In Part 1 titled “Where Does Nicotine Come From”, we looked into the history of nicotine and how it has evolved over the years. Now we’ll take a look at the nicotine content in the various forms of nicotine delivery systems, from tobacco cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapies to electronic cigarettes.
From Smoking to Vaping: Understanding Nicotine Content
Picking the right nicotine strength is crucial if you hope to give up smoking for vaping. Fortunately, the nicotine contents of e-liquids are usually listed right on the label, but how much nicotine is in cigarettes? The answer technically varies by brand, but more importantly, you need to understand how nicotine intake via smoking differs from nicotine consumption via vaping.
How Much Nicotine Does a Cigarette Have?
A better question than “how much nicotine does a cigarette have?” is “how much nicotine do smokers absorb into their bodies?” A typical cigarette contains between 10-20mg of nicotine, yet only about 1mg is actually absorbed into the body. The amount of nicotine in a smoker’s bloodstream has more to do with how often they smoke rather than which brand they prefer. The additional chemicals added to cigarettes act as fuel to deliver nicotine as quickly as possible.
Nicotine can seep into your bloodstream through your skin, lungs or mucous membranes located in your nose and mouth. People have been using nicotine replacement therapies, or NRTs, such as patches and lozenges for decades to ease the symptoms of tobacco withdrawal. E-cigarettes, which the FDA are now calling electronic nicotine delivery systems, are designed to closely mimic the act of smoking, yet the delivery method of nicotine has a significant impact on how it is absorbed into the body.
How Much Nicotine is in Nicotine Replacement Products?
Nicotine patches, on the other hand, work through skin contact and deliver nicotine in controlled quantities over a 24-hour period. They typically come in doses of 5-22mg. Nicotine gums and lozenges usually come in 2-4mg doses and have a more immediate effect as they are absorbed through the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays come in various doses, yet similar to cigarettes, only about 1-2mg is absorbed into the blood.
How Much Nicotine is in E-Cigarettes?
Now that we know how much nicotine is in cigarettes, let’s talk about their electronic counterparts. E-cigs and e-liquids come in different nicotine levels, which are measured in either milligrams or nicotine by volume (NBV). White Cloud products use NBV, and we have an extensive article about nicotine content to help explain why this is the more honest way to label e-liquids. The article also gives guidance for choosing the right nicotine strength based on your smoking habits.
Over the past few years, studies have emerged suggesting that vaping is a less effective nicotine delivery method than smoking, so vapers, on the whole, consume less nicotine per puff.
How Does Nicotine Affect the Body?
Every smoker knows that nicotine can calm them down; however, paradoxically, it actually stimulates the central nervous system. How is this possible? In the next installment of this series, Part 3, we’ll find out by exploring the effects of nicotine on the body.