What’s Actually in Your Vape Juices?
Sweeteners, flavors, nicotine, tobacco … You of course know that these words are associated with your e-liquids and vape juices, but what actually are they? What else is there that you might not know of? Are those ingredients safe? And if the ingredients are okay to consume, is it okay to vape?
You have questions. We have answers. So to start, all e-liquids and vape juices generally have two main components: propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. What makes each different are the ingredients that are added to get a specific flavor. And to take that even further, different brands use different ingredients — even if it’s the same flavor.
Some ingredients used to add flavor to e-liquids may be natural but some might be artificial, too — and since some can be more harmful than others, paying attention to the additives used in your e-liquids and vape juices is vital before making your purchase.
That’s why we’ve listed the most commonly used ingredients below, to equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best decision when purchasing e-liquids:
Common General E-Juice Ingredients
Simply enough, most e-liquids and vape juices are made of these core ingredients across the board.
Propylene glycol (PG): The main ingredient in asthma inhalers, PG is used primarily to produce a smoking-like sensation on your throat when you inhale, and its use largely comes down to ease of vaporization.
Vegetable glycerin (VG): Used to boost vapor production, VG provides a smoother throat hit and imparts some hints of sweetness into the mix. It’s what helps you achieve large clouds of vapor, too.
Generally, PG and VG make up 90 percent of all e-liquids and vape juices. The other 10 percent comes from nicotine and/or flavorings.
Nicotine: The component of almost all tobacco e-liquids is nicotine, the core addictive component of tobacco. However, vape juices and e-liquids come in a variety of strengths that can help smokers quit and there are several that don’t contain nicotine at all.
- At Black Note, e-liquids are available in these levels of nicotine:
- 0 mg/mL
- 3 mg/mL
- 6 mg/mL
- 12 mg/mL
- 18 mg/mL
Common Flavoring E-Juice Ingredients
A combination of artificial and natural flavoring chemicals produces the taste of most e-liquids and vape juices — and again, each brand uses different ingredients to achieve a variety of unique flavors.
Generally, these common flavorings used in e-liquids have no known risks and most are actually used in foods, too:
Tobacco absolute: Also known as “tobacco extract,” tobacco absolute is a concentrated extract of tobacco flavor that’s commonly used in the perfume industry. When used sparingly, this imparts a somewhat realistic, smoky component to tobacco juices.
Vanillin: The primary component of vanilla bean extract, Vanillin is what helps achieve a vanilla flavor. Known to be a respiratory irritant, some researchers suggest that a high exposure to vanillin might actually put one over the recommended exposure limit.
Linalool: Active in many essential oils, fruits, flowers and plants, Linalool is a component that brings out an herbal flavor.
Ethyl maltol: A common flavor in some sweets and candies, ethyl maltol is an organic compound that gives a sweet, bakery-like flavor.
Acetyl pyrazine: Found in seeds and nuts, acetyl pyrazine is an organic compound that provides a graham cracker-like flavor.
Malic acid: The active ingredient in many sour and tart foods, malic acid is an organic compound that occurs naturally in all fruits and many vegetables, and is the reason for the sour and fruity flavors in many e-liquids.
Natural E-Juice Ingredients
From the tobacco seed to the natural extracts, many e-juice companies are looking at natural alternatives to artificial ingredients. That’s what we do here at Black Note. Our e-liquids are naturally extracted and cold-macerated and have no characterizing flavors or additives.
Non-GMO tobacco seeds: Many brands use non-GMO tobacco seeds as they’re free from chemicals like pesticides and herbicides that can lead to illnesses. And for those companies’ e-liquids and vape juices, the taste can ultimately be boiled down to those non-GMO tobacco seeds — which is what kicks off the e-liquid process. At Black Note, for example, the seeds mature into leaves. Then, they’re harvested, cured, dried, moistened, blended and aged before its liquid is naturally extracted and filtered into one of the purest e-liquids on the market.
Naturally extracted tobacco: Also known as “NET e-liquid,” naturally extracted tobacco is used in the main type of tobacco vape juices. To make it, the process involves “steeping” high-quality, genuine tobacco leaves in PG and VG, extracting the flavor to form the base of the e-liquid.
Additive-free flavors: All Black Note e-liquids are free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and chemical additives. So just like when you’re looking the very best foods to eat, it’s the same principle for these e-liquids, too: There’s nothing that you can’t pronounce.
As an important rule of thumb, remember that just because it’s used in foods it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s natural or safe to inhale. The main example of this is a group of chemicals called “diketones,” which consists of diacetyl, acetyl propionyl and acetoin.
Diacetyl: Used to create the buttery flavor in microwaveable popcorn, diacetyl is an additive that became well known to lead to bronchiolitis — or “popcorn lung.” Diacetyl is noted to be the most harmful offender out of the three, but it will more than likely never be found in any e-liquids.
Acetyl propionyl and acetoin: Because acetyl propionyl and acetoin were created as alternatives to diacetyl, these two diketones can cause a chemical reaction if there’s even a small trace of diacetyl. At Black Note, no e-liquids include these ingredients.