Each year we know that roughly 76,000 people die from cigarette habits. Organisations like the NHS are trying to put a stop to that by offering services and alternative products that can help smokers quit. One of those recommended products is e-cigarettes, which also contain nicotine (an addictive substance) like cigarettes.
But there has always been a real curiosity about how much nicotine is actually in each vape kit. Compared to cigarettes, which are not only bad for your health but always have a distinctive smell and taste (impacting the senses of humans who smoke), vaping is available in different flavours and formats.
Recently, there has been a surge in the popularity of disposable vaping. But with a TPD regulations maximum capacity set of 2ml per disposable, just how much nicotine is inside each puff bar?
The Amount of Nicotine in a Cigarette
Studies over the years have varied with results regarding nicotine levels within each individual stick contained in an average 20 pack of cigarettes. Generally, the consensus is that most cigarettes contain between 11.9 mg and 14.5 mg per stick, but not all of that is absorbed.
This is because the concentration is diluted due to varying factors, such as the nicotine content itself, how a person puffs a cigarette, individual frequency of smoking and the design of the product. So in fact, it’s typically closer to 1-1.5mg of nicotine actually inhaled and absorbed per cigarette.
It’s important to know this so we can figure out as close an estimate as possible in comparison to absorbing nicotine through vaping. What’s important to note between the two is the other chemicals absorbed into the body.
While there is still limited research into long-term use, we know that e-cigarettes contain a mixture of nicotine, flavourings, vegetable glycerin and/or propylene glycol. Whereas cigarettes contain up to 5,000 different toxins and chemicals, many of which are dangerous to the body, including combustible tobacco and other carcinogens.
Nicotine derived from the tobacco plant is the addictive substance that keeps somebody smoking or vaping. Importantly, with an e-liquid compared to a cigarette, it’s much clearer what the nicotine level is per vape juice, and even more importantly, you can reduce that level yourself by selecting a reduced nicotine strength or even zero percent nicotine.
How Much Nicotine in E-Liquids and How is This Measured?
The mathematics is simple to work out how much nicotine is in a vape juice bottle. As stated previously, it’s illegal to sell a vape juice bottle containing nicotine of a quantity larger than 2ml. You can buy 50ml or 100ml shortfill bottles, where you can add a nicotine shot yourself, but the larger bottle does not contain nicotine.
As a rule of thumb, nicotine with e-liquids is measured per millilitres. Therefore, with a maximum limit of 20mg nicotine strength, whether traditional freebase nicotine or using a nicotine salt formula, 20mg/ml vape juice equates to 40mg of nicotine in a 2ml bottle.
Other strengths include 3mg, 6mg, 10mg, 12mg and 18mg per ml, so you always multiply by two to get the total nicotine concentrate per bottle.
If a smoker puffs between 1-1.5mg of nicotine per stick, the maximum amount of nicotine that person will inhale is 30mg per pack.
Complete levels of absorption research on nicotine from vaping are at early stages but highlight increased absorption compared to smoking. Rough estimates show that vaping a 2ml e-liquid at 20mg strength equates to smoking one or two packs of cigarettes.
A Disposable Vape Comparison to Cigarettes
With disposable vapes, they are often sold in 2ml capacity with 20mg nic salts (aimed at heavy smokers). But you can also find them in 10mg options, which is better for social smokers looking to quit.
What you get is a higher concentration of nicotine with a 20mg disposable, and because it’s created with the nicotine salt process, that means quicker absorption into the bloodstream and smoother delivery.
Because the equivalency of a 20mg nic salt is one to two packs of cigarettes, you get roughly the same level of nicotine in one compact device and nowhere near the dangerous chemicals and toxins in your system.
In mathematical terms, if you puff on a cigarette between 10-15 times before discarding it, even at the maximum amount of 15 puffs for a disposable, with an average disposable vape allowing 600 puffs, that’s equal to two packs of cigarettes.
With disposables from the likes of Elf Bar, Elux and Geek Bar, they’re considered convenient entry-level devices with sweeter e-liquid flavours that acts as a transitional device between smoking and vaping a more cost-effective pod kit or vape pen in the future.
You’ll still get a like-for-like nicotine habit, with less of the dangerous toxins and sweeter flavours to match (with it more than likely your senses will begin to return after quitting smoking).
For a cheaper price than a packet of cigarettes and a safer alternative for your health, it’s a win-win switching from smoking to vaping, with equal amounts of nicotine available for a fraction of the price.