E-liquids explained

There are countless different e-liquid options available, so how do you know which one will best suit you and your device? In this guide we will be taking a look at the ins and outs of e-liquids, from what ingredients go into the bottle, to the different types and their characteristics. Read on to get all the information you need to find the best vape juice for you.

What is e-liquid?

E-liquids describe the liquid solution which is vaporised in an e-cigarette. The tank or pod part of an e-cigarette contains a coil surrounded by cotton, the e-liquid is absorbed into the cotton and as the coil heats up the e-liquid becomes a vapour which can be inhaled.

E-liquids are available in countless different flavours, from traditional tobacco to fresh fruit blends, and are available in a variety of different nicotine strengths to help you select the exact strength that will satisfy your nicotine cravings. They are also available without nicotine if this is your preference.

University College London have identified vaping as the most effective alternative to smoking to assist in a stop smoking attempt. By vaporising the e-liquid into a vapour an e-cigarette not only offers an alternative nicotine source, but also replaces the physical habit of smoking. This feels more familiar to ex-smokers than other smoking alternative like nicotine gum or patches.

What is e-liquid

What is in my e-liquid?

E-liquids are primarily made up of a VG/PG base mix, with the addition of flavourings, sweeteners, and occasionally colourings, all of which are food grade. Depending on your preference, they can also contain nicotine at various strengths.

VG stands for vegetable glycerine, which is a viscous liquid with a mildly sweet flavour. It is derived from plant oils and is responsible for the vapour production in e-cigarettes. Vegetable glycerine is found in products like toothpaste, frozen foods, and cough mixture.

PG is an abbreviation for Propylene Glycol, which is a clear liquid with a syrupy consistency, and alone is practically tasteless. It is the part of e-liquids that gives the ‘throat hit’ and holds the flavourings. It is widely used as a food additive in things like cake mix, dairy products, and soft drinks, as well as being used in cosmetics and medicines.

If you want more about e-liquids, take a look at our blog 'What's inside my e-liquid?'

What nicotine strength should I use?

Which nicotine strength should I choose?

Your smoking habits will dictate what nicotine strength would best suit your needs, as how many cigarettes you would normally smoke will help you identify the nicotine strength that would satisfy your nicotine cravings.

  • If you are quite a light smoker or smoke socially but not every day, a low nicotine strength like a 3mg will suffice to quell any nicotine cravings.
  • If you would usually smoke around 5 – 10 cigarettes a day, starting off on a 6mg e-liquid would be preferable.
  • If you are a moderate smoker, between 10 – 20 cigarettes a day, we would recommend a mid-strength e-liquid, a 10 or 12mg.
  • If you are a heavier smoker, smoking 20+ cigarettes a day, it would be best to start off using a high strength e-liquid, an 18 or 20mg.

For more insight about which nicotine strength will suit you best check out our blog ‘Which strength e-liquid should I use?

50/50 e-liquids

50/50 e-liquids contain an equal ratio of VG and PG which makes for an e-liquid with an overall thinner consistency best suited to devices with small coils. Most starter vape kits and pod systems work best with 50/50 e-liquids, as the smaller coils can easily absorb the thinner liquid without the cotton drying out between pulls.

Most 50/50 e-liquids are available in 10ml bottles, which allows for them to contain nicotine. This makes them ideal for new vapers as they offer a wide variety of nicotine strengths which makes it easy to match your previous nicotine intake.

There are two different types of nicotine available: nic salts and freebase. Nic salts are characterised by their smooth inhale and rapid absorption into the bloodstream. They are a great option for those who need a high nicotine strength but find freebase too harsh, or those who prefer to take short vaping breaks throughout the day. Freebase nicotine on the other hand is characterised by the ‘throat hit’ it offers, and its slightly slower absorption. This makes it ideal for those who are looking for a throatier inhale or prefer to take longer vaping sessions.

High VG e-liquids

High VG e-liquids have a higher ratio of VG to PG in the diluent base. These are thicker liquids that are best suited to sub-ohm tanks with large coils. Big coils tend to have large areas of exposed cotton, meaning they can easily absorb the thicker high VG e-liquids.

High VG liquids are most commonly available in short fill bottles. These are bottles which contain more than 10ml of e-liquid and are so called because they are filled short of the top of the bottle to leave room for the addition of nicotine shots. The UK TRPR laws dictate that bottles of e-liquid which are larger than 10ml cannot contain nicotine, and so if you would like to buy a larger bottle of e-liquid and would like it to contain nicotine, you need to add this yourself in the form of nic shots.

Recommended products 2 [5 products, popular high VG e-liquids] ‘High VG e-liquids – ideal for sub-ohm vaping’

Choosing a high VG e-liquids
What are nicotine shots?

What are nic shots?

Nic shots are 10ml bottles of e-liquid, containing nicotine mixed with a VG/PG base. They are designed to be added to short fill e-liquids to impart nicotine without having an effect on the overall flavour and consistency of the e-liquid. There are some exceptions to this, for example, cool nic shots include some flavouring to impart an icy finish to the e-liquid when added.

Short fills leave room for the addition of enough nicotine shots to create a 3 mg/ml e-liquid. Most nicotine shots have an 18 mg/ml strength, which is diluted once added to a short fill.

Adding a nicotine shot to your e-liquid is simple: remove the cap and nozzle from both the short fill and nic shot and empty the contents of the nic shot into the short fill. Replace the nozzle and cap of the short fill and shake well to incorporate the nicotine shot. The e-liquid is then ready to use whenever you need it.

Short fills are usually available in 50ml or 100ml options. A 50ml short fill will contain 50ml of zero nicotine e-liquid in a 60ml bottle, leaving room for the addition of one 10ml nicotine shot to create 60ml of 3 mg/ml e-liquid. In a 100ml short fill you will need two nicotine shots to create a 3 mg/ml e-liquid.

Want to know more about nic shots? Read our post ‘Which nic shot should I use?

Do you need more advice

If you still have questions about choosing the right e-liquid or want some advice on which flavours to choose, pop into any of our high street vape stores where our friendly team will be more than happy to help.

Alternatively, there are a number of ways that you can contact us online. You can reach out to our Customer Service team by email on [email protected] or via our live chat option on our website or you can phone us on 020 3962 0965.

We also have lots of resources, guides and product reviews on our vaping blog and our YouTube channel.

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