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What Is in Vape Juice? Explore Key Ingredients

What Is in Vape Juice? Explore Key Ingredients

Posted by Anastasia on Dec 27th 2023

If you're curious about vaping and have been wondering, "What is in vape juice?" then you've come to the right place. A vaping device cannot work without vape juice, also called e-liquid. The substance gets heated up in your vape device, producing the vapor you inhale and exhale. In this article, we'll deeply dive into vape juice and vaping ingredients, exploring their key ingredients and how they impact your vaping experience.

What is E-liquid?

E-liquid, short for electronic liquid, is the fluid used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaping devices. Nicotine, flavorings, and a liquid base are typically present in e-juices. As the name implies, these products are typically derived from propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG).

What is E-juice?

E-juice, short for electronic juice, is another term for the liquid used in vaping devices. Like e-liquid, it contains nicotine, flavorings, and a PG/VG base. The vaping device creates vapor using e-juice.

Vape juice ingredients: what are they?

In a nutshell, what is in vape juice? Vape juice, at its core, is a simple concoction of four primary ingredients:

1. Propylene Glycol (PG)

Also called propylene glycol, this liquid is colorless and odorless. Generally, the FDA considers it to be safe to consume. In vape juice, PG serves several purposes.

Effect on E-Liquid

The flavor-carrying properties of PG make it an essential ingredient in e-liquids. It produces a throat hit similar to smoking, providing that satisfying sensation for former smokers transitioning to vaping. Additionally, PG has a thinner consistency compared to vegetable glycerin, making it well-suited for vape pens and smaller vaping devices.

2. Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

This liquid is thicker and sweeter than vegetable oil and is often called vegetable glycerin, or VG. Additionally, the FDA recognizes it as safe for consumption, a common ingredient in pharmaceuticals and food products.

Effect on E-Liquid

VG is responsible for producing large vapor clouds when you exhale. It contributes to the overall smoothness of the vapor and is known for its sweetness, which can enhance the flavor of e-liquids. Vapers who enjoy big, billowing clouds often prefer e-liquids with higher VG ratios.

3. Nicotine

Nicotine is the addictive substance found in tobacco, and it's the reason why many people turn to vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking.

4. Flavors

Flavors are where vape juice gets its unique and diverse range of tastes. There are many flavors to choose from when it comes to vaping. You can find them all, from tobacco to menthol to fruit to dessert and even more unusual options like bacon or pizza (yes, those exist!).

To better understand each component, let's look at the following:

Propylene Glycol (PG)

In addition to its colorlessness and odorlessness, PG is known for its effective ability to carry flavor. It's used in a wide range of products, including food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, due to its safety for human consumption.

To achieve a satisfying vaping experience, PG is essential. Those wishing to transition from cigarettes to e-cigarettes will find it ideal because it provides a similar throat hit to smoking. This sensation is particularly important for smokers as it helps replicate the familiar feeling of drawing smoke into the lungs.

Moreover, PG's thin consistency is perfect for smaller vaping devices like vape pens. It's less viscous than VG, so it can flow through the wick and coil more easily. In addition to being easy to use and discreet, this device is a popular choice among beginners.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

A thicker and sweeter alternative to PG is Vegetable Glycerin. Because vegetable oils are derived from plants, they are safe to consume.

VG's primary role in e-liquids is to produce those dense, voluminous clouds of vapor that many vapers love. If you've ever seen someone exhale a massive plume of vapor, it's likely because they're using an e-liquid with a high VG content. This thick vapor adds to the overall vaping experience and is especially popular among cloud chasers.

Additionally, VG's natural sweetness can enhance the flavor of e-liquids. Many vapers appreciate the smoother, sweeter taste it imparts to their chosen flavors.

To better understand nicotine, we need to begin with the basics: PG and VG.


Nicotine is the component that satisfies the cravings of former smokers who turn to vaping. It's the reason why people become addicted to cigarettes, and it's also what makes vaping a viable smoking cessation tool.

E-liquids can be customized by changing the nicotine strength, so vapers can choose how much nicotine they want in them. Common options include:

  • 0 mg/ml (nicotine-free)
  • 3 mg/ml
  • 6 mg/ml
  • 12 mg/ml
  • 18 mg/ml
  • 24 mg/ml

The strength of nicotine really depends on how many cigarettes you smoke. Heavy smokers might start with a higher nicotine concentration and gradually reduce it as they wean themselves off nicotine. The nicotine level in e-liquids can be adjusted to fit the needs of light smokers or those who are interested in quitting smoking altogether.

The flexibility to choose nicotine levels is one of the advantages of vaping over smoking traditional cigarettes. Tapering off nicotine intake is possible at the user's own pace with this product.


