E liquids or e juice are arguably the most important part of your vaping experience. And the quality of the e liquid you choose will determine the quality of your vaping experience.
So if you want to have a better understanding of e liquid. You’ll love today’s guide.
Let’s get started.
E liquids or e juice are made from four main ingredients: vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), nicotine (NI) and flavourings. However, water may also be used.
Vegetable glycerin is a clear liquid produced from plant oils. It is odourless and has a mild sweet taste with a syrup-like consistency. And is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industry.
The food and drugs administration (FDA) has classified vegetable glycerin as generally recognised as safe (GRAS) for consumption.
Vegetable glycerin is considered non-toxic.
Vegetable glycerin provides a smoother throat hit and large dense clouds than propylene glycol, making it more suitable for sub-ohm vaping.
Propylene glycol is a clear liquid and can be produced naturally from natural glycerin but is typically produced synthetically. It is odourless and tasteless with a slight syrup-like consistency which is much thinner than vegetable glycerin.
The food and drugs administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as generally recognised as safe for consumption.
Propylene glycol is considered non-toxic.
In vaping, propylene glycol is used to provide a throat hit which vapers say is similar to the sensation experienced when smoking standard cigarettes. It also carries flavour more effectively than vegetable glycerin.
Recent research suggests that around 2% of vapers may be intolerant or experience an allergic reaction to propylene glycol. Detailed research conducted by Dr Konstaninos Farsalinos found that 1.8 % of over 19000 vapers surveyed reported allergic reactions.
Nicotine is a clear liquid and is produced from the tobacco plant. It also can be produced synthetically.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and is considered toxic in sufficient quantities. The median lethal dose of nicotine in humans is unknown, but high doses are known to cause nicotine poisoning. However, for the quantities used in e liquids, it is considered safe. Except for certain medical conditions.
In vaping, nicotine provides a throat hit and delivers the nicotine that your body is craving. A higher strength nicotine e liquid will deliver more nicotine and a more pronounced throat hit.
Flavourings are without a doubt the singular most important ingredient in an e liquid, they are what will determine the quality of your vaping experience.
Flavourings fall into two categories: Artificial flavours or synthetic flavours and natural flavours.
The FDA defines a natural flavour as a substance extracted, distilled or similarly derived from a natural source and whose function is flavour.
Artificial flavours or synthetic flavours are created in a lab and are not derived from a natural source. Artificial preservatives, colours/dyes and sweeteners may also be used in this process. And collectively they fall under the term artificial/synthetic food additives.
There are numerous manufacturers throughout the world of each of the four main ingredients above and as with everything the quality and purity of each ingredient will vary along with the cost.
For each of the four main ingredients, we use only the highest quality and purity ingredients In our premium e liquids.
The United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) is a highly recognised (if not the highest) worldwide non-profit organisation which establishes written and physical standards for medicines, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, supplements and ingredients to ensure these products are of the highest quality, purity, strength and consistency.
We use only USP vegetable glycerin USP propylene glycol and USP nicotine and 100% natural flavours and extracts In our premium e liquid.
We use USP Contraf-Nicotex-Tobacco (CNT) nicotine. The purest nicotine available with the least amount of impurities. Our nicotine has less than 20-50 parts per million (PPM). The industry standard is 500-1,000 PPM.
Their entire extraction process is conducted under inert argon gas, which ensures that the nicotine is never exposed to oxygen, keeping the integrity of the liquid intact.
The result is a product with a superior neutral taste profile which has less of the peppery flavour associated with lower grade nicotine.
The vast majority of e liquid brands on the market today use artificial flavours… in their e liquids or e juice.
We use only 100% natural flavours and extracts in all our premium e liquids.
There are two key reasons why we chose natural flavours and extracts over artificial flavours… in our premium e liquid:
Natural flavours and extracts provide you with a superior taste and vaping experience.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the safety of artificial flavours in the food that we consume. For every negative study, there is a positive study, but as with all studies you have to consider their source and whether or not they have a vested interest one way or the other.
However, one thing for certain is that consumers are very strongly against the use of artificial flavours, preservatives, colours and sweeteners… and are very sceptical about the information they are being fed regarding their potentially harmful effects.
Given this big food brands including Kraft, Campbell Soup and many others along with many fast-food restaurants are now siding with the consumer and have publicly announced promises to remove artificial ingredients, preservatives and colours from most, if not all of their products by 2018, replacing them with natural alternatives. 11 food companies replacing artificial colours by 2018.
In early October 2018 consumer concerns regarding the safety of artificial flavours were realised.
