each vaper will have their own preference when it comes to the strength of their nicotine.

Usually a new vaper will discover their preferred nicotine strength through trial and error, and this guide will hopefully help you start off close to your target.

You might even like different strengths at different times or places. For me, when I started vaping I found 9mg was just about perfect. But there were times, such as when I was out drinking, that I needed a stronger hit of nicotine otherwise I'd start thinking about smoking. I learnt to carry a 12mg strength e-liquid with me for those times.

Some people also prefer a lower strength nic hit first thing in the morning and later in the day vape a higher strength e-liquid.

How to read nicotine strength from an e-liquid bottle

On a bottle of e-liquid you'll see the nicotine strength represented as a number like 6mg or 0.6%. These two numbers mean the same thing and are just different ways to indicate the strength of the nicotine.

6mg strength (or 0.6%) represents the concentration of nicotine in the e-liquid. 6mg means 6mg of nicotine per millilitre or 0.6% of the liquid volume. The lower the number the less nicotine in the liquid.

E-liquid generally comes in 3mg, 6mg, 9mg, 12mg and sometimes 18mg strength.

Which nicotine strength is right for you?

Usually your current smoking habits will determine what level of nicotine to start with. If you’re a heavy smoker then you should start with a higher strength nicotine and if you were a social or light smoker then you should choose a lower strength. 

Use the following as a guide; 

  • 0mg nicotine - If you don't smoke or only smoke occasionally we recommend that you don’t use any nicotine at all. Many e-liquids will have the option of 0mg nicotine.
  • 3mg nicotine - This is usually the lowest strength nicotine. Perfect for light or social smokers.
  • 6mg nicotine - If you’re smoking less than 10 a day this is a good place to start.
  • 9 - 12mg nicotine - if you’re smoking around a pack a day then this should be enough to satisfy your cravings.
  • 18mg nicotine - if you’re a hardcore smoker and are smoking non stop at more than a pack a day then this might be what you need. Most e-liquid brands won’t have this strength available so you’ll generally need to shop around.

The type of vape device you use will also factor into your decision so it’s a good idea to have patience at first and be prepared to try different strengths until you settle on the one that’s just right for you.

Nicotine salts

The above information is related to the standard type of nicotine that you find in e-liquids, but there's also an alternative type of nicotine available called nicotine salts. It's a different form of nicotine and is generally used in vape pods.

Nicotine salt e-liquids come in much higher strength than regular nicotine. It's not uncommon to see a bottle of nic salts at 50mg strength, which you'd never find in a commercial bottle of regular nicotine (sometimes called Freebase). 

To tell if a bottle of e-liquid contains salts it will usually be printed on the label, but often the easiest way to know is by the nicotine strength. If the nic strength is 20mg (2%) or higher then it's most likely nic salts. Regular nicotine is rarely sold above 18mg strength.

There are some exceptions to this so if you're not sure it's always good to check with the seller.

If you'd like to know more about nicotine salts, check out our article What are Nicotine Salts?

I hope that helps in making the switch to vaping a much more enjoyable process, but if you have any further questions please get in touch at

Happy vaping!

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