Home The Composition of eLiquid

The Composition of eLiquid

When using a vaping device, there would be no vapor without adding eLiquid. This situation may seem obvious, yet an eLiquid is full of taste worthy secrets. When studying the components of eLiquid, also referred to as vape juice, we learn how the main ingredients are easily accessible. In another one of our informative guides, we discuss how a vape device operates. By closely exploring the composition of eLiquid, we shift gears and come full circle. Ultimately, we learn how the flavor options available for use during the vaping process is absolutely crucial to the quality of our overall experience with vapor products.

Relatively simple ingredients

Searching for valid information on the ingredients of vape juice? You’ve come to the right page. The Vaping Post has prepared a comprehensive guide for you on all the major components that accompany vape devices.

Therefore, it is now appropriate to discuss a crucial topic for understanding the vape game. This topic is, of course, on the ingredients found only in the recipes of “eLiquids.”

The basic ingredients generally found in an eLiquid are the following (in order of importance according to their quantity):

  • Propylene glycol
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Flavors and enhancers
  • Water and Alcohol

Propylene glycol

This ingredient is the key to eLiquid as it has been used for years in vape devices refills but its presence in our consumer products is far more common than you might think. Propylene glycol (PG) has long been widely used as a humidifier in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food products (E1520). We breathe it, ingest it and brush it. Read this article to learn all about propylene glycol.

In vaping eLiquids, propylene glycol (PG) tends to enhance flavors. Not to mention, propylene glycol also promotes a throat hit. PG is not nearly as thick as vegetable glycerin (VG) and has a slight sweet taste. According to current scientific knowledge, its oral toxicity does not present any major health risks. Its use in nightclubs or theatres is not considered toxic. Although the toxicological profile of propylene glycol seems suitable for inhalation (2), the scientific literature is not very extensive to document its long-term effects.

Vegetable glycerin

Also used in food (E422), cosmetics or pharmacy, vegetable glycerin (VG) does not pose a danger to the body by digestive or dermal route. Also called glycerol, this ingredient in eLiquids is derived from the transformation of vegetable oils.

Vegetable glycerin is known for being an ingredient that promotes more vapor production. On the other hand, it tends to reduce the perception of flavors in the mouth. It is generally less than 50% present in eLiquids, even if its presence tends to increase. Most of the American brands are 70-80% VG. Some eLiquids can even be 100% vegetable glycerin, also called Full VG. Due to the viscosity of VG, some critics or doubters, seem to develop preconceived notions about the overall effect VG might be having on vapers — often misinterpreting and ultimately misrepresenting the effect VG tends to have internally on the users of vape products. However, the inhalation of vegetable glycerin does not appear to pose major health problems (3, 4).

The Flavors

The flavors used in eLiquids for vaping devices are food grade and can be produced anywhere in the world.

The Grasse Region of France, for example, is known to excel in this field. Thus, companies that supply flavors for the food or cosmetics industry also do so today for the vapor industry.

The question of flavors in vapor has been asked many times and science is increasingly interested in it. Under the effect of heat, there can be complex physical and chemical reactions linked to flavors.

The production of aldehydes, for example, such as benzaldehyde in certain cherry flavors, was put in the media spotlight in 2016. The same applies to diacetyl, which brings a buttery taste to eLiquid recipes.

If a scientific concern emerges about the many flavors of eLiquid available for vaping, nothing has so far called into question the important power of risk reduction that the electronic cigarette offers in the face of smoked tobacco.

In the vape industry, the eLiquid sector is becoming more and more impressive with the vast improvements in professionalism as these young businesses have been thrust into a highly competitive economic atmosphere.

Regardless, eLiquid brands are finally understanding the mass amount of responsibility they must continuously align their products with. In the beginning of the rise in vaping, there have been countless brands with flavors that have been introduced. Though, as time progressed, so did the demands for compliance.

Many quality brands were here one day, yet gone the next. Although, there were more that never had a chance to last. Then again, perhaps several brands decided to merge their efforts and assets to create a powerful corporate conglomerate.

While other eLiquid brands have solely expanded their initial product launch into multi-million dollar enterprises. Either way, there have been so many flavors also forced to rebrand. So, while a number of brands have changed their flavor lineups entirely, others have come and gone. Furthermore, to witness such exponential growth in a modern emerging industry is truly special and tremendously difficult.

Simultaneously, while some brands have built empires, still these same big name brands remain complacent and aloof — often unaware of how much compliance is being required through regulations. Brands are now expected to build positive responsibility as not just a once in awhile demeanor, it must become what the brand fully embodies as a company.

Vape Juice brands have been slowly but surely comprehending just how much influence their eliquids can have on consumers, so it is absolutely imperative that they represent their products as “adult brands.” In today’s modern economic climate, professionalism is a term now synonymous with compliance.

Overall, we would also suggest some self-educating and basic research on the brands you choose to buy from.

Making the right choice can seem complicated, but simply start-off choosing the flavors you personally tend to enjoy. We advise you to select well-known eLiquid brands whose manufacturing processes are the most transparent, keeping nothing as a secret. Finally, choose manufacturers with strong in-house management skills.


Nicotine is the one ingredient that has become the subject of unnecessary controversy. The presence of nicotine has become cause for doubt and concern. However, nicotine is repeatedly the scapegoat and wrongly associated with the harmful effects of combustible tobacco.

Nicotine has been labeled as a mechanism of addiction to smoked tobacco. But at doses administered by the smoker or the vaper, nicotine does not present major health risks, unlike highly toxic compounds resulting from tobacco combustion.

Follow the scientific explanations we have prepared for you with the help of specialists on the subject.

How is eLiquid made?

