When you’re getting started in the world of vaping, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the lingo and options available out there. This includes the e-liquid, without which, e-cigs are basically just portable pieces of technology without a purpose.
It’s important to understand the components of e-liquids and how to properly use them, as this is how you’ll get your nicotine hit and how you’ll get to kick your smoking habit (if this is what you intend to do).
Brief History of E-Liquids
Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik is credited as the creator of the e-cigarettes that we recognise today. He found out that his design needed a liquid base, which can be vaporised, look like cigarette smoke, and hold safe amounts of pharmaceutical-grade nicotine.
He then discovered propylene glycol (PG), a petroleum by-product and food additive that is odourless and colourless. It was also FDA-approved by the time he used it for his e-cigs.
Hon Lik used PG, as it recreates the throat hit that smokers enjoy, allowing them to get their nicotine in a much safer way. On top of that, when diluted, PG vaporises into a cloud that resembles smoke.
An alternative base liquid to PG, called vegetable glycerine (VG), was also discovered. VG is hypoallergenic and thicker than PG. While it provides fewer throat hits, it does gives better plumes of smoke.
And so, with the birth of modern e-cigarettes came the inevitable proliferation of e-liquid flavours.
With the success of Hon Lik’s creation, manufacturers brought vaping to the US and European markets. From then on, many weird and wonderful flavours have emerged on the market.
A typical bottle of e-juice includes these ingredients:
- Distilled water
- Ethyl alcohol
- Flavouring or extracts
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
- Vegetable Glycerine (VG)
PG and VG make up 90% of an e-juice bottle. The other 10% is composed of the nicotine and flavouring.
“PG/VG ratio” is a term you’ll encounter throughout your vaping experience. Although plenty of vapers do not look too closely into this, different proportions do produce different effects (more on this below).
Choosing The Right Flavour For You
There’s no simple answer to knowing which flavour would work well for you. There are, however, a few factors you need to keep in mind:
1. Pick the flavour first
A huge part of the vaping experience is the flavour you’ll get while doing it. Fortunately, you will not be want of choices, as e-juices come in numerous flavours.
Plenty of first-time vapers, who are also current or previous smokers, prefer tobacco blends that closely resemble the cigarette brand that they used to smoke.
Eventually, you would want to branch out to other non-tobacco flavours. For instance, dessert flavours include strawberry custard, apple berry, and lemon bar cake. You can also choose from a variety of fruit flavours like cherry, honey lemon, or peach. If you’re into sweets, you can find sherbet lemon or blueberry waffle e-juices.
With the infinite possibility of blends today, it’s logical that cocktail flavours also emerged, as well as beer, brandy, and wine.
It’s important that you start with a flavour that you’ll like, be it a blend or a single flavour. Otherwise, that e-juice would just gather dust in storage.
2. Look at the nicotine content
Cigarettes have a fixed amount of nicotine content, often in unhealthy levels. With vaping, it’s easy for you to pick the nicotine strength that you’d like.
Use this list as a reference:
- Low level: 6mg and below (ideal for light smokers)
- Medium level: 9mg to 16mg (ideal for average smokers)
- High level: 18mg to 36mg (ideal for heavy chain smokers)
Heavy smokers would find it tempting to go for the highest nicotine strength. However, do know that vaping is different than smoking cigarettes. You may not need that much nicotine to satisfy your daily cravings.
As a rule of thumb, start with medium strength, then work your way down to a lower level.
3. Check the PV/VG ratio
E-juices with higher PG have more flavour but have weaker vapour. It also has a stronger throat hit that smokers prefer.
On the other hand, e-juices with higher VG have a slightly sweeter taste (which could diminish the flavour a bit), but produce bigger and denser clouds of vapour.
A typical e-juice has a 40:60 PG-to-VG ratio. However, if a particular e-liquid that you’re using feels too harsh, switch to something with higher VG content. If you’re looking for more throat hits, then you may want to try those with more PG content.
Also, while it is rare, some users turn out to be allergic to PG. If you experience hives, difficulty in breathing, or itching after vaping, you may want to try a pure VG blend or one with a much higher VG content.
4. Choose quality over price
Given the demand today, plenty of vendors take advantage of this and sell e-juice that are subpar. To not fall into this trap, make sure that you do your research.
