It may all seem like, excuse the pun, like smoke and mirrors but vaping isn’t some kind of magic where you’re smoking but not actually smoking. Do you follow? It’s okay, it can be confusing but vaping is pretty simple — the inhalation and exhalation of vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette via e-liquid or e-juice. So that mysterious ‘smoke’, not so mysterious but what the heck is e-juice?
The key to a good vaping experience is all about the e-liquid. These liquids come in a variety of flavours and nicotine strengths and they’re endless ways to customize your e-juice.
All e-liquids are made from the same basic ingredients — a carrier liquid, nicotine and flavour. The carrier liquids or bases are either propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG) but some liquids can use a combination of the two. Both PG and VG are non-toxic compounds and you can find them in a vast number of food additives and even beauty products.
Propylene glycol has a thinner consistency than vegetable glycerin so it’s easily absorbed by the filler material or wick in your e-cigarette. PG juices tend to have lower densities so there’s less build up on the heating element than you will get with VG. On its own, PG has no taste or odour and it doesn’t change the flavor of your e-liquid — it does tend to give a stronger throat hit than VG but some people are allergic to it. If you notice throat tingling or irritation after vaping, it could be because you are particularly sensitive to PG and need to switch to a VG-based e-liquid.
Vegetable glycerin has a thicker consistency than PG and it has just a slight sweetness to its flavour. While it can produce thicker vapour clouds than PG, it won’t offer the same throat hit. People who vape, or vapers, are pretty divided on whether PG or VG is best and most choose a mix of both so they can get the ultimate blend of vapour and throat hit.
The next major ingredient in e-liquids is the flavouring and this is very diversified area. Flavours like tobacco flavors, pina colada, cloves, or even gummy bears. Choosing flavors can be tricky because something that tastes amazing on your first hit might be sickeningly sweet an hour later. It’s really a matter of trial and error and most e-cigarette users like to change things up to keep things interesting.
Nicotine is the final component in e-liquids and all nicotine levels and even some liquids with no nicotine at all. The levels are indicated in milligrams, ranging from 0 to 36. The average amount is 18mg and then you adjust from there depending — too strong or too weak in helping control cigarette cravings. Heavy smokers should start at 24 mg and casual or social smokers should start in between 6 and 12 mg. Weaning yourself to the point where there is no amount of nicotine present in the e-liquid would be the most ideal.