What is an e-liquid?

E-liquid is the liquid used in electronic cigarettes. It is also known as e-juice. The e-liquid is evaporated within the electronic cigarette using a battery operated heater. The resulting vapor is inhaled and exhaled by the smoker. It is because of this, the users of e-cigarettes refer to their process as vaping instead of smoking.

The e-liquid is a solution of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Polyethylene glycol 400 is sometimes used instead of vegetable glycerin. A variable quantity of nicotine is added to the e-liquid. The nicotine also evaporates along with the liquid and is inhaled along with the vapor. For those who want to vape without nicotine, e-liquid is also available in nicotine-free formulations. The e-liquid also contains flavors, usually fruit based. These are added to mask the taste of nicotine and to keep the breath fresh. All ingredients used in the e-liquid conform to United States Pharmacopoeia standards, or the equivalent in other countries.

The concentration of the nicotine is specified in “mg/ml” in the packing. Occasionally the units are shortened to a simple “mg”. E-liquid is available in varying nicotine concentrations to suit different needs and tastes. The concentrations are not standardized and different suppliers have their own different levels. The nicotine concentration normally varies from 0 mg/ml to 24 mg/ml. If you are a heavy smoker you may want to start at the top of the range to ensure that your nicotine needs are met. You may find some e-liquids with more than 24 mg/ml concentration, but you should stay away from these. If you are a light smoker you can start off at a lower strength. Because of the wide range of concentrations it becomes easy for e-cigarette users to lower their intake of nicotine gradually in their endeavor to stop smoking.

The total number of flavors available in the market from all e-liquid suppliers easily exceeds 1000. You can easily find one that suits your exact requirement. For the vapers who want to simulate tobacco cigarette smoking there are flavors like tobacco, cigar and menthol.  However most of the flavors are based on fruits and sweets. The most common ones are vanilla, strawberry, coffee, chocolate, coconut and banana. E-juices also come in exotic flavors like Boston cream pie and strawberry daiquiri. There are some spicy ones as well.

How to Use E-Liquid

In the electronic cigarette, the e-liquid is stored in a cartridge. In disposable e-cigarettes this cartridge is completely sealed and the cigarette has to be discarded when the e-liquid is consumed.  E-cigarettes are also sold as reusable. Here the vaper can refill the cartridge from a larger packing once the e-liquid is used up. The bottle containing the e-liquid is made from high strength food grade PET.  It contains a nozzle that fits in to the cartridge so that the filling process is convenient. Once you have the larger packing, refilling the cartridge is easy. But there has to be some thought put into ordering the e-liquid.

Usually the cartridge capacity would be around 1 ml. Refill packs coming capacities ranging from about 10 ml to 30 ml. You need to decide the refill pack size based on your frequency of vaping. If you are ordering the refill packs online instead of buying them from a retail outlet, you may have to factor in the shipping time as well.

Because nicotine concentrations are not standardized, there can be a problem in deciding the appropriate one for you. The following guidelines would be helpful for a start. Later you can make adjustments on your own.

  • 0 mg/ml – for those who do not need nicotine
  • 4 – 8 mg/ml – for very light smokers
  • 10 – 14 mg/ml – for medium level smokers
  • 16 – 18 mg/ml – for heavy smokers.
  • 24 mg/ml – generally avoidable

Usually the standard starting pack will contain a variety of the more common flavors and it is best to start with those. Later on you can try out some of the more exotic flavors. Ultimately it is best to narrow down to four or five different flavors. If you are into reusable electronic cigarettes, you may want to stock a number of flavors for different moods. Most vapers prefer menthol or mint if they are going to meet people. For your after dinner vape, you can try strawberry or chocolate flavor instead of having dessert. Some vapers even mix flavors. This is an advantage of vaping with reusable e-cigarettes. Unless you really like it, it is best to mix flavors from the same category like different fruit flavors or different tobacco flavors. Vapers generally avoid mixing a tobacco flavor with a fruit flavor.

All suppliers of reusable electronic cigarettes also market their own e-liquid products.  But there are also merchant suppliers of e-liquid, who only supply this product and not the electronic cigarettes.