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Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping: Health Benefits, E-Liquid Ratios, and More

Table of Contents

Transitioning from smoking to vaping is the next logical step for smokers who want to kick the habit for good. But is vaping better than smoking? We intend to find the answer. 

In this article, we look at a mix of research and first-hand accounts to determine whether e-cigarettes are worthy alternatives to conventional cigarettes.

Smoking: Is It Really That Bad?

When we talk about vaping vs. smoking, we often get asked, “Is vaping better than smoking?”

Comparatively, cigarettes have been around much longer. The advent of cigarettes can be traced back to Spanish explorers in the 16th century, but e-cigarettes have a much more recent backstory. In 2003, Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik created the first electronic atomizing cigarette, and a new alternative to cigarettes was born.  

The negative impact of conventional cigarettes has been well-documented. Gallup has been collecting data on smoking in the U.S. for 80 years. 

Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping

The study proves that cigarette smoking among U.S. adults is close to the record low, which was set just last year. Despite this positive trend, cigarettes are still responsible for hundreds and thousands of deaths. 

According to the Surgeon General’s Report released in 2014, smoking is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Cigarettes have a worse impact on health than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related injuries. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year, which is 20% of the overall deaths in the U.S.

Vaping vs. Smoking: Health Impact of Smoking

We know that inhaling cigarette smoke can lead to death, but many other unpleasant conditions and diseases await smokers. 

The same Surgeon General’s Report found that smoking causes COPD (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), lung cancer, asthma attacks, cancer almost anywhere in the body (including acute myeloid leukemia, uterine cancer, and colon and rectum cancer), fertility problems in both men and women, bone issues, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, and rheumatoid arthritis, among other things.  

The effects of cigarette smoke do not just apply to avid smokers. People who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can develop early signs of cardiovascular disease and other smoking-related illnesses. On top of that, second-hand smoke can kill people who have never smoked a cigarette. 

Vaping vs. Smoking: Health Impact of Vaping

E-cigarettes are generally considered to be a better option than cigarettes, but they are not risk-free. Even the best tobacco e-liquid still contains nicotine, which is known for being highly addictive and having adverse effects on the heart, reproductive system, lungs, kidneys, and more. 

One of the most well-documented cases of vaping causing serious health concerns is the EVALI outbreak of 2019. Research by The American Lung Association noted that 2,800 people in the U.S. were admitted to hospital due to this outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury

The 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that over 2 million middle and high school students in the U.S. admitted to using e-cigarettes in 2021, with flavored e-cigarettes being the choice for over 80% of these young users.

Recent studies have also discovered metals in e-liquids. One EMIT study concluded that “e-cigarettes expose users to toxic metals such as arsenic.” Chromium, nickel, and lead were also among the metals discovered in popular e-liquid brands. 

Switching to vaping significantly reduces your exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, lung disease, and diseases of the heart and circulation like heart attack and stroke. These diseases are not caused by nicotine, which is relatively harmless to health. However, vaping is not risk-free. Non-smokers and young people under 18 should not take up vaping.

— Black Note

So, Is Vaping Better Than Smoking?

Any health debates around vaping vs. smoking are cut short due to the overwhelming evidence that cigarettes are incredibly harmful to human health. When you switch from smoking to vaping, you are eliminating the 69 known carcinogens in cigarettes, and in doing so you are reducing your chance of developing cancer, COPD, and fertility issues. 

We believe that e-cigarettes are a better alternative to cigarettes. For many, they are the best way to quit smoking. But of course, the best alternative is to stop consuming nicotine entirely. 

How vaping can help you quit

Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping

Vaping offers a way to quit smoking by using electronic devices that allow you to inhale nicotine through vapor rather than smoke.

This method involves warming a liquid mixture that usually includes propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavors, and nicotine.

With a variety of nicotine levels available in e-liquids, you have the flexibility to adjust the amount of nicotine to manage cravings and alleviate symptoms of withdrawal, such as irritability and low mood.

Nicotine, by itself, poses minimal harm and has been utilized in medical treatments to aid smoking cessation for decades.

Help break the routines of smoking cigarettes

Transitioning away from the habitual aspects of smoking is often challenging, but vaping can ease this process by substituting the harmful effects of smoking with a less risky alternative.

The act of vaping mimics the hand-to-mouth gesture of smoking, offering a familiar sensation, including the throat hit experienced during inhalation.

