A Beginner’s Guide to E-Liquids

Rohan Mathew

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Individuals new to vaping want to know more about e-liquids and what they are. E-liquid refers to the liquid used in electronic cigarette devices and vape pens. The device vaporizes the liquid and produces the vapor the devices are named for. However, consumers must understand that there are several types of e-liquids and they must purchase the right one for the device used.

First, consumers need to know the various names for e-liquids. When a person speaks of e-juice, vape juice, or vape liquid, they refer to e-liquids. Manufacturers choose to use different names and consumers refer to them by the name learned when they first discovered vaping. Vapers should learn what is in these products and the various types offered today. When you contact IndeJuice, ask these questions, as staff members will be happy to answer them.

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What Ingredients Are Found in E-Liquids?

E-liquids consist of four key ingredients: vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), nicotine, and flavoring. Manufacturers use propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin because they convert into a vapor. Furthermore, they serve as effective mediums for the delivery of nicotine and flavoring. Approximately 90 percent of the vape juice consists of these two ingredients, with the flavoring and nicotine making up the other ten percent. Why are these ingredients used?

Propylene Glycol

Used by humans for over one hundred years now. Propylene glycol comes in many products humans use daily. This includes cosmetics, medications, toothpaste, and more. PG produces an acceptable amount of vapor. Actually, the fog or smoke seen at many concerts and stage products comes from propylene glycol because it works so well for this purpose. Men and women working on these productions spend large quantities of time around this vaporized propylene glycol with no ill effects, which helps to explain why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined PG isn’t harmful to human health. Nevertheless, propylene glycol dehydrates individuals and certain people find they react negatively to it. For this reason, manufacturers keep the PG content of their vape juices below 50 percent.

When electronic cigarettes first hit the market, they relied primarily on propylene glycol liquids. However, users found them to be harsh, so manufacturers opted to reduce the concentration in their offerings. While all vape juices contain some PG to ensure the flavor is delivered to the user, the concentration of vegetable glycerin has increased.

When choosing a vape juice, look for those products made with US sourced lab grade ingredients. While quite a few vape juice manufacturers accurately state they make their products in the United States, they use ingredients obtained from overseas suppliers. Know where the ingredients come from to ensure you are getting a reputable product.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable glycerin or VG comes from palm plants. The thick, viscous liquid comes with no odor and a sweet taste ideal of e-liquids. The FDA approved the use of VG in foods, cosmetics, medications, and more because it is an effective preservative. Only a small amount of vegetable glycerin produces a large plume of vapor, which is what many users prefer. Nevertheless, propylene glycol carries flavor better, and users must determine which is most important to them.The key to finding an excellent vape juice involves finding the right balance between these two ingredients, and user preference plays a large role in this.

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Individuals looking to cut back or quit smoking often turn to electronic cigarettes or vape pens to help them achieve this goal. Manufacturers extract nicotine from tobacco plants for their vape juices. When choosing an e-liquid, look for products that source their vape nicotine from American pharmaceutical companies that have a reputation for producing nicotine of the highest purity. Highly trained professionals must dilute nicotine for vape juices, as several studies conducted recently show a majority of e-juices tested don’t contain the nicotine level displayed on the packaging. Ask if the manufacturer uses an independent lab to test the nicotine content of their products. Conventional cigarettes come with approximately 12mg of nicotine for comparison.


When selecting an e-liquid, consider the flavorings used. Manufacturers must possess knowledge of chemical reactions to ensure their products don’t do harm to the users. For instance, people cannot heat certain food grade flavorings because they convert to unwanted chemicals when heated. The average person lacks this knowledge and could do harm when creating e-liquids in their garage. For this reason, consumers should only buy e-liquids produced by a reputable manufacturer, one that makes use of US sourced ingredients and adheres to the industry’s best practices. They should share this information willingly with customers.

The Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol Ratio

Vapers must pay attention to the VG/PG ratio in any vape juice they are considering buying, as this serves as the major difference between these products. It provides information about which type of vaping is appropriate for the selected e-liquid. What is this ratio? This ratio tells the user how much vegetable glycerin is in the juice as compared to how much propylene glycol is present. If the bottle says 60/40 VG, it contains 60 percent vegetable glycerin and 40 percent propylene glycol. Most e-juices come with some PG as this delivers the flavor. What are some common types, and which type of vaping are they appropriate for?

PG E-liquids

When e-liquids first hit the market, they contained only propylene glycol and came in disposable or cigarette-like devices. In fact, they looked and felt like tobacco cigarettes, which is why many people used them. However, manufacturers phased these products out, and consumers would be lucky to find a vaping product that contains only PG.

70/30 PG E-Liquid

As products containing only PG were harsh, manufacturers moved to 70/30 PG e-juice or e-liquids with 70 percent propylene glycol and 30 percent vegetable glycerin. These liquids work in e-cigarette devices that contain an atomizer resistance in the 2.0 ohm range or higher. Never use these liquids with sub ohm atomizers, but they are suitable for certain e-cig cartridges. Nevertheless, most companies no longer make this vape juice.

50/50 E-Liquid

Devices using atomizers with a resistance above 1.0 ohms use 50/50 e-liquid. These juices contain equal amounts of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. The devices using this e-liquid go by the name MTL or mouth-to-lung devices. This vaping style involves drawing the vapor into the mouth before inhaling it, much like conventional smoking. Users prefer this juice because the VG minimizes the harshness of the PG and produces more vapor. However, the propylene glycol provides a stronger hit while amplifying the flavor. Common nicotine levels seen with these e-liquids include 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg.

70/30 VG E-Juice

VG e-juices usually contain 70 percent vegetable glycerin. These liquids work best in sub ohm and temperature control devices as they use atomizer resistance levels that fall below 1.0 ohm. Experts recommend using 70/30 VG e-juice in devices with an atomizer resistance between 0.5 and 0.9 ohms, although it may be used in devices with the lowest resistance as well. Common nicotine levels for this e-juice include 0mg, 3mg, and 6mg because they produce a sizeable amount of vapor and require less nicotine.

80/20 VG E-Juice

Individuals who want more vapor choose 80/20 VG e-juice. While the flavor lacks the vibrancy of a 70/30 blend, the flavor remains rich and the vapor increases. Vapers using devices with atomizers ranging from 0.1 and 0.5 ohms choose this e-liquid.

Max VG

Max VG e-liquids contain just enough propylene glycol to deliver the flavor. Vapor production in these devices remains massive, which some users prefer more than a strong flavor. In fact, cloud chasers use these products in competitions. Manufacturers offer other e-liquid ratios. However, those listed above remain the most common. Users should try a range of vape juices to find those they prefer.

Nicotine Salts

The newest vaping trend involves the use of nicotine salt e-liquids. Using these vape juices, individuals find they get a small amount of vapor with a big punch. Small devices provide a satisfying experience thanks to the high nicotine content found in the juice. These nicotine salts provide this nicotine without the harshness one gets with standard pharmaceutical grade nicotine. Common nicotine levels found in these products include 25mg, 35mg, and 50mg.

Vaping devices convert e-liquids into a vapor and come in several varieties. PG and 50/50 e-liquids work best in atomizers above 1.0 ohms and come with a nicotine content between 0mg and 24mg. VG e-liquids are suitable for devices with an atomizer resistance below 1.0 ohms and come with a nicotine content between 0mg and 6mg. Finally, nicotine salt vape juices are smoother than standard nicotine and work in devices with an atomizer resistance of 1.0 ohms or higher. With these devices, usually pod mods, the nicotine content runs from 25mg to 50mg.

It falls on the consumer to know the differences between the various types of vape liquids. Learn where and how the manufacturer makes the juice and what ingredients are used. As the vapor enters the body, a person cannot be too careful when it comes to quality. Make certain you buy from a reputable company, one that shares information about its ingredients and manufacturing processes so you get exactly what you paid for and a product that won’t do you harm.