Vaping device and liquids

What is vape liquid? 6 most common questions answered

James Pawley

We are asked all sorts of things about vape liquid, but some questions come up again and again. Here we provide the answers to the top 6 most asked questions about vape liquid.


  1. What is vape liquid made of? What ingredients are in vape liquid?

    • PG, or propylene glycol. Commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry, it is used as a base to carry flavours.
    • VG, or vegetable glycerin. A vegetable derivative commonly used in the food and cosmetic industries. When heated it vaporises, producing the vapor cloud you inhale from an e cig.
    • Flavouring. Most commonly food flavourings are used, although flavourings are now being produced specially for the vape industry.
    • Nicotine (optional). Many vape liquids contain nicotine, an addictive mild stimulant when used at low concentrations. The level of nicotine in vape liquid is limited in the EU to 20mg/ml of liquid. At higher concentrations it can be dangerously toxic.
  2. What vape liquid should I use?

    • The nicotine strength
    • The flavour
    • The ratio of PG and VG in the liquid base
    • The e cig or vaping device you will be putting the vape liquid into

    A short explanation of each follows: however, this decision involves several factors, so if you are unsure or need further information, please contact us.

    Nicotine strengths are expressed as the number of milligrams (mg) in each millilitre of liquid. They range from none at all (0mg) up to 20mg, which is the highest concentration that can be sold in the UK and other EU countries. The most commonly used strength is 3mg, but this really is a question of the individuals tastes and requirements.

    The range of flavours now available is huge, from tobacco flavours right through to synthetic and natural food flavourings reproducing fruits, sweets, desserts and all manner of other things. If you are making your own vape liquid, you can even combine flavour concentrates to create whichever weird and wonderful combinations you fancy.

    The ratio of PG and VG in the juice affects the experience of vaping the liquid. More VG means more cloud, but also a moister vape (VG is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture from the surrounding air). PG carries the flavour and also provides the ‘throat hit’ – the feeling in your throat when you inhale. Too much can lead to a rough or scratchy feeling in the throat. However, in deciding what PG/VG ratio to use the most important factor will be the e cig or vaping device you wish to use the vape liquid in. In small ‘pen style’ e cigarettes it is often best to use 50%PG 50%VG liquid, as the coils in the atomizer are not best suited to high VG liquids, which are thicker. Conversely, large ‘tanks’ often need a higher VG liquid – typically 30%PG 70%VG as a higher proportion of PG can lead to problems with leakage, as well as an unpleasantly harsh sensation when inhaling.

  3. Which vape liquid is safe?

    • Only buy vape liquid that is tested and notified under TPD
    • Only buy vape liquid from reputable sellers
    • Only mix with pharmaceutical grade ingredients
    • Always know where your ingredients have come from

    In the past there have been scares about certain ingredients used in vape flavourings, most notably diacetyl. The standards of testing and submission now in place in the UK and EU mean that, as long as you are buying vape liquids registered and tested in the EU (in the UK the responsible agency is the MHRC), you can be sure that they are declared as compliant with the regulations, and should not contain any nasty or dangerous substances. When mixing your own vape liquid, it is vital that all your ingredients come from a trustworthy source, and from a vendor who will be able to trace their supply chain right back to manufacture. It is not worth taking risks with unknown or untraceable ingredients.

  4. What strength vape liquid should I use?

    • 20mg – the strongest vape liquid you can buy in the UK or EU
    • 18mg – the most common high strength widely available.
    • 12mg – Good for pen style devices and/or infrequent users
    • 6mg – The strongest many would go on a sub ohm tank; towards the lower end for pen style devices
    • 3mg – A favourite for heavy users of powerful devices, also excellent for those cutting down
    • 0mg – All the great taste but no nicotine.

    As you can see from the above, there is quite a range available, and it really is difficult as not two people are the same. Seek advice from you vendor about the typical nicotine levels for your device and usage level, or contact us and we will do our best to get the right answer for you.

  5. What is steeping vape liquid?

    • Once the flavour ingredients are mixed it is left to ‘steep’
    • This allows the flavour to mix fully with the liquid
    • Gives the flavour profile time to fully develop

    Even some of the most delicious vape liquids sometimes contain flavour concentrates, which, in their ‘raw’ concentrated form are so strong that they do not smell particularly appealing. As e-liquid contains VG, which is a relatively unreactive substance, it can take time for those flavours fully to mix with the base. Until they do, you are unlikely to taste the flavours at their best. The answer? A period of resting and shaking after the vape liquid has been mixed, and before it is used. The amount an e-liquid can change for the better given enough time can be remarkable. There are no hard and fast rules, but vape liquids are generally best enjoyed after a steeping period of between a couple of days and a couple of weeks.

  6. What’s the best vape liquid?

    • Blueberry Slush
    • Dragon’s Blood
    • Fields of Home
    • Supreme Creamy Custard
    • Cherry Cool

    They are my favourites anyway! I would say the best vape liquid is the one you make yourself, exactly the way you like it. To share the love a bit, though, I must say I have really enjoyed the new Risen range of shortfills from the folks at Riot Squad.

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