It is impossible to limit the possibilities when it comes to vape juice flavors. There are countless options to suit every palate, and new flavors are continually being created to cater to the diverse tastes of vapers. There are several popular flavor categories, including:

  • Tobacco: Smokers find these flavors to be appealing due to their similar taste to traditional cigarettes.
  • Fruit: Apples, watermelons, and other fruits are popular flavors for e-liquids. In addition to being refreshing, they often offer a sweet taste.
  • Dessert: Regarding the flavors of desserts, if you are the type of person who has a sweet tooth, then vanilla custard, strawberry cheesecake, or caramel macchiato might be the best choices.
  • Menthol and Mint: For a cool, refreshing sensation, menthol and mint flavors are unbeatable.
  • Beverage: From coffee and cola to tropical fruit punches, beverage-inspired e-liquids provide a unique vaping experience.
  • Candy: Love the taste of candy? You'll find e-liquids that replicate everything from gummy bears to sour candies.

It is up to you to decide what flavor you would like in your e-liquid. Some vapers stick to one or two favorites, while others enjoy exploring a wide range of flavors.

What Is In E-Liquid?

Now that we've covered the main ingredients in vape juice, let's recap what you'll typically find in a bottle of e-liquid:

  1. Propylene Glycol (PG): It carries flavor and provides a throat hit.
  2. Vegetable Glycerin (VG): Produces vapor clouds and adds sweetness.
  3. Nicotine (optional): Provides the option for nicotine intake.
  4. Flavorings: A variety of flavors available.

Which Nicotine Strength Should I Choose?

If you're using vaping as a smoking cessation tool or simply want to enjoy nicotine-free vaping, you'll need to select the right nicotine strength for your e-liquid. As defined by milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL), nicotine strengths range from 0mg/mL (nicotine-free) to larger amounts such as 3mg/mL, 6mg/mL, 12mg/mL, and even 18mg/mL.

When choosing nicotine strength, it is really important to take into account the amount of cigarettes you smoked before.

  • 0mg/mL: If you no longer wish to consume nicotine but still enjoy the act of vaping, this nicotine-free option is for you.
  • 4mg/mL: Suitable for those who smoke less than half a pack daily and smoke less than half a pack each month.
  • 6mg/mL: A good starting point for moderate smokers who consume around half a pack to a full pack daily.
  • 12mg/mL: Ideal for heavy smokers who smoke a pack or more per day.
  • 18mg/mL and higher: Reserved for very heavy smokers who had a significant daily cigarette consumption.

To ease the transition to vaping from cigarettes to smoking, it's essential that you start with a nicotine strength that matches your previous smoking habits to ensure that you do not experience any withdrawal symptoms. When you decide to quit nicotine completely, the nicotine strength can be gradually reduced over the course of time to help you achieve your goal.

How Do I Choose An E-Liquid Flavour?

Choosing an e-liquid flavor can be a delightful but overwhelming experience due to the sheer variety of options available. You should take the following factors into account when choosing the right flavor for vaping:

When PG/VG Is Blended, What Happens? What is the best option for me?

  • PG Dominant (e.g., 70% PG, 30% VG): If you prioritize throat hit and flavor clarity over massive vapor production, a higher PG blend is suitable.
  • VG Dominant (e.g., 70% VG, 30% PG): If you're a cloud chaser or prefer smoother, sweeter vapor, opt for a higher VG blend.
  • Balanced (e.g., 50% PG, 50% VG): A balanced blend compromises throat hit, flavor, and vapor production.

What are the best kits for the strength and ratio I need?

Choosing the right e-liquid for your vape kit can also be influenced by the type of kit you use. Sub-ohm tanks and high-wattage devices work well with VG-dominant e-liquids, while mouth-to-lung (MTL) devices and starter kits are more versatile and can handle various e-liquid ratios.

Vaping breaks down e-liquid in different ways.

When you vape e-liquid, it transforms—inhaling the vapor produced by your device results in turning liquid into vapor. This vapor consists of tiny droplets of the e-liquid, along with the flavorings and nicotine (if present). It's a much cleaner process compared to burning tobacco, which releases numerous harmful chemicals and tar.

Can My Vape Liquid Go Off?

E-liquids, like other consumable products, do have a shelf life. A lack of nicotine potency can be caused by air and light exposure over time. However, properly stored e-liquids can remain suitable for up to two years.

Keep your e-liquids fresh by following these steps:

  • Keep them cool and dark.
  • When not in use, ensure the cap is tightly closed.
  • Temperatures that are too high or direct sunlight should be avoided.

It's essential to check the expiration date on your e-liquid bottles and discard any that have passed their prime.


In summary, understanding what is in vape juice is crucial for both new and experienced vapers. The main ingredients, such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings, play a significant role in shaping your vaping experience. By choosing the right nicotine strength, e-liquid flavor, and PG/VG ratio for your preferences and vape device, you can enjoy a customized vaping journey that suits your taste and needs.

If you are looking for a nicotine-free alternative to smoking or just want to quit, vaping can provide a helpful tool. A safe and enjoyable vaping experience requires knowledge of the ingredients in your vape juice and responsible vaping practices.

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