The Definitive Guide
People vape for all kinds of reasons.
You may have decided to start vaping to kick your smoking habit.
Or you may have heard about just how pleasant trying different flavours of vape juice -- sometimes called e liquid or ejuice -- is and how much it adds to making vaping a truly personal experience.
Take more than a quick glance at vaping liquids for sale in the UK and you’ll immediately see the task that faces you in deciding which flavour and e liquid type to choose.
Which is precisely why we’ve created this definitive guide to choosing vape juice.
Why Do People Vape?
What is Vape Juice?
How to Keep Vape Juice
Upping Your Vaping Game
Why Do People Vape
Did you ever stop to wonder why vaping has become so popular?
Sure, lot's of people are turning to vaping to replace a smoking habit they want to quit.
But there's more to it than that. Read on to find out why vaping is taking the world by storm.
Vaping is increasingly popular.
Between 2012 and 2017 the number of people who vape in the UK made an impressive leap from an estimated 700,000 to nearly 3 million, placing the UK market in third position behind the US and Japan.
Globally, it is a trend that is expected to keep growing with an estimated 55 million people vaping by 2021.
A third of 16 to 24 year olds in the UK admit to experimenting with vaping. Currently, it is most popular with those aged between 25 and 49 years of age. More men than women vape, but only just.
The majority of people vape daily – anything between two to five times a day - with a smaller group of people vaping once a week and a tiny 4% of people vaping once a month.
Take a look at more stats on vaping in the UK
What these figures don’t tell us is why people vape.
The majority of people say they came to vaping as part of kicking the smoking habit, usually for health reasons.
Why is vaping popular?
For starters, giving up smoking is hard to do!
Many smokers try and fail several times before they are successful – and there are many reasons why this is.
One is the need to replace the ‘hand-to-mouth’ action that becomes ingrained in the smoker.
The ‘need to do something with my hands’ is just as bad as the intense nicotine cravings that test your willpower. You can do it and many people make the transition from smoking to vaping successfully.
But kicking the habit isn’t the only reason why vaping is becoming popular.
Which is why you need this guide. Whether you're new to vaping or an old hand, knowing what vape juice is, what to look for and how to choose your next flavour will make vaping the pleasant, relaxing experience many of us want and need in our lives.
What is Vape Juice?
Whether you're a newbie or a dab hand at vaping, there are very few people who know what is actually in vape juice.
What chemicals are in vaping liquid?
Can you get vape juice with nicotine?
Vape juice – also known as eliquid or ejuice – is a fluid that is placed in the tank of an e-cigarette or vape that creates vapour.
This is what you inhale and exhale as part of the vaping process.
When liquid is heated, depending on its composition, its nature changes.
We know, for example, that when water is heated to a high temperature it evaporates, doing so by changing from liquid to steam.
Vaping juice acts in a similar way.
Depending on the vaping kit you have and your own temperature preference, vape juice is heated to anything between 90°C and 200°C causing it to change from liquid to vapour.
Vape Juice Ingredients
Vaping liquid is a mixture of:
- Nicotine (but not always!)
- Propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine (VG) – or a mix of both
- Food-grade flavouring
Many people think that nicotine in vape juice and in tobacco is the most dangerous chemical but this is not quite true.
Nicotine is, however, very addictive.
When you don’t get the intake of nicotine that your brain is used to, you develop an intense craving.
This craving doesn’t last for long (some say it lasts 20 seconds or less) but every second can feel like agony when your brain is screaming that you need a nicotine fix!
Why is Nicotine So Addictive?
When you consume nicotine in tobacco or when you vape your brain releases a chemical called dopamine.
The release of dopamine ‘teaches’ the brain to repeat the same behaviour over and over again.
This is known as reinforcement.
The more times you consume nicotine, the more ‘hits’ your brain gets.
When you stop smoking or use nicotine-free vaping juice, your brain is no longer getting the regular hits – and it starts to scream to tell you it needs it!
This is what drives the addictive behaviour behind smoking and why giving up is so hard to do.
