Nicotine: What you need to know

Nicotine: What you need to know

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum) and is responsible for the addictive properties of tobacco products. Liquid Nicotine is a concentrated solution of nicotine in a liquid form. This is the form of nicotine that is used in e-cigarettes.

Salt vs. Freebase Nicotine

Salt and freebase are the two nicotine base options. The main difference between them lies in the type of nicotine used and its chemical composition. Salt nicotine allows for higher concentrations of nicotine to be used in e-liquids without the harsh throat hit that typically accompanies high levels of freebase nicotine.

Individual preferences can vary; some vapers may prefer the throat hit and nicotine delivery of freebase nicotine, while others may prefer the smoother experience and higher nicotine strengths of salt nicotine. It's important to choose the type of e-liquid and nicotine strength that suits your needs and vaping style.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each e-liquid type:

What is Nicotine Strength?

Nicotine strength is the concentration of liquid nicotine in any given e-liquid. It is displayed as either a percentage or in milligrams, which indicates the amount of nicotine within each millilitre of e-liquid (mg/mL). For example, a 10ml bottle of e-liquid that is 10mg/ml (or 1.0%) has 100mg of nicotine in total. Another way to think about it is that 1% of the entire contents of the 10ml bottle is nicotine. The lower the mg/ml or percentage, the less nicotine is contained in the e-liquid. So, an 18mg (or 1.8%) is much stronger than a 3mg (or 0.3%).

As a general rule, the stronger the e-liquid, the more nicotine is delivered to the vaper. A heavier smoker would likely prefer a higher nicotine strength than someone who only smokes 2 cigarettes a day.

Choosing Your Nicotine

To switch from smoking to vaping, you need to choose a nicotine strength that allows you to fully replace smoking. If you’re vaping but still feel like you need to smoke, you may need a higher nicotine strength.

If you have chosen a nicotine strength that is too high, you may experience the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Mild nausea
  • Coughing

If you do, don’t panic. Just stop vaping and these symptoms will pass quickly. If you ever feel that your nicotine strength is too high, vape less throughout the day or choose a lower nicotine strength.

It is ok to alter your nicotine strength. As long as you’re vaping instead of smoking, then you’re well on your way to making the switch.

Use this guide as your starting point:

Once you’ve chosen your nicotine strength and e-liquid, you can select an e-cigarette. If you’re unsure where to start, you can check out our guide to e-cigarette hardware.

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