To fully benefit from vaping, it’s crucial to cease smoking entirely. While some individuals may transition to vaping swiftly, others might require more time to adjust completely.

Practical Tips to Quit Smoking with Vaping

Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping

The best way to quit smoking is to plan ahead.

It’s important to pick an e-liquid with the right amount of nicotine to help stop cravings and feeling like you need to smoke. Start with a nicotine level that is similar to how much and how often you smoke. You can get advice from a vape shop or a local Stop Smoking Service.

Use your vape every day to help you quit smoking cigarettes.

If you create a seamless plan, you won’t have to deal with nicotine withdrawal and all the unpleasant symptoms that come with it. 

  1. Purchase a starter vape kit. To make your transition as easy as possible, you should invest in a starter kit. Starter vape pods and vape pens are user-centric and intuitive, so you can start vaping almost immediately. 
  2. Familiarize yourself with types of nicotine. Freebase nicotine and salt nicotine e-liquids are both good options for beginners, so it’s up to you to decide which you prefer. Nicotine salts are smoother on the throat and provide a stronger dose of nicotine, meaning they might ease your transition more than the freebase alternatives. 
  3. Familiarize yourself with nicotine strengths. It can be difficult to smoothly transition from the nicotine in cigarettes to nicotine in e-liquids. If you are unsure of which strength to choose, start on the lower end of the scale. Keep scrolling to see comparisons between cigarettes and nicotine strengths.
  4. Choose an e-liquid flavor. There is no limit to the number of flavors you can choose from. Lots of vapers love classic tobacco e-liquid because it replicates the taste of smoking a traditional cigarette. 

Before you transition to vaping, you need to understand vape kits, coils, nicotine strengths, e-liquid ratios, the best tobacco e-liquids, the ones you should avoid, and all the other bits of essential information for new vapers. 

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Vaping Devices & Types of Vaping

Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping

If you are ready to make the switch, you need to choose the right vape kit and find your vaping style.

Types of E-Cigarettes for Beginners

For many, the best way to quit smoking and transition to e-cigarettes is to buy a starter kit. These kits are specifically designed for people who are transitioning from smoking to vaping. They contain everything you need to start your vaping journey. 

Starter kits include: 

  • Vape battery
  • Vape tank
  • Vape coils
  • Vape liquid

There are a few main types of starter kits. 

Cig-a-likes

These e-cigarettes are specifically designed to look and feel like a traditional cigarette. They are typically draw-activated and have very few (if any) customizable features. Cig-a-likes are ideal for transitioning vapers because the learning curve is nonexistent. 

Pros

  • Supports MTL vaping
  • No learning curve
  • Draw-activated

Cons 

  • Small battery
  • No customization options 

Starter Vape Pens

Vape pens are long and cylindrical, like a thicker version of a pen. The tank is typically on the top of the device, and the battery is on the bottom. Vapers can change the coil and refill the tank, meaning they can learn the basics of vape maintenance.  

Beginners love starter vape pens because they are more customizable than Cig-a-likes, but still have a low learning curve. 

Pros 

  • Supports MTL vaping 
  • Low learning curve
  • Allows new vapers to familiarize themselves with coils and tanks 

Cons 

  •  Some vape pens might not have customization options 

Starter Vape Pods

Vape pods are a popular alternative to vape pens. These devices are typically small and sleek, making them ideal for people who want to vape on the go. The tank and coil are housed inside the pod, which are easy to replace via the push-fit mechanism. 

Pros 

  • Supports MTL vaping 
  • Small and discrete
  • Push-fit system

Cons 

  • Not suitable for DTL vaping 

Starter Box Mods

True to the name, box mods have a boxy appearance. Box mods are known for having big batteries and plenty of adjustable settings. 

Box mods have higher outputs, so they can handle DTL vaping. Most beginners tend to err on the side of caution and start their vape journey with MTL vaping, but adventurous new vapers might want to explore this alternative. 

Pros

  • Supports MTL and DTL vaping 
  • Advanced, but still accessible 

Cons 

  • Customization options can feel overwhelming 

MTL & DTL Vaping Explained

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) vaping replicates the feeling of smoking a conventional cigarette. 

  1. Inhale the vapor in your mouth
  2. Wait for a few seconds
  3. Inhale the vapor into your lungs

MTL vaping is considered to be the best way to quit smoking because it supports a seamless transition between smoking cigarettes and using e-cigarettes. Most of the time, people who have transitioned from smoking don’t need to think about their vaping style. New vapers take MTL inhales without realizing it. 

