What should I look for in vape juice?
Whether you’re in the mood for a hint of strawberry cheesecake or exhilarating spearmint, there is a huge choice of e-liquid varieties to explore.
But what exactly is in your vape juice? How do different combinations of ingredients impact your vape experience? From flavourings and nicotine content through to cloud production, here’s an understanding of everything you need to know about vape liquid ingredients and how to choose the best juice for you.
How to buy your vape juice safely
In the UK and EU, In the UK and EU, vape devices and juices are tightly regulated products. Vape juice must comply with the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which sets out strict rules on what can and cannot go into it.
These rules include the following:
- Juice must not contain any banned ingredients including non-food grade colourings, caffeine and taurine
- It must be logged with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
- It must be tested to ensure required standards for safety and quality are met
It must come in a child-resistant container and include a list of ingredients and warnings.
- If it contains nicotine, the maximum allowable volume of the container is 10ml. The maximum allowable nicotine strength is 20mg/ml.
Tip: always buy from a reputable TPD-compliant seller. It gives you the freedom to explore different juice variations, with the reassurance of knowing that your liquid has been tested for quality and safety.
Vape juice ingredients explained
The basic vape juice usually contains four ingredients, with each one playing a different role in shaping your vape experience.
Propylene glycol (PG)
This liquid compound can be found in a range of food and pharmaceutical products, including liquid sweeteners, ice cream, toothpaste and inhalers. It produces vapour when heated, which makes it a popular choice as a base for vape juice.
PG is largely odourless and tasteless, which makes it ideal as a ‘blank canvas’ for juice manufacturers to add their flavourings without any flavour tainting.
Vegetable glycerin (VG)
Made from plant oils, VG is another organic liquid compound that’s often found in food and pharmaceuticals. It’s thicker and slightly sweeter than PG and, compared to PG, it’s this ‘gloopiness’ that results in bigger clouds when heated.
A blend of PG and VG forms the base of most e-liquids. PG is used to carry the flavour, while the level of VG determines the size of cloud you can produce.
Choice of flavour is all a matter of personal preference. You can opt for single note flavours (e.g. strawberry, lemon, menthol) along with countless medleys incorporating multiple flavourings in a single juice.
If you stick to TPD-regulated sellers, you know that only food-grade, approved flavourings have been used in your juice.
This naturally-occurring stimulant is what gives you a buzz. The volume of nicotine in vape juice is expressed as milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml). Most sellers offer a range of nicotine strength options for their liquids (e.g. 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg). The maximum permissible nicotine content is 2.0mg/ml.
Choosing juice ingredients to match your vape style
Big clouds vs stealth vaping
The higher the proportion of VG in your juice, the better it is for vapour production. If you’re into cloud chasing, focus on liquids with a VG content of at least 70%. If you want more short, discrete puffs, try liquids with a 50:50 PG:VG split.
Throat hit vs smooth draw
Of the two main juice base ingredients, PG is thinner. When vaporised, this results in a harsher sensation at the back of the throat. So if you’re looking to replicate the type of throat hit you get from smoking, try out a high PG liquid. If you like a smoother, slightly sweeter sensation, switch to a higher VG ratio.
Regulating your nicotine intake
For most people, the biggest motivator for vaping is the chance to get a nicotine buzz in a much safer format than tobacco. Alongside this, vaping gives you plenty of scope to reduce your nicotine cravings over time.
Nicotine-wise, many fresh vaping converts like to start high (e.g. at 18mg or 12mg) and then gradually scale it down in a stress-free way. You get all of the flavour but remain totally in control of your nicotine intake.
Find out more
Your choice of juice goes a long way in delivering the type of vape experience that suits you best. But what about your choice of vape device? Do you know how to clean your kit to keep it running sweet? For the answers on all of this and more, be sure to check out the Ziip Lab blog.