A number of questions pop up whenever the subject of e liquid is mentioned, common among them: what is e liquid?, what is in e liquid?, what is vape juice made of? you name it.
Worry no more, for this is what our post today is all about.
Before we move on though, it would ease matters to point out that ‘vape juice’ is just another term for e liquid, or e juice, or e cig liquid. So, what is vape juice? This is simply the liquid that fuels an electronic cigarette. An ‘electronic cigarette’ used in this concept to mean cig-alikes, personal vaporizers and mech mods.
How it Works
E liquid in e-cigarettes takes the role of the tobacco in regular cigarettes, minus the combustion. Housed in the cartridge or tank, the atomizer heats the liquid which delivers the sensation and feel of smoking.
The juice is arguably the most important component of an electronic cigarette because you can have the best e-cig but without quality e-juice, you won’t get the best vapor taste, flavor and throat hit you are after.
What is in e cig liquid?
Compared to combustible tobacco cigarettes, electronic cigarettes contain only a handful of ingredients. These are:
- Propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG)
The juice can contain three or all of these ingredients. Let’s look at each in detail.
1. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is the more popular of the two liquid diluents. It is relatively thin in consistency, and has more fluidity than vegetable glycerin. As a result, the polyfill fabric inside the cartomizer absorbs it more easily.
The low density nature of the juice means slime doesn’t build up on the e-cig’s heating element as quickly as it does on the thicker VG juice. Propylene glycol is odorless and tasteless and this ensures it doesn’t interfere with the overall flavor of the e-juice in any way. It is a strong humectant which means it will dry your mouth and throat if used consistently. It also boasts a stronger throat hit as found in regular cigarettes and this trait makes it a darling of those looking to ditch smoking.
Some electronic cigarette users have complained of allergic reactions to PG and these range from minor (tingling sensation in the throat for example) to serious irritations on various parts of the body. You are advised to immediately cease use should you experience unusual symptoms and switch to vegetable glycerin.
2. Vegetable Glycerin
This is a significantly thicker solution when compared to PG. While propylene glycol is tasteless, vegetable glycerin has a slight sweet taste which results in a sweeter e-liquid but also serves to mask the flavors making them harder to pick out.
As pointed out, PG can give some vapers a dry mouth something VG doesn’t do. However, there are some who have complained of phlegm building up in their throat after using VG-based liquids which also give less throat hit compared to propylene glycol.
The high consistency nature of VG juices results to more vapor and this, coupled with less throat hit, makes it a favorite of cloud chasers and vapers who prefer something less potent. Additionally, allergic reactions are less pronounced as they are with PG.
The PG vs VG Debate
When it comes to choice of e liquid, it’s hard to pin down one as the better alternative to the other primarily because it’s more about personal preference. There are those who savor the smoking-like TH (throat hit) of PG e-liquids, while others would rather the rich plumes of vapor and the added sweetness of VG.
If the experience you are after is one closer to smoking, you would do well starting with propylene glycol e-juice. You can throw VG later on to see what you are missing out on. Many vapers, however, aim at getting the best of both worlds with a PG/VG blend in varying amounts, again, depending on preference.
By doing this, they harness a decent throat hit in addition to the pillowy clouds of thick vapor. It is this mix that results to the ‘four ingredients’ you’ll hear about in some quarters.
Nicotine is the other component of e liquids. It is measured in milligrams with the concentration level depending on preference. This ranges from 0mg – 24mg in most cases, but there are vendors who stretch it to a 36-mg/ml level.
How does this compare to a traditional cigarette? On average, a regular combustible cigarette boasts 18mg of nicotine. As the concentration levels go up, the throat hit is considerably increased. 24mg/ml is better suited for extreme vapers, or those who have just ditched the stick while 0mg e-juice typically feels more like warm flavored air.
Nicotine concentration is unique from one individual to the next depending on the years they have smoked, the type of tobacco they have smoked, and their tolerance level. If you are a new vaper, it is recommended to start with 18mg to determine the tolerance level for a while then gradually scale it down (or up) depending on how you like/want it.
The last of the e-juice ingredients and another factor that makes electronic cigarettes awesome: you are spoilt for choice on what to vape given the thousands of flavors already in the market. You will literally find any flavor under the sun.
This is a downside on its own given you have to vape through never-ending flavors, but think of it as an exciting adventure. Unless, of course, you would want to go with the tried-and-tested flavor(s) many find favorable.
Any Special Way to Store eLiquid?
Now that you know what is in e cig juice, is there any special way you need to store it?
Store your e-liquids in a cool, dry place not in the line of direct sunlight. Most vendors use colored glass bottles to minimize exposure to sunlight but it never hurts to store anything you are not immediately using in a closed box.
Most juices will have a manufacture and expiration date but it is generally assumed that anything older than 2 years after manufacturing date is not good. Don’t be fooled into believing it will age like fine wine.
What makes an Ideal eLiquid?
An ideal ejuice is one that tastes good first of all, and delivers a great vape experience. As much as taste will differ amongst people, it is essential for any e liquid flavor to boast a pronounced but not overwhelming taste.
Producing a great e-liquid calls for expertise and experience, and now that you know what is e liquid, you may want to avoid cheap juices as they not only taste lousy, but also some contain harmful ingredients like acetoin and diacetyl, two common ones. It helps to know your e juice.