What is Vape Juice? The Ingredients in E-Liquid

Vape juice, also called e-Juice or e-liquid, refers to the liquid product used in vaporizers and electronic cigarettes to create vapor. The vaporizer heats the vape juice to between 200 and 400 degrees celsius and then turns it into vapor. Inhaling the vapor gives you the flavor you want. 

Vape juice exists in a wide range of flavors to suit different consumer preferences, including nicotine and zero nicotine options. However, not everyone knows the ingredients in vape juice.

So, if you’re wondering, “what is vape juice made of?” We’re breaking down the ingredients below.

What are the ingredients in vape juice?

Vape smokers need to know the content they inhale, and that includes what is in vape juice. 

Vape juice ingredients include:

  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
  • A mix of both PG and VG
  • Nicotine (but not always) 
  • Food-grade flavoring

Propylene Glycol (PG)

PG is one of the main ingredients of vape juice. It is a lab-made substance used to distribute flavoring evenly in the liquid. PG is an alcohol with a faint sweet taste, though not enough to be used as a sweetener. It is a humectant that is colorless and odorless and is used to create a strong vapor. It is also used in many products, including pharmaceuticals and food products, to keep them moist.

PG in vape juice enhances flavors and leaves a strong taste in the back of the throat.

It is also used in antifreeze. Some people think that vape juice contains antifreeze, which is a false belief. PG is just one ingredient in antifreeze due to its versatility and it is non-toxic and safe for children and pets.

PG is used in e-juice because it is a thin liquid, making it easier to fill and refill the atomizer. Its thin nature makes vape juice create less build-up and gunk on your vaping kit coil. PG absorbs heat fast, meaning you can start vaping quicker once you switch on your vape; hence, the vapor feels warmer.

While some vapers may experience allergies from PG-based vape juices, . PG is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration. PG-based vape juices typically produce a less dense vapor so your clouds will be less visible. For the small percentage of people sensitive to vape juice with high percentage PG, they can switch to one with a higher percentage of vegetable glycerine (VG).

Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

Like PG, vegetable glycerin (VG) is a non-toxic, colorless, and odorless liquid. It has a tang of sweet taste. You can tell it apart from PG because it is very thick and viscous, which is why high VG vape juices are too thick for older types of atomizers. VG is also an ingredient in the food industry as a sweetener; it’s also used in different kinds of medicines.

VG in vape juice creates large clouds of vapor and tends to be easier on the throat. It also delivers less flavor intensity. Its sweetness makes the final product taste more sugary compared to PG. Its downsides are that it creates gunk accumulation on the coil, and it needs more power to reach the optimal temperature to be ready for vaping. 

Overall, vegetable glycerin (VG) is generally considered safe. However, as with every other product, VG may not be suitable for you if you are allergic to it.

PG/VG Ratio in Vaping Juice

Now that you know what VG and PG are in vape juice, you can choose products with your ideal PG/VG ratio. E-juices often come with a mix of both of these ingredients. This combination means that you can select a vape juice with a balance of throat hit, flavor intensity, and cloud density.

When choosing the ideal ratio, consider whether you are sensitive to PG. If your vaporizer is old or typically miniature, you may want to avoid high content VG. For example, 70% of PG e-juice is sufficient in standard e-cigs for beginner vapers. 50/50 blend of PG and VG is generally used with higher performance vapes with high atomizer resistance levels. It is perfect if you want some cloud and a strong flavor hit. 

If you are unsure of the ratio to opt for, choosing a combined e-juice will help you discover the best products for you.


Most vape liquids include nicotine as an ingredient. It is derived from tobacco plants or from synthetic sources. Nicotine improves the flavor of the vaporizers without using tobacco leaves. However, it is naturally addictive. 

There is varying nicotine content in e-juice. The nicotine in vape juice is measured in milligrams or as a percentage by volume. For instance, 3 mg per gram of nicotine level is the same as 0.3% nicotine. The amount of nicotine in vape juice should be labeled accurately. 

User preferences vary, and the best bit is that you can also opt for no nicotine vaping. You also have different nicotine options should you choose to vape with one. 

Generally, flavoring makes up 1% to 10% of the total volume of e-juice. One of the advantages of vaping is the wide variety of delicious flavors. The liquid is a bit tasteless; hence food-grade additives are used to add flavor to it. The flavors are very concentrated, and it does not take much. Their recipes and ratios are similar to basic cooking recipes. For best results. They are tested, finely tuned, and mixed professionally in laboratories. 

The source of the flavoring is essential. Some people make their own flavorings with do-it-yourself (DIY) techniques from the internet.  Some vape juice may contain flavors and other ingredients that are harmful to inhale. We recommend sticking to flavors from reputable vape manufacturers.

However, you cannot be fully aware of the flavors' ingredients based on the label. The FDA permits manufacturers to hide select proprietary information — or trade secrets —  to maintain their uniqueness in flavors. Therefore, it is advisable to buy e-juice only from reputable brands.

Flavors to Try

For starters, one classic to try is menthol, a cool and fresh flavor that is common for newbies. Since flavors are relatively inexpensive, you can experiment until you find your go-to flavors.

Vanillin is a synthetic compound, which is one of the most popular flavors. It is a regular preference for vapers because of its sweet characteristic. Limonene is a strong flavor that masks the other bitter notes of the other ingredients making it a favorite for many. 

Everyone has different palates, so the tangy flavors someone else prefers may not be your taste.


As a vaper, it is crucial to understand all the facts about vape juices. Knowing what vape juice is made of, your preferred nicotine strength and the best PG/VG ratio will give you the best vaping experience.

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