Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Team Spinfuel

How And Why Nicotine Is Vital To Vaping
How And Why Nicotine Is Vital To Vaping

The 2014 Spinfuel Guide to Vaping – Part 1: Nicotine is Vital

Terms You Will Need To Know: AnalogsTobacco Cigarettes VapersPeople who use eCigarettesVapeThe Act of VapingVapingIdentical to smoking, only instead of tobacco you’re breathing in vapor.

As someone who left analog cigarettes behind a long time ago it is depressing to learn that other people, new vapers mostly, are having a difficult time letting go of tobacco. Today, in part one of a multi-part series called Spinfuel’s 2014 Guide To Vaping I will discuss a few sure-fire ways in which new vapers can, and will, be successful in making the switch to electronic cigarettes and never go back to tobacco.

The first thing a new vaper having trouble letting go of analogs must believe is that he or she is not alone. The problem isn’t nearly as uncommon as you think. While electronic cigarettes can replace your analog habit, it is far from the simple task of throwing your ciggies away and picking up a starter kit at Walgreens or buying a disposable at your local Hess station. It takes a bit of preparation to do it successfully, and sadly, preparation takes effort.

I believe marching into a store and choosing an eCigarette, rechargeable or disposable, ‘out of the blue’ is probably the worst way to make the switch.

The key to successfully quitting analogs by way of electronic cigarettes is to understand the vital role nicotine plays. Sure, plenty of people vape zero-nicotine eLiquids, but if you are a smoker and you’re going to use electronic cigarettes as a tool to quit to smoking, then understanding the vital role nicotine plays is paramount. The other vital player in all this is ‘time’, and I’ll get to that later.

The Truth About Nicotine

A lot has been said about nicotine over the years. It was once thought that nicotine was the cancer-causing chemical in cigarettes. Nicotine is not a carcinogen. There are actually several beneficial aspects to nicotine. Nicotine is not the enemy.


There is a war on nicotine raging right now in every country where electronic cigarettes are making headway. The ones waging this war are; Big Tobacco, who want to control eCigarettes, Big Pharma, who want to kill eCigarettes outright, and two-faced ‘politicians’ who want to perform a magic trick with eCigarettes; they want to both ban them and tax them… at the same time. There are other ‘ancillary’ enemies fighting nicotine too, but they are mostly zealots and the uninformed. The ‘crazies’, as I like to call them.

The Collaborators

In every war there are people that help the ‘other side’ out of a need for survival. They are, for the lack of a better word, cowards. Collaborators put their needs ahead of everyone else just to remain alive. Whatever integrity they may have had flies out the window the moment they are threatened. The following collaborators in the war over nicotine and eCigarettes are the same ones that collaborate with government and big money.

The Press

In the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, and other “first world” countries you will never learn the truth (about anything really) from the so-called “free press”, or “mainstream press”. Journalism is dead. We should have all learned by now that you never look for the truth from media outlets. Powerful people are paying big money to see that their truth, their ‘agenda’ is being disseminated to ‘we the people’, while the ‘true-true’ is swept under the rug. This isn’t limited to nicotine or eCigarettes; it’s true for most things. It used to be said that “knowledge is power”, but that’s no longer true. Information is power, and those who control the information control us all.

Back To Nicotine

Now, I say this is a war over nicotine because if all eLiquids were nicotine free who would doubt that eCigarettes would be anything other than a curiosity, a new toy, or a fad? Without nicotine no one could make a connection between smoking and vaping, between eCigarettes and Cigarettes. Without nicotine smokers wouldn’t bother with eCigarettes. Without nicotine eCigarettes wouldn’t be a 3-billion dollar industry. Nicotine is key to the benefits of eCigarettes, and the main point of contention from the other side.

Now that I’ve laid the foundation on why the truth about nicotine is seldom told I’ll cut through the bullshit and lay it out in simple language. In words of Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas, I’ll give you the ‘true true’ on nicotine.

Nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine. Period.

Science has studied nicotine for years and years and has come to the conclusion (as much as science can, I mean, there are scientists that believe string theory and scientists who believe in loop quantum gravity theory, two opposite views on the fabric of reality) that nicotine is rather harmless in its natural state. But, without boring you to tears reiterating study after study, let’s just use a little common sense instead. If you want to read the studies, Google them.

For some people nicotine is extremely addictive when chemically altered for use in cigarettes, cigars, and sometimes even in loose tobacco for rolling your own smokes. For other people nicotine is not addicting. Even the altered nicotine found in cigarettes can be non-addictive to some people. That’s why certain people can quit cigarettes effortlessly and some are addicted for life. A genetic predisposition for addiction in general plays a big part as well.

Nevertheless, Nicotine, like Caffeine, is a stimulant. Both nicotine and caffeine are mild, harmless stimulants for people in generally good health.

Nicotine in eCigarettes

If you’ve decided to ditch tobacco cigarettes (analogs) by way of ‘vaping’ (using electronic cigarettes) then surely nicotine is vital to your success in leaving analogs behind.

The presence of nicotine, however, is just the beginning. Adding a pinch of nicotine solution to eLiquid means nothing. What does mean something is the amount of nicotine in e-Liquid.

For instance: If you were a heavy smoker, 2 packs a day and up, you will require a higher nicotine strength in your ‘eLiquid’ in order to replace the nicotine your body has been consuming for so long. If you vape eLiquid with less nicotine than you need then you’ll most likely feel the urge to smoke despite your use of eCigarettes. Vape eLiquid with too much nicotine and you’ll feel nauseous, get headaches, and probably feel anxious and shaky.

To be successful with eCigarettes you must tailor the amount of nicotine to meet “your” needs.

