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What Ingredients Go Into Making Flavored eLiquids?

Vaping has taken the world by storm. Emerging as a viable alternative to smoking cigarettes, there were just 7 million e-cigarettes in 2011. This figure exploded in 2016 to 35 million and is expected to reach 55 million by 2021.

Unlike cigarettes, vaping offers a plethora of choices. A seemingly infinite array of flavors means there is something for all tastes and preferences. Users are also mixing their own flavors by combining e liquids in creative and innovative ways.

So what goes into a flavored e liquid? Understanding the basic ingredients will allow vape enthusiasts to craft their own flavors and be ever more creative in their search for the holy grail: the ultimate e-liquid flavor for everyday vaping.

Diluted Nicotine

The amount and concentration of diluted nicotine depend on your own personal preference. However, flavored liquids usually have some volume or strength of diluted nicotine. Diluted nicotine has a flavor profile of its own.

A solution that has no liquid nicotine tastes different from the same solution with 36 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter. The higher the diluted nicotine content, the more dopamine is released in the brain, inducing a pleasurable sensation.

Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin

Both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are sweeteners and thickening agents approved by the FDA for use in e-cigarettes. These are the base of the liquid and constitute the main component in the solution.

There are some differences between the propylene glycol (PG) solutions and liquids using a vegetable glycerin (VG) base. They both have slightly different flavors and consistencies. They also feel slightly different on the throat when vaped. Most of the flavors on the market use some combination of both bases in their solutions. The stronger flavors usually contain a ratio that favors PG. Ultimately, whether you use a PG or VG liquid will largely come down to personal preferences and taste.


Often vape juices contain an amount of water to get the desired consistency and vapor profile. Each flavor and e-liquid has a different amount of water. Some don’t contain any.


Finally, e liquids contain flavorings. These vary depending on the precise flavor, with offerings including chocolate, watermelon, mint, bacon, roast chicken and acid unicorn.

Most manufacturers will not list the precise components that make up each individual flavor to protect the brand from imitations. However, all flavoring ingredients are registered as food-grade safe to ensure the safety of the product. In fact, because they are designed to be inhaled rather than ingested, e-liquid flavorings are often subject to more rigorous testing and safety restrictions than food products.

Flavored e liquids are by far and away from the most popular form of vaping. However, for those who do not want the flavor of any kind, there are also liquids without flavor. These “neat e liquids” are a bare-bones, no-frills e-liquid.

Whichever outlandish or intriguing flavor you pick up, or create yourself, you can be assured that it will contain a mixture of the aforementioned ingredients. If you still haven’t found that flavor you are looking for, keep experimenting and exploring until you land on one that leaves you satisfied.

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