Vaping to quit smoking

What vape liquid should I get?

Choose an e-liquid with a flavour you like, and nicotine base and strength that matches how you smoke. Talking to a Specialist Vape Retailer can help you find that fit.

Do your homework

As of 11 August 2021, new regulations under the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Product Acts 1990 sets out safety standards for the quality of the vaping substance ingredients. Always do your research and read the label. Check the label for R18 warning, list of ingredients and its quantities, what is prohibited in a vape liquid, volume or weight of the substance (ml/mg), the nicotine strength and a warning that nicotine is addictive, how to use instructions, manufacturing batch number, manufacturer’s name and contact details, and expiry date.

For more information see Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Regulations 2021 (LI 2021/204) – New Zealand Legislation.

Typical ingredients

E-liquid typically contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), plus flavours and the option of nicotine.

PG and VG are the carriers of flavour and nicotine. The mixes of PG and VG alter the throat hit and cloud amounts. High PG gives a stronger throat hit, high VG is softer on the throat and leads to bigger clouds.

Flavours are a personal preference and nicotine is the addictive part that comes in various strengths.

Learn more about nicotine and vaping

Your choice of flavour

There’s a huge variety of flavours, and it varies between brands. You can try them out at a Specialist Vape Retailer. Specialist Vape Retailers are the only stores allowed to sell variety of flavours. General retailers (like dairies and supermarkets) can only sell tobacco, mint and menthol flavoured vapes.

Buttery flavour

Diacetyl is a chemical in buttery flavouring used in microwave popcorn, that was found to give factory workers popcorn lung after high levels of exposure. This chemical is no longer used in e-liquids by reputable manufacturers, however check your label to avoid it.

What is popcorn lung?

Your choice of nicotine base

There are two types of nicotine bases in e-liquids - freebase nicotine and nicotine salts.

Freebase nicotine

Freebase nicotine is the original nicotine in e-liquids. It creates a strong throat hit, which can feel a bit too strong at super high nicotine strengths.

Nicotine freebase feels harsher on the throat, and suits people who prefer that feeling or who like to puff little and often throughout the day.

Nicotine salts

E-liquids with nicotine salts generally feel much smoother on the throat than freebase nicotine products.

Nicotine salts is just normal nicotine that has been pH balanced. Correcting the pH levels of the nicotine takes away the harshness that you feel on the throat when inhaling.

These are good for people highly dependent on nicotine, or who don’t want to puff so many times and still get the hit.

Your choice of nicotine strength


E-liquids can be found in any nicotine strengths. The following are the most common:

Nicotine strengths are available from 0 to 50mg. It can take a few tries to get the strength that suits you. Stronger strengths (like 18mg+) would normally be more enjoyable in e-liquids with nicotine salts. The strength of free-base nicotine in a vaping substance must not exceed 20 mg/ml. The strength of nicotine salt in a vaping substance must not exceed 50 mg/ml. For more information check out the legislative requirements here.

The total nicotine content in a container of vaping substance sold at retail must not exceed 1,800 mg, whether it is present as free-base nicotine or nicotine salts.

Nicotine freebase strengths: 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18 and 20mg.
Nicotine salts strengths: 0mg, 36mg, 50mg.

Nicotine management

You can adjust the nicotine strength of your e-liquid over time. Many vapers choose to reduce their nicotine slowly, naturally beginning to taper off after 12 months.

Learn about nicotine management