Despite what you might have read elsewhere (including here in Spinfuel) there is no magic chart to find out what nicotine strength you will need when you first begin to “vape” eCigarettes.

What works for this person might not work for that person, that’s just the way it is. So, if you want to be successful, if you want to throw away your tobacco products you need to determine two things; the amount of nicotine in your eLiquid, and how long your ‘vape sessions’ are. Since no one has made an eLiquid with the exact nicotine level you need, the only adjustment, other than determining the nearest strength you need, is to adjust the time you spend vaping.

When I talk about the ‘exact nicotine level you need’ I mean this: If, as a smoker, you took a smoke break for 5 minutes, felt completely sated until your next smoke break, then however much nicotine your body absorbed would be your ‘exact’ or ‘proper’ amount of nicotine you need to absorb while vaping for the same amount of time. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much impossible today.

Before we move on, a word about any advice I give. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a journalist, and I’m not even an expert. What I am is someone that has been neck deep in the world of electronic cigarettes for two and a half years and I’ve converted, in real life, at least 25 people from smokers to vapers. I have a firm handle on what works for most people, and what doesn’t. So, with that, let’s continue.

Determining nicotine strength

Cig-a-likes – There is only one reason to use a cig-a-like as your primary electronic cigarette; to quit inhaling everything except ‘air’. Remember, I said ‘primary’. After two years I still own and use cig-a-likes, but my primary eCigarette is much, much, bigger. I’ll explain why I keep cig-a-likes around a little later.

Unless money is no object the first electronic cigarette you should buy is a cig-a-like. I own and use three cig-a-like starter kits; Blu Cigs, 777 eCigs, and a Halo G6. I recommend the new, inexpensive, Blu Cigs starter kit ($34.99) as your first introduction to vaping because their prefilled cartomizers have American made, Johnson Creek formulated eLiquid in them, and the kit is the least expensive. Below I’ve laid you exactly what you get with that $35 starter kit.

Most reputable brands offer starter kits that come with a few prefilled cartomizers, usually five. Whether you choose low (6-8mg), medium (12mg), or high nicotine (18-24mg) for your ‘kit cartomizers‘ is beside the point; you’ll want to purchase a total of three packs of cartomizers with three different nicotine strengths. Using these three strengths will help you to determine what you need to stay off analogs, but they are just the first part of the equation you’ll need to determine your ongoing nicotine strength.

Start vaping with the ‘High’ or 18mg nicotine in the case for Blu Cigs, no matter how many, or few, cigarettes you smoked each day. 18mg is the ‘starting point’ and ‘ending point’ for tens of thousands of vapers.

Use the 18mg strength eLiquid for 1 or 2 days before making up your mind to go higher or lower…if you can. Naturally if 18mg is giving you headaches after the first 10 minutes then drop to 12mg and begin again. If you still want a cigarette badly (out of sheer habit you may ‘kinda wanna sorta’ smoke a cigarette, that’s normal.) just decide not to at this point.)

If you start at the 18mg strength and you don’t have any cravings for a cigarette and you’re not suffering from too much nicotine then the job is pretty much done. Congratulations, you’ve kicked the cigarette addiction right then and there.

If you still feel the need for a real cigarette you need to do one more thing before raising your nicotine level.


Compared to tobacco (analog) cigarettes, an electronic cigarette delivers a fraction of the nicotine in the same amount of time. If you’re working in an office, or anywhere else where you’re forced to go outside to smoke, and now you’re being forced to go outside to ‘vape’, you usually have only 5 to 10 minutes two or three times a day, at most. This can be a problem until you find what works for you.

Because eCigarettes deliver less nicotine, and that nicotine takes longer to get into your bloodstream you may find that the old 5-minute ‘smoke break’ isn’t doing it. What you’ll need to do first, before jumping to the next highest level of nicotine, is to try to vape more often, or at least extend that 5-minute vape break to 6 or 7 minutes. If that’s impossible then you just might have to go one step higher in nicotine.

If your nicotine strength in your eLiquid is too low you’ll vape a lot longer to get the same satisfaction. If you ‘vape’ eLiquid that has too much nicotine you’ll vape less or suffer the consequences. 99.999% of Vapers ‘vape’ much more than they ever smoked.


In this first part of this new series I’ve laid out the vital role nicotine plays in electronic cigarettes. If the regulations in the EU stay the way they are now, limiting the amount of nicotine in eLiquid to 20mg, will take away an important tool to smokers who want nothing more than to quit smoking. Nicotine in not the enemy, and this twisted thinking that somehow limiting the amount of nicotine to 20mg will make eCigarettes safer is ridiculous. Electronic cigarettes are all about the nicotine. eCigarettes are also infinitely safer than analogs.

For new vapers, today, there is no real regulation, so you can find eLiquid containing stupid amounts of nicotine, 36mg and more. (White Cloud sells 54mg eCigarettes!) I haven’t met anyone yet that has needed more than 24mg to quit cigarettes (though I’m sure there are some). But whatever the number, you need to find it as quickly as you can after making the switch. By discovering the optimum level of nicotine for you, and making adjustments to the length of time you vape, there is no reason in the world why you should ever need an analog again.

There are many more aspects to electronic cigarettes and vaping, from finding the right amount of time you devote to vaping, from going from user to hobbyist, and finding the right equipment and eLiquid brands that best suit you. We’ll cover all these topics over the next few weeks, but in the meantime feel free to make a comment about anything above, or any other aspect of eCigarette usage, and we’ll do our best to answer, with honest, unadulterated information. This is the reason we exist, to bring you real information, honest information, without having to worry about the consequences.

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John Manzione

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