What is the composition of a vaping e-liquid?

If the electronic cigarette is now part of the means of smoking cessation for a few years, it is often the victim of obscurantism. If you’re a vaper, you’ve no doubt already received remarks like: “you don’t even know what’s in it!” or: “if it is, it is more toxic than the classic cigarette!” and whatnot, when you are already super proud to have stopped the classic cigarette.

It is true that for first-time vapers, or even for people who do not know the world of vaping, terms such as PG, VG, nicotine, aroma or even additive are not easy to master and understand. 

We are therefore going to explain to you the composition of an e-liquid for the vape, you will see, it’s simple!

While the classic tobacco cigarette contains nearly 7,000 chemical substances, the ingredients of the e liquids for the electronic cigarette are composed of a maximum of 4 to 5 ingredients. But it must be recognized that, despite its extremely simple composition, many questions may arise on the harmfulness of the ingredients of e liquids for the electronic cigarette. Let’s try to clarify this!

What are vape e-liquids made of?

To produce vapour, the electronic cigarette heats the liquid contained in its tank. This will generate evaporation and release flavoured vapour. There is no combustion, only vaporization. We then know that perfume was used in the design of said liquid, but apart from this product, what are the other ingredients of an e-liquid for a vape?

Ingredient for e-liquid n°1: propylene glycol or PG

Propylene glycol or glycerol is generally recognized under the symbol PG. It is a slightly viscous liquid that has no odour or colour. It is also called hygroscopic since it can absorb moisture from the air.

Its use is very wide since it is present in brake fluids, in antifreeze, in synthetic resins, in printing inks, in detergents… but not only! Even if these products assume that PG is a toxic product, it is not so since it has also been found for many decades in the pharmaceutical sector where it is used in various drugs, and in the cosmetics industry where it is integrated into many body care products and in the food industry which uses it as an additive.

In other words, we consume it daily in various forms jam, yoghurts, syrups, in toothpaste. In the food sector, PG is known under the symbol E1520.

It is therefore not toxic, but its presence in different areas only proves that it can serve different purposes. Its use in vaping liquid should therefore not scare away vapers.

PG is part of one of the bases of e-liquids. Depending on the case, its concentration can be higher or lower. There are even some electronic cigarette liquids that do not use it as a base. These are 100% VG e-liquids, but we will come back to this a little later.

Propylene glycol comes from the petroleum industry. We can now find a propylene glycol resulting from the bio-fermentation of vegetable glycerin, it is Vegetol or mono propylene glycol. This new form of propylene glycol is more natural and provides a more pronounced hit than classic PG.

Do you want to discover e liquids composed of mono propylene glycol? The Végétol e-liquid range consists of e liquids composed of 100% mono propylene glycol for some and others of a mixture of it and VG.

Since it is not essential, what role does it play in the vape? The PG is responsible for the hit when inhaling the vapour. The hit is the famous itching in the throat, essential to create the same sensations felt with the consumption of a classic cigarette. This can be more or less intense depending on the PG content, the power of the electronic cigarette used and the level of nicotine contained in the liquid. If the PG helps to restore the hit, it comes mainly from the nicotine, but the PG further reinforces this sensation. It also acts as a flavour enhancer, since it brings out the taste of the aroma used.

Note that, when using an e-liquid where the concentration of PG is high, a very reasonable amount of vapour is obtained, but very flavoured. Hence the interest of always associating it with vegetable glycerin or VG, and with the best most suitable vape material.

Ingredient for e-liquid n°2: vegetable glycerin or VG

This is the other element that shapes the base of an e-liquid. It is also colourless and odourless but is more viscous than PG. Like the latter, it is used in many sectors.

Vegetable glycerin comes from the plant world. It comes from the fractionation of corn and soybean oils.

The chemical industry uses it as a lubricant or plasticizer. The pharmaceutical industry uses it in syrups, in suppositories… The cosmetics industry uses it in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and moisturizers. The food industry uses it as an additive known as symbol E422. This means that it is versatile, but is non-toxic to the body.

Ingredient for e-liquid n°3: aromas for vaping

These are the same ones used in the food industry. They can be natural or artificial. In this second case, we speak of food flavourings. In both cases, the perfume used is the one that will give the taste to the inhaled vapour. Many perfumes are used today. From fruity aromas to spicy aromas, through floral, tobacco, gourmet and woody aromas… the choice is very wide and it is rather easy for everyone to find what they are looking for.

Ingredient for e-liquid n°4: additives

Additives are known by vapers making their e liquids. When you make your e-liquid recipe, the use of this ingredient for e-liquid is judicious if you wish to bring a sweater, woody, smoky or even minty note. These additives meet food quality standards, such as flavourings.

Many additives for DIY e-liquid are available. In addition to the multitude of flavours offered with the aromas, you can personalize your preparations as much as possible thanks to the additives.

Ingredient for e-liquid n°5: nicotine

Nicotine is not necessarily present in the composition of an e-liquid. You can find e liquids without nicotine, you just have to pay attention to the nicotine level indicated on the bottle.

The maximum authorized dose in Europe is 20 mg/ml for a 10 ml bottle. Above 10ml, all liquids offered for sale are nicotine-free. All e-liquids containing nicotine have a skull and crossbones on their label. This statement aims to remind vapers that nicotine is a tobacco product and can be addictive. It is harmful and irritating when in contact with the skin. But don’t worry, it’s harmless when vaporized and inhaled. This is why you must be vigilant when handling a nicotine e-liquid, you must avoid it coming into contact with the skin.

Now that you have mastered the vocabulary of vapers as well as the composition of e liquids, you can vape serenely! You are free to choose with an enlightened look the e-liquid that suits you best.