The manufacturing of an eLiquid must meet strict standards, and involves industrial means and know-how that the simple small bottle that contains it does not imply. In early 2018, we produced an exclusive and unique report on the manufacture of eLiquids. From the reception of raw materials to packaging, from design to analysis, we take you to visit the largest French site in this field.

A Little History

If a neutral eLiquid (i.e. without flavors), has a very light flavor, the popularity of vaping devices among smokers rests largely on the pleasure it gives to the palate. Thus from the beginning, the e-cigarette was marketed with flavored eLiquids. The most common versions of vaping devices have developed tobacco and menthol flavors to mimic combustible tobacco cigarettes.

Yet, there was a very necessary introduction which led to an indefinite escalation of more complex flavors suddenly appearing on the market. Among the best known in the history of the vape, we can highlight the famous RY4 of Ruyan (Hon Lik’s company which marketed the first electronic cigarettes since China in 2003).

In retrospect, there would be too many to mention, but Tribeca de Halo (Nicopure) in the USA, Boba’s Bounty by Alien Visions (USA), or Red Astaire de T-Juice in the UK can easily be identified as references in the history of eLiquid.

Should you be wary of certain eLiquids?

As in all industries there are some professionals less scrupulous than others. However, in France, we are fortunate to have industry professionals who have the qualities needed to transform their occupation into a passionate purpose.

Many years of experience has allowed FIVAPE to initiate the first worldwide standards for the manufacturing of eLiquids, infamously known as the AFNOR standards. We were able to interview one of the companies specifically involved in this work and asked the following question: Should we feel concerned about certain eLiquids?

The Debate Surrounding Diacetyl

Diacetyl has been previously attributed to a rare illness, which was linked to popcorn factory workers. Altogether, Diacetyl is a compound regularly-utilized in the food industry to bring a highly favorable buttery taste to food. However, when a high concentration of Diacetyl lingers in the breathing air of a particular environment, it can pose serious long-term health risks.

Subsequently, in the world of eLiquids, diacetyl can be used for similar flavoring purposes. From this, certain manufacturers have become, perhaps, much too reliant on using it as one of the top flavoring enhancers. However, the transparency about their products containing this ingredient has become a priority.

Manufacturers may possibly be relying on high doses, as diacetyl has been found in a number of certain eLiquids. We tell you the whole story in our research-based article focused on diacetyl.


(2) Robertson OH, Loosli CG. Tests for the chronic toxicity of propylene glycol and triethylene glycol on monkeys and rats by vapor inhalation and oral administration. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1947;91:52-76.

(3) Anderson RC, Harris PN, Chen KK. Toxicological studies on synthetic glycerin. J Am Pharm Assoc 1950;39:583-5.

(4) Reindeer RA, Wehner AP, Greenspan BJ et al. 2-week and 13-week inhalation studies of aerosolized glycerol in rats. Inhal Toxicol 1992;4:95-111.

Frequently Asked Questions about eLiquids

This is our FAQ section. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about eLiquids for vaping. If you can’t seem to find the proper answer to your specific question, feel free to post your question in the comment box below.

How to choose your eLiquid?

Your eLiquid must above all please you and meet your immediate needs. If you are trying to quit smoking, it is strongly recommended that you switch to eLiquids with tobacco flavors, in order to best reproduce the flavor of your old cigarettes. On the other hand, if cigarettes are only a bad memory for you and you want to discover new horizons, then the only watchword will be to please you with more or less exotic flavors!

How to taste an eLiquid?

If you want to taste an eLiquid before buying it, the easiest way is to go to the nearest vape shop and ask the retailer if they sell a specific flavor or certain brand you are seeking out. Asking to give you a taste of the eLiquid that interests you will allow your curiosity to be addressed — thus, your decision-making process becomes more clear. If you wish to taste an eLiquid at home, the use of a dripper is recommended for the best flavorful experience.

How to save your eLiquid?

If reducing your eLiquid consumption is your priority, then we advise you to try vaping with some hardware equipped with only one coil, at the lowest possible temperature.

Where can I buy my eLiquid?

There are several solutions available to consumers. You can, of course, go visit the nearest vape shop. Also, ordering eLiquid from one of the many e-commerce websites on the Internet is always a possibility. It is advisable to do several searches for the same eLiquid, prices vary a great deal, depending on the vendors.

When to add eLiquid?

In the case of a sub ohm tank, also referred to as a clearomizer, we advise you to fill your tank with eLiquid whenever the level in your tank is really low. When using a dripper, you should get into the habit of knowing how many puffs you can take before you have to re-soak the wick. A dry wick will result in a dry hit — this is an experience you will want to avoid.

Why is my eLiquid changing color?

The color of an eLiquid can change for several reasons. The nicotine level in your eLiquid can often be a reason why the color is different. For example, for the same eLiquid, a reference with a nicotine level of 18 mg will generally be darker than the same product containing only 3 mg of nicotine. Temperature, UV, sun, aging and oxidation can also tarnish the appearance of your eLiquid. However, it is important to know that these color changes do not alter the properties of your eLiquid and that you can still vape the eLiquid without any problem.

Why is my eLiquid making me cough?

Some people complain of coughing when they start smoking electronic cigarettes, whereas this was not the case when they smoked. This reaction is quite normal, remember your first cigarette? Chances are you also had a cough. Other reasons for coughing do vary. Some people are sensitive to propylene glycol in eLiquids, if you are in this category, try switching to an eLiquid containing less PG. You can also cough if the power at which you vape is too high. Just try reducing the wattage on your hardware device in order to eliminate the problem. Finally, a higher nicotine percentage in your eLiquid may also be the reason for your cough. Try to use eLiquids with a lower nicotine level.

How to find discounted eLiquid?

Who has not dreamt of having the option to purchase inexpensive eLiquid, or even DIY, making your own vape juice? The answers to all of your questions can be found in our article: “How to find cheap eLiquid?”