A Complete Guide to Vape Juice Ingredients

If you’re new to vaping, you should get familiar with vape juice ingredients before setting out on your vaping adventures. Knowing the ingredients will help you make the most of your vaping and adapt it to your tastes and preferences.

It’s an essential step to take before choosing your vape juice online, especially if you plan on taking the DIY road.

So, what exactly are those ingredients, and how do they affect your vaping experience? Let’s find out.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol (PG) is a water-soluble liquid that’s completely colorless and odorless. It’s a synthetic liquid that comes from the hydration of propylene oxide, which comes from petroleum products.

The FDA approves PG for use in many pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food products.

Its ability to absorb water makes it an excellent additive for food and other products, as it can bond various ingredients and make them thicker. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties also come in handy in cosmetics.

When it comes to vaping, PG is the ingredient responsible for harsh “throat hits.” It’s not as thick as VG (vegetable glycerin), and it produces less vapor. So, if cloud-chasing is not something you’re looking for, a PG-based vape juice might be a better option for you.

PG has a mildly sweet taste and carries more flavor than VG. So, if you want your vape juice to retain more flavor, you should go for a high-PG e-liquid.

Your vaping device is also important for choosing your PG/VG ratio. High-ohm vaping devices with high-resistance coils that support mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping are better for vape juices that are based primarily on PG.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable glycerin (VG) is an odorless and colorless liquid that comes from plant oils, mostly palm, coconut, and soybean oil. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, which is why it’s also used in cosmetics.

It’s not like vegetable oil, as it’s water-soluble and can homogenize water-based and oil ingredients. That’s why it has various applications in the pharmaceutical and food industries as well.

VG has a sweet taste and a thick, syrup-like texture. Due to its high viscosity, it requires higher temperatures to produce vapor, which is why e-liquids with a higher VG concentration are better for direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping.

DTL vaping devices, that is, sub-ohm vaping devices, use low-resistance coils that require more power. Thanks to more power and higher temperatures, VG-based e-liquids produce more vapor.

So, if you’re looking to chase clouds, a higher VG ratio is your way to go. It will produce thick, billowing clouds that are perfect for all your vaping tricks.

VG-based e-liquids are also a better option if you want a smoother “throat hit.” Many vaping beginners start with a higher VG ratio because of the milder “throat hit.”

However, VG doesn’t carry flavor well, so the stronger its ratio, the less flavor your vape juice will retain.

There are also vape juices with 100% VG, also known as full VG e-liquids.


Favoring concentrates in e-liquids contain natural and/or artificial flavoring to make vape juices taste like various foods or beverages. They make up 10% of an e-liquid at most.

Most of the flavorings (emphasis on “most”) that manufacturers use are food-grade.

Before buying vape juice, make sure you check the label for “food grade” flavoring, which would mean it’s approved by the FDA. The FDA classifies food-grade e-liquid ingredients as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).

It’s also essential to ensure the flavoring is not oil-based. Even more important is ensuring the flavoring is diketone-free. Diketones such as acetyl propionyl, diacetyl, and acetoin can be very dangerous to health when inhaled, as they can cause serious lung damage.

Nicotine (Optional)

Nicotine is a stimulant alkaloid and the only optional ingredient in vape juices. It doesn’t change the flavor in any way, but it can produce a stronger “throat hit,” depending on the concentration.

If you want to vape without nicotine, be extra careful when buying vape juices because many contain nicotine by default. Vendors disclose that information on their website and product labels, so keep your eyes open.

But if you want to vape with nicotine, you don’t have to buy an e-liquid that already contains this alkaloid. You can get a nicotine-free vape juice and add a nicotine shot.

You have two choices when it comes to nicotine shots. One is freebase nicotine, which comes in strength levels such as 0 mg, 3 mg, 6 mg, and 12 mg.

The other option is nicotine salts, which are available in 25-50 mg strengths. Nic salts give a smoother “throat hit” than freebase nicotine.


Not that you know what vape juice ingredients are and how each affects your vaping experience, you can make the right choice when shopping for e-liquids. Just make sure a third-party lab tested your chosen e-liquids for quality and purity.

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