WHAT DO THE E-LIQUIDS OF E-CIGARETTES CONTAIN?
Normally, the main components of e-liquids include vegetable glycerine or glycerol (common abbreviation in English: VG), propylene glycol (PG), water, and flavors. Of course, e-liquids with nicotine contain nicotine too. Normally, concentrations below 8 mg are considered mild, 8 to 12 mg medium, and over 12 mg strong. The liquid is based on PG or VG to keep the nicotine and the flavors balanced allowing you to puff smoke-like vapor clouds using your e-cigarette. Both PG and VG are organic substances.
Liquids based on propylene glycol (PG) are more common across the world because PG is relatively liquid and is better absorbed by the wick of the e-cigarette's atomizer. Besides, compared to VG, the build-up of solid substance on the coil is slower. PG is almost tasteless and odorless and has little effect on the taste of the e-liquid. It is used as a humectant in the food industry. If consumed consistently, it causes a feeling of scratchy and dry throat as opposed to regular cigarettes, but it is also a strong moisturizer. However, it could induce an allergic reaction in some individuals. The US Food and Drug Administration has declared this substance to be generally harmless.
Liquids based on vegetable glycerine (VG) have their advantages. VG is widely used in foodstuffs and beverages as a humectants, solvent, filler, sweeter, food additive, etc. Owing to its moisturizing properties it is used also in pharmaceutical and personal care applications. It has a slightly sweet taste which makes liquids based on VG sweeter. Therefore, bringing out other tastes is more complicated but possible. As VG has a higher density than PG, it generates much more vapor when vaping but causes no dryness or scratchiness of the throat. It rarely induces any allergic reactions.
CHEAP VS PREMIUM E-JUICE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
It’s exciting when you manage to find a brand-new e-juice for cheap, but that can quickly turn into disgust when you realize you’ve purchased an entirely unpalatable product that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. So how can you tell if a cheap vape juice is of bad quality? And is premium e-juice that much better even with its expensive price point? We give you the low down on cheap versus premium e-juice so you can decide on which is the worthier liquid.
WHAT MAKES E-JUICE PREMIUM?
Many vapers believe that more expensive e-juices are of higher quality and contain safer ingredients. While all e-liquids start with the same base—propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine and flavoring (and varying amounts of nicotine depending on the level of a particular juice)—the key to making a premium e-liquid is creating a flavor profile that is both rich and robust in flavor and lingers on the palate. This process takes much more time, effort, and resources, which attributes to its expensive cost.
On the other hand, a low-priced e-liquid doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe. However, if you are still uncertain, make sure you evaluate factors like unbiased customer feedback online, look for certifications, or contact the vendors and see what they have to say about its contents.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR E-JUICE IS BAD?
A truly bad e-juice will sometimes appear cloudy with floating objects in it and smell harsh or pungent. It can also destroy your device by corroding the tank and tearing through your coils—definitely not something you want to be inhaling into your body.
SO, IS PREMIUM REALLY BETTER THAN CHEAP?
While the best e-juice for you depends almost entirely on your personal preference, expensive doesn’t always mean better. Gourmet e-liquids might provide a more exquisite assortment of flavors for a higher cost, but that doesn’t mean a simple blend of ice-cool mint juice is bad at all. However, if you’ve done your research and think that flavors like “strawberry cheesecake dream with a hint of vanilla” are more your style, then all you need to do is find a premium e-juice manufacturer with lower prices.
Ultimately, the solution to finding out if a premium or cheap e-juice is better for you is through trial and error. Don’t be afraid of relatively cheap e-liquids or expensive premium ones; try them all to find out what best suits your tastes.
WHAT IS LIQUID NICOTINE, AND HOW IS IT MEASURED?
Nicotine for vaping is normally sold in a liquid solution. Typically you’ll purchase a nicotine and PG (Propylene Glycol) mix, but you can also purchase it in other variations, even mixed with VG (Vegetable Glycerin).
Now, this is a pretty important thing to know, as before you place an order, you should consider exactly which circumstance you will need to use it.
Another thing to consider is that Nicotine is measured by how many milligrams of nicotine are in a milliliter of liquid. Otherwise referred to abbreviated like so (mg/ml).
Just to make things even more confusing, the strength can also be expressed as a percentage of nicotine by mass, like so (1.2% nicotine). This second measurement is not often used, but it is typically calculated down by shifting a decimal point or increasing by a tenth.
- 2% nicotine in 1000mg of liquid = 12mg/ml.
- 5% nicotine in 1000mg of liquid = 50mg/ml.
- 10% nicotine in 1000mg of liquid = 100mg/ml.
A BASIC GUIDE TO ADDING NICOTINE TO YOUR E-LIQUIDS
Let’s face it, as vapers, there is one thing that most of us have in common.
We are quitting cigarettes. To do so, Nicotine really is a necessity, it helps us kick the cravings, and helps to prevent us from murdering our friends and families in their sleep. (that's of course a joke, by the way)
There are a few different situations where you might find yourself wanting to add some nicotine to your liquids yourself. For most, you’re possibly vaping at a nicotine level that is not readily available and need to top up from a lower amount.
For others, you’re probably looking at adding nicotine to a zero nicotine mix, or you mix your own flavors (DIY) and need to add nicotine to your creations.
