The Goldilocks effect: Choosing the perfect e-liquid nicotine strength

The Goldilocks effect: Choosing the perfect e-liquid nicotine strength

For smokers trying to quit by switching to vaping, choosing the perfect nicotine strength for e-liquids may be a critical decision. Selecting one that is too low may not quench those nasty cigarette cravings that can easily lead to a smoking relapse.  Choosing a nicotine strength that is too high can result in the vaping experience being too intense while perhaps resulting in a burning throat hit sensation.  If vaping isn’t enjoyable right from the very beginning, the chances of a quitting smoking permanently are almost certainly doomed.

Vapers need to find their very own Goldilocks effect.  The best place to start is in learning the typical nicotine dosage of a standard combustible cigarette.  On average, a tobacco cigarette has between 8-20mg of nicotine with about 9mg being the standard.  Light brands contain less, and cigars and cigarillos tend to have more.  Meanwhile, e-liquid nicotine percentages can range from zero nicotine to 36mg and above. 

Starting with a low nicotine e-liquid increases chances of smoking relapse.

The medical community is torn.  Should they endorse e-cigarettes and vapor products as a tobacco harm reduction tool or not?  Those who do almost always encourage their smoking patients to begin with an e-liquid nicotine level that most closely resembles that of their favorite brand of combustible tobacco product.

A smoker’s body has already become accustomed to a certain amount of nicotine at very specific times of the day.  For example, how many smokers simply must have a cigarette (or two or three) with that first cup of morning coffee?

Related Article:  E-cig study: Compared to smoking, vaping is a breath of fresh air

Choose the wrong nicotine strength, and the user might be more apt to either engage in dual-use to compensate for their depleted levels of nicotine consumption, or they might just switch back to smoking altogether.  If the aspiring vaper usually smokes a regular strength cigarette, then a 9mg option is probably a very good place to start.  If the vape juice is not available in a 9mg nicotine strength, then perhaps look for another brand that does, or consider purchasing the nicotine strength closest to 9mg. 

Starting with a high nicotine e-liquid may overload the senses.

Just like different brands of tobacco cigarettes taste either harsher or lighter based on the preferences of the individual smoker, different vape juices produce various types and intensities of throat hit sensations.  Newbies to vaping should strive to find an e-liquid nicotine percentage that most closely mimics the throat hit achieved by their favorite tobacco product.

Vaping e-liquids with significantly higher nicotine strengths compared to the vaper’s traditional combustible tobacco product may result in some rather odd side effects.  If the newbie vaper is accustomed to smoking a 16mg cigarette but begins vaping with a 36mg e-juice, then the chances of feeling dizzy or lightheaded also increase proportionally.  Avoid overloading the body (and the senses) with too much nicotine.

The Goldilocks effect of e-liquids maximizes vaping enjoyment and relaxation.

Newbie vapers need to find their own sweet spot when it comes to choosing the best nicotine strength.   The e-liquid should be enjoyable to vape without producing an uncomfortable throat hit.   The vaper should also feel relaxed after vaping as opposed to jittery or overstimulated. 

Veteran vapers often recommend that newbies begin by purchasing a small bottle of 16mg e-liquid in a couple of different flavors.  They can then proceed to adjust the nicotine percentage up or down accordingly based on their personal vaping experiences.  Once they find that perfect Goldilocks percentage, they can gradually decrease the milligrams over time if their ultimate goal is to quit smoking and vaping completely.

The important thing is to not rush the process.  Science has already determined that the mere act of switching to vaping from smoking reduces carcinogenic intake and toxicities levels by as much as 95 percent, according to the Public Health England.  

Related Article:   Science shows vaping propylene glycol kills pneumococci, streptococcus bacteria

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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