This section covers that sweet smelling stuff called e-liquid. We break down e-liquid into all its core components and we even get a little scientific!
Without e-liquid it’s impossible to vape, as it’s this fluid that an e-cig device heats and turns into the vapour you breathe in and out as you vape. E-fluid then contains propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) – usually in varying ratios depending on the specific liquid type you buy – as well as nicotine (critical for ex-smokers to receive the ‘hit’ they need) and, of course, a delicious flavour that makes the whole experience hugely enjoyable.
As you might expect, there’s no hard and fast answer because, frankly, it really depends on how much vape during any given day. That said, owing to the fact many smokers turn to vaping to help get them off tobacco-filled cigarettes, how much e-liquid you use in a day may also depend on how many ciggies you used to smoke in a day. As a rough guide then, it may be that should you smoked 15 ciggies a day, to start with, you may get through around 8ml of e-liquid, while if you smoked 25 a day, it may be around 12ml.
It’s important to bear this in mind; your e-cig device’s coil won’t last anything like as long as the device itself. In fact, it’s liable to require replacing after anything from a week to a month following first use. But how will you know when the coil’s worn (or burnt) out? Well, taste may well be an indicator (should the vapour you produce start to taste burnt) and, of course, it’s important to remember it’ll last less long the more you vape – and if you use an e-fluid that’s heavy on vegetable glycerine (VG) content, rather than PG (propylene glycol).
Should the e-fluid you’re vaping not contain any added colouring its’s unlikely to stain clothing it’s spilt on, so long as you scrub the spill and then wash it. If you do vape e-liquids comprising colouring agents, then this may not be the case and you should be careful about spilling a bottle’s contents – the trick then is always to check the ingredients of any fluid you’re about to buy and only purchase it from a well-reviewed vendor.
E liquid is the liquid which fills up a vape device. It is this which is heated up and siphoned into a vape device and heated up to form vapour. This vapour is what is inhaled by the vape device user. The e liquid is comprised of several ingredients, mainly water, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavouring and nicotine. This differs greatly from tobacco in two major ways. The first is that unlike tobacco, there are very few chemicals in vape juice and the second is that vape juice is heated into vapour rather than turned into smoke, like in cigarettes.
On many vape juices, you’ll see a ratio of PG to VG. The PG stands for Propylene Glycol, an organic compound in which many oils, liquids and solutions are soluble. The Propylene Glycol in a vape juice is responsible for carrying the flavour of the juice. The PG therefore, is the compound in which the flavouring agents are placed. Usually, the PG is at a lower ratio to the VG, which carries the density of the vape cloud.
On many vape juices, you’ll see a ratio of PG to VG. The VG in this ratio stands for the organic compound Vegetable Glycerine. This compound works in tandem with the propylene glycol which is responsible for the flavour. The natural compound VG is part of the mix due to its viscosity, meaning that when heated up, creates a thick vapour. This is perfect for the vapour to be inhaled and exhaled into a thick cloud.
Unlike tobacco which has over 400 known to be dangerous chemicals, vape juice is made up of only four ingredients. These are an organic compound based on a mixture of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine, water, flavouring and nicotine. Whilst the vape liquids consistencies will vary per brand, these are the main ingredients which when heated up will vaporise into the thick mist you’ll exhale when cloud chasing.
Almost anywhere these days! Most high street shops and confectionary stores will sell e liquids. If the shop sells cigarettes, it will also sell the alternatives. What’s more, there are more specialised shops cropping up across the world. With vaping becoming an independent business sector in and of itself, retailers like No1 Ejuice have started to sell vape juices and devices in store and to order online. With this sector of affordable and welcoming vape stores cropping up, there are plenty of places to find your favourite vape juices.
E-liquid strength is equivalent to the number of milligrams (mg) of nicotine per millilitre (/mL) it contains – that said, that specific measurement is often referred to without the ‘per millilitre’/ ‘per mil’ suffix (so, just nicotine in mg). The point of different choices of nicotine level in e-liquid is founded on the notion that many vapers are former smokers or those looking to quit smoking by moving on to vaping. The latter activity enables them to continue receiving the ‘hit’ from nicotine but without all the awful carcinogenic toxins to be found in the tar of a cigarette’s tobacco. Thus, as they progress on their vaping journey, quitting smokers and/ or ex-smokers can look to reduce their nicotine dependency by choosing to vape e-juices with reduced nicotine levels.
If your aim in vaping is to simply enjoy the experience, not least the flavour and the potential cloud-chasing to be done, then a low nicotine level (mg/ mL) in a bottle of e-liquid might be ideal. The lowest possible is, naturally, 0mg/ mL – an e-liquid serving that contains no nicotine at all and, thus, offers no addictive chemical buzz. Many vapers, however, (especially ex-smokers keen on significantly reducing their nicotine consumption) opt for a more or less standard low nicotine level – around 3mg/ mL. It’s a popular level too for vapers who enjoy fast drags and experienced users of advanced mod kits (interested in generating lots of vapour).
Those who have come to vaping from smoking tobacco-filled cigarettes – which, let’s face it, is a lot of vapers – tend to seek out e-liquid that offers a high (or, at least a relatively high) nicotine content. Measured in mg/ mL, the nicotine in an e-juice bottle is often popular with quitting-smokers or those who’ve recently succeeded in quitting – and are looking to keep it that way – when it’s content’s around the 6mg/ mL mark. Indeed, many vapers who have come direct from a moderate smoking background (or, for instance, those who’ve chewed tobacco) might consider this level as their gateway level for nicotine in vaping. Anything up to 10mg/ mL – or higher – is definitely considered a high amount in the vaping fraternity and is usually adopted at the outset by those seeking to quit tobacco who smoker a large number of ciggies a day.
The Tobacco Products Directive 2014 (or, more simply, TPD) was finally pushed through into EU law in spring 2017 and a part of it covers new Europe-wide legislation for e-cigarettes. In terms of nicotine levels in e-juice, TPD stipulates that no bottle of e-liquid can be sold that contains more than 10mg/ mL of nicotine. Now, for heavy nicotine vapers this isn’t good news so, inevitably, the vaping industry has adapted. How? Via ‘nicotine shots’. These are small bottles of liquid containing nicotine (often available with a 3mg/ mL concentration of the chemical) whose contents can be mixed with bottles of non-nicotine-featuring e-liquid (‘shortfills’). So, to produce a nicotine strength of around 9mg/ mL, three such nicotine shots would be purchased and mixed with such a shortfill bottle of e-fluid.