Intriguing Questions

I know. I’ve been terribly shoddy at posting recently. Fact of the matter is, work has been a royal pain and has subsequently kept me from doing what I do. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Anyway, on to the point of this post. Following on from a previous post and various discussions on and of course twitter, the ol’ grey matter started churning away.

See, the thing is one of the key arguments against vaping is all about the dreaded, super-evil Nick O’Teen. There are also some parties that would like to see vapour products used only for cessation – which, by the way, they can stuff where the sun shineth not – so when I combined those two “arguments” in my head, I asked myself what is wrong here?

As part of an ongoing “experiment” (if you will), I asked you my dear, loyal readers and followers in the world of Twitter to complete a short survey. From this I immediately learned a few things. One is, I can’t design a survey to save my life. Two – using multiple choice isn’t always the best way to go. Three – designing surveys to be impartial is hard. But even with the flaws present in the survey, and I’ll get to those in a minute, the vaping community responded enthusiastically. At last count this short survey received 384 responses, so a big thank you to all who took part!

But that survey wasn’t the only thing I had going on. I also had a Twitter Poll running which also proved an illuminating experience.

The survey itself was in fact quite simple. It asked eight seemingly simple questions and had a comment box for anything you wonderful folks could think of saying.

  • I asked basic demographics – age/sex
  • How old when starting to vape
  • The nicotine strength used when initially switching
  • How much liquid used
  • The same again, but at “now”

Seemingly innocuous questions, and the answers are rather telling. Starting off with the basic demographics.


From this predominantly male dominated sample, a couple of points become clear: one is that the majority of this sample are fairly young – between 20 & 40. Second, the spread of age for women is more varied, there seems to be more or less the same number of women in each age group – however, only 70 ladies responded to the survey so there is a case of selection bias here. Is that because men are more likely to see this survey and complete it? Possibly. Another explanation is that social media is home to more vaping males. Presumption I know.

(Click to enlarge)


This chart will take some explaining. I asked “how old were you when you started vaping” and the range of answers tends to lend itself to suggest that men more so than women vape start vaping at an earlier age, though bizarrely 23 seems to be the magic number for women and vaping. Of course this result is skewed slightly as the older someone is, the later in life they would switch – considering there were almost 40 respondents aged 60 or over and the fact that there are relatively few late switchers suggest that these wise old folk have far more sense than someone half their age like me.


An intriguing chart this one. What strength nicotine did you start with. I had my preconceptions to what I would find here, and I was completely, totally and utterly wrong. You see, I expected a larger proportion to answer with the higher strengths, but it would seem that quite often 12mg/ml or 18mg/ml were the leading favourites. Interestingly, I did get a few for no-nic. But again, there is a wide disparity between the men and women with the majority of women electing to use 18mg/ml as that is relatively constant across the younger age groups with 24mg/ml and 18mg/ml leading the way in the 50-59 age group and 36mg/ml only makes an appearance in the 60 and over group.

I would like to point out that I chose the “off the shelf” levels rather than a free-text entry mostly for simplicity. I did have a few comments that I should have broadened the range, or made it a free-text field. Like I said at the top, creating surveys is hard.


The question for this chart did receive on interesting comment :

I am wondering where you are going with this, but I think if respondents are honest about where they started, you will see a lot of people showing that their nicotine consumption is around the same in total with higher liquid consumption of lower nicotine liquids

That wasn’t where I was going with this, however it is a valid point. A fair number of vapers tend to start at high(er) nic levels, but not use much liquid – mostly in the region of 1-4 ml per day – then as time progresses vapers lower the nic concentration but end up using more liquid – this is something I myself have noticed and I initially thought that perhaps I had lowered my nicotine intake too early, but there’s a few reasons why initial intake vs current intake will vary.

  • Method of vaping – the mouth to lung versus direct to lung argument
  • Type of vaping – sub-ohm / plus ohm
  • Devices used

For those older, and wiser heads out there that started with some really early kit, nic levels would have been around 12-18 mg/ml, as Dave Dorn pointed out to me on Twitter he actually started on 18, but went up to 54 and with older kit the liquid capacity wasn’t all that great – 1 to 2 ml if you were lucky. While those starting vaping now have a wider variety of devices to choose from with varying tank sizes. This would go a long way to explaining, at least partially why the initial usage for the younger folk is actually greater (3 ml and upwards) than the older and wiser folk.


This is where it gets interesting. Comparatively, the current strength used by the vast majority is 3mg/ml. This would tend to suggest that longer term vapers do prefer a lower concentration on a daily basis. Again the arguments on the previous chart will hold sway here, method, type and device used will have an impact – higher wattage levels tends to warrant a lower nicotine concentration. This is likely due to improvements in the technology to efficiently deliver the individuals need satisfactorily.


As you would expect, the level of usage now as opposed to initial use has increased significantly. Far more are now using more than 10ml on average per day. Lower nicotine strength, better and more efficient devices, the method of vaping (MTL vs DTL) suggests a higher consumption rate. There isn’t anything wrong with that, nor any of the other factors. How you vape is entirely up to you.

Some interesting numbers, but do they really mean much?

Not really in the grand scheme of things. It isn’t totally meaningless. It does demonstrate what we already know, the lower the nicotine content the more liquid you are likely to use – it’s not so clear cut however. There are many that remain on 6-18mg/ml with lower consumption overall – however, there are other reasons behind that. As many of us know vendors are not selling the “full” range of nicotine levels. Some are only providing a maximum strength of 6, others sell up to 12 or 18. There is also the PG/VG ratio to take into account – in general a higher VG would tend to equate with more consumption – something that I’ll probably explore in greater detail in the next survey.

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No survey would be complete without the comments section.

I would like to say giraffe. Giraffe.

  • “designing surveys to be impartial is hard”… is it ever. 🙂

    • I had an idea how hard it was, just didn’t realise *how* hard 😛