Best Ways to Calculate How Many Cigarettes Are in My Vape

Best Ways to Calculate How Many Cigarettes Are in My Vape

Just how many cigarettes are in my E-Liquid?

10 May 2022 | Hannah Rubery

Best Ways to Calculate How Many Cigarettes Are in My Vape (Image)

For those looking to quit smoking and try vaping as a means of getting there, finding out how much you should vape can be quite important. With cigarettes you know how much you smoke; you smoke 10 cigarettes a day, 20 a day etc. Someone who smokes 20 or more a day might think their needed nicotine kick is too high for vaping to sate – but this is certainly not the case. Although it’s a little trickier to decipher the nicotine amount per puff and how much you should vape per cigarette, it’s possible to get a rough idea.

The basics of cigarettes and the nicotine in them

There’s a lot of debate around how to work this out – there are debates around just how much nicotine you get out of a cigarette! Generally, it’s suggested that cigarettes contain around 8mg to 20mg per cigarette, but don’t get too hasty – this is only the supposed amount and certainly not the amount you are likely to absorb. In fact, many researchers suggest that you absorb as little as 1 to 2mg of nicotine per cigarette! Let’s face it, burning tobacco is not the most efficient way to get a nicotine fix, let alone how harmful it is.

So, if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you’re looking to be absorbing around 20mg of nicotine a day. Likewise, if you smoke 10 cigarettes a day, you absorb around 10mg of nicotine a day. This gives us a little bit of groundwork to make a basis regarding how much you should vape. It’s important to mention that this is all speculative due to the difficulty of quantifying the two very different types of nicotine inhalation. With vaping it’s very easy to tell how much you’re vaping and the amount of nicotine you’re getting, but cigarettes don’t have a ‘set’ nicotine amount and can vary between batches and even per cig!

The basics of vaping and nicotine amount in E-Liquid

On a much simpler end of the scale, E-Liquid contains an obvious amount of nicotine per bottle/disposable. You have 10ml bottles that contain 20mg nicotine or Nic Salt, that strength is per ml. In other words, a 10ml bottle contains 200mg of nicotine in the whole bottle (10ml x 20mg).

Similarly, a disposable with a 2ml tank (the legal max size in the UK) with a 20mg nicotine or Nic Salt, thereby contains 40mg of nicotine in the entire disposable (2ml x 20mg).

Now there are many factors that can affect the amount of nicotine you absorb when vaping; the way you vape, MTL or DTL, the type of E-Liquid, the device you use, and even your own physiology! Some nicotine is naturally lost during the process of vaping, what one person considers a full drag on their vape could be less or more than someone else’s. But despite this we can roughly calculate how much nicotine you vape is the equivalent to how much you smoked.

Nicotine in E-Liquid (Image)

Working out the nicotine in cigarettes and in vapes

As mentioned before, our easy sums give us a rough estimate of how much nicotine we vape in comparison to smoking. If an average cigarette contains 1-2mg of nicotine that we actually absorb, we can do some simple maths.

The highest likely absorbed amount of nicotine from a cigarette is: 2mg x 20 cigarettes per day = 40mg. A 2ml disposable device of 20mg nicotine would be: 2ml x 20mg/ml = 40mg.

This suggests that a whole disposable is roughly around the same nicotine value as that of a pack of strong cigarettes. Therefore, if you buy any 10ml bottles of E-liquid in the various strengths such as 6mg/ml, this will total at a value of 60mg – so if you smoked a pack a day, a 10ml bottle is likely to last you over a day.

Where it gets technical

It’s important to know there’s some wiggle room involved with this sort of calculation. Vaping offers a much more efficient delivery method of nicotine than cigarettes but it’s not the same when it comes to absorption. Depending on how you vape, whether you take long deep puffs and the strength of your E-Liquid, the amount you absorb can vary. Therefore it was reported in research that vaping for an hour doesn’t deliver the equivalent of nicotine you would expect from a cigarette.

A study that looked at the latest E-Cigarettes in comparison to first-generation E-Cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, found some interesting results. Those that used an 18mg nicotine strength E-Liquid after 5 minutes of use, absorbed around one-third to one-fifth of the amount of nicotine compared to smoking. Therefore, it’s been noted that E-Cigarettes tend to deliver nicotine slower than tobacco cigarettes, so you may end up taking more puffs to get the desired amount of nicotine despite the seemingly high nicotine strength.

This could be due to cigarettes containing over 4000 additives that include those than specifically strengthen nicotine addiction. Whereas E-Liquids only contain PG (propylene glycol), VG (vegetable glycerine), nicotine and flavourings.

Cigarettes in a vape (Image)

Making it simple – the rule of thumb

With so many variables involved, most vaping experts have decided on a simple metric to especially help those making the initial switch to vaping.

It is suggested that those who smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day, should try 3-6mg/ml nicotine E-Liquids.

Those who smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day should try 6-12mg/ml nicotine E-Liquids.

Those who smoke a full pack of cigarettes a day are likely to benefit from 12-20mg/ml nicotine E-Liquids.

After vaping the chosen strength for some time, if it’s not delivering the needed nicotine hit then you probably need the higher bracket of strength i.e., someone who smokes half a pack a day but doesn’t get satisfied with 6mg/ml should try 12mg/ml instead. You can also try Nicotine Salts which offer a much stronger nicotine hit than traditional E-Liquids, and don’t give a harsh feeling in your throat.

The key to ensuring a good nicotine hit from vaping is to make sure that you take long, slow draws on your E-Cigarette. If you’re noticing that you’re vaping quite a lot, you may need to up your nicotine strength. Although you will more than likely vape more than you used to smoke, due to the slower intake of nicotine. If you find you can barely put your kit down, then a higher strength may be necessary. If you’re noticing that you’re getting frequent headaches or coughs when you take a puff, then your nicotine strength could be too high, and you may need to lower it.

Hopefully, this helps you decide a little more clearly which nicotine strength you should go for when looking to quit smoking. Quitting smoking can be hard but vaping offers a much safer alternative and is certainly a big step in quitting smoking, and even nicotine, in the end.