How Much E-Liquid Will I Get Through Each Day ?
When you first start to vape, stocking up on devices and e-liquid is crucial to making sure you have the equipment you need to make the switch.
Aside from coils – which will usually need replacing in around a week, depending on your usage habits – the main thing you’ll need to keep a ready supply of is e-liquid.
The liquid is arguably the most important piece of vaping equipment: it contains the nicotine you’re looking for and is turned into the vapor you inhale. So how much of it will you need each day?
While there is plenty of variation between individual vapers, it’s possible to get a good idea of how much juice you’re likely to get through each day from the user surveys that have been conducted to date.
Nicotine Levels and E-Liquid Consumption
The biggest deciding factor in how much e-liquid you’ll consume is undoubtedly the nicotine level you choose.
Vapers – and all nicotine users – do something called “self-titration,” which effectively means that you vape until you feel like you’ve had enough nicotine. This means that if you’re just switching from smoking and you use 0.6 % nicotine e-liquid, you’ll vape a lot more than if you used 1.8% nicotine e-liquid. Determining what the right nicotine level is for you is a separate topic, but it has a fairly obvious role to play here. In short: if you’re just switching from smoking, 1.8 % or even 2.4 % nicotine is the best approach, because vaping isn’t as effective at delivering nicotine as smoking.
What Do User Surveys Tell Us About Vapers’ Nicotine Consumption?
There are several pieces of research looking at the amount of e-liquid consumed by vapers each day, and although the conclusion drawn from them won’t apply to everyone, they do paint a general picture that can be used as the basis for a reasonable estimate. In the E-Cigarette Forum’s “Big Survey” for 2014, the most common answers for daily nicotine consumption were 2 to 3 and 4 to 5 ml, accounting for about 44 percent of responses altogether. There is something of a problem in getting precise figures from this (there was no 3 to 4 ml option), but it offers a good starting point.
Other studies along the same lines come to roughly the same conclusion, too. One looked at a relatively small number of vapers (111) who’d completely quit smoking by vaping, and found that the average nicotine consumption was 4 ml per day. A bigger study (with about 4,600 participants) also found that the same average result, a consumption of 4 ml per day. The biggest user survey had over 19,300 participants, and found an average consumption of 3 ml of liquid per day.
So the picture from these surveys is relatively consistent: vapers generally get through about 4 ml of liquid per day, with some indications that 3 to 4 ml is a better estimate. However, the important factor of the nicotine level used hasn’t been taken into account yet: all of these studies found that users were vaping 1.2 % nicotine e-liquids on average. The effect this will have is hard to estimate (because vapers who’ve managed down their nicotine consumption are less addicted than a just-switching or recently switched smoker), but it would suggest that those using a higher nicotine level might not need to vape quite as much.
Can I Estimate My E-Liquid Consumption Based on How Much I Smoked?
If you’re just making the switch to vaping from smoking, you might be interested in thinking about how much e-liquid you’ll use based on how much you used to smoke. The effect of nicotine level is crucial here: pack-a-day smokers are strongly advised to start with 1.8 % or 2.4 % nicotine liquids, and if you use lower levels you will vape more. If you smoked less than a pack a day, then 1.2 % might be enough nicotine for you, and if you only occasionally smoked or had very few cigarettes each day, then even less might be suitable.
As mentioned above, it is a little difficult to estimate the impact of nicotine levels on e-liquid consumption, but it seems fair to expect that if you adjust your nicotine level to match your dependence, then your e-liquid consumption per day will remain at about 4 ml. However, if you use higher nicotine e-liquids than you need, it could be closer to 3 ml, and if you don’t have enough nicotine in your liquid, it might shift closer to 5 ml.
I should stress again, though, this is very variable: if you were a really heavy smoker (two packs a day, for example) it could be a lot more and if you just had a couple of cigarettes a day it could easily be just 1 ml per day. Sadly, there is no simple way to estimate the number of milliliters of liquid you’ll need to consume based on the number of cigarettes you smoked, so the best advice is ultimately to stock up on liquid and vape until you feel satisfied. If you know how much e-liquid your tank holds, then you can look at how much you use each day to get a better idea of how much you’ll need in future.
The Effect of Different Devices on E-Liquid Consumption
One final point that’s worth mentioning is that different atomizers and devices impact how much e-liquid you’ll get through in a day. If you’re using a basic clearomizer on an eGo-style or a low-power device, each puff will vaporize less liquid than if you’re using a higher power device with a rebuildable atomizer or a sub-ohm tank. In short: the more power that goes to your coil, the more e-liquid you’ll vaporize.
This again doesn’t lend itself perfectly well to estimating how much e-liquid you’ll consume, though. The simplest explanation would be that higher power, more efficient devices would give you more nicotine per puff, assumedly meaning you’d take fewer puffs and that your e-liquid consumption would be roughly the same. This probably isn’t the case, though: part of the appeal of vaping is the hand-to-mouth, exhaling vapor, “behavioral” replication of smoking, and so you’ll probably still do it fairly often.
Based on personal experience, I consume more e-liquid using higher power, more efficient devices, despite the fact that I upgraded to them after successfully quitting smoking with a less powerful device, and the general lesson seems to be that better devices lead you to use more e-liquid.
Conclusion – Estimates are Possible, But Not Precise Ones
Overall, while 4 ml per day is a fair estimate of how much e-liquid you’ll consume – and you can work out how much e-liquid you’ll need to buy based on that – there are no certainties.
The best approach is to pay attention to how much you vape when you first get started, and then base your future estimates on that: the amount you vape will change over time but this will undoubtedly make your estimate more accurate.
If there was one take-away lesson, though, it’s to vape however much you need to: the goal is quitting smoking, you can worry about getting through less e-liquid after you’ve made the switch.
- Vaping.com: Big Survey 2014 – Initial findings e-liquid
- Evaluating Nicotine Levels Selection and Patterns of Electronic Cigarette Use in a Group of “Vapers” Who Had Achieved Complete Substitution of Smoking (2013) Farsalinos, K. et. al.
- Impact of Flavour Variability on Electronic Cigarette Use Experience: An Internet Survey (2013) Farsalinos, K. et. al.
- Characteristics, Perceived Side Effects and Benefits of Electronic Cigarette Use: A Worldwide Survey of More than 19,000 Consumers (2014) Farsalinos, K. et. al.
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