/How Much Nicotine Is in a Cigarette?
How Much Nicotine Is in a Cigarette? 2018-03-05T10:57:49+00:00

How Much Nicotine Is in a Cigarette?

A lot has been said about how dangerous cigarette smoking is. We all know, or should know,that there are plenty of toxins inside tobacco cigarettes, including tar, ammonia, carbon monoxide and plenty more. But the one ingredient that usually gets the most lambasting is nicotine. Now nicotine may not be as harmful as all those other chemicals when you are considering just the physical implications. But when you get into what it does, which is cause addition, it is by far the most dangerous.


You can try to control your smoking all you want and even attempt to quit. But as long as your body and brain are craving nicotine, then you are going to have a very tough time. It is the same problem all drug users experience. They know what they are using is bad for them, but there is an addictive quality there that makes it difficult to stop doing it. It is a compulsion that is hard to break.

Now in general, the more nicotine there is in a cigarette, the more addictive that cigarette will be. That is why it is so important to understand how much nicotine you are taking into your system.

The Average Nicotine Content

With all that in mind, let’s look at how much nicotine the average cigarette contains. Now cigarettes will be different from one another in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is how much nicotine they contain. You cannot just say all cigarettes contain such and such amounts of nicotine.

It’s not even fair to say that they all average so much nicotine. The average, by the way, is about 12 mg per cigarette. The large majority of cigarettes fall between a range of 8 mg and 20mg. But it is important to note that most of those within that range hit near the low end.


It is also important to note that at least a few of them are reaching as high as 20 mg or more. You cannot just look at an average and apply it to what you are smoking. Your cigarette of choice could be much different than the national average.

What You Are Actually Taking In

Now you aren’t usually taking in all those milligrams of nicotine. It isn’t like you are ingesting the entire cigarette or keeping all the nicotine inside. You exhale a large portion of that, and your body doesn’t assimilate and absorb all the nicotine you inhale.

Once again, we have to refer to an imperfect average that doesn’t paint the whole, true picture. On average, a smoker would actually absorb into their body about 1 mg of nicotine per cigarette.

Now this is going to vary from cigarette to cigarette as well as from person to person. Not everyone is going to absorb the same amounts or smoke in the same way. A lot of different factors determine how much nicotine you are taking in, and they range from the environment in which you smoke to your emotional state when you smoke. That last one may seem odd, but many people actually inhale cigarettes differently based on their mood.

Not Everyone Is the Same

We just mentioned that not everyone is going to absorb nicotine in the same way or at the same rate. But there are other factors that determine just how much damage nicotine does. You see, even if you absorb just as much nicotine as the next person, the effect that same amount of nicotine has on you may be quite different from the effect it has on someone else.

That is because everyone’s body is different. People with a lot of mass or healthy immune systems are not going to be as affected by nicotine as people who are small or frail. That’s when analyzing nicotine content in cigarettes and their effects on people does not give you the same answers every time.

For some people,a single cigarette is enough to form an addiction that will last for a lifetime.For others, it may take most of a pack to form that same addiction.

So we can’t say that a certain amount of nicotine will cause addiction or create a negative effect for someone. But we can say that nicotine is harmful and that at some point it leads to addiction. Once that addiction is in place, it takes varying amounts of nicotine to keep a foothold on the brain and keep the addiction going strong.

  1. comment-avatar

    Nonya buiseness

    October 23, 2017 at 6:22 pm Reply

    I’m 15 and can’t quit smoking

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      Ronald Cochran

      May 27, 2018 at 8:44 am Reply

      One option is vaping, although far from perfect vaping does eliminate all the other deadly chemicals associated with smoking tobacco.
      I smoked red box Marlboros 2 packs a day for the best part of 27 years, then my darling Wife who passed away from cancer one year ago today.
      At first she developed COPD that’s why we tried vaping and we both quit smoking regular cigarettes 51/2 years ago and right now I’m down to 3 mg of nicotine on the vape.
      If I can be of ANY help to you let me know I’m Ron Cochran

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        May 31, 2018 at 5:12 pm Reply

        Good job! Sorry to hear about your wife.

