How Much Nicotine Is In A Cigarette Compared To Vape: Vaping VS Smoking

Nikhil Goswami

The health hazards of cigarettes are becoming more evident with every published work on the health of the human lungs. As a result, smokers are actively searching for viable alternatives. These smokers are considering switching to vaping based on queries on major search engines.

But is vaping safer than cigarette smoking? How much nicotine is in one cigarette compared to a vape?

In this article, we’ll try to provide answers to these questions and more. Also, if you aren’t a smoker but are curious about the nicotine content in cigarettes and vapes, you will find the contents and answers proffered in this article informative.

Similarly, if you plan to take up vaping, you will find the information in this article instructive. With that said, let’s get started with everything nicotine, cigarettes, and vaping.

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a name forged from the scientific name for tobacco plants, Nicotiana species. These tobacco plants are members of the nightshade family.

Tobacco originated in South America before its influence spread to nations in Africa, North America, and Australia. Natives of these regions originally used tobacco leaves as edibles and smokable joints. Some used them for ritual purposes that made sense to the recommendations of their traditions.

In recent times, tobacco has found use in many other areas.

Nicotine is the major chemical substance found in tobacco. Its percentage composition in the plant is greater than any other chemical constituent of the leaves.

Hence, you’ll find nicotine in many tobacco products like cigarettes, smoke-free tobacco, Hookah tobacco, cigars, vapes, and most e-cigarettes.

Also, you’ll find that the most significant impact of nicotine occurs in the brain. This explains why smoking or using substances that contain tobacco can be addictive.

Shortly, we’ll consider the nicotine content of cigarettes and vape juice. We’ll also consider the effects of the chemical and provide answers to common questions related to it.

Nicotine Content In Regular Cigarettes

Since cigarettes come from different manufacturers with different manufacturing processes, nicotine levels in cigarettes cannot be the same across the board. Based on the results of frequent practice, a regular stick of cigarette can contain an estimated 6 mg of nicotine. In extreme cases, a single stick of cigarette have as much as 28 mg. However, most cigarette sticks contain mg of nicotine on average.

When users smoke cigarette sticks, not all of the nicotine is inhaled. Some parts of the substance escape into the atmosphere as the smoker blows smoke into the air. According to findings and research, smokers can inhale up to 1.04 mg of nicotine with every stick they smoke. This means a pack of 20 cigarettes will deliver about 20-21 mg of nicotine into the smoker’s body.

This brings us to the common question that smokers and non-smokers ask, how many puffs are in a cigarette?

Well, there isn’t a particular answer to this question since there are some factors that can determine how much puff a cigarette puff holds:

  • The frequency of the puffs
  • The size of the puffs
  • How long the puff burns in general

Nicotine content in Vapes 

The level of nicotine in vapes varies from brand to brand. With improvements in technology, some brands now manufacture cartridges free from nicotine. In contrast, others offer cartridges containing salts-derived nicotine and are fortified with about 50 mg for every ml. Regular smoker who wish to restrict their nicotine consumption to cigarette levels will prefer vapes with nicotine levels of 3 to 15 mg per ml.

Smokers with higher daily tolerance prefer vapes containing vape juice with higher nicotine levels of up to 24 mg per ml.

With vapes having varying nicotine content levels, many users wonder how much vape juice they’ll need to consume to match smoking an entire cigarette stick.

It is difficult to answer the question above since hundreds of vape nicotine levels are available on the market. However, to arrive at an estimated amount, you will have to consider all of the following:

  • The nature of the vaping device you are using
  • The size of every puff that you take
  • The number of times they smoke cigarettes

However, manufacturers suggest a single ml of vape juice should generate at least 100 puffs. With this estimated number in mind, we can conclude that 1 ml vape juice will make up about five regular cigarette packs.

Furthermore, the effects of the substance released and inhaled when vaping are much stronger than that inhaled when you smoke cigarettes. You’ll find that this situation plays out even more when using sub-ohm devices. Vaping with sub-ohm devices generates big and thicker clouds rich in stimulants. However, you can also look for best THC vape pens, if you are interested.

What Does Nicotine Do Inside The Human Body?

To fully grasp the effect of stimulants like nicotine, you must understand what neurotransmitters are and what they do. The human brain is constantly active, with billions of neurons sending and receiving information every second from every part of the body.

When nicotine finds its way into the body, it mimics acetylcholine functions. Hence, it increases brain activity, making you feel energized whenever you draw in a smoke. After a while, the neurons of your brain compensate for this hyperactivity by reducing natural acetylcholine receptors. This creates a cycle of addiction because your body’s nicotine storage reduces when you quit smoking. You’d find yourself craving it more because your brain has gotten used to not producing enough acetylcholine by itself anymore.

Nicotine triggers a temporary feeling of wellness and relaxation. It also increases the heart rate and the amount of oxygen it burns. As soon as cigarette smoke delivers nicotine into the body, it causes a rush of endorphins, the chemical that relieves stress and pain. It is also known to improve general mood.

The body quickly absorbs the stimulant into the body system to reach the brain fast enough. However, quick nicotine absorption causes its levels to peak fast, and the rewards disappear too quickly.

