Does the Nicotine Level Affect the Taste of E-Cigarette Flavors?

Last updated on June 25th, 2017 at 04:19 pm

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If you’re concerned about nicotine affecting the flavor of your e-cigarette’s e-liquid, here are some things you should know.

Nicotine Level Does Have An Affect on Cartridge and E-Liquid Flavors

E-cigarettes, the popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes are sold with your choice of nicotine level contained within in the cartridge – the part that holds the e-liquid. If you’re an intermediate or seasoned vapor and you buy e-liquids for a vaporizer, vape Mod or vape pen style e-cigarette, you probably already know that you can choose your nicotine level; but not everyone realizes that nicotine almost always gives you a stronger vaping experience. What’s more, it can alter the flavor.



When I started vaping over six years ago I was unsure which level of nicotine would be right for me. Then I found a cool chart on the V2Cigs website which I’ve shared below. It’s a helpful beginner’s guide to choosing the right e-cigarette nicotine level for your taste preference.

Flavor Cartridges and Nicotine Level choices

But How High is High?

Some nicotine e-liquid levels (like those from VaporFi) are sold as high as 3.6%, similar to a filterless cigarette. JUUL ecigs are known for their super-high nicotine content of 5.0%. I’ve tried those, and now know why it’s helped smokers get off cigarettes.

On the lower end of nicotine levels, if you choose 0.6% nicotine, 0.33% or Zero nicotine, the vapor will still produce good volume and flavor. People who were heavy smokers usually have to wean themselves down to this level, although some former smokers feel that the vaping “flavor” experience outshines the need for nicotine and they go with low or zero nicotine.

Why Does Nicotine Affect the Flavors of Your Vaping Experience?

In testing so many different e-cigarette products including different levels of nicotine, I along with the other testers at BECG have learned that the nicotine level does have an affect not only on your throat hit experience, but also on the cartridge or e-liquid flavor. The difficult part in reviewing nicotine levels is that different brands of e-cigarettes and/or e-liquid manufacturers will give you a different experience.

I’ve found that with South Beach Smoke and Vaporfi, a low nicotine level can make certain flavors more enjoyable, while with V2, a higher nicotine level produces a more intense flavor. If you get your e-Juice from Mt. Baker Vapor, or Halo Cigs, you may notice that a higher nicotine level reduces the flavor of your vape. That’s one reason MT. Baker Vapor lets you add extra flavor shots to their many custom e-juices. It all depends on the e-cig brand, your atomizer’s Ohm level, the flavor and even your vaping habits.

It’s interesting to note that the super high nicotine level in a JUUL vape does not seems to affect the flavor of the “flavor pod”. Since you can only buy one level of nicotine, the company has formulated it’s e-liquid flavors accordingly.

Reviewing how specific e-cigarette flavors taste will always be subjective. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure so use our review objectively and only as a guide. 

Where To Begin When Choosing Your E-Cigarette Nicotine Level

First, get familiar with how e-cigarettes describe and compare nicotine levels. We see these more detailed guidelines on most e-cig websites:

Very Strong (36mg – 50mg) – Compared to a non-filtered cigarette.

Strong (24mg) – Compared to a strong cigarette such as Marlboro Red

Full (16 – 18mg) – Compare to a full flavored cigarette such as Benson & Hedges

Light (12mg) – Compare to a light cigarette such as Marlboro Lights

Ultra Light (6 – 8mg) – Compare to an ultra light cigarette such as Winston Ultra Lights

Zero (0mg) – Same great taste – without any nicotine. 

Mixing and Matching Flavors with Nicotine Levels

Some of the top e-cigarette companies, (Halo Cigs for example), offer variety E-Liquid packs. That’s always helpful for choosing a favorite flavor for your vaporizer, but since they come packaged in one box, you can’t choose the nicotine level for each flavor. That’s a downside for me.

