November 21, 2017 Nicotine E-JuiceNZ

Understanding Nicotine in E-Juice – An Expert’s Guide

Nicotine is a common ingredient in e-juices. Expect a certain amount of it in e-liquid of e-cigarettes, skin patches, and definitely in the good old cigarettes (that’s just a figure of speech, good old cigarettes are not good at all, they’re bad). This is the culprit behind cigarette craving. Although this is a vital ingredient, there’s a lot that goes into incorporating a flavor in an e-juice with nicotine.


What Exactly is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a nitrogen rich chemical. It is also a stimulant that’s found in the nightshade family of plants. It is especially found in the leaves of nicotiana rustica and the amounts in here can range between 2 to 14 per cent.



Nicotine has a high addiction liability and may be consumed in various ways; orally, inhalation, and through the skin. In tobacco, nicotine constitutes to 0.6%-3.0% of its dry weight. Traces of nicotine are also found in edible plants, for instance red pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, and egg plant, as they belong in the nightshade family. However, this is not in harmful levels enough to need you to steer clear. In a gram of these edible plants, the nicotine level is as low as 0.00002% hence posing no harm.

Nicotine is highly addictive. It acts initially as a stimulant when taken in small doses then quickly depresses when consumed in large doses. People who are addicted to cigarettes, which contain high levels of nicotine, may switch to e-cigarettes which still satisfy their craving but can be in significantly smaller doses. Smokers who wish to quit their addiction to nicotine with the help of e-cigarettes will find our article on quitting the smokes with e-cigarettes very helpful.


How is Synthetic Nicotine Made?

Originally, nicotine was purely used in tobacco. However through vast research, it was discovered that people could still enjoy the highs of nicotine without having to suffer the extreme consequences associated with traditional cigarettes.

synthetic nicotine in test tubeNZ


Nicotine e-liquid can be produced synthetically using the same chemical formula as the plant based nicotine. It is just as addictive, satisfies the craving, but rules out most harmful disadvantages. Synthetic nicotine is used in e-cigarettes and makes it a healthier choice compared to smoking the real cigarettes. With e-cigarettes, you don’t have to worry about charcoal black lungs, second hand smoke, stained teeth, foul breath and such. These detrimental consequences are a result of predominantly the tar, but also the thousands of other chemicals found in traditional cigarettes.

Did you know that synthetic nicotine has a blunt taste? Yes it does taste pretty much like nothing. At times an off plant taste may be present but is perfectly masked by sweetness and strong flavors. With all the vast benefits associated with synthetic nicotine and the process involved in its production, you should expect e-cigarettes to be pricier than the old fashioned cigarettes, however the opposite is true. Overall, e-cigarettes are far cheaper than traditional cigarettes.


How is Nicotine Used in the Making of E-Juices?

The making of an e-juice is as personalized as baking cookies. You can add a secret ingredient or use different measurements of ingredients to achieve a desired result.


Nicotine is a key ingredient in the making of e-cigarettes. It is used in diluted form and it actually has a taste, odor and color. The higher the quantity of the diluted nicotine vape juice, the more intense the taste will be. Therefore, companies aim at keeping the nicotine level low to prevent this. When used in high concentration, nicotine is a harmful substance regardless of how its absorbed, either through skin contact or inhalation.

Nicotine Drops into E-juice BottlesNZ


What are the Different Nicotine Content Levels in E-Liquids?

When it comes to using nicotine in e-juices, it is important to keep it in mind that a little goes a long way. In order to easily get a specific strength per volume, 100mg/ml measurements of diluted nicotine are used in the industry. It is believed to make the math a bit easier.


What is Nicotine Blended with?

1. PG/ VG

Nicotine e-juice not used on its own. For that classic taste, it is blended with propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG) so expect to see these symbols on the list of ingredients. The term dilutent or more precisely and correctly diluent, is also used to describe it.

