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Ultimate Guide to E-Liquid

Ultimate Guide To E-Liquid

Welcome to the vaping world! As a new vaper looking to explore the vaping scene, you might feel overwhelmed with the diversity of choices in both electric cigarettes and e-liquids.

Vape juices can be confusing, especially if you’re trying to make the switch from smoking to vaping. There are so many terms and jargon used in the vaping industry that it may seem a little difficult to navigate when first starting out. We’re here to break all the information down into its simplest terms, allowing you to make an informed decision as to what juice suits your needs.

By reading this guide, you will receive everything you need to start exploring the joys of e-liquids. Learn all you need to know when starting to vape, including ingredients and flavours, along with many answers to common questions about e-liquid.

And when you’re ready to dive in and take your pick, TABlites are here to help with a huge selection of e-liquids in every flavour and type you can think of.

What Exactly Is E-Liquid and What Is It Made of?

E-liquid is the fluid used in vape kits and electronic cigarettes to create flavoured vapour. The E-liquid fluid (also known as vape juice, or vape liquid) is then heated up in an e-cigarette device to produce a water-based vapour. 

The purpose of vaping is essentially to replace traditional cigarettes and combat nicotine cravings. Therefore, e-liquid and vape kits are most commonly used by those looking to quit smoking.

The ingredients in conventional cigarettes such as carbon monoxide and tar are not found in e-cigarettes. The liquid nicotine solution used in e-cigarettes is composed of four ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings, and nicotine in some types of liquids.

The Four Main Ingredients of E-Juice

Propylene Glycol (PG) is an ingredient of e-liquids and pharmaceutical products. It is also commonly used as a preservative in many foods as a way to prevent the formation of mould or bacterial growth.

PG is both odourless and colourless containing just a subtle hint of sweetness for taste. The presence of PG in e-liquids is what gives the 'throat hit', which replicates the sensation of traditional smoking. Many vapers enjoy this as it enables them to enjoy an alternative solution that feels like inhaling tobacco but without the harmful chemicals or additives.

Some users may be sensitive or allergic to this ingredient. If you start to feel unwell, we recommend that you switch to a higher VG e-liquid.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is an ingredient that provides a smooth and satisfying vaping experience. In addition to being a derivative of vegetable oil, VG is also regarded as a safe food additive similar to PG. Essentially, it makes e-liquid thicker, which causes dense vapour clouds associated with sub-ohm vaping.

As yet, there has been no evidence to suggest that vegetable glycerin has directly caused any health complications for vapers. 

Flavourings in e-liquid are similar to those used in foods to enhance flavours. They use a combination of both organic and artificial flavouring that mimic a variety of popular foods and drinks. 

In the UK, all e-liquid must comply with TPD regulations to ensure that the product is safe to be consumed, produced by trusted vape companies and doesn't contain harmful ingredients (such as diacetyl).

Nicotine is a chemical taken from the tobacco plants - an addictive ingredient that is known to carry some health risks. Tobacco-related illnesses have long been wrongly associated with nicotine. However, tar and carbon monoxide are the substances present in cigarettes that pose the the risk. 

Nicotine is not a necessary ingredient to the typical formula of an e-liquid. In fact, many vapers can - and often do - opt for nicotine-free e-liquids. However, if you’re looking for e-liquids where nicotine is still very much a component, nicotine-infused e-liquid is available - great for those looking for a transitional vaping solution. 

Vapers can continue to get their nicotine fix through varying strengths of nicotine e-liquid: 3mg, 6mg, 10mg, 12mg, 18mg and 20mg.

What Are Vape Juice VG and PG Ratios?

A variety of PG and VG levels is used in the production of e-liquids. The ratio of these two ingredients will determine how strong a throat hit is, how strong the flavour is, and how much 'cloud' is produced. Depending on your preference, these three factors can be adjusted.

You will find that e-liquids will state the PG/VG ratio on them, so it is important to understand how the two work together and what that means for your vaping experience before you go ahead and purchase your e-liquid.

