Adjusting Your Nicotine Strength Safely and Effectively

Hey Vape Fans! Today I’d like to talk about an issue that I am asked about all the time; “What nicotine strength should I use once I have decided to switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping? And when do I start to wean myself off to a lower strength?”

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This is definitely an important question when it comes to vaping, especially for a newbie vaper. Getting the wrong nicotine strength is a good way to fail in your attempt to switch. Too much nicotine makes you sick and leary to continue vaping. Too little nicotine can leave you still craving a cigarette, making you fail to make the switch. The secret lies in finding the right level and sticking with it. I have given it a good thinking over and have come to some conclusions that I would like to share with you.

When I first started vaping, I was very concerned that I wouldn’t get the nicotine I craved during the day. I told the guy at the B&M I went to in order  to purchase my first e-cig that I wanted the strongest nicotine strength he had available. I asked, and I received. The juice I was given was a 24mg tobacco flavor. Now I can’t blame the store owner because in my eyes he gave me what I asked for. To be honest, I couldn’t hold myself at blame either. I had no idea that the juice was going to be so strong that I couldn’t even take a good drag off of my e-cig. Long story short, my e-cig was shelved and I continued smoking, all the time having that bad experience in the back of my head. Let’s fast forward to the beginning of my career with MBV, and find out how I finally found my niche.

The beauty of working in a vape store is that you get to test out lots of different combos of flavors, hardware and nicotine levels. This gave me an opportunity to really get a grasp on which flavors I liked and didn’t like, and which nicotine strength worked best for me. After a short time of trying all the different strengths, I found that 12mg juice gave me the best results. I found that it provided the right amount of throat hit for me and that it didn’t make me dizzy or my throat sore. Once I coupled that with the right device, I quit smoking overnight. It really was that easy with the right amount of nicotine. But as I’ve said, it took me a while to get there.

One day, I got it into my head that I needed to decrease the amount I vaped in any given day. I figured, “if I raise my nicotine level, I won’t take so many puffs off of my e-cig.” How wrong I was in this type of thinking.

Just like any other substance, nicotine causes long term users to develop a tolerance to the chemical. Most users settle into a comfortable level and rate at which they ingest nicotine and don’t adjust to a higher rate of use when smoking cigarettes. What happens when you go from a lower nicotine strength to a higher one is that your body becomes tolerant to the higher nicotine e-juice. In other words, going to a higher nicotine strength to reduce the frequency that you vape will only normalize you to your new nicotine level, not make you vape less. My best advice to someone who is thinking about trying this: don’t, unless the goal is to require more nicotine.

Dropping your nicotine levels can be just as detrimental to your success with switching to vaping, unless you do it properly. If you are a 24mg vaper, dropping down to 6mg is almost guaranteed to not satisfy your craving and may make you want a cigarette. Dropping your nicotine must be a gradual process of systematically lowering the nicotine content of your juice. The best way to do this is to go by threes, meaning that you drop your nicotine strength 3mgs every three weeks. This allows your body to comfortably adjust to the changes you are making with your habits, as well as provide a nice, smooth transition into a lower strength e-juice. You may not always find a certain strength that you want when using the “threes” method, so you may need to buy a bottle of two different strengths and mix them to your desired strength.

Personally, I am quite happy with my 12mg juice and have had no desire to go up or down. If your goal isn’t to totally quit vaping and smoking, then there isn’t ever a reason to change your strength. Stick with what works for you if you are happy with it. If your plan is to quit vaping after you switch from cigarettes, hopefully this information helps.

You know what they say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.

You may also like our article on Vape Battery Safety!

Tim Mechling

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Melissa A says:

    This is good information for those of us looking to quit cigarettes. I haven’t had a cigarette in 48 days, I started with 2.4 mg, dropped 2 weeks later to 1.8, then to 1.2. I bought some .6 last week and my cigarette cravings have been rather strong since then. I think I tapered off too soon so I went back to 1.2 for the time being.

