Vaping Basics: Nicotine Vape Dosage Guide

on November 06, 2019

Nicotine Vape Dosage Guide

If you are beginning to use nicotine vapes, then you should make sure that you are clear on the dosing for the relevant e-liquids. Choosing too much nicotine can lead to coughing, while too weak of a nicotine strength may lead to it being too soft and you not feeling the effects. 

Because of this, it is crucial to make sure you understand the nicotine dosage for vaping. To make it more confusing, some manufacturers will use percentages while others will have mg/mL, ranging from zero to over 50. 

Nic Salts Vs. Regular Nicotine

Choosing nicotine strength is even more confusing as there are two forms, each with its own advantages. Nic salts use benzoic acid, a compound that smooths the throat sensation associated with nicotine. This helps make it more tolerable to vape e-liquids with higher concentrations. 

Generally speaking, if you see single-digit nicotine strength in milligrams, it is probably regular or “freebase” nicotine. If the strength is more than 20 mg/mL, then it is almost always nicotine salt e-liquid. You will not find any correlations between the two figures, but most people agree that in terms of throat hits, 6 mg of regular nicotine is similar to 20 to 25 mg of nic salt. 

Regular nicotine has no additives, slower absorption, and seems harsh in high concentrations. It has low to medium strength, higher cloud production, and greater flavor complexity. Also, regular nicotine is less expensive, while working well for most vaping styles. In contrast, nicotine salt contains benzoic acid, is satisfying even in high concentrations, and has low to super-high strengths. It has less cloud production and flavor complexity while being more expensive. Nicotine salt is ideal for MTL vapers and smokers. 

Understanding and Converting Between Percentages and Mg/mL

Since some manufacturers indicate the nicotine dose in percentages and others use mg/mL, it can become confusing. Most experienced vapers suggest you convert percentages to mg/mL for easier comparison. After all, most suggestions for nicotine dosing will be in mg/mL, not percentages. 

Understanding Mg/mL

Before you can convert the percentages, you need to make sure you understand what the mg/mL strength means. This is an abbreviation for milligrams per millimeter. It indicates the quantity of nicotine in milligrams in the bottle for each milliliter of e-liquid. If, for example, it says 5 mg/mL, it means every milliliter has 5 milligrams of nicotine. 

Understanding Mg/mL

You can find the total nicotine in a tank by multiplying this figure by the total milliliters in the tank. 

Understanding Percentages

Percentages stick to a volume and indicate how much of the liquid found in the bottle is nicotine, so it is sometimes called nicotine by volume. If it is 1.2 percent nicotine, then you know the remaining 98.8 percent is VG, PG, and flavorings. 

Converting Between Them

While most suggestions for doses are in mg/mL, you can convert these figures in either way. 

If you want to convert mg/mL to a percent, just divide it by 10. 5 mg/mL is a 0.5 percent e-juice. 

If you want to convert percent to mg/mL, just multiply it by 10. So a 2.5 percent e-juice would have 25 mg/mL of nicotine. 

Choosing Your Nicotine Strength

When deciding your nicotine vape dosage or nicotine strength, you will want to think about the device you wish to use and your smoking habits. 

Your Smoking Habits

Most suggestions for nicotine vape doses will have a range in milligrams. If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day or less, stick to the low end of the spectrum. If you smoke around a pack daily, stick to the middle of the range. If you smoke two or more packs each day, go towards the high end of the spectrum. 

Devices With Low Vapor Production

If your chosen device has low vapor production and discreet clouds, you will want to go with nicotine salts with between 30 and 60 mg/mL. If you can find them, you can also opt for regular nicotine with 9 to 18 mg/mL. These devices typically include the mouth-to-lung tanks that have tight airflow and most pod systems. 

Devices With Medium Vapor Production

Devices with medium vapor production will produce clouds that are not discreet but not huge and can be in nearly any product range from virtually any manufacturer. These products do best with 20 to 30 mg/mL of nicotine salts or 6 to 9 mg/mL of regular nicotine. 

Devices With High Vapor Production

Devices that produce big clouds, such as rebuildable atomizers that have large airflow channels and powerful sub-ohm tanks, need smaller doses.

Devices With High Vapor Production

Stick to regular nicotine content between 1.5 and 6 mg/mL. If you can find it, you can also use nicotine salts with up to 10 mg/mL, but expect those to be hard to find. 

Remember That Everyone Is Unique

You will not find a one-size-fits-all answer for the ideal nicotine vape dosage, even if you have a specific starting point you want to go off of in the form of which cigarettes you want to quit smoking. The dose you actually ingest will depend on the amount of liquid you inhale and the depth of inhalation. This depends on you as a user, your vape device, and the liquid’s concentration. 

Comparing Quantities to Cigarettes

To put nicotine vape doses in perspective, consider how much is found in other products. Cigarettes typically have 4 to 14 milligrams of nicotine in each cigarette. This does vary by brand and has been on the rise in recent years. 

Comparing Absorption

You should also keep in mind that the way that you ingest nicotine will be different from vaping than smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco. Oral nicotine usually gives your bloodstream a slower spike over a longer time compared to smoking cigarettes. The absorption with vaping is closest to that of cigarettes. 

Remember Nicotine Is Addictive

It is essential to throw out a safety caveat that nicotine is addictive. Vaping e-juices with nicotine can help you get over a cigarette addiction and let you slowly lower your dose. If, however, you do not use tobacco products, you should consider sticking to e-juices with zero percent nicotine. 


Everyone is different and will require a different nicotine vape dose. You can find e-juices with no nicotine whatsoever, all the way to those with 50 or 60 mg/mL of nicotine. Pick your dose based on your habits and your device.