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        June 10, 2018 at 1:55 am Reply

        ron i just want to say im sorry for your lose and im supporting you 100% i wish the best for you man keep it up one day youll wake up and not even think of nicotine youll be strong enough to make that. i wiah i was able to do that ive been smoking for four years now ive been trying to quit im vaping now of 6 mil grams of nicotine but i just cant get over cigs i dont know if its the feeling of smoking a cig like watching the cig go from something to nothing idk i just want to quit. i know we have to put email so if you have some motivational things to say please help

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        Cris Adriano

        June 10, 2018 at 9:05 am Reply

        I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s passing, Ron. It’s good that you’re now down to 3mg of nic in your e-juice. I myself am going on 2 weeks smoke-free. Vaping 6mg liquid. I’m 28 and havd been smoking for the better part of a decade.

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        June 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm Reply

        me! help me! one so sorry about your wife, Two i got a vape to ween off. i ended up on this page somehow trying to figure out if my vape is stronger than a cig? im not getting enough info from these sites…

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        June 23, 2018 at 3:13 pm Reply

        I just bought a juul to try to quit smoking. I’ve smoked since I was 13 and I’m 37 now. I’m hoping there won’t be the nasty side affects especially the coughing and hope to be able to breath better soon since I’ve change career paths and I’m going on the fire Dept. How did you quoting go? I’m sry for your loss to. I just lost my father to liver cancer.

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      May 31, 2018 at 5:11 pm Reply

      Use chantex (I think that’s how you spell)lol.. anyway it DOES take the craving away. I am a smoker and only quit bcz my husband quit 15yrs ago and hates the smell.. so I now use E-cig.. But Chantex did take all the craving away and worked very good..I just for some reason love to smoke. Good Luck to you. I started when I was 14 bcz of a friend

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      June 14, 2018 at 9:22 am Reply

      Smoking……ohh..old man you are too old to smoke …..,😂😂😂😂

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    Cindy Ruston

    November 21, 2017 at 9:23 am Reply

    Thankyou for the helpful information. This is a tough one . I’m down to 1/2 or one whole cigarette per day. Today I’m aiming to for 24 hrs smoke free.

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    December 7, 2017 at 7:57 am Reply

    I’ve been smoking an average of 1 pack a day for the last 50 years. I am now 64 y.o. I started smoking when i was 14 years old. I estimated my consuming of 20 sticks a day for 365 days multiplied that by 50 which is fifty years and the result was 365,000 sticks in 50 years. Now let’s say my body is absorbing just 1 mg of nicotine per stick, that totals 365,000 mg inside my body. The doctor who said i have to stop smoking is already dead.

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      Stormy Dan

      March 28, 2018 at 10:41 pm Reply

      Omg… that really makes me feel better and can justify anything. Wow.

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      May 10, 2018 at 12:02 am Reply

      you are an idiot!

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      May 10, 2018 at 12:27 am Reply

      Honey, nicotine leaves the body, the only reason you kept smoking was because the nicotine from the previous cigarette needed to be replaced. You don’t HAVE 365.000 mg of nicotine in your body, the lethal amount is aprox. 60mg, which means, you would have died more than 6000 times already if it didn’t leave the body.

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      June 1, 2018 at 9:48 pm Reply

      1 cigarette also delivers 12mg of tar. By your calculation you would have nearly 10lbs of tar inside your body.

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    amy jacobs

    March 4, 2018 at 7:58 pm Reply

    Thank u

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    Allison zam

    March 4, 2018 at 11:17 pm Reply

    My husband and I are so very concerned about the sudden obsession with vaping among our teens. We realized that the Interest stems from the nicotene content. 50mg is popular! We are wondering if there is a source that can tell us how to know how much compares to a cigarette and exactly what are the risks and adverse effects on an adolescent brain and body. Do you know of a source where this iformation can be found?

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      Samantha Larson

      March 16, 2018 at 6:07 am Reply

      I’m 37 ive been smoking 27 i only smoke 12 a day. I need to know about the vaper i have copd already my mom was gone at 43

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      March 24, 2018 at 11:39 am Reply

      .7 ml with 50 mg is equivalent to one whole pack of cigarettes. Pg and vg won’t harm you but the nicotine has the same effects it does if you were to smoke a cigarette. Ex. Head rush, dizziness, ect.