2. Flavors

These are also included in the list of ingredients. These come in a variety: candy flavors, tobacco flavors, soda flavors, fruit flavors to suit different users with varying preferences. It is important to note that the flavors in nicotine vape juice are specifically designed for inhalation which makes them suitable. Expect to find nicotine e-liquid flavors in the ratios of 5%-15%. However, it is not uncommon to find these flavors in the ratio of 20+% which isn’t ideal. Some flavorings are stronger than others and thus less is required when preparing e-juices for consumption. Here at Vape Juice NZ flavorings are around 8-10%. The tobacco flavors are a little stronger than the fruit, candy, and beverage flavorings, and so consequently, a lesser percentage is used.




Available Nicotine Strengths

E-juice with nicotine is available in a variety of strengths depending on the manufacturer. In this industry, the strength of e-liquid is measured by mg/ml. You may even find it as high as 36-42 mg/ml. The high strength 20 to 25 mg/ml is considered ideal for heavy smokers (probably 20 is best, as 25 is for particularly heavy smokers). 10 to 15 mg/ml is ideal for moderate smokers, and 0 mg/ml to 5 mg/ml is ideal for people who are trying to quit or those who simply enjoy vaping for its flavors. All the e-liquids for sale on our website are available in varying nicotine strengths.

You may refer to the following guide to determine which nicotine e-juice strength is suitable for you.

  1. Zero Percent – People who have never smoked and do not have an addiction to nicotine, or people who have already been reducing their nicotine intake and have now got to the stage where nicotine is no longer required. If you can handle e-juice without any nicotine at all then this is without doubt the most ideal vaping scenario of them all. If it is just for the flavors that e-juice appeals to you then zero nicotine e-juices are for you.
  2. 5% – This low percentage nicotine strength is ideal for those who have been reducing their nicotine intake slowly and may be transitioning from a slightly higher nicotine percentage (probably 10%). It is also appropriate for people who were just occasional or very light smokers. 5% nicotine is also ideal to be used with high powered vape devices, particularly sub ohm box mods. Low nicotine percentages in these types of e-cigarette devices is necessary to prevent foul tasting hits. These foul tasting extremely strong sensations happen because the nicotine is being delivered too rapidly while extremely hot. When it gets this hot a further chemical reaction takes place which produces this extremely unpleasant sensation. We recommend no more than 7ml/mg nicotine strength for such high powered devices. Our 5% nicotine e-juices are perfect for high powered e-cigarette devices.
  3. 10-15% – This range is in the moderate or medium level nicotine strengths. This is an ideal strength for those who have been tapering down their nicotine intake and who were previously using high strength nicotine e-liquids. Our 10- to 15 mg nicotine e-juice range can also be the ideal amount for anybody, especially if you were a moderate smoker beforehand. Even heavy smokers often enjoy the mid range nicotine levels in e-juices. I recommend this rang particularly for the tobacco flavored e-juices, as often the taste of tobacco can make up for the lesser amount of nicotine. The ideal e-juice nicotine strength is usually found after a little experimenting.
  4. 20-25% – This range of nicotine strengths is our strongest and it is most suited to those who were previously heavy smokers. If you were a heavy smoker and are attempting to quit the habit with the aid of electronic cigarettes and vape juice then this high strength range is perfect to begin your vaping experience with. The high strength range of 20 to 20 mg/ml mimics the nicotine content in an average analog cigarette. so starting with this level of nicotine with your e-juice will be close to what you’re used to. From there, you can begin to slowly decrease your nicotine strengths over time.

As stated earlier, it is important to understand that e-juice nicotine strengths are labeled as a certain percentage per 100 ml/mg of the entire e-juice content. This percentage is already a diluent. In other words it has already been diluted with PG or VG before it is even added into the e-juice mixture. So, in real and precisely accurate terms, the actual nicotine in any strength label is actually considerably less. For example, an e-juice labeled as 15 mg/ml or 15% nicotine strength is really only 1.5 % or 1.5 mg/ml per 100ml pure nicotine.


