Lower Nicotine Levels and Refillable Vape Pods
At first glance, the idea of an adult vaper striving to reduce their nicotine intake while using a refillable vape pod kit seems a bit odd. After all, vape pods owe most of their popularity to the existence of potent and smooth nic salt eliquids.
If you want to learn more about the science behind nic salts, check out our feature: Intro to Nic Salts. For a complete overview of vaping, vaping devices and nic strengths check out our Guide to Vaping and Nicotine Strengths.
Before describing how many adult vapers are able to reduce their nicotine intake with vape pods, it is important to outline how nic salts revolutionized vaping. Nic salts are created by adding benzoic acid to the regular freebase nicotine which had long served as the foundation of eliquids.
The addition of benzoic acid creates a nicotine salt. This nicotine salt has a lower pH and crosses the blood brain barrier more readily according to some studies. A lower pH level means more can be added to a given eliquid and the vapor will remain smooth and tolerable. Regular eliquids are limited by their higher pH, as the throat hit begins to get too rough for most vapers to withstand once a level of 24 or 36mg/ml is reached.
Of course, there are some vapers who prefer the stiff throat hit and chest burn of high-nicotine freebase eliquids. While this approach more closely resembles the act of smoking, many vapers first made the switch from smoking using prefilled vape pods and are used to the lack of throat hit that this style of ecig delivers.
Refillable Vape Pods
Refillable vape pods are a more cost effective alternative to prefilled vape pods. They have the added benefit of not being tied up in the federal flavor ban, which now limits prefilled vape pods to tobacco and menthol flavors. If you live in a state that doesn’t have a flavor ban, you can use whichever flavor and ejuice you want in your refillable vape pod kit.
What makes a refillable vape pod different than an ecig. One major difference is that vape pods are not of a standardized size, while many cartomizers and tanks are interchangeable between brands.
Vape pods come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and power levels. Some are AIO vape pods, which means the coils can be swapped like in an open tank system. Others require the entire pod to be replaced. There are autodraw vape pods, button fired vape pods and vape pods like the UWell Caliburn which offer the user both options.
The one common thread is that they are designed to be easy to use. Prefilled vape pods are also available in multiple nic strengths but these bottom out at 18mg/ml for the Vuse Alto and 25mg/ml for the Juul. A refillable vape pod on the other hand can handle zero nicotine eliquids, as well as potent nic salts.
Reducing Nic Levels
Most refillable vape pods, which the notable exception of the UWell Caliburn, offer multiple coil or pod options. Most manufacturers conveniently make one for “regular” high-VG ejuices and the other for nic salts.
The coil for the regular eliquid pod will generally have a lower resistance coil and larger juice ports. This is due to the fact that most nic salts use a 50/50 blend of VG/PG, while the majority of the regular eliquids on the market are thicker due to the fact they are 70 percent VG.
If you are the typical adult vaper who switched from a prefilled vape pod to a refillable vape pod, or jumped from a box mod to a vape pod because they are smaller and require less maintenance, your first step is to assess the nic strength you are at.
If you are vaping a nic salt, it will be somewhere between 25mg/ml and 50mg/ml. Most nic salts come in a higher and lower strength, although Cuttwood is only available at 35mg/ml, splitting the difference.
If you are using the higher nicotine strength nic salt, you can always buy a bottle of the higher and lower strength nic salt in your favorite flavor and mix them, as an intermediate step between two offered nic strengths.
Once you are down to the lowest strength nic salt option, you can consider switching to regular eliquids. Dinner Lady and Mad Hatter both offer nic salts and regular eliquids with similar flavor profiles.
Regular eliquids are generally offered nic free and at 3, 6 and 12mg/ml strength. The drop from a 25mg/ml nic salt to a 12mg/ml freebase ejuice is not much greater percentage wise than the dip from 50mg/ml to 25mg/ml. In terms of total nicotine, it is actually less.
Speaking from personal experience, you may find yourself vaping more as the nic level plummets. Luckily, there are vape pods like have screens and puff counters. Otherwise, the easiest way to monitor is to simply determine how many times per week you are filling up the vape pod.
Once you have made the jump from a 50mg/ml nic salt to 25mg/ml nic salt and then to a 12mg/ml regular eliquid, I found I was running downhill. You can theoretically dilute a 3mg/ml ejuice with a nic free one or come up with almost any strength of combination, provided you have multiple bottles in your inventory.
Vapor4Life makes a point of offering multiple nic strengths for our eliquids to facilitate this transition to lower nicotine options.
Our goal at Vapor4Life has always been to help smokers switch to vaping and for vapers to eventually lower their nicotine levels with the end goal being a lifestyle free from nicotine and vaping. Most vape pods are available with a several coils, and this is a great option for accomplishing this end.
The vape pods used for regular eliquid may not have as tight of a draw as the ones optimized for nic salts but the flavor should be comparable and the vapor production slightly better. And if you prefer the tighter draw of the coils designed for nic salts, you can always cover the airflow with your finger. This is what I do with my Novo X as I negotiate the road to zero.