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July 26, 2014


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Written by: vapeadmin
eliquid 101

You probably already know, in general terms, the answer to the question “what is e liquid?” Also known as vapor juice, it’s the solution used in all electronic cigarettes (whether they’re cheap disposable e-cigarettes or top-of-the-line tank systems) to produce the clouds which replicate the look and feel of tobacco smoke. It can be purchased in various nicotine strengths and vape flavors, depending on the user’s needs and tastes.

A few more interesting questions are:

  • Exactly what’s in e-liquid?
  • How is it made?
  •  How is vapor juice turned into a substance which can be inhaled and exhaled?
  • Here’s everything you ever wanted to know.


There are usually three components of vapor juice.

Nicotine – this is, of course, the addictive stimulant in tobacco. While manufacturers usually offer e-liquid without nicotine, most vapers prefer that it’s included (unless they’re using e-cigs to try to quit smoking). Companies normally offer selections from “ultra light” (around 6 mg/ml) to extra strength (around 24 mg/ml), but even stronger liquid can be blended and purchased.

Flavorings – a wide range of food-grade natural or artificial ingredients are used to create vape flavors. Some mimic the taste of tobacco or menthol, others add fruit, sweet or savory tastes to the juice. The flavors range from ordinary (like coffee or cherry) to exotic (like pina colada or orange mint) and even bizarre (like caramel popcorn or bacon)

Base – this substance serves four important functions. It is the “transport” system for the other components of e-juice, it’s the component of eliquid that actually is transformed into vapor, it dilutes the other ingredients so they’re at the proper strength, and it creates what’s called the “throat hit” – the feeling at the back of the throat when a vaper inhales.

Two different bases are commonly used to produce vape juice: propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG). Both are used in all sorts of medical and consumer products like inhalers and toothpaste, and are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the US Food and Drug Administration. PG producers a stronger throat hit, while VG creates thicker vapor, so many manufacturers combine the two in a 90/10 or 80/20 ratio. A small number of vapers find that they’re allergic to PG, so they choose juice with a VG base. Another substance, aqueous glycerine, is also used as a base by some companies and home mixologists.


The quality e-liquid sold by manufacturers is produced by technicians in government- approved labs; they simply mix the three ingredients together until they combine in a stable liquid. They follow mathematical formulas to ensure the proportions are correct, sometimes using distilled water to dilute the solution to the proper strength.

Some experienced vapers decide they want to know how to make vape juice themselves, and find that it’s pretty easy to do at home. Either they mix pre-packaged e liquids to create a “personal” vape flavor, or they purchase the ingredients online and combine them on their own. There are e-juice calculators available on the web to help with the proportions, if you choose to go that route. Just be aware that nicotine is potentially poisonous if handled improperly, so goggles, gloves and a clean room are imperative for home mixing.


This highlights one of the key differences between smoking and vaping. In order to create cigarette smoke, tobacco must be burned, creating a number of harmful chemical reactions and by-products. But nothing is burned when an e-cigarette is used. As the user inhales, a small amount of the juice held in the e-cig’s cartridge or tank is simply heated in the atomizer – and the heat converts the glycol or glycerine compounds into vapor.

A few other things to note about eliquid:

• The better the quality of liquid (or ingredients) you buy, the better your vape will taste. Some nicotine solutions have a “stale” taste to them, and natural flavorings will usually taste better than artificial ones.

• Vape flavors will differ from company to company, so start with a small bottle at first to be sure you like the product. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a huge bottle of e liquid you don’t want.

• Store your juice in a cool area away from sunlight, and check the expiration date – e-juice is usually only good for a year or two.



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