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Vaping – How Much Is Too Much?


I check popular keywords on my website analytics very often and there is one searched group of words that I’ve seen numerous of times. The question many of you have asked is “Am I vaping too much?” or “How much is too much?”.

It’s understandable for you as someone who has just recently started vaping to be interested in these answers and to be honest, I’m quite interested as well. Back when we used to smoke analogs, we knew when to set it down because we got a light headed sensation from the nicotine intake. Truth about it is, the uneasy feeling was due to other factors aside from just the nicotine. The numerous other chemicals in analogs contributed to the light headed feeling as well as a deprivation of oxygen. Using electronic cigarettes, there is no cut off for when you stop, so everyone has just went by what they’ve felt. If you’re craving nicotine, you just vape a bit until you feel like you’ve reached a level of satisfaction.

From my time of running the GuideToVaping.com website, I’ve obviously come in contact with many different vapers, ranging from people that just started vaping today to people who have been vaping for 4 years. Many of these people I’ve met vape different amounts of e-liquid and some vape outrageous amounts that would surprise you. I’ve talked to some that vape through less than 1 milliliter in a 24 hour period, to someone that even vapes as much as 10 milliliters in a 24 hour period. I really couldn’t imagine myself going through that much liquid within a day’s time, but on a second thought… I don’t even know how much I vape in 1 days time so I’ve decided to find out.

I took a 30ml bottle of my favorite e-liquid and filled a 3ml bottle. The next morning I woke up, grabbed that 3ml bottle that I filled with e-liquid and used only that bottle throughout the day. The bottle is 3ml’s, so if it takes me all day to vape the juice inside the 3ml, then I of course vape 3ml’s per day. That day I vaped the 3ml bottle, plus another 5ml’s. I vaped a total of 8ml’s that day.

I decided to do a bit of research on the net and I found that a single cigarette has a lot more nicotine than I originally thought. This is what I found…

The average American cigarettes contain yields about 1.8 mg of nicotine. With this in mind, consider that an average smoker takes approximately 20 drags from a single cigarette smoking cession so the average amount of nicotine content per drag is estimated to be between .05 and .12 milligrams depending heavily on the smoker and the specific brand of cigarette.

Source: http://www.boston.com/yourlife/health/other/articles/2006/08/30/cigarettes_pack_more_nicotine/?page=full

Judging by the results I’ve found and displayed here, if you were a 1 pack a day smoker, you had an approximate nicotine intake of 36 milligrams of nicotine. With these figures in mind, let’s take a step forward and compare the nicotine content of e-liquid.

Nicotine is measured in milligrams per milliliter in the majority of the e-liquids found on the market today. For short, we will abbreviate this to mg/ml where mg means milligrams and ml means milliliters. The typical ranges for the nicotine density in e-liquids are between 0mg/ml to 24mg/ml. There are some vendors that will mix in higher densities than that but most stay within that range. If you have a 3ml bottle of e-liquid that is 20mg/ml strength, the total amount of nicotine in the bottle is 60mg because 20mg’s are in each milliliter and you have 3 of them. The same principle applies to a 10ml bottle, if the 10ml bottle is rated at 20mg/ml, your total amount of nicotine in the bottle is 200mg.

Now if you vape 3ml’s of e-liquid per day and your e-liquid is 20mg of nicotine, you’ve vaped a total of 60mg of nicotine. Whether you choose to purchase in small quantities or in larger quantities, the density of nicotine per milliliter will always be reflected as mg/ml. You will receive no more nicotine per hit with the larger bottle than that of the smaller bottle (*unless you ordered the liquid at a higher density than the smaller bottle). Even though the principle of total nicotine per bottle will change, the nicotine is suspended evenly within the e-liquid mixture.

So how much e-liquid is equal to a pack of cigarettes, we can only speculate because the answer is dependent on which device(s) you use and your atomizer/cartomizer. The approximate answer to this question though would be that a 3ml bottle with a nicotine density of 12mg/ml would be equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes if you were only to consume the 3ml bottle of e-liquid per day. Again, this answer cannot truly be given because of the many variables with your hardware so this is simply approximate.

