When you read about vape juice online, “throat hit” is a term that you’re likely to see often. If you’re new to vaping, that term probably doesn’t mean anything to you yet – but it’s actually a crucial factor to the enjoyment of your vaping experience. Let’s learn more!
What Is Throat Hit?
Throat hit is the sensation that you get in your throat when you inhale cigarette smoke or e-cigarette vapor with nicotine. It’s a slight irritation that comes from the nicotine and alkaline compounds in the smoke or vapor. If you still smoke – or you just switched to vaping – you probably remember that feeling of extreme satisfaction when you smoked your first cigarette after a long time without one. You drew that first puff of smoke into your lungs, and when it passed your throat, you felt an instant sensation of “ahhh” because you knew that you were about to feel the nicotine flood your bloodstream. Vaping can produce that same sensation.
Throat hit itself isn’t what supplies the satisfaction that you get from smoking or vaping; it’s the cue that you’re about to experience satisfaction. We’re all suggestible people, though, so the cue is important – especially when you first switch to vaping. Throat hit reminds you that you’re about to get your nicotine, that it’s the same nicotine you’re accustomed to, and that you can transition successfully to a new smoke-free lifestyle.
If you’re not getting throat hit, vaping won’t feel like smoking to you – and that’ll make the switch to vaping much harder than it should be.
How Do I Get the Best Throat Hit?
The three primary factors determining the character and strength of the throat hit that you experience when vaping are the type of e-liquid, the nicotine strength of the e-liquid and the way you inhale the vapor.
How Nicotine Strength Influences Throat Hit
When you experience throat hit, nicotine is the primary substance creating that sensation. The more nicotine your e-liquid contains, the stronger throat hit you’ll experience. For people who are completely new to vaping, the most popular e-liquid nicotine strengths are about 16-18 mg for freebase nicotine e-liquids and 25-50 mg for nicotine salt e-liquids.
How E-Liquid Type Influences Throat Hit
E-liquid comes in two types: freebase nicotine and nicotine salt. Freebase nicotine e-liquid is the more common type. If an e-liquid doesn’t say “salt” anywhere on the bottle, you can assume that it uses freebase nicotine. Nicotine salt e-liquid has a slightly lower pH, so people often comment that it seems smoother and easier to inhale. Nicotine salt e-liquid usually comes in higher nicotine strengths than freebase nicotine e-liquid, though, so the extra nicotine offsets the smoothness somewhat. If you’re searching for the perfect throat hit, it’s a good idea to try both types of e-liquid.
The blend of base liquids in an e-liquid can also improve throat hit. Most e-liquid contains two base liquids: vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). VG helps an e-liquid produce big, billowy clouds, but it also reduces throat hit – so if you want an e-liquid that gives you a strong throat hit, you should look for a vape juice containing 50 percent PG or more.
How Inhalation Style Influences Throat Hit
If you want to vape and experience the same type of throat hit that you feel when you smoke, you need to inhale as you would when smoking – from the mouth to the lungs. Small devices like pod vaping systems are often the best choices for new vapers because they facilitate the familiar mouth-to-lung inhaling style.
Can I Improve the Throat Hit of an E-Liquid?
There are two additives that you can use to improve the throat hit of an e-liquid. Those additives are grain alcohol and menthol. You’ll actually see some vape shops selling small bottles of grain alcohol as “throat hit enhancer.” A couple of drops can really perk up the throat hit of an e-liquid. If you’re sensitive to the smell or taste of alcohol, though, you shouldn’t use it.
If you add a large enough amount of menthol to an e-liquid, it’ll create a strong sensation in the throat that feels a little like throat hit. You’ll especially like that sensation if you’ve ever enjoyed menthol cigarettes. Menthol e-liquids are also great if you’re trying to reduce your nicotine intake. If you switch from a higher-strength non-menthol e-liquid to a lower-strength menthol e-liquid, the menthol will give you that little extra satisfaction cue that can make it easier for you to tolerate the nicotine reduction.
This E-Liquid Is Too Harsh! Can I Reduce Throat Hit?
Powerful throat hit isn’t what everyone wants out of their vaping experience. If you find an e-liquid overly harsh and unpleasant to inhale, you should probably try a lower nicotine strength. If you do that and find that you’re no longer getting enough nicotine to feel satisfied, your next best bet is to switch to nicotine salt e-liquid. You’ll probably find a nicotine salt e-liquid with a strength of 25 mg very pleasant to inhale. Alternatively, try an e-liquid with a low amount of menthol. While a very strong menthol e-liquid can actually simulate throat hit to a certain extent, you won’t notice the menthol burn if you’re using an e-liquid with a lower amount of menthol. Low-menthol e-liquids are very smooth and easy to inhale.
Is Throat Hit Important to Everyone?
No. Although throat hit is usually very important during the initial transition from smoking to vaping, you might find after vaping for a while that you no longer miss or crave cigarettes at all. You might decide that flavor has become the more important aspect of the vaping experience for you. That’s why larger vaping devices and tanks exist. Advanced devices and tanks produce enormous vapor clouds, and they have very wide airflow holes. When you use one of those vaping setups, you’ll use a low-nicotine e-liquid – 3 mg is a very popular strength – and inhale the vapor directly into your lungs. Because the vapor production of your new device will be much greater than that of your old device, you’ll get the same amount of nicotine that you do now – but you’ll experience virtually no throat hit.
~ Jason Artman