Brown sugar: vape juice that turns brown – is it a problem?

So, all’s happy and good in your vapingworld but then you reach for that next bottle of e-juice and, lo and behold,you discover that it – and other e-liquid bottles alongside it – have darkenedin colour. What’s going on? Should you be concerned? Has the e-juice ‘goneoff’? Should you not vape it and just throw it away?

Well, first things first. There is a chemicalexplanation for this change in colour to your e-liquid and, like it or not, it’sdown to chemistry and, thus, boils down to the sort of relatively simplescience you studied in science lessons when you back at school.

To wit, depending on how much you rememberfrom those school lessons, you may well recall that heat’s a powerful catalystfor chemical reactions. Now, bearing that in mind, many of the artificialsweeteners that feature as ingredients in e-liquids have a tendency tocaramelise (i.e. burn) when they’ve been exposed to heat and, in turn, thisensures that sugars in the fluid will potentially break down and separate and –eh, voila! – your lovely new-pre-vaped-juice  vape juice will inevitably darken or even turn a brown shade.

Indeed, you might even discover that themore you vape an e-juice, the darker the fluid will become in the actual tankof your e-cig device and thereby manage to produce a rather unsightly andunappealing, gunky build-up on the device’s trusty atomiser.

Moreover, if you’re not prone to buyinghigh-quality and highly recommended e-fluid (never an ideal move when it comesto your vaping purchases and you don’t often check the ingredients of ane-juice before you buy it, you may unfortunately find the fluid’s also releasinga volatile chemical known as diacetyl while you vape. This is bad news, indeed,because diacetyl is notorious for being harmful when inhaled by e-cig users.

Questionsand answers

  • Why has the e-juice gone a darker shade inits bottle? To reiterate, thee-fluid has most likely gone a darker shade because of a specific chemicalreaction between nicotine and oxygen occurring in the bottle. Nicotine,besides everything it does as a highly addictive chemical in the body, is a particularlyreactive chemical, in general. This means then that when it’s exposed to oxygen– or even potentially to light (yes, that’s right; light! – it may well react bytransforming the e-liquid (whatever its brand; whether Ruthless e-juice or any other) intothis aforementioned, all-too-familiar, all-too-concerning brown shade. However– and this is important; so, take note – when this has occurred and you’venoticed it (and can’t fail to notice it and become concerned), it shouldn’t betaken to mean an e-juice that’s darkened has necessarily gone bad justbecause this has happened.
  • Can you prevent an e-juice from darkening? Well, yes and no. Essentially, you can’tprevent an e-fluid from coming into contact with oxygen (even if it’s beingstored away in its bottle with the top screwed on tight; some form ofoxygenation will inevitably occur), yet there are a few things you might try toprolong its ‘normal’ colouration and slow down the process of oxygen and anylevel of warmth changing the initial colour of the e-fluid:
  • oBe sure to store your e-juice bottles inas cool and as dark place as you reasonably can
  • oIf the changing colouration of yourbottles of e-juice is a major concern to you, one mitigating factor you canenforce before you even store the fluid is to buy a certain kind of e-fluid tostart with; e-juice whose propylene glycol (PG) level is higher than itsvegetable glycerin (VG) – rather than the other way round – may well slow downthe de-colouration, as the former PG/ VG ratio tends to result in naturallysweeter e-fluid (i.e. juices whose sugars are more abundant and take longer tobreak down and separate)
  • oBesure to clean your e-cig device’s tank/ atomiser and coils with regularity;ideally, you should aim to do this following every vaping session that’s seenyou newly fill up your tank/ atomiser.

Now, whether you like it or not, it’sprobably inevitable and unavoidable that your e-juice will darken and turnbrown over time; all the same, should you try to follow the above recommendationsthen the process will be at least slowed somewhat and, either way, rest assuredthat should you experience some fluid re-colouring there won’t actually beanything wrong with the juice, as it’s a natural process. It certainlyshouldn’t stop you from enjoying a thoroughly satisfying, delicious vapingsession, that’s for sure.

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