When e-cigarette users ask the nicotine content in a cigarette, normally it’s because they want to calculate how much e-liquid they should consume. They want to simulate the feeling they obtain from smoking a cigarette, so as to have the same nicotine inhalation experience.

No matter smoking or vaping, the goal is to inhale nicotine. But, even if you know the nicotine content in a cigarette, it will not provide you with reference for vaping. This is because nicotine delivery methods and by-products by e-cigarette and cigarette are completely different. Even if you inhale the same volume of nicotine from cigarette and e-cigarette, you will not have the same nicotine inhalation experience.

Nicotine is a complicated substance. It can exhilarate and relax human body, and is strongly addictive. Pure nicotine is highly toxic (which remains controversial). When you smoking a cigarette, nicotine can dilate the blood capillary of human body, resulting in thousands of harmful substances produced by burning tobacco going into bacteria, and accordingly resulting in illness of human body. This is the reason why nicotine has been the scapegoat of cigarette for so many years.

People obtain different nicotine experience from cigarette and e-cigarette, but both the two can give them nicotine satisfaction. Considering the toxic and addictive natures of nicotine, most users hope to be aware of the nicotine volume they consume.

Nicotine Content in A Cigarette
If you ever notice a cigarette pack, you will find that tobacco companies usually label the nicotine content as 1mg. But, how does such nicotine content come from? Is it of any referential value to smokers?
 
It’s worth noting that the nicotine content labeled on the cigarette pack is inconsistent with the real data. According to an essay by Toxicology Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty of Kitasato University in Tokyo, the testing of such nicotine content is carried out with a smoking device: use a syringe to inhale 32ml per minute until a cigarette burns out. But such testing method is in no way precise. It can present neither the real nicotine content people inhale in from a cigarette, nor the real nicotine content in a cigarette.

In average, an unused cigarette contains approximately 1g tobacco , about 8.4mg of which is nicotine. However, the problem is not how much nicotine in a cigarette, but how much nicotine is inhaled into human body. This is a perplexing problem.

According to the research by Iranian scientists on local and imported cigarettes, they found that a local cigarette contains 6.17-12.65mg nicotine ( accounting for 1.23±0.15 percent of the cigarette weight), and that an imported cigarette contains 7.17-28.86mg nicotine (accounting for 1.80±0.25 percent of the cigarette weight ).

In the current market, there is no highest only higher of the nicotine content. But formal manufacturers normally releases e-liquid with nicotine content of at most 24mg/ml or 36mg/ml. Don’t use e-liquid with ultra high nicotine content.
If you want e-liquid with nicotine content between the two options above, you can buy two e-liquids with two different nicotine contents and mix them together to make out what you want, for example, 3=(0+6)/2
 
Calculate Nicotine Content in A Cigarette

For instance, if the cigarette you smoke contains 1.1mg nicotine (nicotine content=nicotinamide content, which is normally labeled at the left of a cigarette pack ), then the calculation is as follows:
1.1mg/cigarette × 20 cigarettes/ day=22mg/ day

Generally, a smoker consumes about 2 to 4ml e-liquid a day. If 2ml, it is suggested that he or she choose e-liquid with 11mg/ml nicotine content.

The calculations above are just rough results for your reference. After using e-cigarette for several days, you should know whether to increase or decrease the nicotine content in e-liquid.

According to Professor Bernd Mayer from Pharmacology and Toxicology Faculty of Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz in Austria, “Smoking will result in human body inhaling 2mg nicotine and his mean arterial plasma nicotine content rising up to 0.03mg/L.”

Therefore, many scientists consider that the nicotine content labeled on a cigarette pack is helpless for calculating the nicotine inhalation volume from a cigarette and cannot present the real nicotine content of a cigarette, either. Cigarette pack should be labeled with real nicotine content.
 
Nicotine Content in an E-Cigarette

Due to different formulas of different e-liquids, the nicotine content in different e-liquids are normally of big difference. Generally, e-liquids in the market have several different options, including 0mg, 3mg/ml, 6mg/ml, 12mg/ml, 18mg/ml, 24mg/ml. E-liquid with nicotine salt usually contains much higher content of nicotine. It’s common to see e-liquids labeled with 5% nicotine content in the market. To label in the general way, it’s 50mg/ml. In order to inhale similar volume of nicotine, many users tends to make comparison between the labeled nicotine content of e-liquid and the nicotine content in cigarettes. Manufacturers also make suggestions on the basis of such comparison. However, the suggestions given through such method is not unscientific and will even mislead users.

