The “vape” grows everywhere and it’s very good news!
Our community is growing and this is good for us even if there are still people not happy to see us using our simple e-cigarette or our latest MOD.
Many of us know that we have to be careful in the choice of our e-liquid.
The choice of an e-liquid is just as important as choosing the vaping supplies.
Witness of the phenomenal development of our community, many people and businesses around the world begin to create their own e-liquids.
This is always good news, and it is always with pleasure that we welcome the creation of new flavors.
Moreover, it represents a feature of the vape’s world that makes all of us proud: its dynamism!
Some of us prepare themselves their own e-liquid, in line with the Do It Yourself (DIY) trend, with variable degrees of Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol to vape a custom-made juice.
By making their own liquid, they believe they know what they vape but do they ensure that the selected ingredients are high-quality ingredients with full traceability to certify their origin?
And this is the problem! Because many of them are looking at the same time to reduce the cost of eliquids and buy from « cheap » dealers but for which no health control is provided.
Everyone knows that you can mix the vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol with other materials much cheaper, less healthy and even banned by the regulators.
Until then, you may think this is not dramatic because after all they know what they are doing…
However, the problem becomes more annoying when these people decide to make it a business, it gets even worse.
Let me explain: make an e-liquid bottle with raw materials of questionable quality from dubious suppliers without any certificate of analysis, traceability…. Selling it around 10-15 USD 15 ml allows generating attractive margins, especially if you make it in your kitchen or bathroom, and you give it a noble origin (eg USA) to reinforce your marketing.
I saw it… But personally I do not want to taste them, I do not really want to inhale into my lungs, substances that are prohibited even for food. And yet I know that the human digestive system is a powerful protector for our health, which is not the case for our lungs!
So today you will find on the market e-liquids made by large industrial groups as well as e-liquids made in garages or kitchens by people like you and me.
Given the multitude of products offered, it is sometimes difficult to choose the right e-liquid.
Beyond the choice of flavors, depending on personal taste, we must, in my view, for a safer vape, take into consideration some elements in our choice of e-liquid.
Personally, (even if it is not always easy to check), I think we need to consider the quality of both the manufacturing process and the packaging.
It is also essential to ensure traceability; you need to know where the ingredients come from.
The purpose of this article is to try to bring to vapers some information that will hopefully help them to choose the liquid that suits them best.
I know that some of us already know a lot about e-liquids, but I’d like to return to all the key elements for the choice of an e-liquid, even if it can be redundant for many confirmed vapers.
1. CHOOSING A SUITABLE E-LIQUID
The e-liquid is a flavored mixture composed of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavorings, sometimes with water and alcohol.
This liquid, which is heated by your atomizer (between 50 and 70 °C in general, but a lot more if you love subohm) will produce the steam.
From one manufacturer to another, the eliquid composition may vary.
It is a chemical that is widely used in many industries such as food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
It generally represents between 50 and 80% of the composition of an e-liquid.
It enhances the flavors of your eliquid and gives you the « hit » in the throat.
In some liquids, there is no PG. These are the eliquid 100% vegetable glycerin.
The Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
It comes from synthesizing plant-based raw materials (corn, soy, canola …), in other words VG comes 100% from vegetable.
Viscous and odorless, Vegetable Glycerin is already widely used in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.
Vegetable glycerin provides an abundant steam, which is why it is much more appreciated by subohm vaping lovers.
It generally represents between 20 and 50% of the composition of an eliquids but some are 100% composed of Vegetable Glycerine and provide abundant steam with a less pronounced flavor, but sweeter.
The more you increase the dose of Propylene Glycol, the more the flavor and the hit will be pronounced but your cloud will be smaller.
At the contrary, with a higher Vegetable Glycerin level, the flavor will be less pronounced but it will produce a big cloud.
Depending on your needs, you can find the right balance for you between these two components in all the e-liquid on the market.
They have a very important role because they give the flavor to your eliquid.
All the conscientious and serious manufacturers use certified aromas of food quality.
There are a large number of flavors, from mono tobacco flavor to complex flavor (mix), through the most exotic fruits or other creamy recipes.
Many brands are very inventive to satisfy our thirst for discovery.
Tastes are very different from one person to another and this is a good thing otherwise we would all vape the same!
There are many great flavors families:
- Menthol or fresh;
- The greedy / creamy.
In general, non-smoking persons vape with non-tobacco flavors and now the gourmet flavors / creamy work very well.
Smokers are in most case looking for flavors that remind them of their former cigarette even though it is always a little bit different. At least at the beginning, then they find they are quickly tempted by different flavors and take full advantage of the range of flavors.
And to avoid signs of habituation that result in a lower feeling of the taste in the mouth, it is important to vary the e-liquid.
Even if it is sometimes a large budget, it is advisable to have several atomizers to avoid cleaning it every time you change a flavor.
That way, you will fully enjoy your various flavors without mixing tastes.
So one advice, taste it a lot, but not all at once!
It is not consistently used in all eliquids. You will find liquids with no nicotine, or with low dose (5-6mg / ml), medium dose (10-12 mg / ml) or high dose (16-18mg / ml).
It is added to some eliquids for people who are smokers and who want to reduce or stop the traditional cigarette, helping them to overcome the lack of nicotine caused by it reduction or it cessation.
Indeed, nicotine is one of the reason for tobacco addiction.
It is also the origin of the « hit » in the throat that former smokers are looking for. That’s why a non-nicotine liquid appears often fade to a smoker, there is no such feeling of « hit ».
Nicotine is a stimulant alkaloid at low dose, eliminated rapidly by the body, but toxic in high dosage and can generate addiction if consumed regularly.
That’s why it is not advisable to use e-liquid with nicotines if you are a non-smoker, pregnant, nursing, or if you have serious risk of cardiovascular disease.
