E-liquid for beginners
So you’ve decided to try vaping for the first time[link], and you’ve chosen your first e-cigarette[link]. Now it’s time to select your vape juice! There’s such a wide selection of different e-liquids out there, with all kinds of flavours and ingredients. If you’re new to vaping and looking for some help to demystify the world of e-juice, let us initiate you with our guide to e-liquid for beginners.
What is e-liquid?
E-liquid goes by a number of different names; you might also have heard it described as vape juice, e-juice or simply juice! Put simply, e-liquid is the substance you inhale in vapour form, when using an e-cigarette. It’s housed in a tank inside an electronic cigarette, heated using an electronic current from a battery, and turned into vapour. So, e-liquid is fundamental to the whole process of vaping.
What is it made of?
There are usually only four basic components of e-liquid:
- Vegetable glycerine (VG)
- Propylene glycol (PG)
Vegetable glycerine and Propylene glycol are non-toxic substances that are present in varying ratios in different varieties of e-liquid. They’re compounds with the right attributes to create the perfect vape; both are types of alcohol with the characteristics needed to create inhalable vapour when heated. We’ll find out more about PG and VG below.
The flavourings added to your e-liquid can be natural or artificial – just like the flavourings found in foods, drinks and chewing gum. ‘Natural’ flavourings might include fruit or vegetable extracts or aromas like vanilla, liquorice, cocoa and cinnamon. Artificial flavours are more esoteric; derived from chemicals, they are synthetically designed to approximate any number of taste sensations, from to breakfast cereals to buttered popcorn.
Finally, e-liquids commonly also contain nicotine, an addictive substance found in traditional tobacco-based cigarettes. The level of nicotine that you choose is up to you; smokers converting to e-cigarettes[link] will want to approximate the same nicotine hit that they would get from a cigarette, while those looking to cut down might choose a lower proportion of nicotine in their e-liquid. Some people go for e-juice varieties that are completely nicotine-free.
VG and PG explained
Choosing the right e-liquid can be a little bewildering for beginners, and one of the most confusing things to get your head around is the VG to PG ratio. This is alien terminology for those used to cigarette smoking, so we’re here to explain.
As we saw above, VG stands for vegetable glycerine. The properties of VG make it great for creating large, impressive clouds, so if you want to puff out lots of vapour, you might go for a blend with a high proportion of VG. (Bear in mind though, that you’ll need a powerful battery to heat up a heavily VG-based e-juice blend). VG also has a sweet taste which will affect the flavour of your e-juice.
PG is short for Propylene glycol. It’s a thinner substance than VG, so it’s easier to heat, but produces less vapour. It offers a ‘throat hit’ similar to that of cigarettes, so smokers seeking a familiar sensation might choose a vape juice higher in PG.
Everyone has different preferences, and through experience you’ll soon discover your favourite blend, but the best e-liquid for beginners would probably be anywhere between a 50/50 ratio, to 70/30 PG/VG.
How to choose the right nicotine strength
As we saw above, e-liquids are available with varying nicotine strengths for different types of vapers. These range from zero nicotine (0mg) right up to 20mg, with 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg concentrations also commonly available. (Some brands may offer different concentrations, so shop around until you find the strength that suits you best.)
If you’re a complete novice and unsure where to start with nicotine strength, our recommendation will depend on how much nicotine your body is accustomed to from smoking. If you’re a regular smoker used to having multiple cigarette breaks every day, the right e-liquid for beginners will probably contain around 12mg of nicotine. Take a look at our handy chart to help decide which nicotine strength to start with.
Although the nicotine strength advertised on your e-juice is a good indicator of the hit you’ll get from your vape, it’s not the only factor at play. Sometimes different vape devices will also have an effect on how much nicotine you inhale; the
basic pen-style devices tend to have a lower power output, meaning that they won’t deliver the same level of nicotine as a mod with a bigger battery. If you’re using a pen-style e-cigarette, then you might want to up the nicotine level in your vape juice.
Be careful not to overdo the nicotine. Using a higher nicotine concentration may result in a harsh throat hit and a nicotine rush that can give you a headache and make you feel quite ill. For beginners, it’s best to give your body time to adjust to the nicotine levels, so keep hydrated, start low and give it time.
How to choose e-liquid flavours
There’s a huge and complex variety of e-juices available, with sweet, savoury, cereal, fruity and more traditional options all on offer. If you’re not sure which to choose, good starter vape flavours tend to be simpler options like strawberry and menthol. And if you don’t like the idea of wacky flavours, you could opt for a tobacco flavour for an easy transition from smoking to vaping.
If you have a sweet tooth, the Dr Fog range includes cake, yoghurt and ice-cream flavoured sweet blends, and is a great place to start.
Our top e-liquid tips
There’s so much to learn when you first start to choose and use e-liquid. These tips will make life easier for beginners.
- Steeping. Just like tea, the flavour of e-liquid can change and develop depending on how long the flavours are given to infuse. Experiment with steeping your e-liquid by putting a sealed bottle of vape juice in hot water for 10-15 minutes, giving it a shake and then having a vape. Repeat the process until the flavour is just as you like it!
- Storage. E-liquid flavour can deteriorate over time. To keep it fresh, store your e-liquid in an airtight container in the fridge, or a suitable cool, dark place away from bright light, excessive heat and other flavours.
- How to change e liquid flavours. If you’re switching between flavours, give the tank of your vaping device a thorough clean first. Otherwise you might just hit on a new and not entirely pleasant flavour blend!
Now that you’ve had a crash course in e-liquid for beginners, it’s time to choose your first vape juice. Browse our range to select the right e-liquid for you.