Direct-to-Lung (DTL) vaping is more complicated than MTL vaping. 

  1. Inhale for 7 or more seconds
  2. Pull the vapor straight into your lungs

DTL vapers bypass their mouths entirely. This style of vaping can be difficult to perfect, so it is usually reserved for sub-ohm vapers who have already mastered the basics of vaping.

Nicotine Strengths & E-Liquids

Now that you have chosen a vaping style and device, you need to tackle the most complicated part of transitioning to vaping. Choosing the right e-liquid is not as simple as it seems, especially when VG/PG ratios and nicotine strengths enter the picture.

Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping

Understanding E-Liquids

To find the best way to quit smoking, you need to understand e-liquids. 

In the battle of vaping vs. smoking, vaping definitely wins points for having far fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes. Instead of tobacco, vape manufacturers use Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG). 

VG is a thick, natural chemical that is derived from vegetable oils. It has a slightly sweet taste and is far thicker than PG. VG produces dense, immense vapor. 

PG is a petroleum by-product. It is odorless and colorless and has a much thinner consistency than VG. PG creates intense throat hits.

These ingredients are combined in various ratios to create different outcomes. 50VG/50PG and 70VG/30PG are the most common ratios. The more VG there is in the e-liquid, the bigger the clouds. Alternatively, the more PG there is in the mixture, the more intense the throat hit. 

Nicotine Strengths: Freebase Nicotine & Salt Nics

There are different rules for freebase nicotine and nicotine salts. 

Freebase Nicotine Explained

Manufacturers create freebase nicotine by combining pure nicotine with ammonia. Ammonia makes the nicotine more bioavailable, meaning the human body can absorb it far easier and quicker.

Typically, freebase nicotine is available in 3mg, 6mg, 9mg, 12mg, and 18mg formulations. This kind of nicotine creates a noticeable throat hit that becomes very intense above 12mg of nicotine.

So, how does freebase nicotine compare to the nicotine in conventional cigarettes? 

Let’s take a look at Burley Tobacco e-liquid

  • If you smoke Ultra Light (Silver Label) cigarettes, you should buy 3mg or 6mg strength Burley Tobacco e-liquid.  
  • If you smoke Light (Gold/White Label) cigarettes, you should buy 12mg strength Burley Tobacco e-liquid. 
  • If you smoke Full Flavor (Red/Black Label) cigarettes, you should buy 18mg strength Burley Tobacco e-liquid. 

Burley is one of the best tobacco e-liquids for beginners because it is comparable to popular cigarette brands such as American Spirit, Marlboro, and Benson & Hedges, among others. It also has a nutty, mellow flavor profile and a smooth inhale. 

Nicotine Salts Explained

The alternative to freebase nicotine is salt nicotine. It is a combination of pure nicotine and benzoic acid. Benzoic acid produces a smooth effect, which is why nicotine salts are so easy on the throat. 

Because the throat hit is so smooth, nicotine salt e-liquids are loaded with much higher concentrations of nicotine. Most vape brands offer salt nics in 20mg, 30mg, and 50mg nicotine strengths. 

Let’s look at Burley Tobacco again, but this time in salt nicotine form. 

  • If you smoke Ultra Light (Silver Label) cigarettes, you should buy 20mg salt nicotine Burley Tobacco.  
  • If you smoke Light (Gold/White Label) cigarettes, you should buy 30mg salt nicotine Burley Tobacco. 
  • If you smoke Full Flavor (Red/Black Label) cigarettes, you should buy 50mg salt nicotine Burley Tobacco. 

When you switch from freebase nicotine to nicotine salts, the numbers increase massively. 3mg of freebase nicotine is comparable to 20mg of nicotine salt. 

Read More about Freebase Nicotine vs Salt Nicotine

Black Note: A Natural Choice for Transitioning Vapers

When we talk about vaping vs. smoking, the conversion inevitably turns to health concerns. Of course, health is the main reason why smokers switch to vaping, but when you choose Black Note e-liquids you can enjoy a whole host of other benefits. 

Transitioning from Smoking to Vaping

N.E.T. E-Liquid

The tobacco-flavored e-liquid market is dominated by products that will leave an ashy, unpleasant taste in your mouth. N.E.T. e-liquids do the opposite. 

Naturally extracted tobacco liquid, also known as N.E.T. e-liquid, does not contain any artificial flavors or sweeteners. All our e-liquids are N.E.T. liquids.