Also, in case of overdose, you may experience the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting…
If such symptoms immediately stop all nicotine consumption, breathe fresh air and seek medical attention if necessary.
In case of contact with skin, wash immediately with water, nicotine can be absorbed through the skin.
If accidentally swallowed, call a poison control center near your home.
And most importantly, never leave your e-liquids and electronic cigarettes within children’s reach; an overdose of nicotine ingestion can be fatal.
Which nicotine rate should I choose?
To determine the right dosage of nicotine is not easy.
One thing is sure; if you are a non-smoker and want to vape for fun or for the flavors, choose a nicotine-free eliquid.
For smokers, the going gets tough.
Indeed, from a person to another, the sensitivity to nicotine is different. Moreover, as if it was not complicated enough, some eliquids are not in accordance with the instructions they gave regarding the nicotine rate (I have experienced some!).
You will find recommendations on the Internet that specify the dosage of nicotine needed regarding the number of cigarettes you smoke. And this is mostly true in general.
I still invite you to find a serious vape store who will advise you and also let you taste the eliquid at different nicotine rates so you get a first impression of what you need.
After that, be patient during the time you get familiar with your ecigarette and eliquid allowing you to adapt your consumption (1-2 weeks).
They are present only in very small amounts (1 to 2% in general).
They are there to thin your composition, but are not essential. Moreover, some manufacturers do not use it.
To choose your liquid, you will need to ask yourself about:
- Its composition;
- The amount of nicotine;
- The choice of flavors.
But some peoples take into consideration other factors:
- The size of the bottle: between 10 and 50 ml. The little ones are easy to carry, the bigger one are usually more economical and avoids returning too often at your vape store.
- The design and quality of the bottle: some are real works of art! Many of us collect it. A quality bottle will also allow you to have a better conservation of the aromas.
Tip: For optimal use of your eliquid, keep them in a dry place at room temperature, protected from the light.
2. CHOOSING A SAFE ELIQUID
After taking into account the criteria for choosing an eliquid, depending on your tastes and needs, now see what other criteria related to safety must be taken into consideration.
The next few lines may make some of you react.
Although this is not a rule, it turns out that the price of an e-liquid can be a good indicator of the quality of raw materials used (provided that your dealer does not get too greedy!).
Some manufacturers may set high prices and use raw materials of bad quality, but:
- How to make a good product with bad raw materials?
- How to make a cheap product with high quality raw materials?
To summarize, here are few points that I think are important for the choice of your eliquid and for a safer vape:
- The quality of the manufacturing process and of the packaging:
Not easy to assess… The ideal is to visit the factory if you have the chance pass by. Some open their doors, they know that it can reassure vapers and strengthen their credibility through forums on the Internet (unless of course if the conditions are not very good!).
Another source that can help you but with care: the opinions on Internet …
- The quality of the raw materials:
We are not all chemists. But it is good to know that eliquids have to meet strict conditions. Their ingredient should meet pharmaceutical grade requirements and meet quality standards.
USA (US FCC) and Europe (PE) have important requirements in this area, check if your eliquids meet these standards. Compliance with these standards is a proof of their high purity.
Feel free to visit the website of the manufacturers, some specify these information.
- The choice of the flavors:
Flavorings, at least, shall be food quality certified .
Then you will encounter natural flavors or artificial flavors.
I suggest you to choose an eliquid with natural flavors, the risks are lower than with synthetic flavorings.
Indeed, in the synthetic aromas, we do not know well the reactions of some components.
This is not to say that all the natural flavors are harmless.
Take for example diacetyl, found in butter, fresh cream, dairy products and alcoholic beverages. You will find it in many « gourmet » eliquids.
Frequent inhalation of this compound can cause respiratory problems.
It is therefore essential, at least, to make sure that your eliquid has no diacetyl, paraben and ambrox.
- The origin of your eliquid:
Regarding the origin of the e-liquid, there is no right or wrong origin.
Good eliquids can be made everywhere, but under certain conditions: choice of raw materials, manufacturing processes, packaging, controls…
So I do not want to point fingers at any particular region of the world but rather at a particular manufacturer.
It is therefore very important that your manufacturer can guarantee you the traceability of your eliquid. All serious manufacturers will be able to certify the traceability of their products.
For example see if they specify on their bottle a lot number.
- The labeling:
I often see many bottles with inadequate or no labeling.
Like all food products, our eliquids have an expiry date. Too often, there is no trace of this information on the eliquids bottles. Although in general we can keep it for 1 year after their production, it still seems important to have this information.
Further information should also be provided; the composition of the eliquid, the name and address of the manufacturer and especially for the liquids with nicotine: the nicotine content and warning pictograms.
Remember, the liquids with nicotine are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with heart problems and to minors. But above all, the most important, do not let them at children’s reach!
In this regard, there are bottles that meet the ISO standard 11683 for « child safety ». They meet technical requirements that make it very difficult to open a bottle for a child, and even for adults sometimes! This is the technique of « press and turn ».
Parents, ask your vape store to provide you eliquids equipped with this type of bottle.
Since we are in the standards, there is another one for labeling and it concerns partially sighted or blind people, the ISO 8317 that recommends tactile markings danger on eliquds using nicotines liquid, easily recognizable by passing the hands on it.
You will notice that many factors must be taken into account in the choice of your eliquid.
Beyond your favorite tastes and flavors, many other factors must be taken into account for a safer vape.
We all have our taste expectations and we let other people know on forums and messages that we send to manufacturers. Let’s do the same to develop practices allowing us to vape safer.
It is our responsibility, we, vapers, through our purchasing and consumption decisions, to guide practices and manufacturers organizations to make our eliquids better and safer.
HAPPY VAPING AND VAPE SAFE!