What is really in your eliquid?

What is really in your eliquid?

Have you always wondered exactly what is in your eliquid? How each component reacts to the others, or what each brings to the table? Confused about ratios, or what percentages you should have in the juice that you vape?

Perhaps you have had a family member trying to shut down your vaping with scare mongering and mis-information in order to frighten you away from the one thing that is keeping you from smoking.

Fear not, today I’m going to explain exactly what is in your e-liquid, so you can hit them with facts, and maybe even learn a thing or two also!

Lets get into it.

What is eJuice/eLiquid and what are it’s characteristics?

E-Juice or E-liquid whilst going by many names is mostly associated with e-cigarettes. It is the liquid that is placed inside your vapouriser, that is in turn, heated, which creates and expells vapour.

It may come in many variations, but mainly consists of the following 4 compounds.

  • PG (Propylene Glycol)
  • VG (Vegetable Glycerin)
  • Food Grade Flavouring
  • Nicotine Base

Let’s take a look at these individually.

PG (Propylene Glycol)

PG is one of the base ingredients in our e-liquid. This is the kick in your juice, the throat hit, the bit that dehydrates you, and one of the more important parts of your eliquid.
It is generally recognised as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, and has been used in a variety of skincare, household and health products for more than 50 years. It can be found in such products from toothpaste to baby shampoos, and has been rumoured to have been pumped through hospital air conditioning ducts due to it’s anti-microbial properties.
PG has little taste, and is a relatively thin liquid. It’s freezing point is quite low also, which makes this the perfect carrier for your nicotine in regards to longer storage times in your freezer.

Propylene Glycol is the main carrier for your nicotine, it also helps aid the absorbtion rate of the nicotine into your blood stream to get that nicotine hit.

VG (Vegetable Glycerin)

VG is the “ying” to Propylene Glycol’s “yang”, rather than providing throat hit and easier absorbtion of nicotine, it provides the dense vapour that is produced due to it’s lower boiling point and higher viscosity.
It is derived from plants and just like PG, can be found in many household products, such as shampoos, lotions, pet foods, and medications.

VG has a light and sweet taste, has also been generally recogised as safe (GRAS) and is the perfect partner to PG in eliquids due to it’s lack of harshness.

All Together Now

Pairing PG and VG together in eliquid form was no accident. They perfectly compliment each other and work together as an effective base for vaping, providing an infinitely variable mix that can be altered to suit the vaper’s preferred vaping style.
Many of today’s mixes are swinging toward the thicker bases with many dialing in at 70%VG / 30%PG, with many going even higher on the VG.

PG is:

  • Generally recognised as safe (GRAS)
  • Relatively flavourless
  • Low Viscosity
  • Harsh in high percentages (provides throat hit)
  • Absorbs water

VG is:

  • Generally recognised as safe (GRAS)
  • Sweet
  • High Viscosity (provides vapour)

Nicotine Base

Typically the nicotine that you have in your ejuice is suspended in one of your base compounds, most often, the Propylene Glycol, due to its high freeze point, high storeability, and stellar performance as a carrier.

The nicotine is most often extracted from a plant in the tobacco family, it is the same type of liquid used in many nicotine replacement therapies.

It can be dangerous to handle in higher concentrations, and here in Australia, is classed as a section 7 poison. It is not permitted to be sold nor distributed within Australia. Each state also has its own laws governing ownership and usage.

Having said that, most use it in such a diluted form that safety concerns really do not apply. Do still keep it away from children or pets however as smaller bodies will require less to see side effects.


So I’ve explained the main base of our ejuice, what about the bit that gives it it’s flavour?
It’s simple flavouring. Yep, mostly standard food grade flavouring.

Some of the flavouring that is used in vaping liquids is specifically designed for it, with minimal additional compounds added, with many vendors moving away from flavourings that contain harmful things like diketones, and other slightly nasty chemicals that you may have seen in the news.

The truth is though, the flavouring industry is very much unregulated at the moment, so you really don’t know what exactly is going into your favourite flavours.

Luckily for us, the vaping industry self-regulates well, and many flavouring vendors actually do have independent tests done on their products, and fully disclose the results for all to see.
Some concentrate vendors even go so far as to list the individual compounds in each of their concentrates, where you can then go and do your own research on each ingredient to ensure you’re not vaping something that you wouldn’t want to be.

So there we have it folks, a simple explanation of what goes into our eliquids.

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Shane Presser
Shane Presser has been vaping since 2013, and has extensive experience with advanced equipment, coil builds and DIY mixing. He is the man behind VapersGarage, and also more recently the Vape Database (www.thevapedb.com), a resource to help vapers find hardware and equipment based on their individual needs.