So you’ve just started vaping or are just looking to get into it, and you’ve seen the many wonderful and varied flavours currently available on the market. At this point you may be wondering what exactly is an eLiquid, and why using it means you can be cigarette and smoke free! We aim to clarify all the useful terms, information, and other bits and pieces to hopefully get you on the vaping track and eliminate smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Starting from right at the very beginning, the purpose of an ecigarette is simply to deliver a portion of nicotine to its user. In order to do this, nicotine is mixed into a gel-like liquid substance called eLiquid or eJuice. This eJuice can be easily absorbed into cotton, and vapourised within a heated coil, where the resulting vapour is inhaled by the user.
What Is eLiquid?
Eliquid, at it’s most basic, is made up of four main ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Nicotine, and Flavourings.
Despite the strange sounding names, Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are extremely common and generally considered harmless.
They are often abbreviated to PG and VG, respectively.
Both PG and VG are types of organic compounds (naturally occurring substances) and appear in a wide variety of products including cough medicine, toothpaste, and asthma inhalers.
They also appear in edible items such as ice-cream, whipped dairy products, and coffee-based drinks.
What Is PG And VG?
Both VG and PG have differing properties, and combining them creates what is generally considered to be the optimal basis for nicotine vapourisation.
Propylene Glycol is a very thin and runny liquid that carries flavour very well, and tends to contribute to a large portion of the throat hit found when vaping some e-liquids.
Because of its ability to carry flavour so efficiently, the flavourings used in e-liquids are usually mixed with PG before being mixed with the other ingredients. It has been known to affect minor allergies in a small number of users, but these tend to be uncommon.
Vegetable Glycerin, on the other hand, is usually derived from Vegetable Oil, and is quite a viscous liquid, similar to a gel.
It has a naturally sweet taste, and when vaped, it produces a thick, dense cloud of vapour.
Compared to PG, it is much smoother, and has no discernible throat hit when used on it’s own.
Here’s a quick list with the main characteristics of VG and PG:
Vegetable Glycerin (VG):
• Has a naturally sweet taste
• Is thicker than PG
• Produces more vapour
• Lingers in the air longer
• Produces a weaker throat hit
Propylene Glycol (PG):
• Is thinner than VG
• More easily absorbed
• Dissipates from the air quicker
• Produces a stronger throat hit
• Can affect allergies in minority of users
What Are ELiquid Ratios?
As both PG and VG contain these differing properties that work well together, they are almost always found as the main ingredients in eLiquids, in a variety of different ratios.
The most common ratios on the market tend to be 50VG and 70VG (which stands for 50% VG to 50% PG, and 70% VG to 30% PG respectively).
This ratio decides on how thick the eLiquid will be – the more VG there is, the smoother and thicker the liquid will be, and conversely the more PG there is, the runnier the eJuice, and the stronger the throat hit will be.
Generally thicker liquids with a higher VG content will be better suited to more powerful Sub Ohm clearomiser tanks such as the Kanger TopTank or Aspire Atlantis tank, rather than smaller, non-sub ohm tanks that would better suited to a mouth to lung vape style, such as the Nautilus or a standard CE5 clearomiser.
How Is Nicotine Used?
Nicotine is for a lot of vapers the most important component of e-liquid. Despite this, it is also a completely optional part of vaping – there are many, many vapers that have left nicotine behind and simply enjoy vaping for what it is. For those that do use nicotine, liquid comes in a wide variety of strengths ranging from 1.5mg to 18mg. This strength refers to the amount of nicotine found in each millilitre (ml) of liquid and can also be seen represented as a percentage. 18mg liquid can be referred to as 1.8% nicotine, 6mg as 0.6% and so on, so forth.
For help on choosing the right nicotine strength, please see our guide.