eLiquid or eJuice is vaporized to deliver the flavor and throat hit you experience when you use an electric cigarette. The base ingredient in all eLiquid is usually Propylene Glycol (PG) but Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is also used.
VG/PG eLiquid Explained
Propylene Glycol (PG) is the most widely used base for eLiquid. It’s a type of alcohol used in food coloring, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, soaps and conditioners. It has humectant properties, which means it retains moisture. For a more detailed health and scientific discussion of PG read this post.
Some people may be allergic to PG. Symptoms include stomach pains, sore throat and headaches. If you experience these symptoms, they could be an allergic reaction to PG or may also be tobacco withdrawal symptoms. Tobacco withdrawal symptoms will lessen within a week or two. PG allergies won’t.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is also used as a base for eLiquid. It’s a compound that comes from vegetable oil and is widely used in food, pharmaceuticals, moisturizers and soap. It also works as a humectant to retain moisture.
People who are allergic to PG, switch to VG. It’s a natural occurring product with fewer potential side effects. You can buy USPS Vegetable Glycerin at your local vitamin store or pharmacy for DIY eLiquid.
VG is thicker than PG and produces a much better vapor. DIYers thin it by diluting it with distilled water or vodka.
Best eLiquid for your eCigarette
If you buy an ecig with a cartomizer, you might not know what type of eLiquid you’re inhaling. Manufacturers don’t usually include detailed facts about the ingredients of their cartridges but times are changing. More and more manufacturers are realizing the benefit of partnering with a reputable eLiquid manufacturer and are beginning to do so. If this important to you be sure to check out our list of reputable eLiquid suppliers.
The best way to have some control over your eLiquid is to make it yourself or buy bulk from an American or UK manufacturer. DIY eLiquid is the least expensive and most flexible solution but it requires a little work. If you’re interested in making your own, read our DIY eLiquid guide.
Of course you want your electric cigarette to taste similar to a traditional cigarette. eLiquid is available in tobacco and menthol flavors but unlike tobacco cigarettes, many other flavors are also offered. Most brands have 2-4 tobacco flavored options but some brands also have fruit, chocolate and coffee flavors. If you buy an e-cig with a refillable cartridge, you can change the flavor to your liking with a wide variety of flavored bulk or DIY eLiquid.
eLiquid Throat Hit, Strong or Mild?
“Throat hit” is the term used to describe the feel of the vapor as you inhale it. Just like a tobacco cigarette, some are strong and some are mild. If you’re used to a strong “hit” like in a Marlboro Red or Kool, go with a higher nicotine eLiquid. I smoked Newport Lights and found 11mg to be the closest throat hit. A word of caution for beginners: most people have a tendency to vape a lot at first. If you use a high nicotine eLiquid and vape more than you would smoke a traditional cigarette, you could experience nicotine overdose symptoms.
A safer way to amp up the throat hit is to add a few drops of vodka to your DIY eLiquid.
eLiquid Vapor, Heavy or Light?
Beginning e-cig smokers think they have to replicate a rich consistent vapor similar to a tobacco cigarette. Personally, I put more value in the throat hit and flavor. Of course, I like to see the vapor but I think it’s more important to taste and feel like a tobacco cigarette than look like one. None-the-less, I still want to see vapor.
VG produces more vapor than PG. It does have a tendency to lessen the flavor a little in favor of vapor but a few drops can go along way.
eLiquid and the FDA
In the past, eLiquid was produced exclusively in China. Over the last few years US and UK companies have opened production facilities to meet growing demand.
In July of 2009 the FDA ignited controversy over electric cigarettes when they tested samples from 2 brands and found inconsistent results and a known carcinogen. The tests were limited to 2 brands and rather unscientific. Now that eLiquid is being manufactured in the US, those inconsistencies and criticisms should hopefully subside. American manufacturing has always been safer and more sanitary than Chinese manufacturing. With the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, hopefully the FDA will work with manufacturers to perfect the process rather than destroy it. For more information you can, read the FDA report.