So you’ve decided to pick up an e-cigarette to start vaping and stop smoking? Good for you, it’s the path to better health, more money in the pocket and opens your mind to a new experience. But with not just lots of e-cigarettes to choose from but also e-liquids, you have to get the combination right to maximise its potential as a cessation tool. If you didn’t know already, e-liquids contain a mixture of ingredients such as nicotine, PG, VG, flavourings and water to heat. This then turns into a vapour you can inhale, creating a similar sensation to smoking.
We have created this guide to explore everything UK vapers need to know about choosing the best e-liquid. After all, there is so much to consider. Not just the best e-liquid for flavour and nicotine strength, but the coil you pair with your device to heat the e-liquid and the PG/VG ratio all play a major role in your final choice.
What’s the Right Nicotine Strength for You?
First of all, we need to look at the best nicotine strength for you, before vaping commences. As you will no doubt already understand, nicotine is an addictive substance, so at least initially you’ll want to replicate that level with your e-liquid, depending on how much you smoked per day.
For instance, if you were a heavy smoker going through more than a pack a day you’ll need around 20mg e-liquid strength and then slowly reduce your nicotine levels. Frequent smokers of small amounts may opt between 6-12mg and social smokers could try zero nicotine vape juice.
Just bear in mind the cravings you may have and manage those in a way that suits you using the information below to select your e-liquid strength. For new vapers, it’s a different scenario where you might not be sure post smoking how much e-liquid you’ll consume regularly. Should this be the case, the solution is to pick a vape juice with a higher nicotine concentration.
The vape strength will also determine whether you have symptoms, such as a dry throat or dehydration. Too much nicotine that you’re not used to will impact your initial switch to vaping, so it’s important to get the e-liquid choice right to avoid the temptation back to dangerous smoking habits. You can read more about the different vape strengths for nicotine here or our content hub for vaping side effects, so you’re aware of any potential short-term changes when you first start vaping (which will only be temporary in most cases).
Which Flavour Profile Will You Choose?
Vaping is the ideal replacement for anyone trying to quit cigarettes for multiple reasons. Not just that it mimics the mouth to lung technique, the similar throat hit (depending on the e-liquid picked) or the inclusion of nicotine - although you now have a choice to remove if you prefer! E-cigarettes are also better than smoking because you have so many different vape flavours to pick from.
What started out as a like for like alternative to cigarettes with tobacco and menthol options has now expanded into hundreds and thousands of different concoctions. You could pick from a mixture of menthol and fruit, a dessert option or a fruit cocktail of flavours that will satisfy your tastebuds. In addition, there are a range of tobacco flavours from Sahara to Gold Tobacco that can please any preference.
In all honesty, it boils down to what you like. Some vapers want to continue with tobacco vape flavours and are happy to pick up where they left off without actually ingesting tobacco or the other 70 lethal toxins found in cigarettes. Others miss menthol cigarettes after the 2020 UK ban and seek an alternative to help them make the switch. Alternatively, those new to e-cigarettes may want to try something fruity from the get-go and not look back. The world is your oyster and in terms of vaping flavours, you’re spoilt for choice.
Once you find a favourite vape flavour, you need to decide the size of your bottle. TPD regulations stipulate that any e-liquid bottle containing nicotine must be 10ml, but it's possible to save money long-term with shortfills. The former is good in terms of size for carrying around in the bag and if you prefer smaller bottles of different flavours. In contrast, shortfills can save you money as they’re 50ml vape juice bottles without the nicotine (just add a 10ml nic shot, or not as the choice is yours!).
Find a Vape and Coil to Match Your E-Liquid
Ideally, you’ll already have the type of experience in mind you expect from your vape starter kit. If not, don’t worry, it’s relatively easy to pick up! Essentially, you have to think about how close you want the vape hit to replicate smoking. The kind of device and coils, either pre-installed or something you add yourself, will paint the picture of how you want to vape.
There are two kinds of vaping techniques:
So depending on what experience you want will determine the type of e-liquid you go for to match with your device and coils. If you prefer to continue vaping mouth to lung, get a simple beginner device with a low wattage (preferably fixed with an auto-inhale function), then add a high resistance coil to create less vapour, topping up with a prefilled cartridge, high PG e-liquid or nic salt e-liquid.
If you seek bigger clouds of vapour and a sweeter flavour, try a Sub-Ohm compatible device with higher power capabilities. Pair this with a high VG e-liquid, shortfill or 100% VG e-liquid if you need to avoid PG altogether (some vapers have allergies to PG) and seek the biggest clouds and warmth possible. When you go down this route, the inhale and exhale will be smoother than a high PG e-liquid, reducing the chance of a stronger throat hit.
However, remember low resistance coils at a high wattage tend to go through high VG e-liquids at a much faster rate, meaning the replacement of coils and topping up of e-liquids more frequently. Because it’s typically experienced vapers that move from MTL to DTL Sub-Ohm vaping, they will be familiar with this pattern and shift more towards less nicotine in their journey at reduced intervals.
Why are the VG and PG Ratios Important?
When purchasing your e-liquid, it’s important to consider the Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) ratio. Both act as a base for e-liquids. They’re chemically-safe liquids used in the production of food items, pharmaceutical products and much more. With vaping, VG and PG play a significant role as stated above in the type of performance you get and most importantly the end result in terms of flavour, how they dilute nicotine and how the e-liquid inhale and exhale will differ with each e-liquid.
A high VG e-liquid will:
Meanwhile, a high PG e-liquid:
You can read more on the subject and the differences between PG and VG here.
How Do You Know Which Vape Juice to Buy?
There is not a clear answer in vaping which e-liquid suits each customer. Because you have so many different elements to an e-liquid, ranging from flavoured notes to the level of PG or VG, when combined with the level of nicotine, the coils and the device used, the result is different each time. It’s all about trial and error to find the right match for your requirements. Generally, you can categorise the e-liquids into individual vaping groups.
A higher VG e-liquid will tend to be for Sub-Ohm cloud chasers, while a PG high e-liquid will mostly apply to vapers wanting an all-day mouth to lung vape experience, similar to smoking a cigarette. Nevertheless, with the introduction of nic salts in recent years proving just as popular as freebase, plus the introduction of shortfills as a solution for vapers requiring larger bottles of nicotine, vapers recognise the e-liquid market will continue to shift.
For all your vaping needs, V2 Cigs UK is happy to help and assist you with any questions on this topic or something else that’s intriguing you about vaping. You can read our vaping 101 content hub on all important topics relating to vaping to build greater knowledge about the subject in addition to swotting up on e-liquids. Happy reading!