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Nicotine Levels in Your Average Cigarette

Nicotine Levels in Your Average Cigarette

In today's world, you have much more available to you than your classic cigarette of yesteryear. With vape pens and the famous e-cig, there are a multitude of ways to smoke. However, smokers of all stripes still have a basic question that they want solved: Just how much nicotine (nic) does a cigarette contain?

Throughout this post, we will deal with the amount of nic that you find in your average classic cig.

The reasons people want to know the answer to this question are vast and varied. Most people know that cigarettes contain substances like carbon monoxide, tar, ammonia, and other chemicals. It's why many are switching over to alternatives like the vape pen, dab pen, wax pen, e-cig, etc.

However, the reason anyone smokes any of these options is due to the nicotine; therefore, they want the question answered. Before we get into the exact amounts, let's discuss why people crave that nic so badly.

Why Do People Crave Nicotine?

Of course, this is an addictive substance. This same ingredient is found in everything you smoke from your classic cig and vape pen, and wax pen, to even products like dipping and chewing tobacco. The reasons one craves this substance include:

  • Decreases appetite and keeps the weight off
  • Boosts mood and makes you happier
  • Boosts your digestive system
  • Satisfies a craving
  • Releases tons of endorphins

These are the positives of the stimulant substance. This is obviously why people crave it. This isn't a piece meant to sing the praises of nic, of course; however, we do want to inform people on why the substance is so addictive. Something that makes a person feel good in this way is craved by the body, and the body can build a dependency on the chemical and crave it, hence terms used like “nic-fit” when someone goes without a smoke, or even an e-cig, for an extended period.

Levels in Your Average Cigarette

Now that we know why people crave the substances, and that you can find it in your average dab pen, wax pen, and especially the classic “smokes,” let's discuss how much of this stimulant you're going to find in your average cig.

Not all cigs are the same; you have categories, as you may well know, like light, medium, strong, extra strong, and they even make options now that do not contain the substance at all, though these aren't very popular and probably nothing about which you're personally concerned. But just know that they are out there. Here's a quick list of the average nic levels based on your option:

  • Light cigarettes: 6 milligrams
  • Medium cigarettes: 12 milligrams
  • Strong cigarettes: 18 milligrams
  • Extra Strong cigarettes: 24 milligrams

Keep in mind here that these are average levels. You may find fluctuation between brands and between name-brand versus generic. Think of it, if you will, like the total average rainfall in a state. Every individual town and county will have numbers that slightly differ, but you bring them together to figure out the entire average for the state as a whole. The same holds true with this list. An expensive name brand may have a bit more of the substance than the bottom shelf, cheap brand. However, this is accurate information concerning the average amounts of it you're going to find in cigarettes based on their advertised strength.

Do You Absorb It All?

Just because you're smoking a regular strength cig doesn't mean you'll be absorbing all 12 or so milligrams of the substance into your body. While you do absorb some of it into your blood by inhaling the cigarettes, even an e cigarette, you're actually exhaling most of it and not absorbing it. If you're smoking a regular cig, or even something like a vapor pen, keep in mind that your body is absorbing a little less than 10% of the substance. So, for instance, if it's a cig with 12 milligrams per unit, you will likely absorb only 1 milligram of the substance for the whole unit. Again, however, these are averages.

This is something that will vary from item to item. For instance, it's going to be different with a vaporizer pen than with a regular cig, and we also refer back to the levels of the substance contained per unit. So if it's something that's extra strong and 24 milligrams, you will absorb around 2 milligrams per unit. It's in the 8 to 10% range, on average.

What makes this number even harder to quantify, especially for your classic smoke, is how much you actually smoke of it. For instance, a lot of smokers take occasional drags and half or so of the cig will burn and ash away. Others inhale more and more regularly and thus take more into their bodies. With something like a vape pen, you're not burning away any of the substances, as the nic is only being released each time you take a hit from the vaporizer pen. This is why we want to keep things focused on the classic cig, and speak about the averages there.

How It Affects You

This is another area where we're looking at averages and not individual specifics. The reason is that everyone is a bit different, and thus it would be too difficult to individually quantify specifics. The average person will experience most, if not all, of the above-mentioned effects from the substance. Mood boost, decreased appetite, etc. However, you must also realize that the amount of the substance a person is absorbing, and the affect it will have on them, also depends on individual factors.

Some of the factors that affect nic absorption and the effects the substance will have include:

  • A person's body weight
  • How long that person has smoked
  • What types of cigs are being smoked
  • Tolerance to the substance
  • Overall health factors like blood pressure, et al

Average Nic Levels in an E-Cig

Throughout the bulk of this post, we've discussed the average amounts of the substance you're going to find in the average cig, the classic smoke, and also how it affects you and why you crave those effects. Though in recent years, the e cig has become a more popular alternative, as you're not getting all of those other harmful chemicals with the product. You're not getting the tar and ammonia; though you are still definitely getting the nic.

With your average e cig, there is about 10 to 15 milligrams of the substance per cartridge. Like the classic cig, your body will, on average, absorb less than 10% of that. So, for the average e cigarette, you'll likely be absorbing about 1 milligram of nic per unit.

For the vapor pen, a cartridge of the e-liquid can contain up to 24 milligrams of it on average. So, for the entire bottle, your body will end up absorbing around 2 milligrams.

As with classic cigarettes, these numbers definitely depend on brand and the fact that one brand may contain more, another may contain less, etc. So these are numbers that have been averaged out to give you a basic understanding of the levels contained therein. And just like with the classic smokes, your body, your condition, and other factors will affect how much you absorb and the effects you have from absorbing it.

In Summation

At the end of the day, there is no universal answer to this question. The fact is that different items, different brands, have different per-unit levels of the substance. And the amount you absorb depends on how you smoke, the environment in which you're smoking, and whether you're smoking classic cigs or vaping, etc. However, these averages will give you a fairly decent idea about what you're taking into your body. 

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