What are the ingredients in E Liquid?

We take a look in depth at each of the ingredients in E liquid and how it effects your purchasing decisions in the future.

So What Ingredients are in E-liquid and Vape Juice ?

E liquid comes in all different flavors, colors, and thicknesses. The ingredients inside E juice are pretty simple. The ingredients in Vape Juice are not complex at all. If they are not mixed right you can have a pretty nasty tasting E Juice on your hands.
Think about a batch of cupcakes with too much salt in them or a tray full of brownies with half the amount of sugar. Yuck! Most E-liquid has Four Ingredients in it and sometimes 5 if you have a sweet tooth.

The ingredients are Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Flavoring, Nicotine, and sometimes sweetener.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable Glycerin Picture

Vegetable Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is the main ingredient used in E liquid. Most Vape Juices on the market consist of 70-90% Vegetable Glycerin. Vegetable Glycerin is made from plant oils, usually soybeans or palm oil. VG has a wide variety of uses from Food products to use in Pharmaceutical and personal care products.

VG acts as a thickening agent in the E-liquid. This helps the juice stick to the cotton and not leak through the air holes in your tank. Vegetable Glycerin creates the big cloud of vapor when you are vaping. Propylene Glycol carries the flavor and the nicotine.

The best VG available is made from Palm Oil because it is sweet because of the Palm tree it comes from. According to Jake Rubenstein at Nude Nicotine, around 80% of the E-Liquid on the market uses Palm based Vegetable Glycerin. Jake buys his VG in Bulk, usually several thousand gallons at a time. He will have the factory ship him a sample of the VG he wants to buy. He will then test it to make sure it is suitable for vaping and creates a nice cloud of vapor.

Some Vegetable Glycerin is derived from soybeans. This type of VG is usually marketed as "Made in the USA USP 100% Kosher VG". It is not always the best VG to manufacture E liquid from. All VG is not created equal. Vegetable Glycerin from Soybeans is usually a byproduct of biodiesel manufacturing. Its crude product is not always the highest quality.

Many people are looking for Max VG E liquid or Vape Juice with around 80% VG in it. This type of Vape Juice has high cloud production. A greater cloud means more efficient vaping and thus nicotine delivery. Vaping an e-juice that produces a huge cloud means you don’t have to vape high nicotine levels to get the same amount of nicotine. That is why the 3mg nicotine level is the most popular these days.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol Molecule Picture

Propylene Glycol, or PG, is a colorless odorless liquid that has a slight sweet taste to it. PG is a very soluble base, meaning that ingredients can be easily dissolved into it. The flavoring and nicotine are dissolved into the Propylene Glycol. PG is a great flavor carrier for your vape juice.

PG besides carrying the flavor gives you a throat hit. This mimics the burning sensation in the back of your throat when smoking a cigarette. The more PG in your e-liquid, the bigger the throat hit, and also stronger flavor.

There is a piece of misinformation that the mainstream media tries to lie to us about. They claim that vaping Propylene Glycol is dangerous because it is used in manufacturing antifreeze. This is false because most antifreeze is manufactured with ethylene glycol. PG has been used for decades in the production of candy, beverages, dairy products and even in pharmaceutical products. Antifreeze is NOT an ingredient in E liquid, don’t believe all those anti-vaping haters.

Flavor Concentrates

Capella E liquid Flavor Concentrates in Bottles

Flavor concentrates are the most important ingredient in Vape Juice. Manufactures have to create the perfect mixture of flavorings to get unique tasting E-liquids. E liquids can have anywhere from 3-10 different flavors in them to get the perfect flavor profile. Significant Research and Development is required to make the Vape Juice with the correct percentage of each flavoring.

All the flavors used are food grade and are also used in the candy, bakery, and beverage industry. Flavors can come in three different versions, PG based, VG based, and Alcohol based. PG is the most common in the E-liquid industry because it is a good of a flavor carrier.

