An Explanation of Nicotine Measurements

An Explanation of Nicotine Measurements

March 11, 2013

One of the most commonly asked questions by new vapers is, “Which nicotine strength should I use?” Before deciding how much nicotine you want to get out of your e-cigarette, it’s important to understand how nicotine content is appropriately measured. Unfortunately, some e-liquid manufacturers use different units of measurement in their marketing, which can confuse customers. At White Cloud, we always measure nicotine content as a percentage of the overall content inside our cartridges, yet other companies often advertise their nicotine strength in terms of milligrams. This post will explain why using a percentage gives a more accurate disclosure of nicotine strength and how to use this percentage to customize your vaping experience.


Why Measure Nicotine as a Percentage in E-Liquids?

Why Measure Nicotine Strength as a Percentage in E-Liquids?

Milligrams, or mg, are used to measure the mass of solid objects, while milliliters, or ml, is a measurement of liquid volume. Because e-liquids are fluids, their measurements should be given in ml, and nicotine content should be listed as a percentage by volume. Alcoholic beverages are marketed in this way: the ABV, or alcohol by volume, is the ratio of alcohol to other ingredients in the beverage. If a bottle of beer is advertised as 4 percent ABV, which means 4 percent of the total bottle’s content is alcohol, then each sip you take will contain 4 percent alcohol.

Likewise, the nicotine content of White Cloud’s light strength e-cig cartridges is 1.6 percent nicotine by volume, or NBV. The remaining 98.4 percent of e-liquid ingredients is a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerol, and flavoring. No matter how much liquid remains in the cartridge, every draw will contain exactly 1.6 percent nicotine by volume.

Related: Where Does Nicotine Come From?

The practice of using grams to measure nicotine potency began in China, where electronic cigarettes were first developed. Knowing the mass of the solid nicotine that was dissolved into the other liquid ingredients doesn’t tell you much, but you can actually figure out the percentage of nicotine by performing some simple math, provided you know the total mass of the e-liquid. If you divide the nicotine content by the total amount of liquid and move the decimal point two spaces to the right, you’ll arrive at the nicotine percentage. For example, if you have 1000mg of e-liquid advertised as containing 16mg of nicotine, then it contains 1.6 percent nicotine.


Nicotine Strength in E-cigs vs. Tobacco Cigarettes

Nicotine Strength in E-cigs vs. Tobacco Cigarettes

Since e-cigs deliver nicotine via vapor rather than smoke, studies have suggested that vapers absorb less nicotine per puff than smokers. And now that you know how nicotine is properly quantified in e-liquids, you’re ready to decide how much is right for you. If you’re switching to e-cigs to transition away from tobacco, your ideal nicotine strength depends more on how often you smoke tobacco cigarettes rather than which type of cigarettes you smoke. While how many mg of nicotine are in one cigarette all depends on the brand and ranges anywhere between 8-20mg, the CDC estimates that smokers absorb about 1mg of nicotine into their bloodstreams per cigarette, regardless of their preferred brand.

White Cloud e-liquids are available in 5 different nicotine strengths, along with nicotine-free. As a general rule, people who smoke less than a pack a day should stick to a lighter strength of nicotine. For example, casual smokers who smoke less than a pack a day would benefit from White Cloud’s Light strength, while social smokers who only smoke on occasion would benefit from our Ultra Light strength. Our Full Strength cartridges, which consist of 2.4 percent nicotine, are more appropriate for pack-a-day smokers, while heavier tobacco users might need to try Extra Strength, which is composed of 3.6 percent nicotine, or Double Extra strength, which delivers 5.4 percent nicotine per puff. The higher nicotine strengths are also perfect for those in search of a satisfying throat hit.

Related: What Exactly is a Throat Hit?

White Cloud Keeps It Simple For Vapers

White Cloud Keeps Nicotine Strength Simple

As you can see, using grams to quantify the nicotine content of an e-liquid can be confusing and even misleading. At White Cloud, we believe vaping should be simple, especially for those just starting out. Choosing a nicotine strength is one of the most important steps in making the switch to vaping, and understanding how nicotine content is measured is a vital factor in the process. Measuring nicotine by percentage takes the guesswork out of the process—so when you buy from White Cloud, you know exactly how much nicotine you’re getting from the first puff to the last.