We’ve got that part cleared up but we’re still left with a question of “How much nicotine is too much?” – I searched around and these are the results I’ve found…

40–60 mg (0.5-1.0 mg/kg) can be a lethal dosage for adult humans.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine

With this information, we begin to worry that we might be taking in nicotine in levels high enough to be lethal but this is not the case with vaping. Even if you vape your entire 3ml 20mg/ml bottle of e-liquid and the total amount of nicotine in that bottle was 60mg, you’re still not taking it in at levels as high as what has been rated at lethal because your intake is spread throughout the day. The 40-60mg lethal intake level means that the toxic level is reached at 40mg when taken acutely (all at once).

By reading this information I’ve displayed on this post / article, you understand that this information and the calculations that follow were used to provide knowledge only. If you are using e-liquid or nicotine, you are using it and this information at your own risk. GuideToVaping.com or any of the staff affiliated with GuideToVaping.com take no responsibility for your actions. If you are using nicotine e-liquid, please be safe. You should also consult your physician prior to using any form of nicotine to make sure you are healthy enough to consume nicotine, as it can be toxic in very small amounts.

(Thanks to Brett from TexasSelectVapor.com with the help on this article.)

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24 Comments on Vaping – How Much Is Too Much?

  1. Randy

    “If you have a 3ml bottle of e-liquid that is 10mg/ml strength, the total amount of nicotine in the bottle is 60mg because 20mg’s are in each milliliter and you have 3 of them.”

    Uh… unless 10mg/ml is supposed to be 20mg/ml, you may want to check your numbers there. Not for nothing, but I read that and was REALLY confused for a few.

  2. Pingback: An Ex-Smoker's First Vaping Experience

  3. Very interesting research. At the end of the day like everything else in life it all comes down to moderation…if you are sensible and have vape moderately you will be fine.

    I have to say when you said that 60mg is considered lethal for adult humans I started to get a little worried until I read to the end.

  4. Selkie

    I vape nic and no nic . I was one of the lucky ones who simply chunked the analogs away after a day of vaping. I liked the clean taste and no after taste of vaping and I liked knowing that I wasn’t taking in a ton of carcinogens. That said, I noted I was vaping continuously and then thought….’er, MAYBE I should get a matching 0 nic for those times I just need to endulge in the ritual of smoking and not inhale…..and it worked. I’ve not had a real analog going on 10 months , had pneumonia the last three of them, ended up in a hospital ….went to take a nap and woke up in an entirely different place…the bad news…..I had COPD tho I rarely smoked a full ciggie, usually a few puffs and knocked the cherry off and I was good….but apparently I’ve had pneumonia more than I thought I did….they figure at least six times with major scarring of my lungs and adrenals…vaping has NOT inflammed anything. Today I had my next to my last visit with a pulmonary specialist and he told me that not so much as a wheeze could be detected and frankly he looked pleased.

    He asked if I had an electronic cigarette and I said ‘yes, I brought two kinds….one that looks like an analog and one that is a power house with a clearomizer’ and he had me puff both in the office and the vanilla I guess was noticeable and he said ‘amazing. Can you bring me materials for some of my patients who cant quit smoking and might if I can let them keep their ritual ? It was fun. His face was saying ‘OH MAN TOTALLY AWESOME’..so I’ll hook him up and zero nic sold him . I did find that with a pg /vg mix I dont need high nic…but all vg I can vape all day so its critical I keep my mind on what I’m doing.

    I tried two brands of analog looking e cigs and was greatly disappointed and my sister bought Blu and I got to try that and it was worse than the cheapo’s I tried and I thought ‘any e cig in this form is not going to work’. I am so glad I found one that made me eat my words and my husband liked……he’s avoided the ego type e cigs for along time. i found a brand and as it turns out, the ‘RED 6mg’ he LOVED. He was satisfied with 6mgs of a pg blend vs full flavored cigarettes. I’m not sure what I think about all pg. I’m an all VG or a ‘reduced pg’ person. I make organic soaps and try to keep most things green. to hear him say ‘can you order that for me? ‘ was music to my ears. I tried a cart that was called ‘Sahara’……OH MY….I was IN LOVE….that I could chain vape all day so I think I’ll get a zero nic with that as well LOL…..but if my doc felt this wasn’t harming me and I rallied back to reasonable health fast, and for my age….me thinks we’ll see more gramma’s and grandpas take to vaping . On the down side, it seems I have sleep apnea and I stop breathing literally 98 times in 6.5 hours…no need for oxygen as I do have a thing to excercise my lungs…..at least in the day time and will use a cpap at nite. there is NO way to look attractive with one of those on and thank goodness a show called ‘Defiance’ makes me feel like I fit in…..perhaps a bedazzler? Pink? ARGH.

    karen stated it simply …..moderation. I think we all go thru that pink cloud of joy with vaping and the various things that go with it just as we soapers go thru that buying every essential oil and fragrance oil we think we need and it all comes down to about four to six things that sell well and the rest? Barter LOL…

    Hi, I’m Selkie and I’m a vapaholic. At the moment I’m writing down 12 steps TO vaping….:)

    • Very fun and interesting story, especially the part about the doctor wanting to help patients with electronic cigarettes. Too cool!

