One of the most common questions my friends ask when they see me vaping is, “What’s in that?” That’s a great question and a fairly simple one to answer. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, most of which contain hundreds of additives, the ingredients in e-liquid or juice are pretty straightforward. For the most part they all contain distilled water, food flavoring, nicotine (optional), propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin. Fancier juices may contain natural tobacco extract too. While there are still ongoing studies of the longterm effects of vaping, I personally feel better about smoking a straightforward blend of ingredients instead of hundreds of known carcinogens (that’s not an endorsement though).
However, not all e-liquids are the same. Some vendors sell “Made in China” goods that can be low-quality. In general, I try to stick with reputable vendors that use quality flavorings and pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. Two of my current favorites (that I’ve been leaching from my friend Kim — love you for that!) are Ahlusion and Heather’s Heavenly Vapes. These vendors sell made-to-order blends and I’ve been blown away by the quality.
One thing to keep in mind when ordering made-to-order e-liquids is that you should give them time to steep. Mass mixed juices are ready to go right out of the bottle, but made-to-order juices need some aging. On the advice of friends, I use a simple method. When my e-liquids arrive, I take off the caps and let them air out for two days. Then I close the bottles up and let them sit for an additional 12 days or more. That should take care of most of your made-to-order juices, though ones with tobacco extract could benefit from a bit more steeping time.
The care involved with made-to-order juices appeals to the nerd in me (which technically is all of me). It’s fun to experiment with different levels of propylene glycol (more throat hit) and vegetable glycerin (more vapor). It’s fun trying different flavors, whether it’s varieties of tobacco, desserts, and beverages. When you find the right blend for the right flavor, it’s a kind of magic. Like I said in Coffee Talk #525, these aspects of vaping are one reason that tech nerds are flocking to the hobby.
If you have any questions about e-liquid, just let me know!