VG/PG ratios vary depending on the kind of vaping experience you want. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Intensity of flavour: An even 50/50 ratio of PG and VG will provide an equal amount of flavour whilst vaping. The higher the concentration of PG, the better the flavour and throat hit. You should look for a VG ratio of 60:40 to achieve a flavoursome vape on every puff.
  • Throat hit: Many smokers looking to switch to vaping look for a higher throat hit when they first purchase a vape kit. Throat hit is linked to the sensation of smoking cigarettes and can be replicated with PG/VG ratio. One of the biggest factors to producing a strong throat hit is the inclusion of PG - a high PG concentration will deliver a like-for-like vaping experience for beginners. 
  • Smoothness: For people that prefer a reduced throat hit and a smoother vape, a higher VG concentration will achieve this. For those using a larger vaping device, the intensity of a high PG juice can be overwhelming. We recommend a higher VG juice for a weak throat hit but a bigger lung and vape hit. 
  • Discreteness: Some users may prefer their vaping activity on the downlow in public. Therefore, the ideal way to minimise clouds and keep it discreet is to obtain high PG e-liquids. Side note: It's crucial to keep in mind that it is illegal to use vaping devices in some public areas, so always check permission before use.
  • Cloud production: One major appeal to vaping (particularly sub-ohm vaping) is the ability to produce large, thick clouds. If this is something that you're looking for, a VG:PG ratio of around 80:20 will deliver dense clouds. Before purchasing these e-liquids, you should check that your device is suitable for them as some e-cigarettes can become easily clogged when loaded with a high concentration of VG.
  • The vaping device used: Your ideal PG:VG ratio will be heavily influenced by the type of device you own. High PG concentration e-liquids are best used with low-wattage devices since PG evaporates at low temperatures. In contrast, VG absorbs into the wick gradually since it is a viscous liquid. Therefore, high VG concentrations are best suited for vaping devices with high wattage or sub-ohm resistance. 

Nicotine Strengths: How to Choose What's Right for You

When you're looking to transition from smoking to vaping, it is essential that you conduct research on the nicotine content in different e-liquids to determine the best option for you. The strength of your e-liquid can play a pivotal role in your ability to stick to vaping, as those that don't feel satisfied by the nicotine hit can be prone to returning to smoking. 

You will find that the e-liquids available at TABlites come in a range of strengths: some might not contain nicotine at all, and some come with the option to add a nicotine shot for complete flexibility.

To put it simply, the higher the nicotine concentration, the bigger the nicotine hit you'll receive. Remember that vaping doesn't provide you with the nic-fix as quickly as cigarettes do, but your body will still absorb some depending on the strength of your chosen liquid. 

What Do the Different Numbers on E-Liquids Mean in Relation to Nicotine Strength?

When you browse the many available choices of nicotine strengths, you'll notice a measurement on the bottle. The numbers relate to the concentration of nicotine in it and how many milligrams are present per millilitre of e-liquid.

The lower the number, the lower the amount of nicotine there is. It is usually written as 12mg or 12.% as an example. 

To put it into context, the average cigarette contains around 12mgs of nicotine. Higher-nicotine e-liquids have a higher number (with a maximum amount of 20mg).

  • 0mg nicotine - As you may have guessed, 0mg e-liquids are nicotine-free. They can be used to dilute a higher strength juice, or simply to provide a mild vape for social smokers or those that don't smoke often. 
  • 3mg nicotine - For a small burst of nicotine, 3mg e-liquids are the lowest level of nicotine juices on the market. It's a good vape liquid to choose as you wean yourself from smoking - hence it’s often used in the final stages of quitting. This is because the reduced intake makes completely switching to vaping easy. This is a recommended strength for those that smoke only a couple of cigarettes a day.
  • 6mg nicotine - Another nicotine strength on the lower end of the scale is the 6mg e-liquids. This strength provides a low-level nicotine fix - similar to that of those produced by low-strength cigarettes. If you're accustomed to consuming around 10 cigarettes a day, this strength may be most suitable when it comes to searching for the perfect juice.
  • 12mg nicotine - The 12mg e-liquid is a great place to start for the average ex-cigarette smoker that may struggle to quit or make a complete switch over. It can tide over cravings quite well and provide a similar nicotine fix to cigarettes.
  • 18mg nicotine-20mg nicotine - Heavy smokers may turn to the highest level of nicotine as a way to best combat cravings. These high nicotine liquids are for those that smoke more than one pack of cigarettes daily. You can find this strength in many disposable vape devices as well as within nicotine salts (which we will go on to discuss later in this guide).

