Do You Even Need Nicotine?
Mon 15 May 2017
When someone decides to make the positive switch from smoking tobacco to e-cigarettes they obviously do need their nicotine fix. The question posed by this article is not aimed at new vapers, but to those who have been vaping for a year or more.
New regulations about to impact the vaping industry are heavily focused on the safety of nicotine and ignore the harm done by other chemicals in combustible tobacco. In our opinion this is unwise, particularly when respected institutions such as the Royal College of Physicians claim that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes.
With recent reports claiming that more than half of current vapers in the UK are ex-smokers who have successfully given up tobacco altogether, we ask the question: Do You Really Need Nicotine at All?
Why is nicotine so addictive?
It is a common misconception that nicotine is a more addictive drug than heroin. The answer, as with many drugs, is in the delivery. You see, the brain enjoys what could be described as instant satisfaction, meaning that the faster the substance gets to the brain, the more we find it pleasurable. Nicotine when absorbed through the lungs, much like heroin injected into a vein, gets to the brain very quickly, making it highly addictive. This is why so many smokers fail to give up the habit with traditional NRTs such as gum and patches. When nicotine gets absorbed through the skin, it takes much longer to reach the brain making the desired ‘hit’ far less intense.
The potency of nicotine
Nicotine poisoning can occur when using e-cigarettes, particularly when higher strength nicotine (12mg and above) e liquid is used in high wattage, direct lung set-ups. It is a common mistake made by many when using a sub ohm tank for the first time. This, combined with the mouth/throat sensation is why high wattage vapers use almost exclusively 0-6mg e liquid. However, in tobacco cigarettes nicotine potency can be manipulated by other chemicals in the tobacco. Ammonia, for example, which is found in almost all combustible tobacco, increases the potency and intensity of nicotine when inhaled, essentially making it more addictive. Of course, chemicals such as ammonia are not present in e liquid or e-cigarette vapour.
How much nicotine are you actually consuming?
The levels of nicotine that you’re actually absorbing when using an e-cigarette depends on a number of key factors. The nicotine strength of your e liquid is obviously the main one, but things like the amount of vapour you inhale, how long you take a drag and how long it takes you to exhale are also important. A recent study in the States showed that a 30ml bottle of 3mg e liquid contained roughly the same amount of nicotine as just one and a half tobacco cigarettes. If you vaped through that 30ml bottle in two days, that’s the equivalent of less than one cigarette’s worth of nicotine per day.
Could you move to 0mg e liquid?
If you asked 10 vapers who had successfully transitioned to 0mg e liquid if they found it hard to make the switch you probably get answers ranging from “ very easy” to “bloody difficult”. Everybody is different, and success rates can depending on things like how many tobacco cigarettes they used to smoke, what vaping set-up they’re using, how long they’ve been vaping etc. Also, it’s clear in the health/science community that around one third of the population are far more susceptible to nicotine addiction than the other two thirds. This is because of a growth in the number of nicotinic receptors in the brain experienced by the one third when using the drug.
How to replace the throat/mouth sensation of nicotine
Many vapers, particularly mouth to lung vapers, enjoy the ‘throat hit’ and mouth sensation provided by higher nicotine e liquid. This is one of the key factors that makes e-cigarettes a far more successful method of quitting tobacco cigarettes compared with traditional NRTs. If this is something that concerns you, then you may want to consider additives such as Flash Hit that can mimic the throat and mouth sensations of nicotine.
Can nicotine be good for you?
Medical studies have been taking place to find out whether nicotine can play a positive role in reducing the negative effects of mental illnesses such as depression and even diseases like alzheimer's and dementia. Initial findings have been encouraging, however, it is not clear if it’s the nicotine itself or simply the act of smoking/vaping that is seemingly reducing the symptoms.
If you have any questions about nicotine, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further reading: Pros and Cons of Sub Ohm Vaping