On 5 October 2018, the FDA officially banned 7 artificial flavours previously considered safe. After extensive research that found carcinogenic effects in lab animals, most of which are commonly found as an artificial flavouring ingredient in packaged ice cream, chewing gum, baked goods and candy.
Six of these artificial ingredients; benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl, methyl ether, myrcene, pulegone and pyridine are currently commonly used as imitations of natural mint.
You may ask yourself why do all manufacturers not use natural flavours and extracts for their e liquids. The simple truth is cost, natural flavours and extracts are more expensive than artificial or synthetic flavours…
E liquid regulations in the United Kingdom
The Tobacco Products Directive 2014/14/EU (TPD) introduced new rules for nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and e liquids (Article 20) from May 2016.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) is the competent authority responsible for implementing the majority of TPD rules in the United Kingdom.
The TPD introduced new rules which ensure:
- Minimum standards for the safety and quality of all e cigarettes and e liquids
- That information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices
- An environment that protects children from starting to use these products
And from 20 May 2017:
- Restrict e cigarette tanks to a maximum capacity of 2ml
- Restrict the maximum volume of nicotine-containing e liquid to 10ml
- Restrict e liquids to a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg/ml
- Require nicotine-containing products to be child-resistant and tamper-evident
- Ban certain ingredients
- Include new labelling requirements and warnings
- Require all e cigarettes and e liquids to be notified to MHRA before they can be sold
It’s a scary fact but before the TPD legislation, e liquids were not regulated and there were no controls as to what ingredients were contained in your e liquids.
All Vapepal e liquids have been MHRA notified and tested to be compliant with TPD legislation.
E liquid labelling regulations
Under current UK labelling regulations, e liquid manufacturers do not have to state on the label that they have used artificial flavours… For example, the typical flavour ingredients will be stated as ‘strawberry flavourings’. If it does not state specifically on the label that the flavour ingredients are natural flavours and extracts then they are artificial flavours.
The different types of e liquid
There are 3 different types of e liquid or e juice currently available on the market today.
All 3 types of e liquid are available in different vg/pg ratios and different nicotine strengths.
Choosing the correct vg/pg ratio and nicotine strength e liquid for your device is very important as it will have a big impact on the quality of your vaping experience.
Standard e liquid 10 ml bottle TPD compliant
Standard e liquid uses freebase nicotine which is produced from the tobacco plant and is the most common form of nicotine. It is also used in nicotine gums, patches and sprays.
Freebase nicotine has higher alkalinity than nicotine salt, and it is this that provides the satisfying throat hit when you vape.
Standard e liquid is available in different vg/pg ratios.
The ratio of an e liquid is the ratio of the two main ingredients (by weight) those being vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol and are expressed as vg/pg.
For example, if an e liquid has equal parts of vg and pg then the ratio would be expressed as 50vg/50pg.
The ingredients in e liquid are usually measured by weight, however, sometimes they are measured by volume.
Standard e liquids are typically available in the following vg/pg ratios for mouth to lung (MTL) devices: 70/30, 60/40 and 50vg/50pg.
The 50vg/50pg ratio e liquid is the most popular ratio for an MTL device as it delivers the perfect balance of flavour, throat hit and vapour production and provides the best overall MTL vaping experience.
Also, this ratio is suitable for the vast majority of MTL devices. However, this ratio is not suitable for the original pen-type MTL devices or the CE4 or CE5 type of tank which require a higher pg of around 60% to wick efficiently.
Standard e liquid is available in different nicotine strengths.
Nicotine is measured in milligrams (mg) per millilitres (ml) and is usually expressed as mg/ml. However, you may also see this expressed as a percentage (%) e.g. 1.8% rather than the usual 1.8 mg/ml.
Standard e liquids are typically available in the following nicotine strengths: 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18mg/ml. With the most popular nicotine strength being 18mg/ml followed by 12mg/ml.
All of the above nicotine strength e liquids are suitable to vape on an MTL and POD device.
In broad terms, the strength of nicotine you choose will be dictated by two factors: The amount of nicotine your body craves and the throat hit you prefer.
A higher strength nicotine e liquid will deliver more nicotine and a more pronounced throat hit.
If you choose a nicotine level that is too low, you may end up vaping more to overcompensate to replace the nicotine that your body is craving. Too high of a nicotine level may provide more nicotine than you require.
As a general guide, if you smoked between 10 to 20+ cigarettes per day an e liquid with a nicotine strength of 12 or 18 mg/ml should be appropriate. If you smoked between 1 and 10 per day an e liquid with a nicotine strength of 3 or 6 mg/ml should be appropriate.
