Understanding the Basic Components of E-Liquid

May 23, 2023

Understanding the Basic Components of E-Liquid

For people new to vaping, it can seem overwhelming to acquaint yourself with e-liquids and the components that constitute them. Good thing is, your typical e-liquid does not contain many ingredients so understanding it can be far less daunting than a lot of people think. So much so, in fact, that you can basically learn what e-liquids entail in just a simple article like this one. So, let’s get down to it!

What is E-Liquid – and What are the E-Liquid Ingredients?

Also known as vape juice or simply e-juice, e-liquid is one of the most essential aspects of vaping. It is like fuel to a conventional engine – without it, the vehicle simply cannot move. All e-liquids are made up of several basic ingredients in some varying degree. Each of these ingredients adds a certain property to the final product. If you want to alter the characteristics of the e-liquid in the end, all you need to do is play around with these ingredients. The ingredients in question are:

  • Propylene glycol (PG)
  • Vegetable glycerine (VG)
  • Flavouring
  • Nicotine

Let’s take a brief look at each and the role it plays.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

Usually abbreviated as ‘PG’, propylene glycol is one of the chief ingredients in vape juice. It is one of two basic carriers in e-liquid. PG is clear in colour and has a thinner viscosity compared to VG. Actually, it is runny, a trait that makes it flow and wick more easily. Propylene glycol is a better carrier of flavour and nicotine than VG. Its ability to hold nicotine contributes more to what is known as a throat hit, a sensation at the back of the throat that results from nicotine inhalation. For this reason, you find that juices with a decent amount of PG are more ‘satisfying’ for ex-smokers and people who are vaping for the nicotine. We say ‘decent amount’ because unlike vegetable glycerine, PG in high amounts makes an e-liquid very harsh. This is partly why you will rarely find an e-liquid with more than 50% PG in its PG: VG ratio. A 50:50 e-liquid composition is more common, or anything lower than 50PG.

Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

Abbreviated as VG, vegetable glycerine is the other basic carrier in e-juice. It is highly viscous in nature, so e-liquids with a high concentration of VG tend to be thicker. This viscosity also means it flows more slowly so takes longer to be absorbed into wicks. A high concentration of VG is anything north of 50% vis a vis PG – 60VG 40PG, 70VG 30PG, 80VG 20PG, or even 100VG. That’s right. It is possible to have an e-liquid comprising 100% VG and zero PG. Unlike PG-based e-juice, VG e-liquids do not come across as harsh even in high quantities. It is easier on the throat. What’s more, VG e-liquids, which carry a slightly sweet tinge, are known to produce a remarkable amount of vapour, therefore ideal for blowing clouds, or what is known as sub ohm vaping. These juices are best paired with a distinctive class of device known as a sub-ohm or mod – devices that make use of coils with a resistance of less than 1 ohm (hence the name sub ohm).

Vape Flavour

E-liquid flavour is the one e-liquid component that varies the most in e-juice. This is one of the reasons there are literally thousands of flavours in the market, especially considering one flavour, say Mango, from Brand A does not necessarily taste the same as a Mango flavour from Brand B. Depending on the type of vape flavouring used, the flavour makes up anywhere between 2 per cent and 20% of the e-liquid. Vape flavours can encompass both the approved food flavourings that you know of, as well as flavours specially formulated for vape e-liquids. The latter tend to be more concentrated so less flavour is needed in the juice, and they also result in a ‘more pure’ end product. Regardless of the type of flavour used, a reputable brand is one that uses kosher flavourings that do not pose any health risk to the users.


This ingredient is one of the reasons most people vape. While there are those who simply enjoy the delectable slew of flavours on offer (minus the nicotine), a good number of vapers are former smokers who have quit or are looking to kick the habit. Nicotine in e-liquids is an optional component. There are e-liquids which contain 0mg nicotine, especially in the sub ohm category. These are best suited for blowing clouds, as well for use by anyone who is just interested in sampling the diverse world of vape flavours, as we just alluded to. Nicotine content in vape juice is usually listed in one of two formats:

  • Nicotine by Volume
For example, 18mg/ml or just 18mg. This means there is 18 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of e-liquid. Its ‘by percentage’ equivalent would read ‘1.8% Nicotine’.
  • Nicotine by Percentage

For example 0.3% nicotine. This means 0.3 per cent of the contents in the e-liquid bottle is nicotine. Its ‘by volume’ equivalent would be listed as ‘3mg’. Read 3mg of Nicotine a Lot? When handling nicotine, we recommend taking extra caution as it can be poisonous in high quantities. The more nicotine there is in a juice, the more throat hit the juice will have. However, more is not always better with nicotine. That’s because the more nicotine is present, the harsher the juice will be. As well, e-liquids with more nicotine are less flavourful compared to those with less of it.

Best E-Liquid Brand UK

At AquaVape, we take great pride in the e-liquids we offer our customers. You can use a discount code to save money. We always strive for quality and try to weave the element of fun in them, so it is little surprise that we were voted one of the Best E-Liquid Brands in the UK. Check out the variety of e-liquids on offer in our store. 

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