E-Liquid: What You Need to Know
E-liquid, also known as vape juice or vape liquid, is a fluid used in electronic cigarettes or vaping devices to produce vapour. It is the consumable component of the device that is heated and transformed into vapour, which is then inhaled by the user.
There are a few key ingredients in e-liquids:
- Propylene glycol or PG - a colourless and odourless organic compound that belongs to the class of chemicals known as glycols. Propylene glycol is a viscous liquid that is soluble in water and many organic solvents. It helps to evenly distribute the flavours and enhance the smoothness of the vapour. Although propylene glycol is considered safe for most people, some individuals may have sensitivities or allergies to it.
- Vegetable glycerin or VG - a natural compound derived from vegetable oils. It is also known as glycerol or glycerine. It is a thick, syrupy liquid that is odourless, colourless, and sweet-tasting. It is a versatile and widely used compound that serves various purposes in the food, cosmetic, and vaping industries. It is added to the e-liquid formulation along with propylene glycol to create the vapour and provide a smooth vaping experience.
- Liquid Nicotine – a concentrated solution of nicotine in a liquid form. Nicotine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum) and is responsible for the addictive properties of tobacco products.
Nicotine levels in e-liquids can vary, ranging from very low concentrations to high levels depending on the desired strength. The concentration is usually expressed in milligrams per millilitre (mg/mL) or as a percentage. For example, an e-liquid labeled as 12 mg/mL or 1.2% means it contains 12 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of liquid. For more information about nicotine strengths and types, please refer to our blog post called Nicotine: What You Need to Know.
- E-Liquid Flavouring - additives used to provide taste and aroma. These flavourings create a wide variety of flavours that mimic traditional tobacco, fruits, desserts, beverages, and other unique tastes. Flavourings are typically made up of a combination of natural and/or artificial ingredients, which can can include food-grade flavour compounds, extracts, essential oils, and other flavouring agents.
The PG/VG ratio refers to the proportion of propylene glycol (PG) to vegetable glycerin (VG) in an e-liquid or vaping liquid. PG and VG are the two primary base liquids used in e-liquids, and the ratio of these ingredients can affect the vaping experience, throat hit, and vapour production.
The VG/PG ratio is usually represented as a numerical value, such as 70/30 or 50/50 where the first number indicates the percentage of VG and the second number represents the percentage of PG in the e-liquid. For example, a 70/30 ratio means the e-liquid contains 70% VG and 30% PG.
The choice of VG/PG ratio depends on personal preferences and vaping style. Here are some general considerations:
- Throat Hit: If you prefer a stronger throat hit, a higher PG ratio (e.g., 50/50 or higher PG) can provide a more pronounced sensation.
- Vapour Production: For larger vapour clouds, a higher VG ratio (e.g., 70/30 or higher VG) is typically preferred due to VG's thicker consistency and higher vapour production.
- Flavour Intensity: PG is known to carry flavours better, so if you prioritize strong and accurate flavour representation, a higher PG ratio can be suitable.
- Coil and Wicking Considerations: High VG ratios can be more taxing on coils and wicks due to their thicker nature. If you experience issues with wicking or coil longevity, a higher PG ratio might be beneficial.
Ultimately, finding the right e-liquid and PG/VG ratio is a matter of personal preference and experimentation. A good rule to follow when you first start vaping is to take it slowly. Don’t buy many bottles of one flavour and strength. Start with one flavour that you feel you’ll enjoy vaping all day (all day vape) without getting sick of it. Give your body time to adjust to the e-liquid you have chosen – it’s all a matter of personal preference and knowing one’s taste.