What Is in Vape Juice

Written by: Chris Sharpe



Time to read 7 min

As you watch the delicate dance of vapor rising from the end of an e-cigarette, you might wonder what magic lies within the liquid that fuels such a display. You're not alone in your curiosity—vape juice, or e-liquid, is a topic of interest for many in the vaping community, and understanding its components is crucial for an informed experience.

Primarily, vape juice is a blend of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG), substances that serve as the base for the nicotine and flavourings that entice your taste buds. However, the simplicity of these ingredients belies the complexity of their interactions and the subtleties of their effects on your body.

As you consider the next puff, questions linger: how do these elements come together to create the myriad of flavours and strengths available, and what should you be aware of when selecting your preferred concoction? Stay with me, and let's uncover the layers of this ubiquitous yet often misunderstood component of vaping culture.

Core Components of E-Liquid

At the heart of every e-liquid are four essential ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), flavourings, and often nicotine. These are the main ingredients that determine the quality, flavour, and sensation of the vape juice you inhale. PG and VG are the base liquids used in e-liquids, serving as the carriers for flavourings and nicotine.

You'll find that the balance between propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine can affect the throat hit and vapor production of the e-liquid. PG is known for delivering a sharper throat hit, while VG is thicker and creates more vapor. When e-liquid is made, manufacturers adjust the ratios of these two to cater to different vaping preferences.

Flavourings in e-liquids are what make vaping such an enticing experience, offering an almost limitless variety of tastes. And if you're looking for a nicotine hit, the amount of this stimulant can vary from none to high levels, depending on the product.

Always check the vape juice ingredients to understand what you're vaping, especially since the ingredients in e-liquids can affect your overall experience.

Nicotine Strength Variations

Understanding the balance between PG and VG is crucial, but it's equally important to consider the nicotine strength in e-liquids, which can vary widely to suit different preferences and needs. Whether you're trying to quit smoking or just enjoy vaping, the amount of liquid nicotine can make a significant difference in your experience.

Here's what you need to know about the nicotine strength variations in vape juice:

1. Wide Range of Nicotine Strengths: E-liquids come in a wide range, typically from 0 mg up to 36 mg per millilitre, allowing for a gradual reduction of intake if desired.

2. Freebase Nicotine: This is the most common form of nicotine in e-liquids and is ideal for those looking for a throat hit similar to traditional smoking.

3. Nicotine Salt: This type of e-liquid contains nicotine salt, which allows for higher nicotine concentrations without the harshness. It's a good choice if you require higher nicotine but want a smoother experience.

4. Customization: Most brands offer a variety of nicotine strengths, ensuring that every vaper can find the level that suits them best.

The Role of Flavourings

image depicting natural flavourings in vape juice

Flavourings in vape juice cater to your taste preferences, adding variety and enhancing the overall vaping experience. These flavourings are key ingredients in e-liquids, giving each blend its unique profile. From classic tobacco to exotic fruits, vape juice flavours are diverse, allowing you to customize your experience to your liking.

The e-liquid contains a mix of these flavourings to create a flavoured vape that's appealing and enjoyable. They're not just about taste, though; they also contribute to the aroma and can affect the throat hit. When you're selecting your e-juice or vape juice, the ingredients in e-liquids are crucial to consider, especially the flavourings. They can make or break your vaping session.

Manufacturers often use food-grade flavourings, which are considered safe for consumption. However, it's important to note that the long-term effects of inhaling these substances aren't fully known. Despite this, the ingredients in e-liquids, including the flavourings, are typically disclosed, allowing you to make informed choices about the vape juice ingredients you're inhaling.

Potential Health Considerations

health considerations of vaping

While many enjoy the variety of flavours and the act of vaping itself, it's important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with the ingredients in e-liquids. Here's what you should keep in mind:

1. Harmful Substances: Some vape juices contain substances like diacetyl, which may be harmful when inhaled over time. Diacetyl has been linked to a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung condition. The use of diacetyl in vape juice is now banned in most countries so you are unlikely to find it any vape juices you buy today, especially here in the UK.

