Friday, 20 December 2013

Nicotine equivalence - why 20mg in ecigs are NOT the same as 20 cigarettes

It can be very frustrating when I read that people in the EU, making laws about e-cigs, seem to be saying that liquid containing 20mg/ml of nicotine is equivalent to 20 cigarettes.

It isn't - as I will explain.

The problem comes from a lack of understanding of the subject.

People look at the side of a bottle of e-liquid and read that it contains (say) 20mg/ml of nicotine.
Then they look at the side of a packet of cigarettes and read that each cigarette contains about 1mg of nicotine

They therefore state that 1ml of liquid is equal to 20 cigs - right ?


Now then, it is quite normal for new e-cig users to occasionally make this easy mistake - if they ask about it on a vaping internet forum they will receive the answer very quickly.

It is, however, completely unacceptable, negligent and ignorant for someone involved in the EU policy making to make this mistake. It demonstrates, at best, a complete lack of research - at worst, false propaganda.


The measure of nicotine that is declared on a bottle of e-liquid IS the amount of nicotine in the liquid.
The measure of  nicotine that is declared on the side of a packet of cigarettes is NOT the amount of nicotine in that cigarette.

It is easy to find out how much nicotine is actually in tobacco - HERE - and it is at least 10 times higher than the figure on the packet.

The amount of nicotine on the side of a cigarette pack is the dose of nicotine delivered to the body.

So, to compare the cigarette figure with the e-cig figure is quite simply not comparing the same thing.

Tobacco companies and Pharmaceutical companies WILL know this, but have not taken the opportunity to educate the legislators. Any competent Public Health professional should know this as well - but have left the legislators in ignorance - either that, or the legislators have been deliberately misled.

Tobacco smoking is the fastest way of delivering nicotine. If you use 1 ml of 20mg/ml e-liquid (over several hours), then not all of the nicotine will be absorbed into the body, and also the rate of absorption will be much slower than smoking tobacco, and nicotine is relatively rapidly metabolised - so the quantity of nicotine used will not be equivalent to the levels of nicotine obtained from smoking.

The rate of delivery is important - and in fact, it is believed that the concentration of nicotine in e-liquid that is required to deliver nicotine at the same rate as smoking tobacco is, in fact, 45mg/ml

The choice of strengths is important, and for those that need a higher dose then 20mg/ml there is a very good reason why.

There is another reason why the nicotine contained in e-cigs cannot be compared with the nicotine dose delivered by a cigarette - the habit and usage pattern is different. Smoking delivers a short, sharp, fast dose of nicotine, whilst vaping delivers a lower dose over a longer time - it is different

When looking at dosages, there are 2 important units of measure, T-max and C-max. T-max is the time to deliver the dose and C-max is the concentration that is delivered. ( Cmax is a term used in pharmacokinetics refers to the maximum (or peak) ... the drug has been administrated and prior to the administration of a second dose.)

Lets have a look at T-max and C-max for nicotine delivered by smoking and by e-cig vaping

- ( source - from

As you can see, there is not much difference between the time taken to deliver a dose of nicotine.

BUT - there is a huge, tenfold, difference between the C-max - in this case a 16mg/ml e-cig was used.

So - to come back to my original point :

You cannot compare the dose delivered from a cigarette with the concentration of nicotine in e-liquid - and most certainly not just by doing a quick sum, in your head, based on 2 labels.

The two figures are a measure of two completely things and in any case, the pattern of usage is different again.

Anyone that knowingly tries to do a simple mathematical comparison with cigarettes and e-liquid is a liar and attempting to deliberately mislead.



- Further recommended reading on this subject:
by Dave K.   -   aka 'The Happy Vaper'


  1. Thanks for that. I was getting baffled by some of the wild claims by the bansturbators. Obviously there are two choices about what they are doing, and neither of them good: they're either lying or incompetent.