      If you would ever like to contribute to GuideToVaping, feel free to contact me. :)

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Anthony

      Hiya i have just brought a eros ce4 vapour with a high 1.8% 10ml bottle, i normally smoke about 15 cigarettes a day, how long should this bottle last?

  5. Paul

    You seem to be completely ignoring the absorption rate difference between smoking vs vaping. Combustion makes a substantially greater amount of nicotine available for absorption by the lungs than liquid vapor does. Consuming 3ml of 24mg/ml e-liquid would hardly equate to 72mg of actual nicotine absorption by the body.

      • John

        Well, if you say that 100% of the nicotine is absorbed, then I guess people vaping 10ml of 24mg per day are taking in 240mg/day. 10ml of 24mg actually isn’t all that uncommon if you look around a bit, and there’s a lot of people that vape 3 – 5 ml of 36mg per day.

        I guess they should be dead?

        I was a 1 pk/day smoker and I use about 4ml of 24mg/day without any ill effect, but according to you I’m vaping about 2x more than I used to smoke?

        I highly doubt the absorption rate from vaping is 100%

    • tanya

      i was told a vile of vapor is good for a month…
      im just getting started ive tryed nic in 18mg…
      way to strong…..hit the back of throat and i started coughing..
      went to smooth tobbaco at 12mg same thing..
      so waiting for next lower nic in a smooth……
      am i inhaling it wrong…..

      • How long a bottle of e-liquid lasts really depends on how much you use your electronic cigarette.

        That harshness that you’re receiving is your lungs not being used to “vapor”. Vapor is much different than smoke, and that smoke is what you’ve been used to for so long. However, after you’re used to the vapor, if you’re still receiving a harshness to your e-liquid… we call that “Throat Hit”. Throat hit depends on many factors, such as the e-liquid nicotine level, the type of atomizer, cartomizer or tank that you’re using and the amount of voltage your electronic cigarette puts out.

        I think it’s more due to you not being used to vapor. Take slow and short pulls and give your body time to adjust to it.

  6. Lisa

    I was a pack-a-day smoker for 19 years, and since I started vaping I’ve been smoke-free for 65 days! I love vaping and it has helped me enormously. I’m currently living with my parents, and my step mother has a serious aversion to vaping; she compares it to smoking because of the nicotine. According to her, I might as well be smoking because of the nicotine. In her mind, nicotine causes cancer, no matter how many times I try to tell her that there’s no proof of that. I vape at 12 and 18 nic level; I tend to chain vape when I’m not at work, but as long as I switch out I’m good. Is there a website you know of that I can get credible information from (as in “doctors”) concerning nicotine and the fact that vaping around someone will not give them cancer or any other harmful effects? Her ignorance in the matter is driving me NUTS! If being around vapor wasn’t safe, then I wouldn’t do it around my 5 year old son; but the shop I go to us to bring our kids in. How can I prove to her and others that its safe and NOT a tobacco product?

  7. ok I find this all quite interesting.. I am a brand new vapergal.. I smoke one cigareete aday in
    my adveenture to quiting all together so I find all this math quite boring but I guess the questions is this:

    I just started with 12MG
    in a 1.8 mil cartrigdge

    so I got it on Oct 4th and started using it yes the kick in the throat odd but am enjoying it more after I read all the instruction

    I have used hardly any of it, not knowing what cig equiv is to 1.8 mil at 12mg. so thinking well im trying to quit smoking so been very sparse with it.. so since I got it on Friday, I have not even gone thru half yet..

    after reading all the comments and trying to do come calculations i said forget it.. Im hardly smoking at all and maybe im only hving about 3 cigs a day in vaporworld so next step is 6mg,
    I might even empty this one tomorow and get lower dosage so I can quit sooner. I have 4 real cigs left and i get one a day, i spread it out over the day with a snuffer… will see but think im doing okay..

