How much nicotine is in a cigarette vs vape?

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How much nicotine is in a cigarette vs vape?


Well, that’s not an easy question to answer, but bear with us and we’ll do our best!

Nicotine levels in just one cigarette can be anywhere from eight to twenty milligrams of nicotine. Without comparing every brand of cigarettes, let’s say the average amount of nicotine per cigarette is 12 milligrams. Just how much nicotine in a cigarette depends on what is smoked, for example smoking “tailor made” cigarettes or a hand rolled cigarette. This even includes pipe tobacco which has a different nicotine content to hand rolling tobacco products.

A person absorbs roughly 2mg of nicotine which goes from your lungs, to your brain and into your bloodstream.


It is hard to determine just what the nicotine levels is in a vape or e-liquid due to the varying nicotine strength e-liquid come in. These can range anywhere from zero nicotine to 20mg of nicotine. 20mg nicotine being the highest nicotine milligram content legally allowed to be sold in the UK under TPD Law.

A scientific study carried out by a university in Greece determined that whilst data and statistics are scarce on the matter, there is proof that Nicotine absorbed in the body via vaping is weaker than that of smoking cigarettes. And vaping a 2ml tank of e liquid at 12mg nicotine strength, would be equivalent to smoking 4 average strength cigarettes.

E-liquid is made up of four main ingredients and these are the only things you will be inhaling when using an e cigarette are Vegetable Glycerine (VG) Propelyn Glycol (PG) Nicotine and Flavourings.

According to the American Lung Association, the average unlit cigarette can contain up to 600 different substances. And when the cigarette is lit, it can produce 7000 different chemicals and chemical compounds, with at least 69 of these having been linked to causing cancer. Carbon Monoxide, Tar, Lead, Benzene, Ammonia to name a few have been found to be in the list but the list goes way beyond those five named.

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Nicotine – An explanation

Nicotine is a naturally produced chemical that is found within a family of compounds called Alkaloids. These compounds are commonly found in several varieties of plants, mainly the nightshade family. Based on scientific studies, the highest levels of nicotine are found within Tobacco leaves and Nicotine makes up anywhere from 0.6% to 3% of the dry weight within a tobacco leaf. However, the Nicotine compound is highly addictive properties, of which will be explained further in to this article.

The Effects of Nicotine – Positives and Negatives

There are both positive and negative effects of nicotine, which is primarily based on the way Nicotine is ingested, either through smoking a traditional cigarette, or using e-cigarettes.

When ingested, nicotine can act as a stimulant to the body and mind. This is caused by nicotine delivering a “kick” to the Adrenal glands, causing them to become stimulated and releasing a small amount of adrenaline through the body. This then causes a chain reaction within the body. Nicotine alters the heart rate, blood pressure and the rate of breathing. Whilst delivering this kick, it also indirectly releases a small amount of dopamine to the pleasure and motivation parts of the human brain. The user can also ingest too much nicotine, causing a “Nicotine rush” where it can make the user feel dizzy and nauseous.

Studies have also shown that nicotine appears to help improve memory and concentration levels, and reduces anxiety levels.

However, with these positive effects, Nicotine does also carry some negative effects also. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and constant use from a user can lead to not only addiction but also a dependency on nicotine. When it comes to somebody looking to quit nicotine, depending on how much nicotine they are used to, they may find that they suffer from withdrawal symptoms, of varying different qualities and degrees of severity. The symptoms can be any of the following.

· Cravings

· Sleepless nights

· Nightmares

· Anxiety

· Depression

· Loss of appetite/increased appetite

· Restlessness/frustration/irritable

A study carried out by the American Heart Association showed that quitting nicotine from tobacco is the hardest addiction to overcome, so adult smokers have quite the task on their hands if they want to do it.

“From a scientific standpoint, nicotine is just as hard, or harder, to quit than heroin … but people don’t recognize that,” said Dr. Neil Benowitz, a nicotine researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

There are various methods of combatting this addiction, such as The cold turkey method, where somebody simply stops smoking and inhaling nicotine, and uses no alternative form of nicotine replacement therapy. Or by undertaking NRT by using nicotine patches, using nicotine inhaler or chewing nicotine gum. But more people are now opting for the safer, and most successful way to quit smoking; using e cigarettes.


Is using electronic cigarettes as harmful to you as cigarette smoking is?

To put it as straight forward as possible, smoking is harmful to your health. This is made up of a few factors on important parts of your body that help you function in day-to-day life, which increasing numbers of smokers are becoming victim to.


Smoking cigarettes can increase the chances of clotting happening resulting in blood clots within your arteries. Smoking can also cause enlargement of the Aorta.


Ingesting too much of the chemical compounds found in cigarettes can cause severe headaches, dizziness, tiredness, bad dreams and can restrict the blood flow to your brain.


Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. This is due to the carcinogenic and high tar levels found in cigarettes.

