With over 5 years within the vaping industry, Ian has amassed a wealth of knowledge that is unparalleled throughout the industry. His knowledge extends beyond e-liquids and devices, but covers safety and compliance as well as best practice and more to name but a few.
If you have recently chosen to try vaping as your alternative to smoking, you may be asking yourself a very common question - How many hits on my vape equates to smoking a cigarette? As a new vaper this is an understandable question, as you will naturally want your chosen vape to at least match the satisfaction felt from traditional cigarettes.
The answer is not black and white nor is it easily defined. Vaping and smoking share some similarities in that they are both methods of nicotine delivery that require the inhalation of vapour or smoke respectively. Despite this, there are a number of different factors that can massively impact the effectiveness of your chosen vape, especially when benchmarking against a cigarette.
You cannot simply say “20 puffs on this vape device is equal to one cigarette”. The type of e-liquid, the device you choose and the subtleties of your personal vaping technique will all influence how close the two experiences feel.
Matching Nicotine Strengths to Your Needs
The most important thing to consider when attempting to find an e-liquid that matches the satisfaction you expected from a cigarette, is the nicotine strength.
E-liquids are available in a variety of strengths, measured in milligram per milliliter (mg/ml) often shortened to just ‘mg’. The most common strengths on the market today are 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg like those in the EDGE core range. Some e-liquids also go up to 20mg, which is the legal maximum available in the UK, however these are most commonly nic salt e-liquids, which you can learn more about here.
Ideally, to replicate the fulfilment you experienced from smoking you should choose an e-liquid with a nicotine strength that is representative of the intensity of your old smoking habit. If you are unsure of how best to judge this, we will break it down below.
If you were a heavy smoker before deciding to try vaping, your body will naturally crave a much higher level of nicotine before feeling fulfilled.
In order to achieve this same satisfaction from a vaping product, choosing the higher nicotine strength e-liquids is a good place to start.
18mg e-liquids are a popular starting point for many ex-smokers, particularly those who maintained a more intense smoking regime before making the switch. Despite this, the naturally harsher throat-hit of an 18mg vape can be off-putting for some, even those who smoked heavily.
Choosing a menthol or ice type e-liquid flavour like our EDGE Very Menthol can help to reduce the harshness of an 18mg throat hit, however these flavours will not always be to everyone’s taste.
For those who require a higher strength product to meet their needs but do not enjoy the associated throat-hit, nic salt e-liquids are a great alternative. They are made using a specially modified nicotine that has a neutral pH. This means they can offer the satisfaction of a high-strength e-liquid, but with a much smoother vaping experience. You can discover the science behind nic salts in our blog, or browse the EDGE GO Smooth collection.
Those who maintained a smoking habit of moderate intensity may still gravitate towards or even be recommended to try vaping an 18mg e-liquid as their first port-of-call. In reality this is not necessarily the best choice.
While it must be remembered that each individual's experience when experimenting with vaping will be different, regardless of their previous smoking intensity, the volume of nicotine delivered by an 18mg e-liquid may far exceed that of a moderate smoking habit.
An average cigarette can contain anywhere from 6 to 12mg of nicotine*. Of this total not all is absorbed when smoking which means the true volume taken into your body will actually be even lower. Therefore even in the worst case of a 12mg cigarette, an 18mg e-liquid provides more nicotine throughout the day than the cigarettes used to. This risks intensifying your addiction unnecessarily.
With this in mind, if you had a moderate smoking intensity, a 12mg e-liquid would be a more sensible option as a starting point on a new vaping journey. Equally, a 10mg nic salt e-liquid provides an even smoother alternative for those looking for a mid-strength product without the throat hit.
If you only consumed a minimal amount of cigarettes each day, higher strength e-liquids will almost certainly far exceed your needs.
6mg is a very common starting strength for new vapers who do not typically experience excessive cravings. E-liquids in the lower strength-bands are naturally much smoother than 12 or 18mg, however this does not mean they will be to everyone’s taste.
If the latter applies to you, 3mg provides some nicotine still, but is objectively far smoother than any other strength. However the nicotine provided is minimal, so observe your usage levels, as you may find that in order to achieve the same satisfaction as your old cigarettes, you may end up vaping a 3mg e-liquid at an excessive rate.
While not typically the first e-liquid variety a new vaper would choose, opting for lower strengths means High-VG (HVG) e-liquids like our EDGE Max or Base ranges are a viable option. These are only available in 3 or 6mg, but are made with a far greater volume of Vegetable Glycerol which helps them to produce much bigger clouds of vapour. To find out more about the ingredients in our e-liquids and how they work check out our blog.
Should you decide to experiment with HVG e-liquids, please note that you will need to ensure you are using a suitable sub-ohm device. If you want to learn more about these options and where to start, head to our Best Practice Guide: How to Vape Properly.
The Right Device
While the nicotine strength of your e-liquid will ultimately have the biggest influence on how much the experience replicates the satisfaction of a cigarette, the vaping device you use can be very influential.
There are many devices available for you to purchase but the type of e-liquid you choose to try can reduce your options and make the decision easier.
If you enjoyed the tight, filtered draw resistance offered when inhaling through a cigarette, then it is likely that you will find greater satisfaction from cartomisers or pod systems like our EDGE GO and HYBRID.
These devices are smaller and often travel-friendly, which is also true of cigarettes, which can easily fit into a pocket or bag. They do however offer less variation than larger mods or pod-mods, with fewer customisable controls.
Devices with such features can be tailored to your vaping preferences including variable coil types, power output and airflow. This customisation may assist in making the vaping experience more reminiscent of smoking, however this is a subjective personal choice. Many new vapers find that these controls are surplus to requirement, and simpler options are a more typical starting point.
Making the Switch
If you are considering making the switch and experimenting with vaping, then please visit our Making the Switch page where you can learn everything you need to know to make an informed choice, see if vaping is right for you and if so, how to start your journey the right way.