Dangers Associated with Nicotine

Nicotine to some extent is a harmful substance. It is highly addictive and enslaves you to smoking. What used to be one cigarette a day ends up being more with time. Although it is guilty of triggering the crave, it is the other ingredients (mostly tar) in cigarettes that puts you at risk of diseases, for instance cancer, gum disease, impotence and bad breath. Did you know there are over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins found in cigarette smoke? They include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. See this quit smoking report for more info.

However nicotine is not entirely blameless. If you have a tumor, nicotine may increase its size. This puts you at risk of the complications associated with the type and location of the tumor. In some cases, doctors advise their patients to quit or reduce cigarette smoking during the recovery period.

There are some cases where people experience nausea during and or after smoking. Nicotine is responsible for this. Cutting back on it may ease up this feeling.

It is also important to note that nicotine may increase the risk of H pylori infection.

Nicotine is an extremely potent substance in its pure form and if not diluted enough can be potentially very dangerous. In fact, it would only take a tablespoon of an e-juice with a particularly high percentage of pure nicotine in it (8-10%) to potentially kill an adult.

Here at Vape Juice NZ we take nicotine seriously. Great care is taken when preparing our e-liquids to make sure only safe levels of nicotine are used (even in our highest level nicotine e-juices). We strongly advise to keep your e-juices out of reach from children, in fact we demand you do so. If a child swallowed the contents of a higher strength nicotine e-liquid, they would become very sick… so take it seriously!

Many e-juice flavors will be appealing to children especially the candy flavored ones. For example, if you leave your candy flavored e-juice bottle on the table, a child could easily sniff it out and think YUM I think I’ll eat that! (and if it’s a high strength nicotine version and the child swallows the whole thing, they will get poisoned)


If by chance your child does swallow a significant amount of nicotine e-juice you should call the New Zealand National Poisons Centre immediately. Phone 0800 764 766.

Nicotine poisoning should be treated like any other type of poisoning. When helping someone who may have been affected by nicotine toxicity, the first thing to do is make sure they’re safe. If they’re conscious, have them sit still while you call for help. If they’re not conscious, make sure they lie on their side. This prevents the possibility of choking on vomit. You should never encourage them to force themselves to vomit after a poison exposure. You also shouldn’t give them any food or liquids.

NZ Poison Center HOTLINE – Call 0800 764 766

It is important to adhere to the legal requirements of age restriction which means only adults 18 years and over are allowed to consume or purchase tobacco products which includes e-juice with or without nicotine.


Surprising Benefits of Nicotine

You’ll be surprised to learn that nicotine actually has some proven benefits in your body. For starters, nicotine promotes wakefulness especially when consumed in the morning. It also comes in handy when promoting creativity, motivation as well as alertness by changing the electrical activity of the brain.

Nicotine improves attention, boosts your memory and sharpens your motor skills.

Girl vaping e-juice with clouds


It is also known to help with ADHD. Furthermore, it can prevent and aid in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a powerful anti inflammatory and in some cases reduces pain.

Diabetics will be impressed to learn that nicotine helps in insulin and weight control. It is also helpful in repairing tissues.

When using nicotine in e-juices, it is important to understand all that’s associated with this vital ingredient. Too much and it will alter the taste of the e-juice and get the user more hooked. Pay attention to the labels when considering the nicotine percentage. It is possible to get the ratios in the nicotine e-liquid incorrect as a starter but with time, you’re likely to get it right.

NOTE# If you are relatively new to vaping and don’t really know what strength nicotine to get, I recommend you get something that mimics what you are used to from your previous cigarette habit. That would be 10-15% nicotine for medium to casual smokers, and 20-25% for previously heavy smokers. From there you can make it either stronger or weaker on your next purchase depending on how you found your first purchase. It is normal for a little experimenting to find one that is just right for you. That goes for flavors too. I myself started with the tobacco flavored e-juices , and then I tried a few fruit flavored ones. I eventually discovered that the blueberry flavored e-juice at 15% nicotine strength was my overall favorite e-juice, and that’s what I used ever since.

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One thought on “Understanding Nicotine in E-Juice – An Expert’s Guide

  1. Great article. I’ve always wondered about the nicotine in e-juice. Thanks for your informative description. Now I know a lot more than I did before.

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