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      March 28, 2018 at 2:16 am Reply

      Uh, I don’t know anyone above a 6, but whatever floats your boat and helps you sleep at night.

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      March 30, 2018 at 11:18 pm Reply

      Vaping usually comes in 1.2%, 2.4 % and 4.2% meaning per 1 ml there is 12mg, 24mg, 42mg respectively. I have never heard of 50mg anything. Only way to measure is based on how much ml was put in that cartridge before beginning and what % nicotine product was used.

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      April 3, 2018 at 7:36 pm Reply

      The most common is 3mg and 6mg. There is no 50mg that I know of.

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      May 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm Reply

      That’s likely a Juul. Each “pod” is basically the nicotine equivalent of a pack of smokes and has approximately 50mg of nicotine per ml. There aren’t any adverse effects other than becoming addicted, though. It’s a much better alternative to smoking. The tobacco industry wants you to think this is some terrible new epidemic, but it’s really just a transition from what used to be a smoking epidemic. When I was in high school just 10 years ago there were just as many of us smoking, now they’re vaping. I’d say they’re likely getting more nicotine since it’s more common for a teenager to vape a pod a day than smoke a pack a day, but I’d also argue that it’s a positive trade off since it’s not causing the health issues associated with smoking. It’s really nothing to be alarmed about, teens will be teens and they’re going to rebel and do things that are marketed to adults only, because they’re becoming adults and it’s “cool” to do adult things.

      Vaping is often treated as a double edged sword, good for adults who want to quit smoking but bad because teens who don’t smoke start doing it. Well, those teens who “don’t smoke” would have started smoking instead of vaping in a time not very long ago. Most smokers also started off as teens who didn’t smoke. If they decide the addiction is controlling their lives it’s also a lot easier to wean off the nicotine through vaping with all the control you have in nicotine amounts and power. It’s a positive transition on all levels, don’t let the propaganda scare you.

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        June 10, 2018 at 1:58 am Reply

        they are mainly talking about cigs my dude nowhere does it say pods

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        June 29, 2018 at 1:01 am Reply

        There are major health effects to nicotine intake. Especially on the cardiovascular system as nicotine is a vasoconstrictor.

        The best this to do is buy 0mg ejuice or better yet, not vape or smoke at all.

        Nicotine has a huge impact on healing, blood delivery, and can permanently change, shrink, and damage blood vessels.

        That said, vaping is MUCH less harmful than cigarettes. However it’s very easy to intake a lot more nicotine from vaping than smoking with some mods and tanks out there. Be careful and take care of yourselves out there!

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      May 16, 2018 at 2:17 pm Reply

      Google popcorn lung.

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        June 5, 2018 at 8:50 pm Reply

        I had rather have my teen vaping than cigarettes any day. I am down to 1 mg of nicotine in my bottle. Next one I purchase will be zero mg. and I will fulfill my oral gratification. At least the vapor mix is much better than all the chemicals in cigarettes.

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        June 14, 2018 at 7:35 pm Reply

        Michael, that is from an added ingredient to give a vape juice a buttery flavour. It’s called Diacetyl and from what I have seen most e-liquids don’t use it anymore. Google Diacetyl.
        Vaporium here in New Zealand states that their e-liquid does not contain Diacetyl.

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        June 17, 2018 at 5:07 pm Reply

        Possible but, rare

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      Nick Moretti

      May 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm Reply

      Why are u letting your teens smoke this is the reason the vape industry is under attack right now by the govt with the backing of the big tobacco co.

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    March 17, 2018 at 8:16 pm Reply

    Also people who have never smoked a cigarette..will never understand how sting the hold is on you. It becomes your life. Yeah some people strong willed and w/o y ever try it or give into peer pressure. Bit, the differs person to person. No one type of personality is better than the other…EVERY PERSON on this planet has a vice.

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    Celia Brooks

    March 20, 2018 at 12:58 am Reply

    Pray for me. I’ve been smoking on and off since I was 16. I started back 4 years ago the day my only son died. I’m on dialysis and have heart disease.amongst other major ailments. I’m going to quit smoking tomorrow morning and and God knows this will be my last one. I’m alone in my home now and stress frustration and depression led me back down this road.

