If you’re new to vaping, you may still be wondering what an e-liquid is, and what’s in it.
When you vape, the battery which is inside your device powers an atomizer. The atomizer heats up your e-liquid into vapor. This is what helps give the sensation of smoking.
Now, let’s move on to what makes up an e-liquid. I remember when I first started vaping, this was the part that made me feel a little bit nervous. I wondered if I was trading one bad habit for something possibly even worse. (And all of those news stories about “popcorn lung” didn’t help!)
To help you feel confident in what you’re about to be vaping, let’s answer some basic questions:
What are the ingredients in e-liquid?
E-liquid definitely varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. This is why you need to do your homework and make sure that you’re buying a high quality juice from a reputable company. However you can feel good knowing that all e-liquids contain a maximum of 4 ingredients, and we know what they all are. No matter what, this is going to be a big improvement from the 400+ (mostly unknown) ingredients that cigarettes contain.
Here’s what you can expect to find in every e-liquid:
- VG (Vegetable Glycerin). This is the base ingredient. Your e-juice will either be 100% VG or it will be mixed with PG. Some ratios that you’ll commonly see are 100% VG, 50/50 PG/VG, and 80/20 PG/VG. Vegetable glycerin is widely used in all kinds of processed food like dairy, canned or frozen vegetables, grains, sauces and condiments. Unless you only eat raw vegetables, there is a very good chance you already consume VG on a daily basis.
- PG (Propylene glycol). As I mentioned above, this is often mixed with VG as your e-liquid base. PG has been used in over 4,000 food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products for over 50 years. A small number of people do react to PG- so if you find yourself having a very dry throat or having any other issues, try a juice that has a higher ratio of VG and see if that helps.
- Flavor. Here’s where it becomes very important to go with respected, high quality juice companies. The best companies use flavourings that are food grade and adhere to the same standards as food manufacturers.
- Nicotine. Most e-liquids offer a variety of options between 0mg to 24mg of nicotine.
How much nicotine should I start out with?
The type of cigarettes that you smoke and the number of packs you smoke a day should help you determine which strength to start out with. If you’re a heavy smoker, smoking regular cigarettes, you should definitely start with a higher nic level to start. One thing that a lot of people don’t talk about is the fact that it can take a bit longer to get the same level of nicotine when you’re vaping than it can with a cigarette. You might have to vape for 30 minutes to get the same level of nic that you’d get with just one cigarette.
On the other hand, if you are the type of person who smokes all day long, and you intend to vape all day long, you may want to get a lower level of nicotine so you don’t ingest too much nicotine and make yourself sick.
It really depends on you, it’s a very individual thing. So listen to yourself, try out a few different strengths, and go with what feels like it’s working for you. No one can tell you exactly what’s right for you.
Here’s the low down on the most common levels you’ll see for sale:
0mg – 0mg is good for those who have completely beat the physical addiction to cigarettes, but still like the habit or sensation of vaping.
3-6mg – This is the lowest level of nic that you can buy. This is good for people who are very close to having beat their addiction to smoking for good, or for very occasional smokers. This is not a level I’d recommend starting with if you were a heavy smoker as it’s just too low.
12mg – This is a good level for those people who used to smoke less than a pack a day, and generally smoked lighter cigarettes. Again, if you were a heavy smoker, this is probably too low of a level to start out with, but you can quickly move down to this.
18mg – This is a fairly strong level of nic and is good for most heavy smokers who are transitioning to vaping.
24mg – This is the strongest strength that most e-juice companies sell. Most people do not need this strength, however if you’re finding it hard to quit with 18mg level juice, it may be a good idea to have one bottle of 24mg juice handy during those initial days of your quitting process.
36mg– This is extremely strong nicotine and a lot of companies don’t make e-liquid this strong. I don’t think most people would ever need this strength. But if you’re more than a pack a day kind of person, maybe you might. If you’re having trouble quitting with 24mg, it might be worth trying this level for a few days to help you get through the initial withdrawal symptoms.
What about flavors? I think I want to start with something that reminds me of smoking.
Let’s be clear here, while in a sense, we’re recreating the sensation of smoking with vaping, vaping doesn’t taste anything like smoking. It tastes way better. Even if you start off with tobacco flavoured e-liquid to try to recreate the flavour of smoking, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to explore other flavours.
I highly recommend trying out different types of juices from a few different companies to figure out what works best from you. Ordering sample packs is a great way to try out different flavours with very low risk (if this is something you’re interested, you can check our our recommended sample packs. What’s important is that you find the flavours that satisfy you and help keep you from going back to smoking.
Which are the best e-liquid companies?
So now that you have your e-liquid basics down, let’s jump into our top 10 list of the best e-liquids out there so you can stop smoking and get vaping!
To help you pick your first e-liquid, check out our guide to the top e-liquid companies, or you can check our our recommended sample packs, which will allow you to try out a wide variety of e-juice, and see which one is right for you!