If you’re one of the approximately 82% of vapers who have switched over from smoking cigarettes, then you’ll know about the all-important ‘throat hit’. Part of the enjoyment of smoking was feeling the hit at the back of your throat that lets you know the nicotine has hit the sweet spot. There’s no getting away from it, nicotine is an addiction. For whatever reason we’ve become addicted to nicotine, which just happens to be one of the hardest ‘drugs’ to quit. Fortunately, e cigarettes are able to feed our addiction in a much healthier way. No more tar lining our lungs, and no more saltpeter coating our airways.
According to the NHS themselves, electronic cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes. But do they give us the same satisfaction? A lot of smokers clearly think not, and prefer to stick with paying ten pounds for a pack of twenty, and smelling like the dirty end of an ash tray. But close to 3 million smokers in the UK alone have decided to make the switch, and one of the things keeping them vaping is the faithfully replicated satisfaction that’s achieved by the throat hit. But what is a throat hit, and what’s the best way to get it with an e cigarette?
What Is A Throat Hit?
A throat hit is the feeling you get at the back of your throat when inhaling smoke, or vapour. Most smokers (and vapers) agree, it’s the most fulfilling part of smoking (or vaping). Health wise, it’s probably not great for us, but when it’s missing we feel like we’re missing out on the main thing that makes us smoke or vape in the first place. When I smoked I thought the throat hit was the smoke itself, burning the back of my throat. But then I tried a Silk Cut (remember those?), which had no throat hit at all, and I realised that the throat hit comes from the nicotine itself.
What E Cigarettes Provide The Best Throat Hit?
It’s not really the e cigarette that provides the throat hit, it’s the e liquid. Or more specifically, the nicotine in the e liquid. So don’t think you can be clever by vaping a zero nicotine e juice, if you’re used to smoking ten cigarettes a day, because it won’t give you the same sensation. In layman’s terms, the higher the nicotine the harsher the throat hit. But does that mean you should go for the highest concentration of nicotine possible? Absolutely not. Most vapers agree that 16mg of nicotine gives plenty of throat hit, and certainly enough to satisfy all but the heaviest of smokers. Some juices contain as much as 36mg of nicotine, but that will all change by next May as the new TPD restricts e liquid to a maximum of 20mg. But even with the new restrictions, 20mg of nicotine should provide more than enough of a throat hit to keep vapers satisfied.
Can E Liquid Flavours Affect Throat Hit?
I know what you’re thinking. Surely all these e liquid manufacturers can create a flavour that produces a throat hit similar to nicotine. Well, actually it’s very difficult. Because it’s not just the burning sensation that feels so good, it’s the actual nicotine hit itself. But there are manufacturers out there who are try gallantly to replicate that satisfying throat hit, even with zero nicotine. Some manufacturers found that cinnamon can produce a pretty effective throat hit, as can grain alcohol and capsaicin. The electronic cigarette manufacturer Njoy, who specialise in cig-a-like e cigarettes have started adding lactic acid into their e liquid, as they say it “is used in certain products to optimize the throat hit as well as the overall experience.”
If you browse on vaping forums, you’ll find there are plenty of vapers experimenting to find the perfect throat hit from a zero nicotine juice. Some go as far as to suggest adding a dash of vodka into the juice. If you are looking at reducing your nicotine intake but want to keep the same throat hit, then going for a e liquid high in PG will be harsher than predominantly VG juices. But if you take the nicotine down to zero too quickly, you’re going to struggle to find that satisfying throat hit that got you addicted in the first place.
There is a juice that’s doing the rounds on the forums by Flavour Art. And it’s called Bite Extra. I’ve never tried this juice but apparently it has quite a kick, even with zero nicotine. It has quite a bit of capsaicin in its ingredients, which is the chemical that make chillies taste hot, so it’s more of a burn than a hit, but some users seem to think it does the trick.
Another option, if you’re trying to reduce your nicotine intake is to add a T.H.E, or throat hit enhancer. There are a few brands offering these, and the idea is you add a few drops into your tank and it ups the throat hit. Again, most of them rely of capsaicin or some other ingredient that adds heat into the juice.
For all these things I’m yet to find an e juice that provides the type of throat hit I’m used to with a zero nicotine juice. Maybe because it’s the nicotine I crave and not the actual throat hit itself. Maybe it’s the combination of the two that makes it so satisfying, and one without the other just doesn’t ‘work’. I am a believer in the gradual reduction of nicotine though, and that’s one of the best things about vaping. When I was a smoker I has no choice, I just smoke the brand of cigarettes I smoked and that was it. Now I can experiment and reduce down my nicotine intake. The end goal should be to quit addiction completely, and I feel I have a far better chance of doing that vaping than I ever did smoking.
It’ll be interesting to take a poll on how many vapers are consciously trying to reduce their nicotine intake, and how important it is to have a great throat hit. If you’re a new vaper or you’ve been vaping for a while, let us know your thoughts. Do you go for throat hit, or do you go more for flavour?