How are e-liquids made?
Vape Juices or in other words e-liquid is made by a process of mixing nicotine and any flavouring with a certain solvent (these are usually vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol or a mixture of the two chemicals). The solvent is the main chemical in the e-liquid.
The funny thing is you will hear some vapers say that it is just “water vapour”. Some people think that vape juice contains antifreeze, it does not. There are four main ingredients that make up an e-liquid/vape juice. The following ingredients will in most cases be present in your vape juices.
Vegetable Glycerin, otherwise known as VG
Vegetable Glycerin is designed for modern atomizers and most e-liquids contain up to 80% VG by volume. VG is the reason why vapers are able to produce huge amounts of smoke. Glycerin is a natural substance and is produced from a variety of different kinds of fat.
Glycerin that is used in vaping products is produced from vegetable fat. VG is processed from oils; however, VG is not an oil, it is actually a polyol which then makes it safe to inhale.
The reason why VG is safe, is because it is a non-toxic, colourless liquid with no scent, but has a sweet taste. It is a thick liquid which means that liquids that contain a large amount of VG will not work with the old technology atomizers. The reason for this is because the-liquid is too thick to wick well in these atomizers.
VG is found in a variety of products in the food industry. VG can be used to keep certain foods moist, it can also be used as a sweetener, and is found in certain medicines too. This substance has been studied thoroughly and has never been linked to any health issues at all. When liquids contain a lot of VG - they produce a lot of smoke, without hitting your throat too harshly.
When you smoke vape juice, anything in the-liquid that is not VG, is most probably Propylene Glycol (PG). Some-liquids will contain more PG than VG or equal amounts which will work best in the older technology atomizers. The PG makes the-liquid less thick where the VG makes it thicker.
PG is also a polyol - like VG and is an odourless liquid. There is a slight sweet taste that PG has, however, PG cannot be used as a sweetener. PG Usually gets added to medicine, foods and other related products in order to keep them moist.
PG is also found and used in antifreeze… not to panic as many people claim that e-juice contains antifreeze which is incorrect. PG is only one ingredient found in antifreeze and PG is actually found in antifreeze because it is non-toxic. PG based antifreeze is much less harmful to children and pets. (One thing to note is that water is also a component / ingredient in antifreeze.) Just because an ingredient is being used in antifreeze, does not mean that the ingredient carries the same properties.
In the past, there have been some minor health issues that are linked to PG - we will touch on these shortly. It is a substance that has been thoroughly studied since the 1940’s and is classified as being generally safe. Swallowing or inhaling PG will not do you any harm. There have been a small percentage of people that are sensitive to it. Tip: If a liquid with a high PG content makes you feel unwell, then move to a product that contains more VG.
Another thing to note is that PG produces less visible vapour than VG which makes it a less popular choice amongst people who prefer the large clouds. People who like to vape more discreetly, choose a higher PG ratioed e-liquid than normal.
This is by far the most exciting and best things about vaping - the wide variety of delicious tasting flavoured vape juices. Most of the main liquids in vape juice do not have much taste on their own. What most people do, is flavour their vape juice with food grade additives. Most of the time it is PG based.
There are certain ingredients that used to be found in flavours that are safe to eat, but not inhale. An example ingredient is Diacetyl - the industry has done exceptionally well to eliminate any ingredients that are harmful. Do not use food flavourings from the local supermarket as these flavourings have oils that are harmful if inhaled. It is imperative to stick to the flavours that you can find from the vape manufacturers because these have been tested and elected for max inhalation safety.
The last ingredient found in most e-liquids is nicotine. Nicotine is what makes vaping a fantastic substitute for smoking cigarettes. It is simple for smokers and vapers to satisfy nicotine cravings without having to smoke cigarettes. Nicotine also helps create a good throat hit when one purchases higher nicotine-liquids, making the experience of vaping more suitable to those trying to break the habit of smoking cigarettes.
Nicotine gets a large amount of bad publicity - however, it is in fact a very safe drug. It is more what is in the smoke from cigarettes that causes harm, not the nicotine. Nicotine can be toxic in high doses, but it is close to impossible to poison yourself through the process of vaping. Before you can get to a dangerous level, you will feel nauseous or experience a minor headache.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to avoid any e-liquids and concentrates that contain anything else or extra apart from the four ingredients listed above. If you stick to the ingredients, PG, VG Flavourings & Nicotine, you can look forward to a low-risk, enjoyable vaping experience.