Everyone knows that the rise of the electronic industry has been a fast paced one, especially in the last couple of years, but initially it did take a while to take off. Initially buying them was a little helter-skelter, and a bit of a roller coaster ride. It took a few years to get people to vape e-liquid instead of smoking and even more years to do away with their prejudices and concerns. Since electronic cigarette was developed in China, people were concerned: Were they a healthier alternative to cigarettes? Were the nicotine levels 100% accurate? Were they made of good quality liquid? Thankfully now we are getting used to vaping our e cigs, and though there are still concerns, for the most part people are now comfortable that e cigs are better than tobacco cigarettes. A little knowledge goes a long way though, so in this post we are going to explain exactly what “E-liquid” is.
Fundamentally, E-liquid is the fluid that fuels the electronic cigarette. The liquid is housed in a liquid tank system or a pre-filled cartomizer. It is heated by the atomizer to deliver the feel, taste and sensation of smoking. It consists of the following components:
Nicotine: The highly addictive stimulant in the e-liquid is the nicotine. Electronic cigarettes heat the nicotine into a vapour that us smokers inhale. The ability of the e cigarette to deliver this kick in the absence of toxins and any of the tar linked with smoking tobacco is its biggest draw. Nicotine generally comes in set levels, such as 18 milligrams, or 24 milligrams, with 36mg usually being the highest. But you can also mix your own levels of nicotine varying in different quantities depending on your preference.
Flavouring: Flavourings are the fun part and is indispensable in making the vaping experience enjoyable. Nicotine is tasteless, so in order to replicate the flavour of the cigarette, e-liquids are mixed with endless number of flavouring compounds. E-liquid is sold in a wide array of flavours ranging from menthol and classic tobacco to chocolate, coffee, candy, spices, fruits etc. Our most popular is menthol, but there really is something for everyone, and it is good fun to try out different flavours.
Diluents: This component is used for three purposes. Firstly, it dilutes the solution of flavours and nicotine to the point that these two components are at an appropriate volume. Secondly, it is the diluent that is vaporised, acting as the transporter for the nicotine and the flavour into the lungs and mouth. Lastly, it produces a strong “throat hit”, so that the smokers can actually feel the physical response and sensation.
Most E-liquids use the following diluents
Propylene Glycol: This is a pharmaceutical food additive that waters down the blend to an appropriate strength and also helps to generate the throat hit in combination with the flavours and nicotine. Generally most pre-mixed liquids consist of a mixture of 20% Glycerine and 80% Propylene Glycol.
Vegetable Glycerine (VG): This is another food additive which helps to improve the vapour quality and also adds some sweetness to it.
Aqueous Glycerine (AG): This is an extremely high grade pharmaceutical ingredient that is watered down with ionised in water to an appropriate strength so that the mix does not become concrete. To measure the strength of the e-liquid, testers use a milligram measure of nicotine for each millilitre of overall fluid volume and that is the way the solutions indicate the nicotine quantity they contain. This representation was defined to directly compare conventional cigarettes to e-liquid cigarettes. For instance, if a cigarette packet specifies the nicotine occupancy of 1.8 milligram, it implies that each cigarette gives an average nicotine delivery of 1.8 milligram. Hence a packet of 20 cigarettes give an overall nicotine delivery of 36 milligram in comparison to an e-cigarette of 18 milligram per millilitre strength. This connotes that nicotine occupancy is 18 mg in every millilitre of fluid. Hence, if you ‘vape’ 1 ml of this liquid and absorb the entire nicotine, you will receive the same quantity of nicotine as delivered by 10, 1.8 mg traditional cigarettes.
However, it should be known that recent research shows that nicotine ingestion through electronic cigarettes is not comparable to nicotine ingestion through conventional cigarettes. Intrinsically, cigarettes consist of much more nicotine than labelled by the manufacturers. This is mainly because of the stamping on cigarettes, indicating the average nicotine per cigarette and not the real content of the nicotine, which is the actual method of connoting its content. Hence do not be duped by the ostensible comparisons between e-liquid and conventional nicotine content. According to our experience, heavy smokers find a higher nicotine concentration more satisfying in comparison to light and occasional smokers.
Experienced smokers are now considering the nicotine percentage in the liquid. For instance, every 1 milligram per millilitre of liquid contains 0.1% of nicotine by volume. That is 99.9 parts flavouring mixture and diluent and only 0.1 part of the liquid is nicotine. Using this system, an 18 mg/ml fluid contains 1.8% nicotine.
It is all very scientific, but when you break it down it is clear that the nicotine ingested via E-liquid is less than you would generally ingest via tobacco cigarettes. Add to this the fact that there is no tar being drawn in to your lungs; makes electronic cigarettes a clear winner in most peoples minds. Plus the ability to mix your own liquid and nicotine levels gives you far more control over what you are smoking.
So hopefully this has supplied you with a little knowledge on what goes in to E-liquid. As always if you have any comments or feedback, feel free to let us know via the box below.
Author: Kevin Ewbank
Avid vaper & co-founder of SmokShop
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