Furthermore, nicotine mimics the “feel good” neurotransmitter or dopamine hormone. So, you get a great feeling when you smoke your favorite cigarette and increase the   mg of nicotine in your body.

In many ways, your blood’s nicotine level alters the brain’s chemical functions and leaves you wanting more of it every time. So, quitting its intake is an uphill task.

Nicotine Effects On Cognitive Functions

Thanks to its chemical composition, nicotine may briefly improve your concentration levels and boost your memory. Unfortunately, continued use of cigarettes and smoking may gradually lead to a decline in vital cognitive abilities and increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This means that the short-term rewards of improved cognitive functions do not outweigh the long damage that nicotine may cause.

Furthermore, when people quit nicotine, they are bound to experience withdrawal symptoms. People who quit smoking after long years of intense use may experience sleep impairment.

Side Effects of Using Nicotine  

Consistent use of nicotine can affect major functions in the body. It may cause conditions such as headaches, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, irregular sleep patterns, high risk of blood clotting. Peptic ulcer, dry mouth, disrupted blood flow, shortness of breath, indigestion, diarrhea, joint pains, and more may also occur.

Some special nicotine products can trigger unique side effects like skin irritation, aching muscles, occasional stiffness, racing heartbeat, and sleep challenges.

A racing heartbeat could be an indication of an overdose of nicotine. In this case, users should seek the advice of healthcare professionals.

Nicotine Levels When Smoking Versus Vaping 

As stated earlier, the amount of nicotine you consume while vaping varies greatly. So, it may be correct to say that the amount of nicotine you consume while vaping may equal or more than what you get when you smoke regular cigarettes. However, many vapers have larger vape mods that refill vape juices with stronger nicotine than regular cigarettes. Vaping delivers nicotine into your body system the same way cigarettes do.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many puffs should I take daily as a vaper?

With the number of vaping instruments out on the market, it is hard to say how many puffs a vaper will need daily. However, there is a general belief that regular vapers take an average of 140 puffs daily. And only 14.60% of the daily vaping surpasses 300 puffs. Also, less than 1% of users exceed 600 puffs per day, depending on how much vaping they do.

  1. How many puffs can I get from a cigarette?

Again, there isn’t a specific answer to this question. The number of puffs a cigarette can generate depends on how the smoker conducts the smoking exercise. The size of the puff created and the time spent dragging it in can determine the lifespan of the cigarette and, ultimately, the number of puffs it can generate.

So, if you want to enjoy more puffs while smoking your cigarette, you may want to consider drawing on it with less intensity and reducing the magnitude of puffs you generate.

  1. How many puffs of a cigarette will be equal to the puffs from a vape device? 

It is unclear how many puffs from a vape will equal the puffs from a cigarette. It all depends on the size and type of atomizer you use and how you set up the cartridge. As we stated, sub-ohm devices operating at higher wattages generate higher vaporization levels and burn vape juice much faster. Furthermore, the nicotine levels in your e-juice compared to the cigarette brand can also play a role in determining how many puffs you can generate.

  1. What does vape juice nicotine content mean?

Generally, the nicotine content of vape juice is the same as the quantity of nicotine available measured by the quantity of nicotine in   mg per ml of the e-juice. These levels are not the same in all models or cartridges. You can adjust them to reduce your overall calorie intake.

  1. What are the major vape nicotine levels? 

Industry-standard vape nicotine levels come in different doses. You will find that commercial quantities of vape juice come in doses of 3 mg, 6 mg, 12 mg, 14 mg, and 18 mg per ml. You will also find zero milligrams. In the same vein, cartridges with high nicotine levels of about 24-36 mg per ml are also available for users with high endurance and tolerance for the stimulant.

  1. Are electronic cigarettes and vapes safe?

These are electronic nicotine delivery devices. They heat liquids or e-juice (containing nicotine, solvents, and flavors) into vapor. These devices are portable, and you can take them with you anywhere.

The use of nicotine is not suitable for pregnant women since it may cause prenatal developmental challenges.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently published a report on the potential dangers of using vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the component in cannabis responsible for euphoria.

Furthermore, the FDA warns against using vape products from unapproved sources. These poorly manufactured devices can lead to lung conditions and other heart diseases.

So far, there isn’t a lot of research to completely discredit the use of vapes. The effects of the chemicals they contain on general health remain widely unknown. However, people switching to vaping to quit smoking should explore other means.

  1. Which alternative should I stick with?

According to Public Health England, vaping is a safer form of inhaling nicotine than smoking cigarettes. In cigarette smoke, you will find different chemicals and carcinogens that can cause irreparable damage to your body. These substances may not be present in vapes. Furthermore, vaping is not as expensive as smoking. Most vaping devices are reusable and will save you extra cash. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are meant for one-time use, and that’s all.


Nicotine levels and strengths change as soon as you move from one style of cigarette or vape to the other. Hence, if you wish to switch from cigarettes to vapes, you’ll need to adopt proven therapies before making the switch. There isn’t sufficient information about the long-term effect of vaping on human health yet. However, some publications insist that vapes are significantly less harmful than cigarettes. You can also look for vapes with no nicotine, as it will reduce the effect of nicotine on your health.

Vapes provide you with a lot of options. You can choose vape devices that are low in nicotine to reduce your nicotine intake.

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