As this choice is dependent on personal preferences, it will likely require some trial and error until you find what suits you best.
An MTL device consumes e liquid economically, a typical weekly usage being around 2 to 3 10ml bottles per week. The higher the wattage used the more e liquid will be consumed.
Nicotine salt e liquid 10 ml bottle TPD compliant
Nicotine salt e liquid uses nicotine in the form of nicotine salt and is produced when you combine freebase nicotine with benzoic acid or other natural acidic compounds.
This form of nicotine was first popularised by the e-cigarette brand Juul who use Juul salts in their e liquid pods.
The reason Juul uses nicotine salt in their e liquids is that the nicotine is absorbed by the body faster and has low alkalinity which provides a smoother throat hit allowing for higher nicotine strengths to be used. And they found that when you use high nicotine strengths of around 55mg/ml this provides nicotine hit similar to that of a traditional cigarette.
However, in the UK under TPD requirements the maximum nicotine salt strength that can be used in the e liquid is 20mg/ml and at these levels, it is very doubtful that this will provide a nicotine hit similar to that of a traditional cigarette.
Benzoic acid can be found naturally but is also produced synthetically and is classified as a preservative.
Nicotine salt e liquids are typically only available in a 50/50 vg/pg ratios and are suitable for MTL and POD devices. You cannot vape nicotine salt e liquid on a Sub-ohm device.
Nicotine salt e liquid is typically available in the following nicotine strengths: 10 and 20 mg/ml, With the most popular strength being 20mg/ml.
All of the above nicotine strength e liquids are suitable to vape on an MTL and POD device.
Nicotine salt e liquid is available only in a 10ml bottle and is typically more expensive than standard e liquid but is said to be more economical to use as it vapourises at lower temperatures.
Short Fill e liquid not TPD compliant
It is very important that you understand that all Short fill e liquids are not TPD compliant.
They are not subject to TPD regulations as they do not contain nicotine. Only nicotine-containing e liquids are subject to TPD regulations. As a result of this, there are presently no regulations or controls in place as to what ingredients are contained in short fill e liquids.
You should therefore only purchase these products from a trustworthy bona fide brand.
Short fill e liquids are available in various size bottles 50, 100, 120 and 150ml or even larger.
They are made from 3 main ingredients: vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), and flavourings. However, water may also be used.
Short fill e liquids are typically available in the following vg/pg ratios: 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 mg/ml with some being as high as 100% vg.
The 70vg/30pg is the most popular ratio e liquid for a DTL/ Sub-ohm device as it produces the perfect balance of flavour, smooth throat hit and large dense clouds of vapour and provides the best overall Sub-ohm vaping experience.
You would typically purchase/buy a bottle of short fill e liquid along with a nic shot. You would empty the contents of the nic shot into the larger short fill bottle and mix by shaking. The short fill bottle is oversized allowing enough space for the nic shot contents.
A typical nic shot is available in a 10ml bottle with a nicotine strength of 18mg/ml giving a total of 180mg of nicotine using a ratio of vg and pg as a base.
When you combine the 50ml short fill and the 10 ml nic shot you have a total of 60ml liquid with a total of 180mg nicotine. Therefore 180mg/60ml gives you 3mg/ml nicotine strength for the 60ml of e liquid.
Short fill e liquids are vaped using a DTL/Sub-ohm device.
For the 3 different types of e liquid or e juice above the best selling type in the UK is the standard e liquid 10ml with a 50/50 vg/pg ratio and a 12 and 18mg/ml nicotine strength.
Followed by the short fill e liquid with a 70/30 vg/pg ratio and 3mg/ml and then the nicotine salt e liquid with a 50/50 vg/pg ratio and 20mg/ml nicotine strength.
Usage and storage of e liquid
You should shake the e liquid bottle vigorously before each use to distribute the ingredients uniformly throughout the e liquid.
Always ensure that after each use you secularly close the child-resistant safety cap, for the safety of children and animals.
Store your e liquid between 2 – 25 Celsius in a dark, cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight.
There is no official expiration date for e liquid established to date. If stored correctly it can last from 2 to 3 years.
You should always keep your e liquid bottle out of the reach of children and animals.
E liquid is only for use by persons aged 18 years or over.
We hope you have found the above guide helpful and now have a better understanding of e liquid. And that you are now in a better position to make a more informed decision when choosing which e liquid or e juice type best suits your vaping requirements.