Scaling Back: How To Reduce Your Nicotine Intake As A Vaper

May 9, 2023

Scaling Back: How to Reduce your Nicotine Intake as a Vaper

5 Techniques To Help You Reduce Your Nicotine Intake As A Vaper

Everyone and their neighbour knows that quitting nicotine is not easy. That is why despite the obvious health dangers, millions of people are still unable to quit smoking.

Before vaping came along, kicking the habit was an even harder ask. Reason being that nicotine replacement therapy and other quitting aids tend to be largely ineffective. If you’ve walked down that path at some point, you can probably bear witness.

Quitting smoking is more than just replacing the nicotine aspect of smoking, you see. Having a cigarette replacement to hold in the hand matters a lot too – as does the deep breathing drill when drawing on a cigarette.

Vaping ticks all the crucial boxes by providing smokers with an actual device that can be inhaled upon; produce nicotine-containing vapour even. This is why vaping has a decent quitting effectiveness rate.

If the goal is to successfully become nicotine-free, obviously you have options.

One of the recommended approaches is to do it cold turkey. The biggest drawback with this method is that it’s easy to slip up when you fail to manage cravings and triggers. Not to mention the agony of dealing with nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Alternatively, you can switch to vaping and use it as your vehicle to quit nicotine for good. In fact, the best thing about vaping is that it allows you to gradually cut back on your nicotine content.

As you’re likely aware, e-liquids come in different nicotine strengths, spanning from 18mg to 0mg in the case of freebase e-liquids. Nicotine salts contain even higher nicotine levels, with the standard maximum in the UK coming in at 20mg or 2% pure nicotine.

Therefore, if the goal is to eventually rid yourself of your nicotine dependence, you can start at whatever nicotine level is suited for you best (depending on how heavy of a nicotine user you are) and then scale it down gradually to zero.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. However, if that’s the goal, you really cannot wish for a more realistic approach to get you there if you would rather not deal with the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that are a potential banana skin.

Here then, are 5 ways you can reduce your nicotine intake through vaping.

1. Work Your Way Down

As we’ve already alluded to, it is possible to scale down your nicotine intake using vape products. This is actually one of the best ways to go about cutting nicotine from your life. But to achieve that, you’ll need a plan.

E-liquids normally come in a range of nicotine strengths. The maximum nicotine content allowed in the UK and EU is 18mg for freebase e-liquids following the enactment of the TPD rules which went into effect back in 2016.

So, assuming you were a heavy smoker who got by with more than a pack of cigarettes a day and you start out with an 18mg nicotine concentration, you can work your way down the levels – from 18mg through to 12mg and then down to 6mg and 3mg, before eventually settling at 0mg, aka nicotine free.

Having a timeline to work with helps. If you project to achieve nicotine-free status within a year or 6 months, work out how you can scale your way down the levels gradually – the goal being to never make that step up again.

The length of time it takes will differ among individuals, but commitment and self-restraint are crucial here. Remember, you’re doing this on your own, so it’s important that you remain accountable to yourself.

2. Try Different Eliquids

One of the things that nicotine vapers and smokers transitioning to vaping chase is throat hit. That comes from nicotine as well as the PG content in a juice.

Worth noting, however, is that the throat hit may differ depending on the e-liquid flavour. Some heavy tobacco flavours may deliver as good a throat hit as a combustible cigarette.

For example, a 12mg 50/50 American Gold Tobacco may pack more punch in terms of throat hit than an 18mg 70/30 Vanilla Custard. By opting for the harsher tobacco over the latter, you’re basically reducing your nicotine intake without dramatically compromising on throat hit.

It’s about trial-and-error here. Try different e-liquid flavours and nicotine levels to find out which can deliver the maximum result with the least amount of nicotine without leaving you craving more nicotine.

Remember, you don’t have to do it this way if it’s not working for you. You can always try a different strategy.


3. Switching To A Sub Ohm Device

If you’ve been vaping for a while, chances are you are aware of the various types of e-cig devices that exist. From pod systems to vape pens, sub-ohms and box mods, vapers have a selection of devices to make their pick from.

Sub-ohm devices are usually not recommended for individuals starting out on their vaping journey. They are powerful devices that require some bit of experience before making that step up if you are to really enjoy them.

In fact, their high-performance nature is why they are paired with sub-ohm e-liquids that typically come with a maximum nicotine content of 6mg. While the nicotine content may sound a bit on the lower side, these devices produce more vapour, so the throat hit has a good punch.

Put another way, by switching to a sub-ohm device, it’s possible to reduce your nicotine intake by even a half and still get the effect you’re after.

The bonus is that you also get to enjoy vape flavours in all their glory since sub-ohm juices – with their low nicotine concentration – tend to be more flavoursome.

4. Buy Shortfills And DIY Your Own

Sub-ohm devices are also used with short-fill e-liquids. Short-fills are juices that come in a larger bottle (up to 100ml and permitted by law) and contain zero nicotine. They are actually a good hack if you want to cut back on vaping costs as they tend to be more cost-effective.

So, what vapers normally do is purchase the short-fill and add their own nicotine purchased separately in the form of a nicotine shot. If you’re trying to reduce your nicotine intake through vaping, you can do the same: purchase short-fills and add your own desired level of nicotine.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to cut back drastically at first. Make it gradual and slowly reduce the amount over time at a pace you are comfortable with.

5. Dilute Your Juices

This approach is an alternative to the short-fill method.

Instead of purchasing short-fills and spiking them with nic shots, you can opt to buy a nicotine e-liquid and 0mg nicotine-free e-liquid of the same flavour and mix them together in a bid to dilute the nicotine content.

Rather than jump straight into the deep end, start by vaping the nicotine e-liquid as you normally do (ideally some flavours that best speak to you). Then once you are ready to start cutting down, you can play around with the ratios until you establish a sweet spot ideal for you in that moment in time. And on, and on until you are finally able to wean off the nicotine completely.


Look, these are not magic solutions that will work overnight. If you are trying to rid yourself of your nicotine dependence, it’s important to approach these strategies with that in mind.

Unless you are able to do it cold turkey (and hopefully never relapse) quitting nicotine is a journey that needs to be taken in measured steps. With the right approach, coupled with a dollop of realism, it’s possible to wean off nicotine for good.

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