With more than a decade of history under its belt – and an excellent safety record to date – it must be clear to anyone who studies the data objectively that any person who smokes faces a significantly reduced health risk by switching to vaping.
As everyone knows, though, most e-liquids contain the same highly addictive ingredient – nicotine – that’s in cigarettes. If you’re a former smoker, nicotine is the chemical that got you addicted in the first place.
The addictiveness of nicotine is why the nations of the European Union have opted to limit the maximum legal nicotine strength of e-liquid to 20 mg, thereby limiting the addictive potential of e-cigarettes.
New Zealand may face a similar restriction in the near future. In Australia, nicotine e-liquid isn’t legal at all except by prescription.
Considering the controversy surrounding nicotine, it’s worth asking whether it would be worthwhile to eliminate your nicotine consumption entirely and vape nicotine-free e-liquid instead.
Is nicotine-free e-liquid safer than standard e-liquid – even completely safe, perhaps?
Let’s explore the question a bit further and find out what nicotine-free vaping is about.
Why Would Anyone Vape Without Nicotine?
The first reason why someone might want to vape without nicotine is because they live in a nation in which nicotine e-liquid is illegal. That’s true, for example, in both Australia and Norway.
Vaping is legal in both nations, but nicotine e-liquid isn’t. Some people who live in those nations choose to import their vape juice from elsewhere, and others simply buy nicotine-free e-liquid.
Yes; it is possible to quit smoking using nothing but nicotine-free e-liquid – but it isn’t easy. If you switch from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes without nicotine, it’s essentially the same as quitting cold turkey.
The e-cigarette replaces the hand-to-mouth-ritual of smoking, but it doesn’t replace the nicotine. When you try to quit smoking that way, there’s a real risk that you will eventually relapse and return to smoking.
Some people continue smoking while making the transition to nicotine-free vaping, reducing their cigarette consumption gradually until they no longer smoke.
Here in New Zealand, though, e-liquid with nicotine isn’t illegal. Reducing and eliminating your nicotine intake, therefore, doesn’t have to be so difficult.
How to Vape Without Nicotine
If you already vape, the key to vaping without nicotine is to reduce the nicotine strength of your e-liquid as slowly as possible.
If you’re currently using a cigalike or pod system with pre-filled cartridges, you should start by switching to the lowest nicotine strength that the manufacturer of your vaping device offers.
Take it slow, because a drastic change in your nicotine strength – from 50 mg to 30 mg, for example – may take some getting used to.
Once you’ve grown fully accustomed to the lower nicotine strength, you’ll need to switch to a refillable vaping device to give yourself finer control over the strength of your e-liquid.
You’ll probably find that the refillable device produces much larger clouds than the device you’re using now, so you’ll want to reduce the nicotine strength of your e-liquid when making that switch. For most of today’s high-power box mods and vape pens, the most popular nicotine strengths are 3 mg and 6 mg. Because of your new device’s increased vapour production, the switch probably won’t be problematic from you.
Once you’re using a nicotine strength of 3 mg, your real challenge begins because most e-liquid makers don’t offer strengths below that unless you’re going with nicotine-free juice.
When you’re using a sub-ohm vaping device, though, going from 3 mg to nicotine free is a pretty big jump. Once you reach that point, the way to make the transition easier is by making your own in-between nicotine strengths. If you combine equal amounts of e-liquid in strengths of 3 mg and 0 mg, for instance, you’ll get an e-liquid with a strength of 1.5 mg. If you continue varying your ratios, you can ease yourself down to 0 mg as slowly as you like.
Is It Safe to Vape Without Nicotine?
One of the most common questions non-vapers ask is whether it’s safe to vape without nicotine. If you’re asking that question, maybe it’s because you’ve seen a bit of vape culture – a video of vape tricks on YouTube, for instance – and you were intrigued by it.
While it’s true that a colourful culture has formed around vaping, it is our opinion that you should not vape if you do not smoke – not even if you’re using nicotine-free e-liquid.
That’s the case because doing so would run contrary to the true purpose of vaping, which is to give smokers who can’t quit a less harmful alternative to tobacco.
You’ll notice as well that we said less harmful. Even if you’re not inhaling nicotine, you’re still inhaling vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol when you vape – and it’s doubtful that doing so is completely harmless. If you don’t smoke, please don’t vape.