How Do I Choose an E-liquid Strength?
When making the switch from smoking cigarettes to the electronic cigarette, many new users are bewildered about how to chose a nicotine strength. But it needn’t be confusing. You can easily figure out what strength to start with by answering a few questions and then experimenting from there until you find what works best for you.
Nicotine Levels in E-Liquids
Most e-liquids come in several strengths: high, medium, low, and zero. But different companies may not have the same standards for strength so it’s important to look at the number of milligrams of nicotine. E-liquids commonly come in 24 mg, 18 mg, 12 mg, or 6 mg strengths among others.
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical “medium” strength e-liquid that contains 12 milligrams of nicotine. This means that there are 12 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter. 5 milliliters is about one teaspoon. So, if you use one teaspoon of e-liquid, you will have ingested a little less than 60 mg of nicotine. To give you a sense of how this compares, American cigarettes contain, on average, about 9 mg of nicotine each. However, when you smoke a cigarette, most of the nicotine is burned off or lost due to other inefficiencies so your body only actually ingests about 1 mg of nicotine per cigarette. So a teaspoon of 12 mg e-liquid is equal to about 60 cigarettes. However, inefficiencies in vaporizing make it likely that this number quite a bit less also, but studies have not yet been done to give us an exact number.
Your Smoking Habits
While it is helpful to have a sense of nicotine levels in e-liquid, it is more important to look at your own smoking habits as a guide. A light smoker who only smokes a few cigarettes a day can generally easily make the switch to a low nicotine level. A two packs per day habit on the other hand will probably require a high nicotine level to enable the user to get enough nicotine. Most people will fall in between and can pick a strength somewhere in the middle.
It is also important to consider your personal habits. How much and how often do you smoke? If you only like to take a few puffs here and there, you might prefer a stronger e-liquid to quickly boost your nicotine levels during your break. But if you like to puff continuously throughout the day, you may be better off with a lower nicotine content so you don’t ingest too much nicotine and make yourself sick. Or, perhaps you want to vary your nicotine levels for different situations. For example, you might find you like to use a higher strength after meals, but prefer a weaker e-liquid first thing in the morning. In this case, you will want to keep both a higher and lower strength e-juice on hand. Experiment until you find the strength that suits your personal habits.
More Is Not Always Better
New users of electronic cigarettes tend to choose very strong e-liquids the first time. They remember the pain and discomfort of withdrawal symptoms when they have tried to stop smoking cigarettes in the past and are afraid this will happen again during the switch to the electronic cigarette. More experienced users know this is not the case. The electronic cigarette can and does deliver plenty of nicotine, and with adequate nicotine levels in your e-juice you shouldn’t feel any withdrawal symptoms when making the switch.
Remember, you can always smoke more of an e-liquid that is a little too low for you, but if you get an e-liquid that is too high, you can make yourself sick or risk increasing your addiction to nicotine. Be alert for symptoms of nicotine overdose. The most common symptoms include headache, nausea, and dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms discontinue use of all nicotine products and speak to your doctor. Avoid nicotine overdose by picking a sensible nicotine level for you. Don’t let fear of nicotine withdrawals cause you to pick a level that is too high.
The electronic cigarette can be an enjoyable and easy switch from smoking cigarettes, just remember to use common sense, experiment, and listen to your body.
List of additives in cigarettes: http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/nicotineinhaler/a/cigingredients.htm
Nicotine drug interactions, side effects and other information: http://www.drugs.com/nicotine.html#ixzz0wKGFES1c