e-cigarette e-Liquid nicotine strengths explained and compared

Home | Glossary

How does the nicotine content in electronic cigarettes compare to regular cigarettes?

Author: ProSmoke Electronic Cigarettes Views: 1390484 Created: 04/08/2016 12:22 pm 100% Rating / 1 Voters

Nicotine content of a tobacco cigarette

Traditional tobacco cigarettes have varying nicotine contents depending on the brand. Nicotine contents of tobacco cigarettes have trended down over the past 30 years from an average of 1.35 mg per cigarette in 1968 to an average of 0.90 mg per cigarette in 1994. Per brand breakdowns are as follows and are based on a study done by the United States Federal Trade Commission on1206 varieties of domestic cigarettes between the years 1994 and 1997:

  • Lucky Strike Regular 1.6 mg per cigarette
  • Marlboro Red 1.2 mg per cigarette
  • Marlboro Light 0.8 mg per cigarette
  • Newport Regular 1.2 mg per cigarette
  • Newport Light 0.7 mg per cigarette
  • Camel Regular 1.4 mg per cigarette
  • Camel Light 0.9 mg per cigarette
  • Camel Wide 1.2 mg per cigarette
  • Capri Super Slim 0.8 mg per cigarette
  • Chesterfield Full Flavor 1.5 mg per cigarette
  • Parliament Light 0.7 mg per cigarette
  • Salem Regular 1.2 mg per cigarette
  • Salem Light 0.9 mg per cigarette
  • Basic Regular 1.0 mg per cigarette
  • Basic Light 0.7 mg per cigarette
  • Kool Regular 1.1 mg per cigarette
  • Pall Maul Regular 1.7 mg per cigarette
  • Virginia Slims 1.1 mg per cigarette
  • Winston Regular 1.2 mg per cigarette

As you can see, electronic cigarette cartridges contain much higher amounts of nicotine because they are not meant to be smoked completely in one sitting. Which nicotine level you choose depends on your personal preference and how you foresee smoking the eCigarette.

Brand names on this page are property of the affiliated trademark owners and in no way associated with ProSmoke or its products and services.

In Practice, It Depends on Your Habits

In practice, you can smoke an electronic cigarette as long or as short as you want. So, perhaps the more pertinent question to ask is not how much nicotine each cartridge contains, but rather how you plan to smoke your electronic cigarette. Personally, I smoked Parliament Lights and found the medium strength cartridges (12 – 16 mg) allowed me to smoke for the same amount of time I would with a tobacco cigarette and get the same feeling. I’ve heard from others who used to smoke full-strength cigarettes, such as Marlboro Reds, that the full-strength cartridges are more akin to what they’re used to.

However, if I was looking to spend less time smoking without sacrificing nicotine, I could have purchased full-strength cartridges and only taken a couple of hits during each smoke break. Because electronic cigarette cartridges are not designed to be finished in one sitting, and you don’t have to worry about finishing a full cigarette during each break, you can get a higher nicotine content cartridge and smoke less than you did with tobacco cigarettes and get the same satisfaction.

Ultimately, the answer to the question of which cartridge strength to purchase depends on how you plan to smoke your electronic cigarette. If you plan to smoke the same amount as tobacco cigarettes, you should follow this general guideline:

ProSmoke Level Traditional Cigarette Level
None (0mg) No Nicotine (Not available with traditional cigarettes)
Low (8mg) Ultra Light
Medium (14mg) Light
High (18mg) Medium to High Marlboro (Tobacco regulars Cigarettes for example)
Extra High (22mg) Stronger cigarettes or smaller filtered
Super Extra High (28mg) Unfiltered

We use VG solution as our base across all of our nicotine levels. We also have numerous articles talking about why VG is best in our knowledge-base here!

For all disposables:                                           

Disposable Level Traditional Cigarette Level
1.8% Medium Cigarettes

Since the percentages of ingredients change as the nicotine levels decrease or increase, you will typically find the higher level nicotine cartridges give a more robust throat hit and flavor experience for you to enjoy if you choose to gradually lower the nicotine levels over time.

Did you know E-cigarette companies descriptors for nicotine levels are being renamed? Similar to traditional cigarettes or tobacco, the FDA is requiring companies to transition labeling to include the full nicotine content to describe each nicotine level option in their cartridges or e-liquid. Levels like low, light, medium, high and so on are now transitioning to nicotine content in mg or percentage by quantity. During this transition period, please note that nicotine content titles like low, medium, etc. never indicate anything other than nicotine content in each cartridge and make no claims related to health, experience, or risk of using the product.

Brand names referenced on this page or trademarked names are owned by affiliated companies and in no way associated, owned or related to ProSmoke and its products or services. They are for information reference only.

Comments 1
  • #
    [ Diana]: nicotine 02/16/2014 09:08 pm

    article provided good info which helped me decide the nicotine level i desired

Quick Jump Menu

ecig top frame bottom
WARNING: This product is intended for use by persons 18 or older, and not by children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or persons with or at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma. If you have a demonstrated allergy or sensitivity to nicotine or any combination of inhalants, consult your physician before using this product. This product is sold purely for recreational purposes - it is not a smoking cessation product and has not been tested as such. You must be over the legal age in your state to buy or use this product.

Nicotine is highly addictive and habit forming. Keep out of reach of children. This product contains Nicotine, a chemical known to the state of California (Proposition 65) to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. No statements made on this site have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease