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What Goes into E-Liquid?


The liquid that is present in an e-cigarette is known as e-liquid.  The smoke juice has four main ingredients: vegetable glycerine, nicotine, propylene glycol and added flavors Most companies that manufacture e-liquids generally have these four ingredients clearly listed out in their company website or on the product label. Unlike smoke from a nicotine cigarette, the vapors from an e-liquid possess no toxins that can affect a user or a bystander. As compared to cigarette smoking, e-cigarette is less harmful.


The ingredients


Smoke juice or e-liquid is the liquid within an electronic cigarette which delivers nicotine to a smoker. On heating, the liquid vaporizes mimicking tobacco smoke and is inhaled by the user. The principle ingredients that are universally present in all e-fluids and cartridges are:


Vegetable Glycine (VG): As the name suggests, VG is extracted from vegetable oils and is 100% non- toxic and natural.  It is one of the base ingredients used in electronic cigarettes. The high density of VG tends to produce more smoke on vaporization. The smoke produced is also less acrid on the throat. It has a soft ‘throat hit’. Thus, many companies formulate a concoction of VG and PG to offer the best and smooth experience.


Propylene Glycol (PG): It is a FDA approved synthetic organic compound produced in most laboratories for a variety of purposes. PG is one of the ingredients of skin and personal care products, a food additive in numerous every day products, in pharmaceutical goods as a carrier agent and in smoke machines used in concerts and stage plays. PG creates a strong ‘throat hit’ when incorporated in an e-liquid. The liquid is odorless, safe, colorless and extensive research affirms its non- toxic nature.


Distilled water: In few cases, when VG is used as the primary ingredient, distilled water is added to thin out the consistency by diluting the mixture in order to reduce the viscosity. If the solution is viscous, there are chances of build-up and uneven vaporization which can lead to clogging of the e-cigarette.


Nicotine: What is a cigarette without nicotine? Agreed that nicotine is under the radar for its ill effects on smokers and second hand smokers, but nicotine does not cause cancer. Yes, it may be addictive even in small quantities, but cancer is caused by the 4000 other chemicals that are present in cigarette smoke. Nicotine, like caffeine is a stimulant found naturally in tobacco leaves. The leaves are dried, chemically treated and pressed into paper rolls to manufacture cigarettes. Other plants like tomato, potato, egg plants, peppers etc., are also known to produce nicotine.


Most manufactures, grade the e-cigarette based on the nicotine content with 0 having the least and 5 having the maximum nicotine concentration.


Added flavoring: One unique factor for the gaining popularity of e-cigarettes is the availability of a wide range of flavors. The main ingredient may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, in terms of preparation and extraction, but the flavoring agents are all FDA approved with standardized manufacturing norms. They are food- grade additives. A few examples are:


  • Beta-lonone: The food-grade compound responsible for the aroma in most essential oils. Currently its effect as anticancer agents is being tested on colon cancer.


  • Vanillin: The naturally occurring aromatic compound extracted from vanilla bean is commonly used as a flavoring agent in desserts, perfumes, personal care products etc. vanillin is either extracted organically or synthesized artificially in laboratories to reduce cost of the raw material.


  • Dimethylpyrazine: A common flavoring agent used in drugs, perfume and food industry.


  • Linalool: Produced naturally in many flowers and spice plants.


  • Rose oil: An extract from rose petals exploited for its unique soothing scent.


  • Mallic Acid: It is used to impart fruit flavors in an e-liquid. The taste released is tarty and sour. This organic compound is also added to sodas to reduce pH levels. It is acidic in nature.


  • Acetylpyrazine: A food flavoring agent which is commonly added to popcorn, potato wafers, sesame seeds, wheat bread, coffee, almonds, pork, beef and cocoa.


  • Trimethylpyrazine: Used as a flavoring agent in caramel, coffee, cocoa and chocolate. It is FDA approved.


  • Ethylpyrazine: Used in food products like pork and soup as a flavoring concentrate.


A note on the vapor


Once the ingredients are collectively vaporized, their qualities transform on entering the lungs and with eventual release into the atmosphere. As with the case of any product that we consume, impurities may be present in electronic cigarette fluids too. So the question now raised is: what are the effects of these impurities on the smoker and the by-stander?


According to a study in 2012, published in Indoor air, a comparison between cigarette smoke and e-cigarette smoke to determine the impact on the environment , VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) released by both were tested. Significantly lesser chemicals were detected in the smoke released by an e-cigarette. Only 6 of the 20 compounds present in a nicotine cigarette were found in an e-cigarette. 90% of the detected chemicals were well within the safety margin.


Negligible levels of toxins are release into the air which are well within the permissible limits of exposure. The study also showed no significant second hand exposure to nicotine in e-cig. As quoted in a study published in CleanStream Air,” we can conclude by saying it would be more unhealthy to breathe air in a big city than staying in the same room with someone who is vaping.”


The vapor from an e-cig disperses at a faster rate than tobacco smoke. It is important to remember that vapor is produced only when the user activates the device.


There are no claims that e-cig vapor possesses no health risks at all, but the risks on comparing to that of cigarette are negligible. You are at risk of developing a lung infection if you inhale anything beside 100% pure and safe air. For those who are trying to cut down or quit smoking, e-cigs are a safer alternative. Critics and health officers claim that the associated risk cannot be completely negated as the number of studies conducted on the long term effects of e-cig smokes are very minimal. But, rest assured, they are undoubtedly the safer alternative to smoking.


The Future of E Liquids:

Now it seems the market is going into Hemp E Liquid in a BIG way! You can read more about Hemp E Liquids at




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