You could follow the ‘cold turkey’ route so when you switch from cigarettes to vaping, you choose an ejuice with a zero nicotine content.
Or you can take the little-by-little approach choosing a lower strength nicotine content vaping juice over several months.
If you want no nicotine, just-for-pleasure vaping juices, you can opt for shortfill e liquids
Varying Nicotine Content in E-Juice
Take a look at our Banoffee Pie ejuice as an example. Sweet on the tongue, with a smooth mellow aftertaste, the combination of banana, cream and toffee is sublime.
But here’s the best bit: you can opt for no nicotine, the just-for-pleasure vaping experience that so many people enjoy.
Or you have different nicotine options for when you need a nicotine hit:
|0.3%||For very light smokers or dripping (the vaping skill of ‘dripping’ a little vaping liquid directly onto the coil for a bolder, clean flavour).|
|0.6%||For smokers who have a 10 light-strength cigarettes a day habit|
|1.2%||Ideally suits people who smoked between 10 to 15 standard cigarettes in a day|
|1.8%||The top strength for people who smoked 20+ cigarettes a day|
What Are Nic Salts?
For some smokers, the nicotine hit in the top strength vape juice is not enough.
The answer lies in Nic Salts.
Nic Salts are the exact same form of nicotine that you would find in tobacco. It may be addictive but nicotine on its own carries far fewer toxins and nasties found in tobacco itself.
Nic Salts is the natural state of nicotine.
When you purchase Nic Salts, you add it to your chosen vaping liquid.
It has a better absorption rate meaning you get a stronger hit of nicotine that lasts longer.
You could mix smoking with vaping but with smoking increasingly expensive and the health concerns too, it’s no wonder that Nic Salts are increasingly popular as an alternative.
The ‘salt’ in Nic Salts alters the PH of the eliquid meaning it to be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, giving you an instant, enjoyable hit and one that lasts longer too.
But there are other reasons why people opt to use Nic Salts;
- As well as a better nicotine hit, Nic Salts are a better option for people who don’t vape regularly as they give a longer-lasting nicotine hit.
- They can be an effective ‘nicotine replacement’ option for people who smoke more than one cigarette a day.
- Some users say that Nic Salts offer a smoother vape that is also more flavoursome.
- Nic Salts are compatible with many mods and vapes, making them a cost-effective option too.
ii. Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine(VG)
It’s easy to be confused about PG and VG when it comes to choosing vaping juice.
In the case of most reputable e liquid manufacturers, PG and VG are mixed so that you get the benefits of both.
What is Propylene Glycol (PG)?
To be scientific, Propylene Glycol is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH₃CHCH₂OH.
It is both colourless and odourless too with low viscosity, meaning it is a thin liquid, the opposite of VG ejuice which is a thicker liquid.
It is an ingredient not just in vape juice but in solvents and humectants, which you’ll know as skin lotion or moisturiser.
Why is PG used in e-juice?
The properties of PG lend itself well as an ingredient in vape juice;
- Because it is in a thinner liquid, it is easier to handle when it comes to filling and re-filling the atomiser, cartomizer or clearomiser.
- Again, due to its thin nature, using a PG vape juice means less build-up and gunk on the coil of your vaping kit.
- It absorbs heat much faster too meaning you can start vaping quicker once your vape is switched on and ready to go.
- The vapour feels warmer as it takes less time to heat.
- Tasteless and odourless, it doesn’t interfere with the flavour of your e-juice.
- You should also need to know that PG based vaping juices carry a very small risk of allergic reaction. They also produce a less dense vapour so your clouds won’t be that big!
Choose a PG based e liquid for more intense flavour hits
What is Vegetable Glycerine (VG)?
Vegetable Glycerine is an all-natural liquid that is extracted from plant oil and goes by the chemical formula C3H8O3.
Like PG, it is a clear, odourless liquid with a mere hint of colour.
In some cases, it has a slight tang of sweetness to it. You can tell it apart from PG because it is a thicker, more viscous liquid.
Why is VG used in vaping liquid?
