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Vape Juice Ingredients – What Is In Your E-liquid?

Whether it’s vape juice, e-juice, or e-liquid, they all have the same content, irrespective of the brand, flavor, size, or label. Knowing what vape juice is made of can help you decide what kind of vape liquids to vape, as you’ll know how each ingredient affects your vaping experience.
It also puts you in the league of the pro vapers, who can never go wrong with vape juice selections and even make their own vape juices.


Vape Juice Ingredients – What Is E-liquid Made Of?

There are 5 basic ingredients in vape juice:

  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
  • Nicotine
  • Flavorings
  • Water

Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are the base e-liquid ingredients. They usually come in combination ratios, but overall they make up about 80-90% of the total contents of vape juice. The exception is special Max VG or PG vape liquids that may contain up to 99% VG or PG.
Water, flavoring concentrates, and nicotine make up about 10-18% of any e-liquid. The variations in percentages will depend on the kind of e-liquid produced. For instance, nicotine salts will contain as much as 10-30 % of the e-liquid.


What Is In Vape Juice? – What Does Vape Juice Contain?

Here are the main vape juice ingredients and their respective roles in the e-liquids in which they are used.


PG – Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is an odorless, colorless, and slightly viscous liquid gotten from laboratory synthesis or Propylene oxide. PG is an essential additive in cosmetics and skincare products, and in foods, beverages, and e-liquids. The main functions of PG in any liquid include:

  • It ensures the various e-liquid ingredients mix together and do not separate even if they sit for a long time.
  • It attracts and retains moisture in vape liquids. This is why your e-liquid won’t dry out even after exposure to air.
  • Due to its powerful solving ability, it acts as the main carrier of the e-juice flavor or nicotine.
  • PG is responsible for the burning throat sensation or throat hit experienced in some vape juices.
  • It also prevents microbial growth, allowing vape liquids to stay for a long time without getting spoilt.

PG also works as an antifreeze agent in e-liquids, thanks to its extremely low freezing point.


VG – Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is an odorless and slightly sweet natural chemical derived from vegetable oils. It is a very viscous liquid, thicker than PG. Glycerin is a chemical that can be extracted from plant and animal fats. However, the Glycerin used in the vaping industry is gotten only from plant fats; this is why it’s called vegetable glycerin.

VG is one of the base vape juice ingredients and serves similar functions as PG. These functions include:

  • Acting as an emulsifier for the various e-liquid ingredients
  • Acting as a humectant (trapping and preserving moisture)
  • Acting as a solvent for carrying the various flavorings
  • Acting as a microbial agent

VG also performs some unique functions:

  1. Formation of vape clouds: VG is the main ingredient responsible for thick vape clouds produced while vaping. The higher the VG content of any e-juice, the thicker the clouds produced.
  2. Acting as a sweetener: VG is sweet naturally, and so it helps enhance vape juice flavors when used. It eliminates the need for other artificial sweeteners like sucrose.

How To Choose The Right PG/VG Ratio?

Different VG and PG combination ratios produce different effects in e-liquids. These effects are evident in the taste, flavor, harshness, and cloud thickness of vape clouds. Most vapers simply go for the popular ratios like the 70VG/30PG and 50VG/50PG blends. Here are some tips that can help you select the perfect PG/VG ratio.

  • Your unique vaping style: Do you love huge vape clouds or do you prefer strong-flavored vapes that give a throat hit? Cloud chasers need high VG blends, while flavor chasers need high PG blends. Sub-ohm vaping also works best with high VG juices.
  • Your health status: While high PG fluids are recommended for folks trying to quit smoking/tobacco, some people are allergic to the harsh throat hit these liquids give. So if you are allergic to PG, you should stick to high VG fluids.
  • Your vape device: Most electronic cigarettes are only good for high PG ratios, while the high wattage devices with sub-ohm tanks are ideal for high VG blends.


This is the addictive substance in vape liquids that causes intoxication while vaping. It is gotten from the tobacco plant. The higher the nicotine levels of an e-liquid, the faster you’ll get high. Apart from satisfying cravings, nicotine can also help improve the flavor of a throat hit.


How To Choose The Right Nicotine Content?

Most vape juices have very low nicotine content (about 2%), so vapers can enjoy vaping without getting easily intoxicated. However, these types of fluids don’t favor all vapers. Here are 2 factors that should determine the nicotine content you choose:

  1. Your nicotine cravings: If you need to satisfy your nicotine cravings quickly, you should go for liquids with high nicotine content or nicotine salts. Then again, if you simply want to enjoy vape flavors and fumes, then low or zero-nicotine e-juices are recommended.
  2. Your smoking history: If you’re trying to quit smoking, your level of nicotine consumption will most likely correspond with your smoking addiction. If you were a six-packs-a-day smoker, then high-nicotine-concentration e-liquids or nicotine salts will satisfy your nicotine cravings. However, if you were an average smoker, low nicotine vape liquids will do just fine.


Flavorings used in vape liquids are always food-grade. Normally, PG and VG can’t produce many flavors on their own, but when mixed with food flavorings, they can result in sweet, strong flavors.
Flavorings can’t take more than 10% of the entire contents of vape juice; they’re usually in the range of 3-7%. Most times, different flavoring concentrates are combined to produce a unique flavor or taste (especially fruit flavors). Common vape juice flavors include:

  • Strawberry
  • Watermelon
  • Banana
  • Menthol
  • Custard
  • Bubblegum
  • Tobacco

Other E-liquid Ingredients

Water: Water is required in vape liquids to provide consistency and help the PG, VG, and flavorings mix. It also helps in the production of lingering vapor. The water content of e-liquids is usually little, mostly negligible.

The main vape juice ingredients are PG, VG, flavors, nicotine, and water. However, you may find these other ingredients in electronic cigarettes that use cartridges:

  • Aldehydes
  • Metals (like nickel and tin)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Tobacco alkaloids
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons

Vape Juice Ingredients – FAQ

What Is Vape Juice Made Of?

Vape juice is primarily made of water, Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Nicotine, and Flavorings. These ingredients are combined in specific concentrations to give the vape juice unique properties. However, in the course of production and refilling vape tanks/cartridges, other chemical compounds and metals can become part of the mixture.


Does Vape Juice Have Nicotine?

Yes, vape juice has nicotine. Nicotine is necessary to quench the nicotine cravings of most vapers. Without nicotine, vaping won’t be a viable alternative to smoking, as vape users won’t get any intoxication from it. In other words, the nicotine in vape liquids helps most smokers quit.
Most vape liquids have a nicotine content of about 10-24 mg, while nicotine salts may have as much as 36 mg or more.  However, there are nicotine-free e-liquids for individuals who are allergic to nicotine or who just desire a nicotine-free vape.