Effects on the body

Smoking can cause an increase in Blood pressure, increases the chance of suffering a stroke, as well as increasing the likelihood of contracting some form of coronary/heart disease.

If you want to quit your smoking habit and avoid all of these nasty side effects happening to you by effecting your health, and start to decrease your dependency on nicotine, the better idea is to start using a vaping device. You can still ingest nicotine from a vape, but this is done by applying heat from a coil inside a vape tank to deliver nicotine without having any of the harmful or oxidative effects of smoking a cigarette. Inhaling nicotine through a vape device also eliminates carcinogenic or cancer-causing properties that are found in cigarettes.

Public health England came out in 2018 with a statement declaring vaping to be 97% safer than smoking. This was an increase from the years prior when it was just above 95%

Why should I vape when quitting smoking?

E cigarettes have been helping people quit smoking for many years. Using e cigarettes is the closest way to mimic the likeness of smoking that other forms of nicotine replacement therapy to somebody who is quitting smoking. This is by replicating having something to hold in your hand like a cigarette, and replicating that hand to mouth movement, as well as exhaling vapour instead of smoke. The various flavours of vape juice can aid this step also, with flavours that are designed to replicate the taste of tobacco, and sometimes specific tobacco tastes based on the top selling brands. If you’re somebody who is wanting to quit smoking, using an e cigarette is the most optimal method. And finally, how much nicotine is in your chosen vape juice.

Comparison of Vape Juice vs Cigarettes

Comparing the cost of smoking to vaping

The cost of cigarettes and rolling tobacco are at an all-time high and seem to always go up each time the Chancellor announces his new budget plans each year. Currently, the average price of 20 cigarettes is £11 per pack if bought from a retailer within the UK. Imported cigarettes via duty free in airports, are marginally cheaper than UK shops, but not everybody has access to these. Now let’s say you were a 20 a day smoker;

£11 a pack x 365 (days of the year) = £4015

A truly eye watering figure to read when it’s broken down and worked out as above. Now to compare this to the cost of vaping. The main vaping products you need when using an e cigarette for vaping is the E cigarette device itself, a tank, whichever flavour, and milligrams of nicotine E Liquid you choose, and Coils.

These four things are the core items you need to get set up and continue through your stop smoking, start vaping journey. Below, we will break down the average cost of each of these things, and how much of each you will need to set you up for a year of vaping frequently every day.


A basic, good quality e cigarette kit will cost you approximately £20. This is based on a device that come with the battery built in and is chargeable by USB.


Commonly the tank will come included, but if it didn’t, a tank would cost approximately £10. And you may need 2 per year say, so £20 total.


These are the heating element of the vape and heats up the e liquid to deliver the kick of nicotine to be absorbed into the body and create vapour. These on average need to be changed once per week, with a pack of 4 coils costing around £10 and lasting for the month.


A bottle of e liquid from ourselves at costs 69p per bottle. This is for either freebase nicotine vape juice or Nic Salts and come in varying nicotine levels. The bottle is 10ml in size and will fill your tank up 5 times before the bottle is empty. One bottle should last around 2-3 days depending on how often you vape. Let’s say for arguments sake, you go through two bottles a week, that’s still only £1.38 per week on e-liquid.

£20 (E Cigarette) + £20 (2x Tanks) + £120 (1 pack of coils per month £10×12) + £71.76 (2 bottles of vape liquid per week x 52 weeks in the year) = £231.76!

An absolutely massive saving of £3783.24 per year if you were to stop smoking and start using e cigarettes. The numbers speak for themselves. The total costs and savings will vary depending on what the consumer smokes, their daily intake and where they buy their cigarettes.

Vape Device with refillable pods

Is E liquid harmful?

Based on where vape juices are manufactured, they may be harmful to your health. This is because they factories are not required by law to list all of the ingredients that go into their e liquid. Where as all vape liquid made within the UK, has to undergo rigorous testing and abide by the TPD laws bought in by the government in 2016.

In 2019, there was an outbreak of lung disease within the United States, and the common connection amongst the people suffering were that they all vaped. However, this was down to them using contaminated illegal products within their e cigarettes that contained chemicals that are banned in the United Kingdom. Nothing to do with the fact they were frequent vape users and have been vaping for a long time and not just started vaping. There is no concrete evidence that vaping is harmful for you the same if not more than smoking is, nor is there proof that second hand vapour inhalation is bad for you like inhaling second hand cigarette smoke.

In conclusion

The facts and figures speak for themselves on which is better for you, either smoking cigarettes or vaping an e cigarette to satisfy your want for nicotine. I am a firm believer that if you are a smoker looking to quit, using e cigarettes is the best method, not only to save money, but to prolong your life by not inhaling many harmful chemical compounds that can cause serious health problems. Many vape users that have started using vaping products often carry on vaping until they reach the point of not being dependant on nicotine, and quit vaping all together

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