VG is much thicker than PG but there are advantages to opting for a VG based liquid;
- Because it is a thicker liquid, you can produce impressive clouds!
- Easier on the throat, it delivers less of a flavour hit.
- It contains flavour and sweetness of its own making the final product sweeter, although many people say that the overall flavour is ‘duller’.
- There are some downsides to VG e-juice, one of which is the gunk that can accumulate on the coil. It also needs more power to reach optimal temperature before you can start vaping.
Choose VG based e liquid if you want bigger, better clouds!
PG/VG ratio in vaping juice
To get the best of both worlds, ejuices will often come with a PG/VG mix.
Our classic Lemonade eliquid, for example, is available in two ratios – a VG mix of 50% is perfect if you want a little cloud but keep a strong flavour hit or a 70% VG which gives you more cloud, less flavour.
Combining both substances means you can choose a vape juice that has a balance of flavour intensity, throat hit and vapour density (clouds) too.
The other ingredients in Vape Juice
As we know the main components of e juice are nicotine (optional), VG or PG (or a mix of both) and food-grade flavouring.
Depending on the flavouring used, you will see some other ingredients listed on the packet of your favourite vape juice. More often than not, these are the scientific names for flavouring compounds.
You may be surprised to learn that some of the flavourings in vape juice are found in other products too.
This is because, as flavours of vaping juices are created, they will use compounds that have already been developed and tested for quality and flavour.
Mixing flavours leads to some pretty unique flavour combos, something that many vapers like most about vaping.
So that the flavour of e juice is not lost, manufacturers use a range of synthetic flavourings instead.
If natural flavours were used, the combination of adding to vape juice and then heat when you vape destroys natural flavourings, many of which are sensitive.
The combination of synthetic compounds makes for a fantastic flavour hit. Their names look very scientific and that’s because they are! The development and testing process for creating synthetic food grade flavourings for vape juice (and other products) is strenuous and rightly so.
You want to be confident that the flavouring compounds being used are safe for consumption, just as you would expect in food.
But what compounds produce what flavours?
As you would expect, the synthetic compound called Vanillin gives the sweet, mellow, creamy flavour that we associate with vanilla.
Without a doubt, Vanillin is the world’s most popular flavour and fragrance compound.
It’s sweet but heady notes are a characteristic flavour is found in the vanilla bean, and it’s a flavour that we find is popular with our UK vaping customers too.
2. Ethyl 2-methyl butyrate
The name doesn’t give you much of a clue but if love the taste of apple, kiwi and strawberry fruits, then Ethyl 2-methyl butyrate is the synthetic flavouring ingredient you’ll find in strawberry vape juice, apple flavoured e juice along with other fruity flavours.
Found in strawberries, the compound adds the base notes and scents that are commonly found in berries.
Adding Ethyl 2-methyl butyrate enhances the juiciness of the fruit scent with pleasant apple and berry notes to the vape juice.
If you guess citrus fruits such as limes or lemons when you see this flavouring listed, you wouldn’t be far wrong!
Sweet, citrus notes that bring a clean, fresh taste is exactly what you get when you add Limonene to vape juice.
It’s used not just in e juice but in medicines too. It’s strong flavour masks any bitter notes from other ingredients and this is why it is a common ingredient in cosmetic products
4. Methyl cyclopentenolone
Another favourite but not one you would recognise from its name. But if you like sweet pudding flavours – who can resist apple bake e juice, for example? – when you opt for caramel flavours as well as e juice flavours with hints of maple or coffee, you’ll be enjoying the flavour compound that comes from maple syrup and coffee oil.
Again, like all the other flavourings used, this compound is often found in perfumes, adding a wonderful backdrop of smokiness and sweetness in the right proportions.
5. cis-3-Hexen-1-ol and cis-3-Hexenyl acetate
The smell of freshly mown lawns is the smell of summer, an evocative aroma there are many flavourings that bring back memories and this is one of them.
Known as ‘leaf alcohol’ (but when used in e juice, it isn’t alcoholic!) it brings a strong, fresh flavour that reminds people of the floral scent of summer.