    1. I really thank you for the valuable info on this great subject and look forward to more great posts. Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty article with me. I am appreciating it very much! Looking forward to another great article. Good luck to the author! All the best! american made e juice

  2. Well said :)
    It's fair to say that there a lot of confusion about nicotine - both the levels in tobacco, as well as the levels delivered during smoking (let alone in ecigs). Those who decided that 20mg/ml was enough clearly had absolutely no understanding of the subject - it's just a number pulled from the air at random.

  3. The above explanation is very well researched, but alas probably beyond the IQ of the average Euro MP, particularly if they have just returned from a 5 course lunch and 2 bottles of complimentary wine ?

  4. From January it will be legal to bring cross border into France 10 cartouches of cigarettes containing 25.000mg of nicotine,yet they are screaming about 20mg limits on E-liquid,It is completely nonsensical.

  5. Two thumbs up for an intelligent guy who came up with such an informative and factual post! The data are all well presented, especially the numeric computations. It seems that you really made great research to be able to provide a senseful response to those who are having misconceptions about e-cigarettes. Thanks for sharing that! All the best to you!

    Lucia Malone @ Carolina Vapor Mill

  6. E cigarett - E cigg och tillbehör, Mods, Köp dina El cigg och e-liquid hos oss vi erbjuder marknadens bästa el cigg till bra pris

  7. We provide electronic cigarette or E-Cigarette, e-liquid & e-Juice brand in Delhi, Mumbai, chennai, kolkata and all over India at the best prices buy online.

    VIEW MORE :-

    E-Cigarette in Delhi
    Electronic Cigarettes Online in Delhi
    e-liquid in Delhi
    E juice in delhi
    Vape in India

  8. VaporFi is the highest quality electronic cigarettes supplier out there.

  9. As long as we learn how to stay in control, we can balance the forces within and stay free of the appetite or hunger that causes extra pounds.
    The solution is to eat normal portions at mealtime and avoid excessive snacking in between.
    For more: how much nicotine is in a cigarette

  10. Delighted that I found your site, fantastic info. Smoking is harmful for health. We should say no for smoking. Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.

    eLiquids and Vape Mods

  11. Hi Dear,

    i Like Your Blog Very Much..I see Daily Your Blog ,is A Very Usefull For me.

    You Can see also my services....

    E Cigarette Shop brings you the best online nicotine e liquid, vaporizers e cigs and kit in Australia at the best price so you can place an order now.

    Visit Now - nicotine e liquid


  12. ecigarette kit australia 

    Please Click Above Link here & Get information about E-cigarette at vape street.

  13. Vaping are not harmful to the human body like traditional cigarettes. It is a myth that E-Cigarettes contains cancer causing chemicals.

    Vaporizer Store India

    Buy E-liquid of Vape pens

  14. 10 one-millionths of a gram of TSNAs. There is abundant scientific evidence that exposure at this minuscule level is not associated with ANY cancer in smokeless tobacco users.
    free vapor pen starter kits


  15. e-cigarette kit australia

    e-cigarette kit australia is Providing you our best e-cigarette kit at

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. I had many problems, and I was about ready to give up vaping when I came across the link above and started dripping. E liquid Shop home page 

  18. for big discounts on vaping products check out

  19. apologies link below
    Discount code mrvapes20%

  20. Hi Dear,

    I Like Your Blog Very Much. I see Daily Your Blog, is A Very Useful For me.

    You can also Find Electronic Cigarettes If you are trying to online buy wholesale electronic cigarettes & e cigarette starter kit in UK & USA. Available here @

    Visit Now:-

  21. Hi Dear,

    I Like Your Blog Very Much. I see Daily Your Blog, is A Very Useful For me.

    You can also Find Best Electronic Cigarettes Store We offer a wide range of Best Electronic Cigarettes&E Cigs Accessories in UK. Check out Our Electronic Cigarettes Store.

    Visit Now:-

  22. Hi Dear,

    I Like Your Blog Very Much. I see Daily Your Blog, is A Very Useful For me.

    You can also Find Electronic Cigarettes If you are trying to online buy wholesale electronic cigarettes & e cigarette starter kit in UK & USA. Available here @

    Visit Now:-