We grow a variety of tobacco leaves and nurture them using tried-and-tested methods to get the best flavors possible. Our e-liquids are like liquid cigarettes, but without the 69 known carcinogens. From sweet to rich, nutty to tart, there is a tobacco flavor for every tastebud.

Want to learn more about our methods? Read about our nine-step process

Non-GMO Seeds

If you have read our commitment, you know that we strive to be a responsible alternative. Unlike other vape brands, we don’t just remove tobacco and call it a day. We’ve worked hard to create the healthiest alternative to cigarettes. 

One of the ways we do that is by only using non-GMO seeds. We do not genetically modify any of the ingredients in our e-liquids. Instead, we let nature take its course, and we nurture the leaves to the best of our abilities. Each tobacco leaf is just as nature intended. 

We believe that the best way to quit smoking is to switch to an alternative that is as natural as possible. Black Note is the best tobacco e-liquid brand for health-conscious vapers who want to make a smart decision, whilst still meeting their need for nicotine. 

No Bitterness

Tobacco leaves contain many different, delicate flavor sensation. If they are handled incorrectly, you will get a bitter aftertaste. The majority of artificial e-liquids have a distinct bitter note. 

We eliminate bitterness by only growing ripe tobacco leaves. On top of that, we use specific curing methods for different tobacco leaves. In short, our team encourage certain flavor profiles to blossom, whilst also suppressing or eliminating unwanted bitterness.

Overall, our customers can expect a smooth throat hit. If you like a biting sensation with your vape, Black Note is not for you. 

Black Note Product Range

All our N.E.T. e-liquids are available in three formulations. 

  • 50VG/50PG e-liquids. This ratio offers an equal amount of flavor and vapor and is compatible with all kinds of starter kits and pods kits.   
  • 70VG/30PG e-liquids. This formulation caters to sub-ohm vapers who want dense, immense clouds. 
  • Salt nicotine e-liquids. Salt nics contain a higher concentration of nicotine and promise a smoother throat hit, perfect for transitioning vapers.

Success Stories

Thousands of vapers across the globe have used Black Note to successfully transition from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. 

Here are their thoughts:

“My favorite… Has that slightly sweet taste you get when you first light a cigarette. Yet, unlike a cigarette, the taste doesn’t go away after the first drag.”

— jchiaverini, a verified purchaser of Kentucky Tobacco e-liquid

“Burley 50/50 is my favorite of all juices I’ve tried over the last eight years, and it seems like I’ve tried them all in my quest to stop smoking stupid cigs. Black Note got me over the hump to quit smoking, and I feel great & smell way better.” 

— Don Jarrett, a verified purchaser of Burley Tobacco e-liquid

“Helped me stop smoking after 26 years. Wonderful product, thanks Black Note.”

— Clint, a verified purchaser of Virginia Tobacco e-liquid

FAQ’s

What Happens When You Quit Smoking and Start Vaping?

When you stop smoking, your body reacts to the sudden withdrawal of nicotine. Glands stop releasing hormones, your blood vessels expand back to their normal size, and your blood sugar reduces. 

In real-life terms, nicotine withdrawal causes an avalanche of reactions in your body. With nicotine no longer prodding the dopamine transmitters in your brain, you might feel depressed. The new rush of blood through your body is great for circulation, but it might also make you feel lightheaded. Similarly, a sudden drop in blood sugar could leave you feeling irritable and nauseous.

Read Nicotine Withdrawal: What to Expect When You Quit Smoking to learn about nicotine symptoms in the first hour, day, and week after you quit smoking. 

Is Vaping Better Than Smoking Cigarettes?

Yes! In our opinion, and in the opinion of the wider scientific community, vaping is better than smoking. Whereas cigarettes contain 69 known carcinogens, e-liquids have not been reliably linked to any carcinogens. 

However, there have been a few studies that have found harmful metals like arsenic and nickel in e-liquids. These studies have been sparse but, along with the evidence surrounding the 2019 EVALI outbreak, the consensus is that the effects of e-cigarettes have yet to be discovered. 

The best alternative to cigarettes is going smoke-free, and the second best alternative is to switch to vaping. 

How Much Nicotine Is In a Vape?

Let’s take a look at one of the best tobacco e-liquids in our catalog, American Blend. This e-liquid has a classic cigarette taste, making it a fan favorite among new vapers. 

50VG/50PG American Blend e-liquid contains freebase nicotine. It is available in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg strengths. 