With hints of lilac, it is commonly used in e juices that are fruity based but with an extra zing of zest.
These are just five of the most common flavourings that give the distinctive taste to your favourite e juice.
There are many more besides!
But here’s the important thing to remember:
Flavourings in e juice, as in other products, need to be of the highest standard. And across our range of vape juice, you’ll find that is always the case.
iii. Vape Juice Flavours
So far, you’ve learnt all about nicotine strength and which will work best for you in terms of PG or VG e liquids.
Now we come to the exciting bit – choosing the right combo of flavours to make each and every vape a flavoursome, pleasant experience.
What are the most popular vape juice flavours?
Everyone’s palate is different and so the sweet tangy flavours someone else likes may not be to your taste.
But if you are starting out in vaping, knowing which flavours are popular is a great way to start...
- One of the all-time classics is menthol e liquid. A fresh, cool flavour, it is often the go-to flavour for newbies.
- Aniseed is a flavour that brings back so many memories and so it’s no wonder that our Black Jack eliquid with its spicy aniseed notes is one of the all-time favourites.
Relatively inexpensive, you can experiment as much as you like with flavours of vape juice until you hit on your go-to flavours.
Sample eliquid packs are a great way to try out new flavours too.
The Best Vape Juice Flavours
If you can’t resist a pudding after your main meal or a sugary snack as your go-to pick me up, then opting for sweeter flavours makes sense.
There are, as you would expect, many sweet flavours to choose from...
Packed with natural sugars, there are many different fruits to enjoy and it's no different when it comes to eliquid.
Blueberry eliquid is great if you enjoy the sweet tang of berries but don’t necessarily feel like a big sugar hit.
If you want a hint of sourness, then Cherry e liquid is perfect.
Fruity flavours are a great hit in summer, especially when you want a lighter flavour hit that sits well with fun in the sun.
But pudding or dessert flavours are great no matter what time of year.
You really can enjoy the sweet tones of Vanilla Custard eliquid or opt for a nostalgic trip down memory lane with Apple Bake eliquid.
With new fresh flavours coming to the market all the time, you’re bound to find a dessert flavour that tantalises your taste buds.
Closely linked to the aniseed notes we talked of earlier, if you like your drinks spicy and very alcoholic then absinthe is the go-to beverage.
And you can enjoy its heady notes without the hangover with Absinthe eliquid, something to try the next time you are enjoying relaxing with friends.
There is cherry coke and lemonade too, two perfect flavours for the summer months but when winter comes calling, warm the cockles with Brazilian Coffee e liquid.
The sky is the limit when it comes to ejuice flavours. As well as those few mentioned above, there are wackier combos that everyone should try at least once – like Beach Party or Fruit Soop.
How to Keep Vape Juice
There's plenty of advice out there explaining exactly how you should correctly store your vape juice to make sure it lasts.
So, should you keep your vape juice in the fridge? How long can you keep vape juice for? And does vape juice go bad?
Now that the main ingredients of vape juice – VG/PG, flavour and nicotine – have been examined in detail, we can now turn attention to helping you make the most of vape juice.
Due to its mix and type of ingredients, vape juice has a shelf life, meaning it doesn’t last forever.
How to maximise the life of your vape juice
E liquid is best stored in a cool, dark place
Sunlight drains the soul and flavour from the e liquid and so keeping it in its original cardboard box in a cool, dark cupboard should mean that unopened bottles of e liquid retain their flavour and stability for months to come.
Stored correctly, most vape juice is useable for 2 years
But only if kept cool and the bottle isn’t tampered with. For opened vape juice, you have weeks before it starts to lose its potency. As yet, in the UK, there is no ‘official’ best before date for vaping juice.
Once opened, vape juice doesn’t last long
Once you’ve opened a bottle of e liquid, you need to get on and use it so that the delicate mix and balance of flavour contained in that 10ml bottle don’t evaporate.
Is it bad to vape expired juice?
Using ‘off’ vape juice isn’t a great idea because it won’t taste nice – and that means a poor vaping experience, something no one wants to experience!