The Different Types of E-Liquids and Nicotine Bases Available at TABlites

As we've now covered the basis of the make-up of e-liquids in our overview of PG and VG based e-liquids, we can now start to uncover some of the other options available.

The vaping world continues to evolve, whereby manufacturers identify new opportunities to introduce types of e-liquids for varying tastes and vaping styles. From the inclusion of nicotine salt to shortfill e-liquids and nicotine shots, there is something out there for every vaper, whether experienced or new. 

Freebase Nicotine E-Liquid 

Freebase nicotine e-liquids are the most common type of vape juice available All traditional vape liquids and alternative nicotine replacement therapies contain freebase. These liquids convert nicotine into it’s purest form, creating a strong hit for vapers.

Freebase is best suited to know that prefer the harshness and intensity of cigarette smoking and the ability to create large cloud production.

Freebase nicotine vape juice comes in different concentrations and strengths, the best selling one being 6mg. 

Why are regular e-liquids a good choice?

These liquids are an excellent go-to for those struggling to quit smoking as they provide a similar sensation and feeling to smoking cigarettes but without the harmful chemicals.

50/50 E-Liquids

The 50/50 E-Liquid mixture is made up of 50% PG and 50% VG. This makes it perfect for those who are looking for a smoother throat hit than the traditional PG mixtures.

Designed to simulate a mouth-to-lung hit, these liquids can be used in classic and sub-ohm devices and can be used for both DL (direct lung) inhalation and MTL (mouth to lung) inhalation.

Why are 50/50 e-liquids a good choice?

This mixture of PG and VG makes for a proportional vaping experience, providing a satisfying throat hit (as a result of the PG) and optimum flavour. They are designed to be used in smaller, less complex vaping devices, but can be conveniently used in most refillable pens. This makes them ideal for those who want to be able to use their devices more discreetly - whether that's in or out of the home. 

Shortfill E-Liquid

Shortfill e-liquids, as the name suggests, are larger bottles that are not filled to the maximum level. These liquids do not contain nicotine and are usually presented in 60ml bottles. More often than not, these liquids are usually high VG of 70% or greater. Generally, the nic-free liquid will make up to 50ml of e-liquid leaving a 10ml gap at the top of the 60ml bottle to allow space for an 18mg nicotine shot. 

There is also the option to choose 100ml short fills, a bottle which allows space to add 2 nic shots for 120ml of 3mg e-liquid.

Shortfill e-liquids are designed with the added nicotine shot in mind, giving them a slightly stronger percentage of flavouring to ensure that the taste of the e-liquid does not become diluted.

Why are shortfill e-liquids a good choice?

Shortfill e-liquids offer many benefits. First of all, they tend to be more economical than buying 10ml bottles in the same quantity. Another benefit: 60ml bottles are much harder to lose than 10ml bottles, meaning you'll save money! Carrying one large bottle of e-liquid instead of many smaller bottles is easier when you're away from home.

What are nic shots, and how are they used with shortfill e-liquids?

Nicotine shots are essentially miniature bottles of nicotine that can be used with shortfill e-liquids. They come in 10ml bottles and are used to add nicotine to 0mg e-liquids. Adding a nic shot bottle into your favourite flavoured shortfill liquid will provide the nicotine fix you're looking for, without compromising quality or taste. For example, adding 10ml of an 18mg nic shot to a 50ml shortfill bottle will equate to 60ml of 3mg e-liquid. 

Nic Salt E-Liquids

A nicotine salt (also known as a nic salt) is formulated differently to other regular e-liquids and has quickly become a craze on the vaping scene. They are a fantastic option for anyone looking to keep their nicotine cravings at bay for a prolonged period of time, or for those who don't wish to vape frequently throughout the day but want to feel the benefit of a long-lasting nicotine hit.

Vapers will enjoy a richer flavour and enjoyable experience from vaping nic salt liquids. These liquids may not be suitable for vapers who don't smoke much though.

Why are nic salt e-liquids a good choice?

A nicotine salt efficiently delivers nicotine to the bloodstream, as the substance is much more easily absorbed by the body due to the PH level of the liquid. Nic salts provide a smoother draw and work well with mouth-to-lung devices.