  8. Ron

    I am 59 years old and had a 2.5-3 pack a day habit. I smoked Camel crush Bold , which is their full flavor brand. Three years ago I had a minor heart attack and ended up with 2 stents in my arteries. Even after that, I couldn’t kick the cigarette habit. I had been smoking for 40 years and just figured I was doomed to the addiction as nothing else worked, such as patches,gum,and all the other cessation products out there. I even tried e-cigs. Then I was casually talking to a friend and he was saying that he hadn’t had a cigarette in three months and it was because he started Vaping. I couldn’t get to the store quickly enough,I had to try it. After my purchase of a mid priced piece, I vaped for an hour off and on and then had a cigarette. It tasted so bad that I put it out and have never looked back. 1 month now and no cigarettes. This has been a godsend to me. The satisfaction I get from Vaping is far greater than any cigarette gave me. The lingo and acronyms used in the vaping world still confuses me but what the hell…I love it and as I am now using the 12 mg e liquid , I will be soon stepping down to the 6 and then to 0, and don’t see any problem with accomplishing this. We truly need to keep the government from stepping in and screwing this up though

  9. The Vape Boutique

    Great Article! I recently posted a research article on our FB page that performed physical blood tests as well as vape tests. Surprising, the testing showed that even when vaping higher nictotine levels, there was only trace nicotine in the results! Crazy! If you want a link to the article go to : http://www.facebook.com/thevapeboutique

  10. Oingo

    Some things to keep in mind:
    *The human lungs are approximately 750sqft. The molecules from which the nicotine is carried in vape are too large to reach the smaller compartments of the sponge-like lungs unlike dry smoke from a cigarette.
    *Vape is not true smoke. The vape has moisture whereas cigarette smoke is dry.
    *Cigarette smoke contains other compounds that readily attach to surfaces unlike vape. Consequently, people who smoke cigarettes smell of cigarettes. Homes of smokers smell like homes of smokers. This is all because of those sticky chemicals that leave greater amounts of residue. The nicotine piggybacks on these chemicals to reach the lungs.
    *Unless you hold in your vape for an hour until the vape settles…unlikely…that cloud you blow out of your mouth and nose still contain large amounts of the nicotine you just inhaled. Thus, you are not getting anything close to the 100% of the nicotine off of a drag from vaping.

    To sum it up, it will take more hits from vapping to get the same effect as a cigarette. I am a little too lazy to bash out the calculations, but consider the 750sft of the lungs and cut that back by 20-30% for how deeply you breath on average, and take off a bit more because that vape cloud wont make it to the smallest sections. Consider how much of the vape residue is left behind on that surface area before the rest is exhaled. Then use the concentration values of your vape to determine approximately what you are really taking in off of a drag.

    I can think of scientific ways, but that would involve some very sensitive equipment and meticulous methods to get the approximation from before and after inhaling/exhaling vape.

  11. Jerry

    A simple observation from someone who just started vaping about a month ago. When I take a puff off my e-cig and immediately exhale I get a could of vapor coming out. I’m sure at least some of the nicotine is in that exhaled vapor. But, if I take a puff and hold the vapor for 15-30 seconds, when I exhale I see nothing coming out. What is happening to the vapor in this case? Has the heat and water vapor in my lungs rendered it invisible to see? Or has it condensed inside my lungs where most of the nicotine will eventually get into my bloodstream?

    I also have read a few comments around on the web that the soft tissues of our mouths and throats actually absorb most of the nicotine, like when using chewing tobacco. If that’s true, is there even a need to inhale into our lungs?

  12. Peggy

    I just wanted to say that I am a 35 year smoker n have never quit before until vaping. I just has surgery to remove a polyp off my voice box (happily benign) but my pitch of my voice won’t go higher because of smoking. Doc highly recommended vaping as other patients have had success. I already tried it but realized that it was too fat n did not fit in my fingers so it was not the same movement to smoke it. A few days ago I bought one that is skinny n lightweight n I can actually hit the button with squeezing my fingers but it came two to the kit bc the battery only lasts 4 hrs. What a pain having to carry a charger or the xtra unit. Do you know of any units that are skinny like a cigarette that last longer than these?? Also I don’t know the SZ of the bottle but it’s the size that everyone sells mostly? I started at 6mg n I was a pack a day smoker. Trying to figure out what my nic intake is. Thanks everyone n love this site!!

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