  8. comment-avatar

    Joe shmow

    May 6, 2018 at 7:06 pm Reply

    4th. day of trying to quit , on step 1 ( 21mg.) Nicotine patches, and (4mg.) gum. I was a pack a day (+) on some days smoker. Thanks for the information. I smoked for 17 years, now on average that is $4,000.00 a year. Please do the math on what else you can buy healthier than cigarettes with that amount of money. Maybe even think about investing that amount of money for the added years on your life, with family and friends. Just a thought though.

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    May 7, 2018 at 7:45 am Reply

    Allison, your kids are going to get hooked on nicotine. That said, some people seem to find it easy to quit, others not. I am one who can not quit. But I have found a way of using mouth-freshener spray with nicotine added and one squirt is equivalent to a cigarette. So my situation is at least amicable.

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    Karen Anderson

    May 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Vaping, I feel, is much less harmful. I don’t want to see any teen start smoking or vaping. Both addictive. But the chemicals in tobacco are scary. My kids started smoking at 14, behind my back. They now REGRET it. They are 37 and 39 and can’t quit. Tried every method. I think they could quit if they just toughed it out. But the younger you start….the harder it is to quit.

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      May 29, 2018 at 2:34 pm Reply

      For those trying to quit the best combo available is as fallowing:
      Read Alan Carr’s book: “easy way to quit smoking and at the same time listen during the day(but especially during sleep using sleephones) to Kim Carmen Walsh hypnosis on YouTube( download it so you can put it on repeat and remove in a editing program the introduction and ending which is supposed to wake you up) named: “hypnosis to quit smoking mindfully”
      Also look for diet changes ( supplements recommended only for the first 1-2 weeks) to keep a healthy dopamine and serotonin level until the brain restarts the natural process
      Definitely exercise daily but not heavily and try to make it a habit first thing in the morning
      Good luck

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        Robin Underwood

        June 11, 2018 at 8:42 am Reply

        Awesome book! Helped me 1st time and read it again this time.

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      June 19, 2018 at 11:16 am Reply

      Karen so true, I started smoking when I was 13 a pack a day
      I started vaping 2 years ago. Started at 16mg,then lower to13 I’m now down to 3mg
      I’m going to try 0 in the next month just to try a quit completly. Sire hope it works.

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    May 12, 2018 at 10:48 am Reply

    Where are the cited resources proving any of this information is true? Are these numbers made up or is this article plagiarized?

  12. comment-avatar

    Rhonda g McCray

    May 15, 2018 at 8:53 am Reply

    I just started vaping 3mg nicotine but i smoked 1 plus full flavor cigs a day im finding it not the same as smoking i still crave the cigs

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      May 18, 2018 at 5:07 am Reply

      Full flavor has 24 mg approximately. Vaping 3 mg is not sufficient. However, I suggest you also look for nicotine gum or patch to increase nicotine level instead of increasing vaping dose. nicotine gum 2 and 4 mg will help you to not craving too much. Vaping 3 mg will help in term of behaviour addiction. Do two of them together.

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      Tony Johns

      June 4, 2018 at 10:37 pm Reply

      Up your nicotine level or use a salt vape

  13. comment-avatar


    May 19, 2018 at 4:51 pm Reply

    Vaping does work I started out with 18 mg I went down to 3 in the past 6 months and now I’m vaping 0.
    Just want to let everyone know if you really want to stop you have to have it in your heart mind and soul that that’s what you’re going to do. By the grace of God I’ve done this for at least a week so far.

  14. comment-avatar


    May 21, 2018 at 8:08 am Reply

    Fred, your a crack up 😂

  15. comment-avatar

    Gregory Scales

    May 27, 2018 at 12:35 am Reply


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      June 10, 2018 at 1:59 am Reply

      but im a ginger im going to hell anyways 😀

  16. comment-avatar

    Adolf Hitler

    June 5, 2018 at 4:17 am Reply

    I’m dead af

  17. comment-avatar


    June 10, 2018 at 12:59 pm Reply

    I’ve smoked two packs a day for the past two years I just got fed up they had a blue Vape on sale for a dollar stater kit ad the pods 899 for 2 pods. I haven’t bought a pack of cigarettes in a week and a half it’s 2 mg a box with two vapes in it I don’t know what the comparison is if anybody knows please tell me some people say it’s better some say it’s worse I feel better . Right now I pod last me a day and a half some days just the day but two pods in three days I don’t think it’s too bad but I’m not sure the box says 2 mg with two pods and it is it 2 mg each pot I don’t know I hope it’s better I’m not spending $20 a day