Here at TABlites, our nic salt range is ever-growing and a highly popular choice amongst our customers.

The Wide Range of E-Liquid Flavour Options 

One of the best things about vaping is the endless possibilities of flavours. Vaping allows you to move away from the taste of tobacco and explore a plethora of tastes and flavours that tantalise your taste buds. Choose from fruity flavours, menthol flavours or taste your favourite foods and drinks in vape form! 

We've compiled a list of some of the best blends and popular flavours so that you can find your perfect everyday juice.

Fruit-Flavoured Vape Juice

Fruity-flavoured e-juices are probably the most popular type of juice flavour on the market. They are sweet and can be enjoyed by most people. The fruity flavours are usually mixed with cool blends or a hint of mint to create a unique taste that is as refreshing as they are tasty.

You'll be able to find everything from pineapple and orange flavours to banana and strawberry ejuices. Brands such as Nasty Juice are well-known for delivering distinct and intense flavours.

If you've got a sweet tooth but want something that's not quite as sugary-tasting as custard or cotton candy flavours, then we've got plenty of fruity options that won't give you a toothache!

Drink-Flavoured Vape Juice

Another exciting genre of e-liquid flavours to explore is beverage-inspired juice. Taste mouth-watering cocktails upon every puff with juices designed by IVG or experience coffee in a caffeine-free form with our signature nic salt e-liquids by TABlites.

You will find a wide range of flavours inspired by the likes of energy drinks, alcohol, summer-time ice drinks and more. You can even create your own concoction of flavours by mixing and matching classic juices to find your favourite go-to.

Dessert-Flavoured Vape Juice

Satisfy your sweet tooth with your favourite treat-flavoured vape liquid! Many manufacturers create juices that mimic the famous taste of puddings. From cheesecake to lemon tart, you can get a satisfying blend of sweet tastes from these wonderful juices.

Brands such as Sugar Pie Vapes create flavoursome juices that are unique and designed to remind you of the food you know and love.

So next time you're feeling like having a little something sweet, reach for one of our e-juices instead - you'll be glad you did!

Build Your E-Liquid Collection by Shopping With TABlites

TABlites is one of the leading vape stores in the UK. We sell a huge range of vape products, including starter kits and the widest selection of flavours.

We believe that every customer deserves high-quality e-Liquid, which is why we stock products from reputable manufacturers that are TPD compliant.

With our extensive experience in the industry, we aim to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your purchase. For example, if you're new to vaping or have been using e-cigarettes for some time but want to try something different, then our blog section has lots of useful articles on how to get started vaping.

When you shop with TABlites, there is always someone on hand online or in-store to give you all the help you need to build a truly mind-blowing collection of vape devices and e-liquids.

Q&As about E-Liquids

How long does e-liquid last?

In general, e-liquids are made to last 2-3 years when first produced. However, once they've been opened, depending on the conditions they are stored in, the shelf life is significantly reduced. If your e-liquid has been exposed to heat or light, it will break down faster than if it were kept in a dark place at room temperature - particularly in higher nicotine concentrations.

In terms of how long a bottle of liquid will last, a 100ml supply should last the average vaper a month, depending on individual vaping habits and preference. Bear in mind that the average vape tank holds 2ml of e-liquid, if you vape a tank a day you could expect 10ml to last around 5 days.

Can you use any e-liquid in any vape pen?

Vape pens are designed to work with certain e-liquids, so using the wrong kind can cause damage to the device and ruin your vaping experience, leaving a burnt taste in your mouth.

E-liquids are made up of four ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine, and food flavourings. Different vape pens require different ratios of these ingredients, so if you try to use a juice with too much VG or too little PG, for example, it could harm your pen's coil and affect the taste.

Is vaping e-liquids healthier than smoking cigarettes?

Vaping is widely viewed to be a healthier alternative to smoking - and there’s lots of research backing this. The most obvious reason for this is that there are fewer chemicals in e-cigarettes than in tobacco products. E-cigarettes don't contain tar or carbon monoxide, which both cause cancer and other serious health problems when inhaled. They also don't produce harmful second-hand smoke like traditional cigarettes do.