This article was last updated on November 13, 2015.
When you read e-cigarette forums and browse vendor websites, you’re likely to see the term “throat hit” frequently. As you might infer from reading the term in context, throat hit refers to the feeling that nicotine creates in the throat and lungs when inhaled. In fact, it’s actually a symptom of mild irritation, but smokers are accustomed to it. If you like that feeling, you may miss it when you buy an e-liquid with a lower nicotine concentration than what you’re used to. In fact, if you try a zero-nicotine e-liquid, you may find the experience strange because it’ll feel almost like you’re inhaling nothing at all.
I find that almost any e-liquid with a nicotine concentration of 8 mg and above can produce excellent throat hit if that’s the amount of nicotine you’re used to. At 16 mg and above, the throat hit starts to enter cigarette territory. At 24 mg and above, the throat hit becomes very intense indeed — much like a real cigarette.
Additives That Improve Throat Hit
Other substances aside from nicotine can also enhance the throat hit of an e-liquid. These include grain alcohol, cinnamon, capsaicin — the substance that makes chili peppers hot — and menthol. In fact, some companies even bottle and sell these substances as additives for e-liquids with low nicotine or poor throat hit. The addition or lack of these substances explain why e-liquids can differ in throat hit when their nicotine concentration is the same.
In 2015, NJOY began experimenting with a new additive intended to increase the throat hit that a smaller e-cigarette can produce: lactic acid. NJOY added lactic acid to the NJOY Daily disposable e-cigarette as well as their Convenience Vaping System. Although NJOY’s smaller e-cigarettes typically have rather high nicotine levels — which itself delivers plenty of throat hit — I can attest to the fact that lactic acid certainly adds something different. Lactic acid is a known respiratory tract irritant, and the effect it produces is very similar to that of inhaling tobacco smoke.
Which E-Cigarette Has the Best Throat Hit?
Like everything else in the e-cigarette industry, people have different opinions as to what exactly constitutes the perfect throat hit. Some people who go an hour or two between e-smoking sessions may prefer a higher-nicotine e-liquid with more throat hit to create a more intense experience, while people who puff every few minutes may prefer something milder. As you can understand from what I’ve written above, e-liquids can contain quite a few different additives. This means that two e-liquids with the same nicotine strength might actually feel quite different in practice when vaping.
As for e-liquid vendors, it can be hard to trust their product descriptions. Every e-liquid company is quick to tell potential customers that their products have a more satisfying throat hit than anything else on the market. Obviously, that can’t always be true when the subjective tastes of different e-smokers are taken into account.
It isn’t a bad idea to read some reviews before buying a new e-liquid if you are concerned about wasting your money. I have a number of e-liquid reviews on this website. If you’d like some specific recommendations, I do have four favorites. Take a look at my NJOY Artist Collection review, my Halo E-Liquid review, my Virgin Vapor review or my Volcano e-liquid review.