  18. comment-avatar


    June 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm Reply

    Hey guys I was able to stop with zyn pouches they work great by using the Wintergreen flavor I was able to wean myself off with just Wintergreen chewing gum haven’t had a cigarette in over a year

  19. comment-avatar


    June 18, 2018 at 6:09 pm Reply

    Hi, to anyone struggling….Just make the decision and stop smoking and don’t care too much about other nicotine delivery devices like buying many mods and tone of tanks and juices.
    trust you can live without nicotine for your entire life… ultimately it’s not water
    You can vape but with intention to quit nicotine that means vape only for few months or a year max and keep going down to 0 Nic juices
    Everyday remind yourself you’re vaping to quit nicotine. if you don’t do so it’ll be more like a recreational addiction that make it much harder to quit.

    Hope you guys the best

  20. comment-avatar


    June 19, 2018 at 1:03 am Reply

    As for as my thought is consern u have to prepare ur mind to quit n then u have to find the way to decrease ur nicotine level slowly do not buy a pack of cig. But a single it will take a time but not hard to quit

  21. comment-avatar


    June 19, 2018 at 7:31 pm Reply

    I’ve been smoking for about 35 years. I am just ending day 3 of not having a cigarette in my possession. I am vaping. I want to, unlike smoking where I had to, or so it felt. I am so afraid I am going to fail, but will take one day at a time, with my mod in hand as long as I need it to be. I enjoy the flavors I have discovered, i also enjoy no longer trying to cover up, or lessen, the smells left behind by every cigarette that touched my hands. We can do it. We all can do it!

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      Rod Idel

      June 21, 2018 at 10:37 am Reply

      Hi all. I have just started vaping after a half pack a day habit for 40 years. Fairly low but lots of damage done nonetheless. Feel good about the vaping experience but most of the time I get very short of breath after taking a few ‘vapes’ Have seen a lot of instructional vids on Ytube etc about beginning vapers but cant find any info on this particular problem. Im guessing I might be having a reaction to the VG or PG or flavouring etc. A lot of the time I cant inhale the vapour but use the device like a cigar and just blow out. Any thoughts or similar experiences out there

  22. comment-avatar

    Rod Idel

    June 21, 2018 at 10:23 am Reply

    To the last post – keep going Sandy, youre not alone. Hi all – Im a 60 year old whos just started vaping after smoking for 40 years. Lots of damage has been done – especially, in my case restricted arteries, however – after vaping I get very short of breath to the point where it becomes uncomfortable to continue. Amongst the many instructional vids on YouTube etc about beginner vapers – I cant seem to find any info. Would appreciate comments from people who have had a similar experience. Im assuming I might be having a reaction to the PG or VG or flavouring. I am using juices with nic in them. ???

  23. comment-avatar


    June 24, 2018 at 11:58 pm Reply

    Im 13 and hooked ive been smoking since i was 6-7 but everyone smoked cause im in oklahoma and people dont care

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    June 25, 2018 at 3:05 pm Reply

    Hey ya I disagree w the whole vaping is worse I really don’t see how I mean yeah it has nicotene but it doesn’t have all the bad chemicals and u do get more nicotene from an actual cig ,I have a vape and I started smoking when I was 19 and I’ve quit on and off and I learned bout this vape and decided to try it and now I’ve quit for two months now and hardly use my vape mainly just at work , I believe it’s all in a person’s head that they want a cig if u can just get past that your good I still have a craving for a cig but I tried a cig and it literally made me sick so I’m good and I just think bout my son siio that helps, and what does cigarettes cause a lot more problems then a vape soon would suggest a vape!! Me and my husband have quit now , he has alittle more trouble w it then me bc he has been smoking longer!

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    July 5, 2018 at 9:59 am Reply

    Im 34 years old,i smoking 1.5-2 cigarettes packs per day
    What is the 1st liquid mg that must i take

    My cigarettes pack have 0.6 nicotine


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