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 too intense for all but the heaviest smokers.
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.
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 for e-liquid vendors, it can be hard to trust their product descriptions; vendors are always quick to claim that their e-liquids offer more throat hit than the competition, which can’t always be true. To avoid wasting money, it’s wise to read e-liquid reviews before buying.