    • John Swanke says:

      I recently made the switch from 6mg to 3mg. I kept getting headaches and feeling sick so I figured it was time to taper down my nic level. Currently vaping on some 1mg juice, not quite ready to go 0 but I’m getting close. Great to hear that you’ve been cutting down on your nicotine. That’s what it’s all about!

  • chris says:

    My names chris. Ive recentley started vaping again. I bought a joyetech evic with an aspire nautilus tank which is perfect. Three years ago when i started i bought gourmet banana cream pie ejuice and the. Wuit but have started again and am determined to stick with it as i have an almost two year old son who need not see dad smoke his life away. My problem is that indy vapor shop here in indiana has to discontinue this flavor due to new regulations and i bought fifteen bottles of the last stock. I have since ordered ten more but these are 12 mg bottles. The other fifteen are 24. Im not really wanting to throw the fifteen bottles away. Id like to keep using them until they are gone. My question is if i can how can i lower the nicotine content on my 24 mg bottles so that i can vape them without feeling like im gonna die of nicotine posining? They dont have anything less than 12 mgs but the flavor is absolutley fantastic and i cannot for the life of me find a flavor that compares. Any advice would be great!

    • John Swanke says:

      You could order some non flavored base liquid without nicotine in it and try to dilute what you have down to a lower nicotine level. However, this will diminish the flavor. Always practice extreme caution when venturing into the DIY world.

  • Duane says:

    I purchase 12mg and zero mg and mix half and half to make my 6mg when my store is out of 6mg. For some reason they never run out of those two but I also notice that amount on the shelf never gets replenished on the 12 and zero mg. I think I am the only one that enjoys my favorite flavor except during Mardi Gra.

  • Sprocket Monkey says:

    Anyone know how I could take a 36 or 24 mg premixed ejuice and mix it with the same 6 mg ejuice to get a nicotine level of 18mg?

    • Tim Mechling says:

      This process is actually pretty tricky. I would research titration, and consulting perhaps a chemist before getting into diluting strong e liquid. DIY can be a very risky endeavor, and extreme caution should be exercised.

  • Mike says:

    I know you wrote this a few years ago, but since the vaping community has drastically increased this information is more relevant than ever. My vape shop has 60ml 70vg/30pg bottles of their in-house flavors buy 3 for the price of 2. A 60ml bottle is $18.99 tax. 3 60ml bottles will last me on average about 6 weeks (sometimes alpt more. I’m at 24mg strentgh and almost done with my 3rd bottle. My plan is drop down by 6mg every 6 weeks (or when I use up 3 bottles). Once I get to 6mg I plan on down to 2mg. Then I will stay on 2mg for 6 bottles or 12 weeks. After 12 weeks on 2mg I will quit vaping all together. The whole proccess should take me about 7 1/2 to 8 months. For those of us who started vaping as a healthier alternative To smoking, it doesn’t make much sense to permanently switch from one vice to another. Since we can accurately control are doses of nicotine with vaping, it makes much more sense to taper vaping then trying to cut back on cigarettes. I tried to taper off vaping once before. I cut down by 6 mg every two weeks. I made it down Two 1/4 of a 60 milliliter bottle would 12 mg of nicotine. I was doing great but then my e-cig broke. The e-cig was an Eleaf Pico with a melo III tank. The bottom screws came out of it and it fell apart. Before that I had 3 ego one (the far tube looking things by joytech) that all broke down over the course of 4 or 5 months. I was just so disgusted when my Pico broke I didn’t want to buy another e-cigarette. 12 mg was just too much 20 quit nicotine cold turkey. I finally decided to quit smoking again and vape. So I use some random screws to put my Pico back together.

  • Colleen a Currie says:

    I had to go down to 12 when I got my new mod was at 18

  • […] You may also like our article on adjusting nicotine strength! […]

  • Gerry says:

    Since I am an “older” vaper…and since nicotine is the only substance proven, so far, to possibly delay/prevent the onset of senile dementia/Alzheimer’s…I have NO interest in ever reducing the nicotine level of my e-juice.

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