When smokers switch to vaping, the main aim is to find a way to satisfy their nicotine cravings in a safer way. After all, nicotine is the addictive element in cigarettes - while the hundreds of other chemicals in the smoke are what cause a threat to smokers’ health.
However, many struggle at first - finding that even the highest available nicotine strength vape juice isn’t quite doing it for them. This was especially true in 2017 when the EU decided to ban 2.4% nicotine and set the legal limit at 2.0%.
Why you might need more nicotine from your vape than your cigarette
When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine is absorbed in the lungs.
But some scientists believe that when you vape, the nicotine is absorbed in your throat and airway passages.
The nicotine also appears to be absorbed more slowly (which might be one reason why vape devices appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes.)
For that reason, some vapers (especially those who have recently switched from tobacco cigarettes to vaping) need a higher-strength nicotine e-liquid.
Before the 2017 ban on 2.4% nicotine, there were around 200,000 people using nicotine strengths over 2% in the UK. Some were alarmed by the fact that these high nicotine strengths would no longer be available and fearful of reverting to smoking.
However, what many didn’t know is that there are plenty of ways to get more nicotine from vaping without going over the legal limit or having to reverie back to cigarettes.
In this post, I’m going to go over the easy ways to get more nicotine from your vape. I’m going to keep it simple, as many vapers who prefer high nicotine strengths (usually) use simple devices, and don’t need complicated explanations!
- Ways to get more nicotine from your vape
- Vapers are using less nicotine…
- Using lower resistance coils to get more nicotine
- Using increased power to get more nicotine
- Putting high power & low resistance together
- Using nicotine salts
- Using airflow with higher-powered vapes
- How to prime your coil
- Great devices for nicotine delivery
What determines how much nicotine you get from your vape?
There are three factors:
The first is obviously the nicotine strength of your vape juice.
The other two are the power of your device and the resistance and design of your coil.
To get more nicotine out of the same strength vape juice, you need to do two things.
- Decrease the resistance of your coil.
- Increase the power of your device.
We’ll explore both of those in a minute, but first it’s worth exploring their impact…
One fascinating trend over the last few years has been decreasing nicotine levels.
Many vapers who started on 2.4% nicotine (or higher) now use 0.6% or even 0.3% nicotine levels.
In 2016 we surveyed 1100 vapers to explore this trend further.
The results were fascinating.
27% of those interviewed had started using nicotine levels of 2.1% or above. But by the time we did the survey, that had decreased to just 6%.
I believe one of the factors in this fall in nicotine usage has been a trend to using lower resistance coils and higher powered batteries.
Inside your device’s tank or pod, there is a coil.
The coil is the part of the tank/pod that heats up and vaporises the e-liquid.
In order to generate more vapour and more nicotine, you need to lower the resistance of the coil.
Coil resistance is measured in ohms (Ω).
Broadly speaking, coils that produce the most vapour and most nicotine are those with the lowest resistance.
For a more in-depth explanation, see our Beginner’s Guide to Sub-Ohm Vaping.
There are two ways to increase the amount of power your device can deliver.
If you use a device with variable wattage (or voltage), you can simply increase the amount of power. This is usually controlled by plus/minus or up/down buttons.
If you prefer using a simpler device, you can simply buy a device that outputs a standard wattage that is higher than the one you currently use.
It’s important to remember that power and resistance go together.
Use high power without reducing resistance, and you risk burning out your coil.
Reduce the resistance of your coil without increasing power, and you won’t get much vapour.
So you need to increase power and decrease the resistance of your coil at the same time.
Many modern vape devices feature auto-coil recognition and Smart Mode - this means the device will automatically detect the resistance of the coil being used and set a suitable wattage/wattage range for that coil.
If your device doesn’t do this, recommended wattage ranges for different coils are usually written on the coil, and you can also find them on coil pages on E-Cigarette Direct.
If you increase the amount of nicotine you are getting, you may find that the throat hit gets too harsh. If that’s the case for you, you may want to try nicotine salts.
Nicotine salt e-liquids have become popular with vapers thanks to their smooth inhale and soft throat hit. Some people also find they deliver more nicotine than regular e-liquids (although this is rather a controversial point!)
Suited for use with lower-powered vape devices, nicotine salts use nicotine in its natural form. This allows the nicotine to be vapourised at lower temperatures and (possibly!) delivers the nicotine more effectively.
Nowadays, most vape devices, even the most basic starter kits, will come with adjustable airflow - allowing you to tailor the air intake of your device to create different kinds of inhale.
If you’re vaping at a higher power setting, you might want to open the airflow up. This cools down the vapour and allows for a more airy style of inhale.
However, if you prefer flavour to big clouds of vapour, you might want to keep your airflow tighter. See 10 Tips for Flavour Chasing Vapers for more information.
When you’re vaping at a higher power setting, it’s important to prime your coil.
This involves dripping a few drops of e-liquid into your coil and then leaving it to stand for a few minutes.
See our How to Prime a Coil guide for more information.
Most devices nowadays provide good nicotine delivery so it was hard to identify the ‘best’. Below you’ll find some good options of different types of vape devices that we would recommend for those looking to get the most nicotine from vaping.
|Device||Device Type||Vape Style||Suited to|
|Hexa Pro||Fixed coil pod||MTL||All experience levels|
|Aspire PockeX||Vape pen||MTL||All experience levels|
|Voopoo Drag S Pro||Pod mod||DL||Vapers with some experience|
|Vaporesso Target 100 & Target 200||Mod kit||DL||Intermediate to advanced|
|Smok Nord 4||Pod kit||MTL/DL||Vapers with some experience|
|Smok IPX 80||Pod mod||MTL/DL||Vapers with some experience|
ASH’s lack of concern for 200,000 vapers is staggering, Vapers In Power, May 2016
New EU rules on nicotine strength not a problem for most vapers, Action on Smoking and Health, May 2016
Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction Royal College of Physicians
Fagerstrom K., Dependence on tobacco and nicotine, Nicotine Policy, Dec 2013