Check out guides online, ask your vaper friends, look for reviews, and read the labels. Legit and quality e-juice bottles would list down their ingredients and where they were made. If the bottle is made in Europe, it should comply with EU’s labelling requirements for packaging of chemical substances.
5. Start with a small bottle
If this is your first time, it would be wise to pick a smaller bottle, so you can test it out. In case you don’t like it, it won’t be much of a loss to you. Remember that retailers do not accept returns if you say you don’t like the flavour.
6. Keep testing
Give yourself room to test different flavours, nicotine strength, and PG/VG ratio. If you settle for what’s available, vaping may not be an enjoyable experience for you.
Look for other brands and flavours. One brand’s chocolate flavour may taste different from another’s. The same goes for nicotine strength.
Brick-and-mortar stores have the option to let you test their flavours before purchasing. Online stores, on the other hand, can give you tester packs. Do remember to pick high-quality ones, as the cheaper e-juices will not be worth it.
E-Liquid 2018 Trends
It’s not only e-cig models that evolve; e-liquids today are more complex than what was available just a couple of years ago.
In 2018, vapers see the following changes in e-liquids:
- CBD vape oil – Following the legalisation of CBD as a medical ingredient, you can now also vape CBD oil. Check out our comprehensive guide when choosing CBD oil for vaping.
- More vape flavours with distinct effects – Hailing from Malaysia, fizzy e-liquids (those that give you the same feeling after drinking soda upon inhalation) are starting to gain popularity in the UK. Another trend called the cold vape juice will give you a cold hit upon exhalation, with some reporting to get an actual brain freeze.
- Shake and Vape – Following the government’s new regulations that limit nicotine content to 10ml bottles, vapers came up with the Shake and Vape. Also known as Short Fills, this kind of e-juice comes at a larger bottle with 0% nicotine. You can then add your own nicotine shot when you use it.
- Nicotine salts – These are getting more popular among those who alternate between vaping and smoking cigarettes. Nicotine salts have fewer throat hits and are easier to inhale. They, however, have higher nicotine content, allowing vapers to experience a faster nicotine rush that also lasts longer.
The Future of E-liquid Flavours
In light of its growing user base, two things happened that would affect the future of e-liquids.
First, more diverse and nuanced flavours started entering the market. Hundreds of new flavours are introduced to the market each month, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. And secondly, both the EU and the UK government have published laws regarding the proper usage and selling of e-liquids.
A 2018 study by VIP Electronic Cigarettes revealed that users prefer e-liquid flavours that are not tobacco blends. In fact, the top flavour that respondents wanted to try is roast dinner. This is closely followed by apple crumble, chocolate brownie, and cheesy chips. Flavour preferences also vary, depending on the user’s location, gender, and age (refer to image above).
Among the popular brands in the UK currently are iBreathe, Vype, Heisenberg, Kik, Vapouriz, Hangsen, Blu, and Mist, among others.
Apart from banning those who are underage from purchasing e-cigarettes, as well as the EU’s rule against e-cig advertising, the UK government also implemented new regulations on vaping:
- Vape tanks are limited to 2 ml
- One e-liquid container should be restricted to 10 ml
- One e-liquid container should only have a nicotine strength of 20mg/ml
- Package e-liquids to be child-resistant
- Ban colouring, caffeine, and taurine as ingredients
- Proper labelling (ingredients, health risks, potential side effects)
- All e-cigs and e-liquids must be registered to the MHRA before selling
Despite its numerous health benefits, vaping is still not recognised worldwide as a viable alternative to smoking.
Post-Brexit, some experts predict looser regulations on the country’s vaping use, although like so much stuff concerning Brexit this is still uncertain.
The Evolution of E-liquids
Although vaping started as a way to help people quit smoking, it is now enjoyed by both smokers and non-smokers alike. Plenty of vapers prefer e-liquids with zero nicotine content to simply enjoy the market’s incredibly diverse set of flavours.
When you get your first e-liquids, make sure that you shake the bottles every now and then to help distribute the flavour. Also, clean your device regularly to remove clogs and eliminate the risk of your new e-juice being contaminated by older ones.
If you need help choosing the right flavour for you, let us know via phone call on 01179 669309 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to guide you.