E-liquid or e-juice is liquid that fuels vapes or electronic cigarettes, it’s what gets vapourised to form an aerosol mist that is analogous to smoke from a traditional cigarette. The key ingredients in e-juices are vegetable glycerine (VG), propylene glycol (PG), flavourings and sometimes nicotine.
What is Propylene glycol (PG)?
Propylene glycol is an odourless alcohol (in purely chemistry speak) and is commonly used as a preservative in the food industry. It is a base liquid and has a lower viscosity (think of honey when compared with water) than Vegetable Glycerine, as such does not produce but vapour when used in e-liquids.
This substance has a bad reputation as a component in antifreeze, however it has been ruled safe by the FDA and is commonly used as a food additive. Its use in antifreeze is as a base liquid due to it being non-toxic, it is worth pointing out because a certain chemical is used in a poisonous product, does not make that specific chemical harmful. A good example is H2O, or simply water which is also an ingredient in antifreeze, however is vital for life. Also worth noting is that PG is safe to inhale and used in asthma pumps.
There is often grading based on the chemical purity of these compounds. Only after it has reached a certain purity threshold may it be used in food, drug or medicinal use. A common food safe standard is the American is U.S.P grading which all our Crikey Clouds range use.
What is Vegetable Glycerine
Vegetable Glycerine (VG) is a natural substance that is processed from some kinds of fats, in this case it would be from vegetable hence the name vegetable glycerine. It is a non-toxic colourless liquid with a sweet taste as such is commonly used as a low-glycaemic sweetener in the food industry (think of all the diet foods, and how they have no sugar).
VG is what produces dense clouds of vapour, but it does not give a good throat hit, as such it is very popular amongst cloud chasers.
Flavouring are essentially esters (chemistry speak for a family of compounds) that are responsible for the taste, aroma and flavour of naturally occurring foods and liquids. For example, Butyl acetate is responsible for the smell and taste of apple and is naturally occurring in it. There is controversy surrounding some of these compounds as they are safe to ingest but may not be safe to inhale. An example is diacetyl which is naturally occurring in alcohol beverages, however when inhaled can cause respiratory problems. Europe responded to this by banning any e-liquids containing it.
This is what makes it an effective substitute to smoking as it kills the nicotine cravings. A popular method of circumventing the zero nicotine laws in Australia, is by adding concentrated nicotine into nicotine free e-liquid.