E-Liquid. It’s the lifeblood of your electronic cigarette .
Without it, you don’t get to vape, but with it, the options are seemingly endless. Whether you’re a seasoned vaper or just getting into it, you’re probably already aware of all the advantages to using electronic cigarettes over traditional cigarettes. One of the biggest perks is e-liquid and all the options that come with it. Not only is it safe and free from cancer-causing agents, there are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from, along with differing nicotine strengths so you get just the right amount. If you’re a person who likes a large selection, then e-liquids and the fun that goes with them may very well be your favourite part of vaping. Here’s everything you need to know about e-juice.
What’s in it?
E-liquid is made up of three components: nicotine, flavouring, and a vaporizing agent. There are two vaporizing agents that are commonly used in e-liquid. The first, and most frequently used, is propylene glycol, or PG. PG is a colourless, sweet-ish liquid that is used in many foods and other consumer products, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. PG is known for producing sweet juices and satisfying vapor clouds, and is often the preferred choice due to the pleasing throat hit it creates.
The other vaporizing agent that’s used in e-cigarettes is vegetable glycerin, or VG. VG is used mostly by people with allergies or sensitivity to PG. While it is sweet-tasting and capable of producing large vapor clouds, VG is not the preferred option for most people because its natural flavour can interfere with the flavouring in the e-liquid and it may give a less satisfactory throat hit. Some e-liquids combine VG and PG to get the best of both worlds.
How Does It Work?
Nicotine and varying flavours are dissolved in components that, through osmosis, get water from the air (called a hygroscopic situation). When heated, the water turns into a smoke-like vapor. As listed above, hygroscopic components are inclusive of PG, VG, and PEG 400 (polyethylene glycol 400). All three of these “bases” (as they are referred to) are common food additives that are also used in a vast amount of pharmaceutical applications. PG is the most popular base and the one that is used most frequently, with VG following close in second place. PG has water-retaining properties that have long been used in asthma inhalers. It is notably the compound of choice for medication delivery that is atomized. The FDA includes PG on its list of recognized substances that are safe for use. It also meets all the standards of Title 21 under the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations).
Contents of the bases can vary but commonly include water and flavourings. Nicotine is also added when needed as a replacement for another type of nicotine use. The PG or VG is utilized as the carrier of choice to transport the nicotine to the user. In some cases, however, if nicotine is not wanted or needed, e-liquids do not “have” to contain nicotine, and many don’t. The base fluids on their own, when mixed with water, still produce the smoke simulation.
Is it Safe?
This is one of the biggest questions that people (both smokers and non-smokers) have when it comes to electronic cigarettes. The safety of e-cigarettes, and more specifically, e-liquid, has been studied extensively since the devices were first manufactured and sold to the public in 2003. The consensus among scientists and medical professionals is that electronic cigarettes offer a much safer alternative for smoking than traditional cigarettes. While regular cigarettes are loaded with toxic chemicals and carcinogens, e-liquid does not contain even a fraction of these toxins. While studies are ongoing concerning the safety of electronic cigarettes, the initial findings point to a greatly reduced risk for cancers and other illness. In fact, researchers have found that traditional cigarettes contain up to 450 times more toxins than e-cigarettes.
Standard Practices in Manufacturing
The two main producers of e-liquid, as well as e-cigarettes, are China and the United States. China has specific regulations that must be adhered to, including the need for manufacturers to be granted non-toxic testing permits to regulate the amount of nicotine used. The amount of pure nicotine that is mixed with e-liquids must be regulated. Other than that, however, no extra documentation is needed to produce and distribute the substance. While some worry about the standard practices and few regulations needed by Chinese manufacturers, no evidence has ever come forward to suggest that anything has been done in a negative manner. Chinese companies comply with the International Organization for Standardization practices (ISO).
In the United States, manufacturers must respect the guidelines put forth by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. More regulations may be added in the future as the FDA is currently studying the regulations and proposing to write some additional material.
How is it used?
E-liquid is used to give vapers the taste, vape clouds, and nicotine they crave. E-cigarettes are made up of several parts, including the battery, cartomizer or clearomizer, and a heating element. When the vaper inhales, the heating element is activated and heats the e-liquid to boiling. The resulting vapor is then inhaled and exhaled by the user.
Is it easy to refill?
There are a couple of different ways to handle e-liquid refilling. Many vapers opt for pre-filled cartridges that they can just screw into their electronic cigarette. This is the easiest and most convenient option. Simply screw in the pre-filled cartridge, use it until it’s gone, then dispose of it and replace with a new cartridge. However, if you don’t like the waste associated with this and you want to save a bit of money, then refilling your own cartomizer with e-liquid is the choice for you. Refilling is not complicated, but the process will be different depending on what type of cartomizer you have.
What do you mean by nicotine strength?
As mentioned previously, another component of e-liquid is nicotine. With electronic cigarettes, you get to choose what strength of nicotine you want. Nicotine strengths range from 0% to 1.8%.