Other popular e-cigarette companies (such as V2Cigs), have Starter Kits in which you can choose 5 flavors PLUS you can choose one of 5 different nicotine levels for each flavor. That’s one reason I still give V2Cigs a 9.8 star rating if you’re buying a cig-alike or vape pen.

V2 Cigs electronic cigarettes - best ecigs worldwide

My absolute favorite e-Liquid company, Firebrand offers flavors designed for maximum vapor production and Sub-Ohm vaping. It’s recommended that if you are using a Sub-Ohm atomizer you lower your nicotine level. 6mgs tastes like 18mgs so be prepared for a nice throat hit and major clouds.


What Affects ECig Flavors the Most?

Sometimes your vaping style as well as the nicotine level can affect taste.

Here’s tip we received from VaporFi .

“Rich flavors taste better with a long, savoring draw, while fruity and sweet flavors taste better with a swift yet deep draw.” 

Our Own Taste Test Review of Flavors and Nicotine Levels

1- VaporFi is best known for their Vaporizers where you add your own e-liquids. They let you custom blend your flavors and add extra “shots” of flavor as well as up your nicotine levels. Those extra shots of flavor will balance a higher nicotine level. I think Vaporfi’s standard flavors tend to run sweeter, but you can definitely have a bit of fun experimenting with the unlimited flavor cocktails you can create for your own perfect blend of flavors and nicotine levels. Their Reserve Collection is pre-steeped (better tasting than their standard line IMO, and has 70% VG. This line is less sweet, especially with with a higher nicotine level.

2- V2 fruit and other flavored cartridges are made with both vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol (the PG is dominant), so they’re not as sweet as a mostly VG e-liquids or cartridges. I’ve found that the nicotine level with V2 affects what vapers call a “throat hit” with the higher levels giving a stronger hit, but with diminished flavor. I still recommend their variety flavor cartridge pack.  

Whatever level you choose, I hope this post helps get you started. Remember tastes are always subjective and we always appreciate your feedback. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think about how nicotine levels affect e-cigarette flavors.

All of the E-Cigarette companies mentioned in this article are among the best selling and have tested their e-liquids for purity. All are diacetyl free as well.  

Happy Vaping!

VaporFi Grandma’s Dutch Apple Pie 728×90

Is Nicotine Dangerous?

How Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin Affect E-Cigarette Vaping 


Editor’s Note: It’s rare, but if you encounter an unwanted, unpleasant, or adverse reaction to products, we suggest lowering your nicotine level, or choosing NO nicotine.

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Gary D.

Gary D. has over 20 years of senior project management experience with Fortune 500 corporations. A vaper for over six years, he has always been a supporter of Tobacco Harm Reduction and the vaping industry, testing and reviewing new products since 2009. You can check out his many ecig reviews here at BECG and at ECigarette News and Cloud Nine Ecig & Health Reviews.

8 comments to Does the Nicotine Level Affect the Taste of E-Cigarette Flavors?

  • Holly North

    Despite the fact smoking is a proven danger to people’s lives, a major population of the world still consists of smokers. Smoking causes damage to almost all body organs and is a major cause of cancer. Many people addicted to tobacco have realized the effects of smoking and have tried quitting.
    E-cigarettes are tobacco-free (and potentially nicotine free). Some people will listen to the scaremongering you read in the newspapers and believe electronic cigarettes are harmful. Before switching to e-cigarettes people should speak to their doctor and also do a thorough research on the product.

  • Very nice article informative content thanks we liked it.

  • Is it true that high vg juice faster burn the coilhead in tank?

  • stail

    I would like to have some more information on seeping to maximize flavor and maybe a table chart and how much actual flavoring to use?

  • Chris_L

    In my experience (using a mod and tank set-up), I’ve found that with premium e-juice, the amount of nicotine definitely enhances the flavor. I’m only talking about from 0mg to 3-6mg, as 6mg is the highest I’ve tried in that kind of setup. This was extremely apparent with “Unicorn Milk” and “Boosted” e-juice (two of my current favorites).

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