DOES ALL E-LIQUID CONTAIN NICOTINE?
Vaping is incredibly popular among ex-smokers and smokers looking to quit as it is a highly effective nicotine replacement therapy. However, what you might not know is that there are plenty of e-liquids that don’t contain any nicotine at all, and there are plenty of vapers who have effectively used vaping to quit smoking for good, who now vape as a hobby. When you first start vaping, it’s important to make sure you choose a nicotine strength that is appropriate for you, as an e-liquid that is too high or too low in nicotine can make vaping quite unenjoyable and less effective as a method to help you quit smoking.
RECOMMENDED NICOTINE STRENGTH
When you’re looking for a new e-liquid or your first e-liquid, it’s important to consider how much nicotine your body is already used to. This will largely depend on the amount you smoke regularly, though the type of cigarette you smoke can have an impact too.
- E-LIQUID BOTTLES
When you’re choosing an e-liquid, you’ll most commonly see the nicotine strength displayed in a couple of different ways: as a percentage of your e-liquid as a whole, or in mg (milligrams). It’s pretty easy to convert one to the other, especially as most e-liquids containing nicotine come in 10ml bottles. For example, 10mls of e-liquid containing 3mg of nicotine will have a percentage of 0.3% nicotine, while a 1.8% strength e-liquid will contain 18mg per 10ml, making it a much stronger e-liquid with a higher concentration of nicotine.
As a basic rule of thumb, we recommend you start with the following strength e-liquids, based on your current cigarette consumption:
0.6% or 6mg/ml - If you regularly smoke less than 10 cigarettes per day, this is a good place to start. This concentration is also ideal for “mild” or low-nicotine tobacco cigarette smokers.
1.2% or 12mg/ml - For smokers used to medium-strength nicotine cigarettes and those who smoke between 10 and 20 cigarettes per day, this strength is an excellent first choice.
1.8% or 18mg/ml - If you regularly smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day, or are used to smoking high-nicotine cigarettes, or other tobacco products such as cigars, rolling tobacco, moist tobacco, or pipe tobacco, then high concentrations of around 1.8% will more effectively help to effectively curb cravings.
However, the way that vaping delivers nicotine can be very different from smoking, so if you think your e-liquid isn’t quite right, trying a different strength can make all the difference. The way your body reacts to nicotine in a vape will be different from everyone else, so even if you’ve been a heavy smoker in the past, that’s not a guarantee that high-nicotine e-liquids will be right for you. High-nicotine concentration also contributes to the “throat hit” sensation that many smokers will be familiar with.
Vaping can effectively emulate this sensation in high-nicotine and high-PG formulations, so if you don’t enjoy that, lower nicotine strength and higher VG formulas will be ideal for you. On the other hand, some smokers miss the throat hit when they start their journey to becoming smoke-free - for these users, a high-nicotine formula might be ideal.
Lots of vapers find it takes a little trial and error to start with, but once you find the perfect e-liquid for you with the right flavors and nicotine strength, you can start vaping in earnest!
E-LIQUID STRENGTH AND YOUR E-CIG
When e-cigs were first released e-liquid strength was extremely important because the choice was extremely limited.
Smokers looking to start vaping were faced with a typical cig-a-like or an extremely basic electronic cigarette that did little to satisfy the needs of an ex-smoker.
In their infancy, electronic cigarettes had no mechanism to allow vapers to control the amount of vapor or throat hit produced. This has now changed, with a vast majority of e-cigs being variable output.
This means that you can control your throat hit and nicotine delivery simply by turning up your output wattage or voltage and changing your atomizer head resistance.
The higher the resistance the longer the atomizer takes to heat up, meaning less vapor and throat hit from your e-cig.
The lower the resistance (usually sub-ohm) the quicker your atomizer will heat up, meaning more vapor and throat hit.
If you choose a sub-ohm atomizer your 1.8% nicotine strength will probably be far too strong for you.
On the flip side, if you chose a higher resistance atomizer head, you might not get the nicotine delivery and throat hit you need from your 0.3% e-liquid.
It is all about finding the right balance of vape mod, e-cig tank, and atomizer head, the right combination will complement your e-liquid strength and allow you to vape all day without craving a cigarette.
NICOTINE STRENGTH AND VAPING TECHNIQUE
You might see some vape lingo banded about that includes MTL and DL. Let’s break these down.
MTL = Mouth to lung
This is a traditional inhale that most people use. You draw the vapor from your e-cig into your mouth, then inhale it back.
DL = Direct lung
The mouth part from MTL is bypassed here. You take one long draw from the e-cig, inhaling it straight in.
Let’s look at why might you need to use these two different draws.
An MTL draw is forgiving when it comes to nicotine strength. It is the technique most vapers use and means you can use strengths from 0.0% all the way up to 1.8% comfortably.
You wouldn’t usually DL vape on a high nicotine strength. Why? Because using this technique means you get a much greater throat hit and produce more vapor. So, a 1.8% e-liquid would be uncomfortable to vape by directly inhaling. Most people who DL vape use an extremely low nicotine strength, usually around 0.0% - 0.3%.
All of this can seem confusing, but it isn’t. In short, vape as you feel comfortable.