- 0% = No nicotine at all. This is great for people who are vaping just for the pleasure of vaping, or want the sensation of smoking a cigarette without addictive nicotine.
- 0.6% = Low level nicotine. This is a comparable amount of nicotine to what you would find in an ultralight cigarette. This is a good choice for people who aren’t regular smokers, or who consider themselves casual smokers.
- 1.2% = Mid-level nicotine. At 1.2% nicotine, a vaper would be smoking the equivalent of a "light" cigarette. This is a great choice for people who are beginning to wean themselves off nicotine or to a lower strength.
- 1.8% = Full flavoured. This is the same amount of nicotine you would find in a regular pack of cigarettes. For people just switching over from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, this is the go-to choice as it will deliver the same amount of nicotine that they are accustomed to.
- 2.4% = More nicotine with the same rich flavour and taste. Often used smokers who roll their own or smoke 30 to 40 cigarettes per day.
One of the great things about e-cigarettes is the versatility of e-liquid in terms of nicotine strength. You can choose whatever strength you’re comfortable with, and switching from a higher to lower level of nicotine is as easy as changing out the e-liquid in your device. This is one of the reasons why e-cigarettes have been so popular as a smoking cessation aid. Smokers can start with a higher strength e-liquid and work their way down in nicotine level until they are at 0%, and even then they can still enjoy vaping without the addiction.
E-Cigarette Vs. Tobacco Cigarette
A regular tobacco-filled cigarette provides the user with approximately 15 inhalations, on average. This translates to about 15 puffs from an e-cigarette. In essence, then 15 puffs of an e-cig is somewhat equivalent to one traditional tobacco cigarette. What else needs to be taken into consideration to understand an equivalent comparison? What about nicotine strength? Also consider the answers to the following questions:
1) Have you ever actually counted how many puffs it takes for you to completely finish a cigarette?
2) Is the amount different when you’re talking? Driving? Drinking coffee? (Really taking your time to enjoy a good cup of coffee?)
3) What about if you have to go outside to smoke? Are the puffs more or less? If it’s cold outside, are you hurrying?
4) Do you completely smoke each cigarette down to the finish when you can’t smoke anymore?
E-cigarettes don’t burn up into ashes; they just produce the responsive vapor upon request. A normal tobacco cigarette varies its length of use by the situation. This is another factor to consider when choosing e-cigs over tobacco cigarettes. You can also extrapolate that “food for thought” into cost savings. Likely, more money will stay in your pocket when you choose e-cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes.
What are the flavour options?
Here’s where the real fun starts. The best part about e-liquid is in the flavouring, and there are lots of great choices out there. It really doesn’t matter what your tastes are; there is an e-liquid flavour (or flavours) that you’ll love. Most eliquids can be easily categorized into areas such as fruity, tobacco, mint and menthol, and special editions. Here are some of the most popular flavours of eliquid right now:
- Mint Tea
- Red (American tobacco)
- Congress (refined tobacco)
- Sahara (Turkish tobacco)
Transitioning to E-cigarettes
If you consider using e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking, how long would that take? Naturally, it is as dependent on the individual as is the process of losing weight.Some people, though rare, can make the switch in one day. Others can struggle for quite some time while gradually trying to switch over. Remember that, according to medical professionals, if you smoke a lot before going to bed, you may wake up well-rested. Some say that they need one giant nicotine hit in the mornings, and then less during the day and at night-time. One school of thought is that the best way to make the switch is to go ahead and completely switch over, instantaneously, all at once, to e-cigs from tobacco cigs and just let your body adapt to this new nicotine delivery system. If you try to do both at the same time, it may produce an unsatisfying result. Once a user stops smoking, the senses of smell and taste should return. When this happens, vaping – and especially using flavours to vape – should become even more pleasant and provide an even more enjoyable sensation.
Another factor to keep in mind is that, at first vaping may cause new users to experience a sore throat. This can be aided by increasing the amount of fresh water drank. Generally, this is only a temporary transitioning effect.
Reducing Nicotine Strength
Some e-cig users love the vaping process so much that they may not want to quit. However, they can gradually decrease the nicotine strength if they so choose. It is easiest to do when one has completely and successfully freed oneself from smoking tobacco cigarettes. A couple of options could be to vape less at night time or make sure you have e-liquids on hand of varying strengths. For instance, you could use an 18 mg. dose during the day and then cut down to 12 mg before you go to bed at night. Each individual has to be able to adjust to his or her own level of comfort.
Clearly, you’ve got options when it comes to choosing your e-juice. It’s not unusual for people to discover that they like more than one flavour of e-liquid. It can be fun to mix and match them, trying new kinds and switching to different flavours depending on your mood or where you are.
Now that you know everything there is to know about e-liquid for your electronic cigarette, you’ve got an important question to answer - which is the Best e-juice for you?