2. Health Risks: E-liquids may pose health risks, especially when compared to not smoking at all. While they're often considered less harmful than traditional cigarettes, this doesn't mean they're safe for use in all circumstances.

3. Chemical Exposure: The long-term effects of inhaling propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG), commonly found in e-liquids, aren't well-understood. These are generally safe for consumption in food, but the impact of inhaling them is less clear.

4. Nicotine: Nicotine is addictive and may lead to serious health risks, particularly for young people whose brains are still developing. It's also a concern for non-smokers who may become addicted through vaping.

Always be cautious and informed about what you're inhaling. Remember, just because something is less harmful doesn't automatically make it generally safe

E-Liquid Production Process

stringent testing of e-liquid in a lab

The production of e-liquid is a precise process that starts with the careful measurement of ingredients like propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, water, flavourings, and nicotine. When e-liquid is made, manufacturers follow a strict recipe to ensure consistency and quality. They combine the main ingredients, typically the four ingredients listed above, in specific ratios.

Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine serve as the base for all e-liquid ingredients. Both are non-toxic and commonly used in food and pharmaceuticals. These substances carry the flavour and create the vapor that mimics smoke. Liquid nicotine is added in varying concentrations to cater to different users' preferences, ranging from those seeking a high nicotine content to those wanting a nicotine-free experience.

The next step in making vape juice includes adding flavourings, which can number in the thousands to create a vast array of taste experiences. Once all ingredients in e-liquids are combined, the mixture is stirred or shaken to ensure a homogenous blend.


You've learned the basics: vape juice is a blend of PG, VG, water, nicotine, and flavourings.

While you can pick your nicotine level and indulge in diverse flavours, stay mindful of potential health risks.

Remember, what you vape matters. Always check your e-liquid's contents, and opt for reputable brands.

Knowledge is power—use it to ensure a safer vaping experience.

Stay informed, stay safe, and enjoy your vape responsibly.

Frequently asked questions

What is vape juice?

Vape juice, also known as e-liquid, is the liquid used in vaping devices to produce vapor. It typically contains a combination of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), flavouring, and nicotine (optional).

What are the main ingredients in vape juice?

The main ingredients in vape juice are propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG), along with flavouring and, sometimes, nicotine. These ingredients create the base for the e-liquid used in vaping.

What is propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine in vape juice?

Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) are the two main components of vape juice. PG is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water, while VG is a natural, sweet, and thick substance derived from vegetable oil. They are used to create the vapor in e-cigarettes..

How are flavourings added to vape juice?

Flavourings are added to vape juice to create different tastes and aromas. These flavourings can range from fruit and dessert flavours to menthol and tobacco flavours, providing a wide variety of options for vapers.the liquid, potentially accelerating the oxidation process.

Is vape juice safe to use?

Vape juice is considered safe for use when used as intended. However, it's important to purchase from reputable sources and follow proper usage guidelines to ensure safety. Additionally, some individuals may have sensitivities to specific ingredients in vape juice.

Can vape juice ingredients affect the performance of a vaping device?

Yes, the ratio of propylene glycol (PG) to vegetable glycerine (VG) in vape juice can affect the performance of a vaping device. High PG content produces a stronger throat hit and carries flavours well, while high VG content produces more vapor and a slightly sweet taste.

Are there any regulations on the ingredients in vape juice?

The regulation of vape juice ingredients varies by region. In some places, ingredients used in vape juice are regulated by government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure safety and quality standards are met.

What are the potential risks associated with the ingredients in vape juice?

While the ingredients in vape juice are generally considered safe, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to specific components, such as propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine (VG). It's important for users to be aware of any sensitivities they may have.

Can vape juice be customized based on individual preferences?

Yes, vape juice can be customized to meet individual preferences regarding flavour, nicotine strength, and the ratio of propylene glycol (PG) to vegetable glycerin (VG). Many vapers choose to mix their own vape juice to achieve their preferred vaping experience.

What are the differences between vape juice and tobacco products?

Vape juice differs from tobacco products in that it does not contain harmful tar, combustion by-products, or many of the toxic chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. Vaping offers an alternative way to consume nicotine without the use of tobacco.