70VG/30PG American Blend e-liquid also contains freebase nicotine. It is available in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg strengths. 
Salt nicotine American Blend e-liquid contains nicotine salt. It is far smoother than freebase nicotine, so vapers can enjoy a much higher nicotine content. It is available in 20mg, 30mg, and 50mg strengths.

Is Vaping Considered Smoking?

In recent years, legislators have put cigarettes and e-cigarettes under the same umbrella. According to the FDA, traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes are in the same category. Any legislation that applies to cigarettes also applies to e-cigs, much to the dismay of vape advocates. 

How effective is vaping as a smoking cessation tool?

Vaping has been recognized as an effective smoking cessation tool. Studies, including those published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have shown that vaping can help smokers reduce or completely quit their cigarette consumption. Vaping provides nicotine in a less harmful way than cigarettes, addressing both the chemical addiction and the behavioral habits associated with smoking. It’s important to choose the right nicotine strength and gradually reduce it over time to wean off nicotine dependency effectively.

What nicotine strength should I start with when switching from smoking to vaping?

The ideal starting nicotine strength depends on your current smoking habits. Heavy smokers (more than a pack a day) might start with higher nicotine concentrations (18-24 mg/mL), while light to moderate smokers may find lower strengths (6-12 mg/mL) sufficient. The goal is to match your nicotine intake to prevent withdrawal symptoms, then gradually decrease the strength as you become comfortable.

Can vaping help reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking?

Yes, vaping can help manage withdrawal symptoms like cravings, irritability, and anxiety. By delivering nicotine in a vapor form, it satisfies the nicotine addiction without the harmful combustion products of tobacco. Transitioning smokers can adjust their nicotine intake through vaping to mitigate withdrawal symptoms effectively, making the quitting process more bearable.

How long does it typically take to transition from smoking to vaping completely?

The transition time varies among individuals. Some may switch to vaping immediately, while others gradually reduce their cigarette use over weeks or months. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your vaping usage to effectively replace cigarettes without causing undue stress or significant withdrawal symptoms.

What are the long-term benefits of switching from smoking to vaping?

Long-term benefits of switching to vaping include improved lung function, reduced risk of heart disease, and lower cancer risk compared to continued smoking. Studies have shown improvements in blood pressure, lung capacity, and general physical well-being within months of switching to vaping. The absence of smoke and tar intake plays a significant role in these health improvements.

Are there any risks associated with vaping nicotine?

While vaping is less harmful than smoking, nicotine is still an addictive substance. Potential risks include dependence on nicotine if not gradually reduced. However, compared to smoking, the health risks are significantly lower. The key is to use vaping as a transitional tool towards quitting nicotine altogether, rather than a permanent replacement for smoking.

Can I eventually quit nicotine altogether by vaping?

Yes, many individuals use vaping as a step-down method to quit nicotine use. By progressively lowering the nicotine strength in their e-liquid, users can gradually reduce their dependence on nicotine, eventually using nicotine-free e-liquids or stopping vaping altogether. This approach allows for a more controlled and less stressful quitting process.

Conclusion

So, is vaping better than smoking?

In the battle of vaping vs. smoking, we have a clear winner. There is no doubt that the benefits of quitting smoking are immense. Health-wise, the best option is to stop ‘cold turkey’ and never consume nicotine (or a tobacco product) again. However, studies show that this method has a high rate of failure, leading many to believe that switching to e-cigarettes is better than continuing to smoke conventional cigarettes.

Even when smokers use e-cigarettes as a transitioning tool, they still struggle to make the switch. Many ex-smokers claim that quitting smoking is the hardest thing they have ever done, and for good reason. This addiction has ruined the lives of millions across the U.S., but by rejecting cigarettes and embracing e-cigarettes, you can protect yourself from the negative effects of tobacco. 

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Disclaimer

The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. This information is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company, including Black Note and its affiliates. The author, who is not a medical professional, writes this blog post without intending to offer medical advice or replace advice or treatment from a personal physician.

This blog post discusses tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and related substances, intended solely for adult use and potentially harmful to health. We advise all readers/users of this content to quit smoking and/or vaping, or to consult a doctor before starting or continuing to smoke and/or vape.

The author, the blog, Black Note, and its affiliates assume no responsibility for any actions or inaction a reader takes based on the information presented in this blog. We do not intend this content to promote smoking or vaping, and readers should interpret it accordingly.

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