Can Electronic Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit?

While an electronic cigarette is not intended to be a smoking cessation device, many people have successfully used electronic cigarettes to end their dependence on tobacco cigarettes, and to even wean themselves off of nicotine.


To begin, they found a cartridge with a nicotine strength that most closely approximated their current brand of cigarettes. Nicotine levels for the top ten best-selling cigarettes in the United States are as follows:

  • Marlboro – 1.1mg
  • Doral – .9mg
  • Camel – 1.4mg
  • Newport – 1.2mg
  • Winston – 1.2mg
  • Basic –  1.0mg
  • GPC – 1.3mg
  • Kool – 1.3mg
  • Salem – 1.2mg
  • Virginia Slims – 1.1mg

To determine the nicotine levels of other brands (or varieties such as Lights or 100 lengths), visit the Federal Trade Commission Report.

There really isn’t a direct correlation formula between the nicotine levels in tobacco cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, but as a point of reference, the average Marlboro Light smoker would probably start at about a 6mg electronic cigarette cartridge, where a Camel or Newport smoker might start at a 12mg cartridge.

People who have successfully quit smoking using electronic cigarettes first focused on switching to the electronic cigarette exclusively. After doing so, most reported increased senses of taste and smell, as well as generally improved health.

Once they are using the electronic cigarettes exclusively, they then gradually decreased the nicotine levels of the cartridges they were using, until they got to the point of using nicotine-free (zero-mg) cartridges.  They still enjoyed the flavor and feel of smoking, but were able to wean themselves off of nicotine.  After they stopped using electronic cigarettes with nicotine, they were still able to use nicotine-free electronic cigarette cartridges for the enjoyment of smoking, but without the encumbrance of nicotine addiction.