- Created: 17 February 2015
I wanted to revisit this because in the four years since I first wrote about this everything has changed. Increased wattage and atomizers that vaporize a lot more juice have made all past wisdom on this topic irrelevant.
For the first four and a half years I vaped, I vaped 18mg juice. I could comfortably vape 24mg provided I didn't chain vape it all day. I could tell the difference between 18mg and 16mg, and 16mg never scratched the itch for me. I was never able to step down my nic content below 18mg, but for me 18mg was a success because it kept me off cigarettes and it never made me nic sick no matter how much I vaped.
On modern hardware, and for me that means RDAs and sub ohm RTAs, you have to step your nicotine level way down. I knew this going in, so when I finally joined the rest of you in the 21st century I ordered 6mg juice. Still too high for me. It seemed crazy to me that I would get nic sick off something as low as 6mg, but on days I was at home and my device never far from hand it was just too much.
FYI, I have an above average tolerance to nicotine. I may have traded in the death sticks for vaping four and a half years ago, but I still use nasal snuff and enjoy a cigar after dinner. It's been my experience that both of those forms of nicotine use constitute a higher level of nicotine delivery than any other form. I have to watch myself with the snuff. If I reach for it too often I get nic sick. I never get nic sick from enjoying a cigar, but when I first started smoking them they flat out made me buzzed in a way I hadn't felt since I first started smoking cigarettes all those years ago, and I could tell that cigars had way more nicotine than any other form of tobacco I'd ever used.
So I was pretty shocked to get nic sick off 6mg. Crazy. Ok then, 3mg ordered. Selection of 3mg juices arrive, and again, if I'm home all day and vaping throughout the day, I can feel the nic with 3mg. I don't want to feel it, that means I'm getting too much. Not getting nic sick like with 6mg, but still getting a little agitated and sensitive to noise, edgy. 3mg actually works for me on a day when I'm not home much and don't have a chance to chain vape, I can tolerate it fine for shorter periods of use.
Next step for me is to order some 2mg juice. Why bother right? It's such a small amount. Well if you think about it, stepping down to 2mg from 3mg represents a 33.3% decrease in nicotine content. I haven't ordered any yet, because very few vendors allow you to request 2mg juice, and I haven't got back into making my own yet, although that's probably where I'm heading. Anyway, I am guessing that 2mg is the level at which I'll be able to mindlessly vape as much as I want, get my nic itch scratched, and not have to worry about getting nic sick. If not, there's always 1.5mg.
This is me vaping around 30w on a Kanger Subtank Mini. Mrs. Dr. Vapenstein enjoys 10mg on her Kayfun v4 at 10w, so your equipment greatly determines what nic level you'll be comfortable with. All of our hardware now has vastly different abilities to vaporize juice, and you need to tailor your nic level to your equipment and your body. If I'm vaping my Troll RDA, which is the best atty I've ever used btw, I could vape 1.5mg or even 1mg. 3mg in the Troll is great for getting a nic fix, but no way to chain vape.
Four years ago we had just a few attys and a few resistance levels to choose from. Our vaping experience was much more similar from vaper to vaper. Today you may be vaping a KFL+ comfortably at 12mg while I am getting nic sick on 3mg on my Troll. Your atomizer and power preferences will have a profound impact on the nic level you use. It's harder to dial in your nic level, and you may have to experiment a bit to get it right.
On the plus side, the vape on today's gear is so much better than we had four years ago. I still have a Joye 306LR on my Silver Bullet in the car, and vaping it I wonder how we ever made it through that era. Today's gear scratches the itch in a big way, delivers juicy, saturated flavor that is an answer to my prayers, and generates thick, dense vapor. Vaping is super satisfying now, and I haven't had a bad vaping day yet, where I used to have them all the time on the old gear. Putting up with the old crap we had for as long as we did has finally paid off. Vaping surpasses smoking in core satisfaction. It never feels like a compromise now.
You may have to work a little to find your nic level, but don't give up. The right hardware with the right nic level makes vaping fantastic in a way I never dreamed of back in the old days.