Generally speaking, e-liquid containing low content of VG and producing less vapor, is more suitable for MTL-typed e-cigarettes. Such e-cigarettes are usually of low output wattage, but needs to work with e-liquid of high nicotine content so as to get the same volume of nicotine as from smoking. In the early time, most of the e-cigarettes belonged to such type. Vapers usually needed to use e-liquid with nicotine content of 12mg or over to obtain nicotine satisfaction.

E-liquid with high content of VG has just become popular in recent years. Such e-liquids normally contain high content of VG and need to be vaporized by high wattage. At first, such e-liquids were produced by manufacturers to satisfy the vapers for huge vapor chasing, to enlarge the sales volume of e-liquid, and to increase e-liquid consumption speed. They normally work with high-wattage devices. Since nicotine is strongly irritant, these e-liquids normally contains low content of nicotine or no nicotine, such as 0mg/ml, 3mg/ml, 6mg/ml. Users usually vape with DTL (direct-to-lung) method, and not much nicotine is inhaled in actually. These e-liquids are more suitable for those vape trick players or vapers with light addition to nicotine, but don’t make obvious effect in helping smokers to quit cigarette. Many manufacturers, who are lack of relative knowledge, recommend such e-liquids to consumers, which usually making smokers feel disappointed at e-cigarettes.
 
However, recent researches have raised questions on such high-wattage, high-VG and low-nicotine e-liquids. According to the Nicotine Self Titration Effect of users, when they use such e-liquids, they usually need to consume more e-liquid to obtain the nicotine volume needed by their bodies. It means that users will have to inhale more PG and VG aerosols. A study published on Plos ONE in 2017 verifies that e-liquids without nicotine but with pure PG or VG will give off alkyl compounds such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. In high temperature, these substances might increase exponentially. E-liquid with pure VG produces more alkyl compounds than e-liquid with pure PG. Professor K.Farsalions, a famous researcher in the field of e-cigarettes, used to appeal to vapers not to lower the nicotine content. He thought nicotine is originally harmless, and to lower the nicotine content might lead to more inhalation of PG and VG aerosols because of compensation mechanism. Such aerosols contains substances including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acraldehyde.

Nicotine salt technology solves the problem of nicotine inhalation efficiency. Pod system devices with nicotine salt technology, such as Juul and Relx, greatly improves the success rate of quitting smoking among smokers. Such devices normally contain comparatively high content of nicotine. 5% nicotine equals to 50mg/ml. A cartridge with 2ml capacity can contain 100mg nicotine. Many users feel worried about such high content of nicotine. Actually, there is no need to be worried. Just like a cigarettes, if it contains 8mg nicotine, then a pack of cigarettes contain 160mg nicotine. The point is how much of the nicotine will be inhaled by human body. Many scientists hold that the nicotine content in one cigarette is less than 1mg, lower than the labeled content (1mg) on the cigarette pack. Nicotine loss is mainly caused by the exposure part of a burning cigarette and the part exhaled by human body, namely, the second-hand smoke. It is also the factor that causes the death of millions of people every year in the world. However, e-cigarettes don’t produce second-hand smoke, and less nicotine is lost through vaporization than through smoking. Therefore, it’s meaningless to make a contrast between the nicotine content in cigarette and e-cigarette. The nicotine content in a cigarette is of little referential value to users to use e-cigarette. There is not very much research data regarding nicotine inhalation volume from e-cigarette. Users get the knowledge of the nicotine inhalation volume, inhalation frequency and e-liquid consumption by Self Titration Effect. There used to be some scientists saying that it’s of little possibility for users to inhale overmuch nicotine with the Self Titration Effect of human body. I hope there will be more study in this field.

Data of Death Caused by Smoking and Second-Hand Smoking

Nicotine salt improves the transmission efficiency of nicotine, and users don’t feel too irritated in throat when vaping with nicotine salt. By inhaling comparatively a small amount of vapor, users can get nicotine satisfaction. On one hand, it simulates the transmission curve and efficiency of cigarette in human body. On the other hand, it reduces the potential risk of PG and VG aerosols brought by traditional e-liquid. Many users found that only 3-5 puffs can satisfy their need for nicotine and eliminate their desire for smoking. So, nicotine salt technology is generally regarded as a great revolution in e-cigarette industry.


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