E-liquid, vape juice, e-juice: it’s all the same thing!
If you’re here, then you probably have an inkling into precisely what ‘e-juice’ is - but for those that don’t - it is used in vape devices commonly known as ‘electronic cigarettes’; it is the liquid that gets turned into a vapour, which is then inhaled by the user.
E-liquid contains the addictive substance found in tobacco known as nicotine, and can be bought in 10ml bottles, or found in your pre-filled e-cigarette cartridges. They are available in a huge range of flavours, nicotine strengths, and even the balance of ingredients can affect the vaping experience, so how can we make sure you buy the right refills for your needs?
WHAT IS E-JUICE?
The idea behind e-cigarettes is to provide nicotine without all of the other nasty chemicals found in tobacco smoke, of which over 50 are known to cause cancer. E-juice is the mixture that gets vaporised by the vape device, and inhaled by the user, to deliver nicotine into the body.
Some devices use refillable tanks for the user to fill up with their e-liquid of choice, whereas devices like the SMOKO E-cigarette use pre-filled cartridges, keeping things clean and easy - for a convenient, mess free vaping experience.
WHAT IS IN E-JUICE AND E-CIGARETTES?
There are four main components to e-liquid: vegetable glycerine VG, propylene glycol PG, flavourings, and nicotine.
The balance of PG and VG determines how much vapour is produced and how hard the throat hit is - a liquid that favours VG is going to feel smoother and produce more vapour, but liquids that favour PG will have an increased hit on the throat.
Your device-of-choice may not be well equipped to deal with certain VG to PG balances, but we’ll come back to that shortly.
With the huge number of e-liquid flavours available, you can’t forget about flavourings in the mixture; and the all-important nicotine - though there are 0% nicotine liquids and e-cigarette refills available for those that want to vape without - this is great, just not for smokers that have recently made the switch to vaping!
IMPORTANCE OF BUYING THE RIGHT E-JUICE
There are a few reasons you should be mindful when choosing your e-juice or e-cigarette refills to vape.
Firstly, that the nicotine level is high enough for your needs - someone who has traditionally smoked 20 cigarettes a day is highly unlikely to be satisfied with a liquid that has no nicotine.
Then there is the balance of VG to PG: a higher VG content mutes the flavour, but is thicker and produces more vapour, so these are better suited to the more powerful vape pens or box mods.
At SMOKO, our low powered devices such as the SMOKO E-cigarette and SMOKO VAPE POD use refills containing higher PG liquids, helping to deliver a throat hit like when smoking a real cigarette!
Last, but certainly not least, is the flavouring. This may not seem as important, but the country of origin impacts the regulation that the manufacturing standards are subject to, and the exclusion of certain flavourings for health reasons.
HOW TO SELECT THE IDEAL E-JUICE OR E-CIGARETTE REFILLS FOR YOU?
Both natural and artificial flavourings can be used in vape juice - natural flavourings can still be made in a lab, but the chemicals are derived from plant or animal sources. SMOKO e-liquids found in the e-cigarette refills, PODs and e-liquid bottles are made using high quality ingredients here in the UK, so you know you are getting a product you can trust.
A review of common e-liquid ingredients found that vanillin was the most common flavouring used, followed by ethyl-maltol, then ethyl-butyrate. The review showed a total of 213 added flavourings found in a sample of 16,839 e-liquid bottles.
Having a huge selection of flavours may be great for the pickiest among us (I include myself here!) but many smokers making the switch to vaping choose a tobacco flavoured e-liquid because it helps them feel like they are smoking.
The nicotine strength of the liquid is potentially the most important part of choosing your e-liquid: if you don’t get it right, then you use your vape device more, resulting in faster e-liquid consumption, which means spending more money on liquids, as well as more wear and tear on your device so more money gets spent on parts… you see where I’m going with this.
The nicotine does contribute to the throat hit, so higher nicotine levels will mean a harder hit on the throat. That is, unless the liquids are made with nicotine salts, or ‘nic salts’.
Nic salts are a way to achieve a higher nicotine level than is allowed by regulation for e-liquids, and is not as harsh on the throat as the traditional ‘freebase nicotine’. They are mixed with 0% nicotine liquids, often done by the user, for use in devices with refillable vape tanks.
The more ambitious quitters among you may be tempted to switch over to 0% nicotine liquids straight from cigarettes: this is a brave move that we would not recommend, and while it could still satisfy the habitual side of the addiction, it does mean facing the full force of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms!
We have two main constituents that contribute to a throat hit: propylene glycol and nicotine. Some people prefer more of a throat hit, some people prefer a smooth inhale - so you can tailor the ingredients of your e-liquid to suit your preference.
E-liquids with a high PG content will hit the throat harder and can be used on the lower power types of vapes - the cig-a-likes, small pod systems and small vape pens. SMOKO E-cigarette refills use a 80/20 PG to VG split, for example.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use high PG liquids in refillable devices, just that you might find the increased power and volume of aerosol generated creates a rather harsh hit on the throat - in my experience, coughing fits are better off avoided!
Ideal e-liquids for ex- smokers
For a smoker making the switch, there are often just two areas of concern: the throat hit, and the nicotine level.
A heavy smoker (a pack a day or more) would do well with a 80/20 PG to VG balance to favour the throat hit, at the strongest nicotine level available off the shelves - a 2% strength - to satisfy the nicotine cravings.
A lighter smoker (less than twenty a day) may find a lower nicotine level does the trick - around 1.1% or lower.
Many ex-smokers like to use a tobacco flavour because this fits right into the habit - if it looks like a cigarette, feels like a cigarette, and tastes like a cigarette - it’s probably a cigarette, right? WRONG!
How often you vape
How frequently you find yourself vaping is a good thing to keep an eye on - if you are vaping a lot with a high nicotine liquid, you could end up with nicotine poisoning, which could have you suffering for 24 hours if you go overboard!
If you find yourself puffing a lot, with limited success at pacing yourself, then switch over to a low nicotine liquid; this should keep the risk of nicotine poisoning down.
Pricing is not an obvious indication of high quality e-liquids. Well tested ingredients do cost more, so check for indications of food grade and pharmaceutical grade ingredients.
If you see super cheap deals, they should give you pause - so make sure to ask the right questions: Where were they made? Who made them? Does the manufacturer provide lots of information on the ingredients? When is the use-by date?
The appearance is worth consideration too; look at the labels to see what information is available on the packaging: the more, the better.
Selecting a reputed seller
One of the ways to try and ensure you are buying a high quality e-liquid is to check out the reputation of the brand. Unfortunately there are many brands who like to cut corners and may use harmful chemicals in their e-liquids. So have a look at customer reviews to gauge the level of customer service, and customer satisfaction with the product.
Get in touch with the vape shops to speak to their teams who should be able to give you all the information you need, and a decent website with lots of information on the product is always a good sign!
YOUR GUIDE TO BUYING THE RIGHT E-JUICE: CONCLUSION
The vaping industry is growing, increasing the number of vaping products available, but for someone new to the industry, it might be too much choice!
When you first make the switch to vaping, keeping things simple while you get to grips with e-cigarettes and associated products is a good idea, but starting on a reliable device from a reliable brand could be all you ever need.
Our experience at SMOKO tells us that smokers looking to quit are primarily looking for a simple device that provides a sensation close to smoking and want to vape a tobacco flavour with a good level of nicotine.
If you are one of these people, then don't hesitate to pick up a SMOKO Starter Kit today!