What is E-Juice made of?
As a new vaper one of the first things that comes to mind is what is in that e-liquid that I am vaping. With all the wild sensationalist stories going around on the internet and on local news channels, or even from some uninformed government official, you might be left to believe that eliquid is 1 step away from antifreeze and that 1 drop of it on your hand could even kill you. When you hear some scientific sounding words it might scare you to believe you are vaping some toxic chemical that ranks worse than the 4000 chemicals found already in conventional cigarettes. Luckily, what really goes into your e-liquid is very easy to answer and really quick to research. When you buy your vape juice from a reputable manufacturer the answer can be summed up in 4 key ingredients.
E-juice is made up of the following 4 components: Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Nicotine, and Flavor concentrates. The precise percentage of each found in your vape juice depends on your own personal nicotine strength preference and the recipe used by your e-juice manufacturer. All these ingredients have been safely used in a wide variety of applications for decades. All of these ingredients have been widely studied and analyzed concerning their effects on humans. Propylene glycol has been widely used in nebulizers given to people with asthma. Vegetable Glycerin is a sugar compound. Food flavorings, are well, chemicals that provide flavor enhancing properties to food, and are found in everything we consume. Nicotine, pharmaceutical grade pure nicotine, is categorized the same as caffeine. Nicotine is not what causes cancer from smoking. Vape Juice is not 100% pure nicotine. Vape juice normally ranges from 0.6% to 2.4% nicotine by volume. The reason why manufacturers do not like to explain precisely what formula they use when making their vape juice is because the specific detailed information is like a recipe. If they give out the recipe to make their eliquid than anyone could make it. Let’s remember coca cola here a minute. They kept their secret recipe in a vault which could only be accessed by a couple people.
So to avoid any confusion I am going to go into a little more detail about what is each of the 4 ingredients in your e-liquid.
- Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol (PG) has been used extensively for decades for a wide variety of purposes. Many of these purposes are for products that are consumed by humans. It is also used as an additive to make toxic chemicals less toxic, since PG is considered nontoxic. Hospitals have been encouraged to use PG as a disinfectant in ventilation systems. PG is the common ingredient found in fog machines that are used at entertainment venues across the country. It is very hard for you not to come into contact with PG since it is found in so many places. Propelyne Glycol is categorized by the FDA as a GRAS product. Generally Recognized As Safe. What this means is that in all the decades that the FDA has not found any substantial reason to think this causes any significant harm in humans. PG is used in vape juice because it is a carrier. A carrier is needed to hold the flavorings and the nicotine. PG does not have a flavor profile associated with it and is considered flavorless. The PG is what gives the “throat hit” that you hear about from vapers. It should be noted that some people do experience a mild allergy from PG. For people with a mild allergy to PG a 100% VG vape juice is recommended.
2. Vegetable Glycerin
From Wikipedia – Glycerol (or glycerine, glycerin) is a simple polmol (sugar alcohol) compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used. Vegetable Glycerin has been widely used by both the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry going back many decades. It is a base chemical that carries other compounds well. It is found in many products that we consume on a daily basis including food and medicine. It is also a common ingredient in other consumer products like tooth paste, soap, lotion, and cough syrup. Since VG is a sugar compound it holds a slightly sweet taste naturally. It also carries other flavors well. VG is a thicker liquid than PG and will provide more vapor when used in vape devices. People who want the largest vape clouds will often use 100% VG e-juice.
I think we have all heard about Nicotine. But I think it is the ingredient in vape juice that we least understand. We have all been conditioned to see nicotine as the enemy. Decades of media bombardment has led us to believe that Nicotine is what mad our health deteriorate. The fact is Nicotine is in the same pharmaceutical category as caffeine. It is considered a mild stimulant. Is nicotine addictive, well yes it is addictive, But, cigarettes are far more addictive because they combine nicotine with 4000 other chemicals to enhance the addictive property. Vape Juice is not 100% pure nicotine. There have been media reports saying that 1 drop of nicotine liquid is enough to make you extremely ill. The fact of the matter is most eliquid is less than 2% nicotine by volume, not 100%. Remember the other ingredients in vape juice…PG,VG, Flavorings. Caffeine can be used as an insect repellant, nobody is calling for a ban on coffee as a result. Nicotine is found in many vegetables you eat. French Fries come from potatoes and potatoes have nicotine. Maybe that’s why French fries are so addictive? The point is most Americans consume nicotine on a regular basis. Tobacco has high concentrations of nicotine but is not the only source of nicotine. That is why labeling nicotine as a tobacco product is ridiculous. Studies have shown nicotine to improve ailments ranging from diabetes to depression and Alzheimer’s. Smoke kills, not nicotine.
4. Flavoring Concentrate
In virtually any processed food in America you will find concentrated flavor additives. They are exactly what the name implies. Food Flavor in a concentrated form. Believe me when I say there is a flavor concentrate for anything and everything. Flavors are wonderful and we do not stop liking flavors when we become adults. As a matter of fact I think adults enjoy a variety of flavors more than children. Vape liquid can be made to taste like anything. This is because of the flavor concentrates. Mixing flavor concentrates with PG and VG becomes important to dilute the concentrate.
There you have it. That is vape juice. Let me know if I missed anything or you have anything to add!