The components of vape juice breakdown easily, a process that is sped up by heat and sunlight.
If you discover a long, lost bottle at the back of the cupboard, if the liquid is still clear and not cloudy and doesn’t smell ‘off’ when opened, you should be OK to use it.
How long will a 10ml bottle of vaping juice last the ‘average’ vaper?
How long a 10ml bottle of deliciously flavoured ejuice lasts will depend, of course, on how often you vape.
That said, the ‘average’ vaper – someone who vapes two to five times a day, every day for short periods – will find that a 10ml bottle of their favourite ejuice will last around a week.
Should I clean the tank when adding a new flavour?
Some flavours, such as the Brazilian coffee and menthol flavours we mentioned earlier, are much stronger than others.
In some tanks, flavour can build on the sides of the tank and on the coil.
Mixing flavours doesn’t always give you a great flavour hit.
In fact, it can be a pretty dire experience to find the tang of banana in with your menthol e-juice (or vice versa).
What are the eliquid product restrictions in the UK?
Like most things, there is constant research being done on vaping and how it affects our health.
It is for this reason that the UK Government introduced restrictions on vaping juice and how it can be sold.
When you buy from a reputable eliquid retailer, you won’t need to worry as all of this will have been taken care of, so you have peace of mind that you are not at risk – but it’s still good to know what the rules are.
Currently, the size and strength of e liquids are restricted;
- An e liquid that contains nicotine must be in a container no larger than 10ml in capacity.
- Clearomisers and cartridges must not have a capacity larger than 2ml.
- And finally, the current nicotine strength allowed in vape juice in the UK is limited to 20%.
Upping Your Vaping Game
To a vaping newbie, e liquids are complicated.
Even for long-time vapers, it is easy to get stuck in a rut.
But when you’re ready to up your game, take a look at this table for deciding which is the best way forward for you...
What are the best vape liquids for...?
|Bigger clouds?||Opt for eliquids that have a higher VG to PG ratio. Remember, it is the thicker VG liquid that produces denser, bigger clouds.|
|A strong nicotine hit?||Take a look at Nic Salts, a great product for adding an extra zip of nicotine.|
|Just for pleasure?||Choose a 0% nicotine vape juice|
|An intense flavour hit?||As well as getting the right vaping kit for upping your vaping experience, opting for a higher ratio of PG to VG|
|When you need a change?||Set yourself a target of trying at least one new flavour every month or so!|
|Steeping?||Steeping intensifies the flavour of vape juice, ideal for when you want a very big flavour hit.|
Developing your vaping skills – steeping e-juice
Steeping is an old technique used to either extract nutrition from a liquid or, as in the case of vape juice, release more flavour.
At its simplest, steeping vape juice is a way of ageing it so that it becomes more stable by increasing the bonding between the VG or PG base, flavouring and nicotine.
How to steep vape juice
If you want to an extra kick out of your vape, steeping could be the answer you're looking for.
Steeping involves time or heat as well as shaking to mix the vape juice and to remove air too.
There are different ways of doing this...
#1 Slow and simple steeping of vape juice
Store the vape juice in a cool, dark place and shake daily.
After a fortnight, you will notice the colour of vape juice will darken.
It is ready to use after 14 days.
#2 A hot bath
To speed up the process, apply heat (but be careful not to over do it. Heat will degrade nicotine).
Decant your vape juice from plastic to glass bottles.
Tighten the lids and place in a sealed bag.
In a large bowl, place hand-hot water.
Lower the bag of glass vape juice bottles into the bath and leave them there until the water cools.
Remove the bottles and unscrew the lids allowing gas to escape.
The Definitive Guide to Vape Juice
This guide to vape juice is detailed and definitive, giving you all the information you need to make the right choice of vape juice for you.
In the UK, vape juice content and kits are regulated meaning you can buy with confidence.
Understating nicotine strength, along with whether to choose a higher ratio PG and VG vape juice means you understand the basics of vape juice.
Now all you need to do is decide on which flavour.