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Does All E-Liquid Contain Nicotine?

21st Aug 2020

Vaping is incredibly popular among ex-smokers and smokers looking to quit as it is a highly effective nicotine replacement therapy. However, what you might not know is that there are plenty of e-liquids that don’t contain any nicotine at all, and there are plenty of vapers who have effectively used vaping to quit smoking for good, who now vape as a hobby. When you first start vaping, it’s important to make sure you choose a nicotine strength that is appropriate for you, as an e-liquid that is too high or too low in nicotine can make vaping quite unenjoyable and less effective as a method to help you quit smoking.

Recommended Nicotine Strength

When you’re looking for a new e-liquid, or your first e-liquid, it’s important to consider how much nicotine your body is already used to. This will largely depend on the amount you smoke regularly, though the type of cigarette you smoke can also have an impact too.

e-liquid bottles

When you’re choosing an e-liquid, you’ll most commonly see the nicotine strength displayed in a couple of different ways: as a percentage of your e-liquid as a whole, or in mg (milligrams). It’s pretty easy to convert one to the other, especially as most e-liquids containing nicotine come in 10ml bottles. For example, 10mls of e-liquid containing 3mg of nicotine will have a percentage of 0.3% nicotine, while a 1.8% strength e-liquid will contain 18mg per 10ml, making it a much stronger e-liquid with a higher concentration of nicotine.

As a basic rule of thumb, we recommend you start out with the following strength e-liquids, based on your current cigarette consumption:

  • 0.6% or 6mg/10ml - If you regularly smoke less than 10 cigarettes per day, this is a good place to start. This concentration is also ideal for “mild” or low-nicotine tobacco cigarette smokers.
  • 1.2% or 12mg/10ml - For smokers used to medium-strength nicotine cigarettes and those who smoke between 10 and 20 cigarettes per day, this strength is an excellent first choice.
  • 1.8% or 18mg/10ml - If you regularly smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day, or are used to smoking high-nicotine cigarettes, or other tobacco products such as cigars, rolling tobacco, moist tobacco or pipe tobacco, then high concentrations of around 1.8% will more effectively help to effectively curb cravings. 

However, the way that vaping delivers nicotine can be very different from smoking, so if you think your e-liquid isn’t quite right, trying a different strength can make all the difference. The way your body reacts to nicotine in a vape will be different to everyone else, so even if you’ve been a heavy smoker in the past, that’s not a guarantee that high-nicotine e-liquids will be right for you. High-nicotine concentration also contributes to the “throat hit” sensation that many smokers will be familiar with. Vaping can effectively emulate this sensation in high-nicotine and high-PG formulations, so if you don’t enjoy that, lower nicotine strength and higher VG formulas will be ideal for you. On the other hand, some smokers miss the throat hit when they start their journey to becoming smoke-free - for these users, a high-nicotine formula might be ideal.

Lots of vapers find it takes a little trial and error to start with, but once you find the perfect e-liquid for you with the right flavours and nicotine strength, you can start vaping in earnest!

Nicotine-Free E-Liquids

As well as the wide variety of different nicotine strengths available, there are also plenty of nicotine-free e-liquids. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine, catering to ex-smokers who enjoy vaping but have phased out nicotine in their vape, as well as those who want to remove nicotine from their vape for health reasons.

VSAVI Juicy Shortfill E-liquid

There are also nicotine-free e-liquids which are designed to allow you to add your own nicotine. These are known as shortfill e-liquids, as they are filled to less than their full capacity. Shortfills exist for a couple of different reasons - firstly, as a nicotine-free e-liquid. Available in lots of different flavours and compositions, shortfills are a great choice for vapers who don’t want nicotine in their vape. They are also more convenient for this type of vaper as they come in larger bottles than standard e-liquids, due to tighter restrictions around the sale of nicotine-containing products. This means that shortfills are available in larger bottles, usually of around 50ml, compared to 10ml for most nicotine-containing e-liquids. This means less packaging and less waste in the long run, which is more affordable and better for the environment.

However, you can also get nicotine shots, or nic-shots as they are sometimes known, to add into shortfill e-liquids. These are highly concentrated small, quantities of nicotine, which when added to the nicotine-free shortfill formula allow you to mix a nicotine strength of your choosing, while also getting exciting flavours from top e-liquid brands. At V2 Cigs, we stick some of the UK’s favourite e-liquids, including the multi-award-winning Dinner Lady shortfills, which have consistently been voted as some of the best shortfill e-liquids on the market.

PG vs. VG E-Liquids

e-liquid bottles in different sizes

The vast majority of modern e-liquids are made up of just four main ingredients: nicotine, flavourings, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG). PG and VG are two substances that can be used in different concentrations to dramatically change the vape experience. Even in two liquids where the flavour and nicotine concentration is the same, a different PG/VG mixture can create two wildly different e-liquids. PG is generally the better carrier of nicotine and is the substance that creates a stronger throat hit sensation, while VG is much smoother and helps you create more vapour. If you’re looking for a high-nicotine liquid without too harsh a throat hit, a high VG liquid will soften the sensation a little. Alternatively, if you want a low-nicotine option that still gives you the authentic sensation of smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, a high PG liquid might be ideal.

When you’re picking your first vape and e-liquids, it can be a bit daunting, but don’t worry! The team at V2 Cigs can help you choose the perfect products for you and give you advice and guidance on your vape journey.