Nowadays there are tons of Flavor profile available in the vaping industry. The most common e-liquid flavors are

  • Cake
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Cereal
  • Custard
  • Dessert
  • Beverage
  • Menthol
  • Tea
  • Tobacco
  • Fruit
  • Ice Cream
  • Vanilla
  • Cream

Some smokers trying to quit will try tobacco flavors. Other smokers will try a completely different flavor so they are not reminded of cigarettes. The top flavors are fruit and candy, while bakery and dessert flavors come in a close third place. Menthol flavors are a hit or miss with vapers. They either love them or hate them. I was a former menthol cigarette smoker and I love the minty taste that menthol e-juices provide.

Nicotine

Liquid Nicotine Molecule Picture

Nicotine is the reason most people start vaping. It is the main reason behind vape and cigarette cravings. Nicotine is very toxic especially in large doses.

When nicotine is extracted from tobacco it is 1000mg/ml which is pure nicotine. When handling this pure form of nicotine, a respirator and hazmat suit is necessary. A drop of pure nicotine on your skin can be extremely toxic. It will absorb through your skin and give you nicotine poisoning.

The benefit of vaping E-liquid is that you can choose your nicotine level that is right for you. Choosing the right nicotine level is important when you start vaping. Too much nicotine can leave you feeling a little nauseous. Too little can will leave you wanting more.

The average cigarette has about 2mg of nicotine. Cigarette smokers want to start off at a high level usually a 12mg or 18mg vape juice. As you progress in your vaping hobby you can start reducing your nicotine levels to wean you off that high amount of nicotine.

Getting a sub ohm tank that produces lots of vapor will increase the amount of nicotine you get per hit. The large amount of vapor in your lungs will carry more nicotine with it. Most sub ohm vapers will vape a 6mg or 3mg nicotine level because they get so much vapor, hence more nicotine per hit. If you desire to quit nicotine altogether, you can go to 0mg nicotine e-juice. This gives you the sensation of vapor in your lungs, the flavor of the ejuice, and the oral fixation.

Sweeteners

e liquid sweetener picture

Sweeteners are becoming more prevalent in the e liquid industry with everyone trying to get their juice to taste the best it can be. You may have noticed a lingering aftertaste in your vape juice or just a plain sweet taste. This is from sweetener. It is almost never included on the ingredients on the manufactures labels because they consider it a flavor.

The most popular sweeteners are sucralose, stevia, ethyl maltol, and erythritol.

Sucralose is the ingredient used in many diet sodas on the market today, it is completely synthetic. Sucralose will make the juice sweet, but it ruins coils real fast because it doesn’t burn very well. You will also get a diet soda aftertaste in your vape with this sweetener.

Stevia is becoming a more popular sweetener because it is heat stable when burnt. It is 200 times stronger than sugar so little of it is needed to give the sweetness needed in your e liquid. The sweetness is much stronger and more wet than Sucralose, not to mention all-natural.

Ethyl Maltol is a common confectionery sweetener that rounds out stronger flavors in E-liquid. Ethyl Maltol has a very similar taste to cotton candy. It is actually sold as a cotton candy flavor concentrate by many flavor companies. Few vendors use this in their vape juice. If they do use it, they use it at a very low percentage otherwise your juice will taste like cotton candy

Erythritol is a saturated sugar alcohol like vegetable glycerin. It is very good for vaping because of its heat stability when burnt. Erythritol is not as sweet as sucralose. It is ½ - ¼ as sweet but it is a natural product rather than synthetic sucralose.

Conclusion

So with all this information what E liquid is best for me you ask? Most premium e-liquid on the market right now is a 70/30 VG/PG blend, so that is a good starting point. Ask your shop what ratio the vape juice you are buying. They usually will know or can look it up rather quick.

This 70/30 ratio of e liquid will give plenty of flavor and throat hit to help with cigarette cravings. It will also give some good cloud production. This VG/PG Ratio will work great with most starter kits on the market right now. A good kit to start out with would be the Aspire PockeX Pocket AIO. It has a built in battery and is a great mod and tank combo for a starting vaper.

As you progress in your vaping hobby we would recommend a higher VG concentration in the juice you buy. 80/20 VG/PG Ratio is a great ratio if you get into dripping with an RDA or using a subohm tank. Try different flavors and different blends to see which vape juice is right for you. You'll be amazed at all the selection and new products coming out at your local vape shop.