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What Is Vape Juice?

February 18, 2024

Vape juice, e-liquid, or vape liquid, is used in electronic cigarettes, vapourizers, and vape kits to create vapour. A coil inside the device heats this liquid, producing a cloud of smoke. 

If you're ready to start vaping or still considering it, trying to understand the numbers, percentages, and ingredients on a vape juice bottle can be overwhelming. But vape juice offers a customisable experience for any user with a variety of flavours, ingredient ratio, and optional nicotine. 

Keep reading to learn more about e-juice ingredients, understand PG/VG ratios, different types of liquids, and how to choose the right one for you. 

What Exactly Is in Vape Juice?

Vape juice, the essential component of vaping, has four primary ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), nicotine, and concentrated flavourings. The ratio of these components varies amongst vape juices to produce different effects. Some vape juices have more nicotine than others, can produce larger clouds, or are sweeter to taste. 

Propylene Glycol (PG)

Propylene glycol (PG) is an odourless, colourless, lab-manufactured chemical in vape juice. PG is an excellent carrier molecule due to its chemical structure, transporting other substances effectively. You can find PG in medicine, food, and cosmetics. 

In vape juice, PG is one of the main ingredients that enhance the fluidity of the juice and carries the nicotine and flavour molecules when aerosolised. Since it is a thin liquid, PG helps keep the vaping kit coils free from the buildup of nicotine and flavourings. It also contributes to the throat-hit feeling with high nicotine concentration juices. 

Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

Vegetable Glycerine (VG), or glycerol, shares similarities with PG as an odourless, colourless liquid commonly utilised in the food industry. However, VG is notably thicker and more challenging for older atomisers or vape kits that cannot handle highly viscous vape juices. VG is a sweetener in the food industry without altering other flavour profiles.

This chemical is behind voluminous vapour clouds in vape juices, offering a smoother throat sensation. However, VG does have some drawbacks, such as its limited ability to carry flavour molecules, requiring more temperature to atomise, and accumulating on the coils faster, gunking them up. Despite this, VG is sweeter than PG, enhancing the hit's sensory sweetness.


Nicotine, a chemical naturally occurring in tobacco plants or made synthetically, is featured in almost every vape juice. Regular cigarette smokers can transition to e-cigarettes, avoiding harmful carcinogens but not sacrificing satisfying the nicotine craving. 

Even more, the nicotine concentration can vary between vape juices, so users can choose how much they want to intake. Vape juices measure nicotine concentration in milligrams per millilitre (mg/mL), ranging from 3 mg/mL to 20 mg/mL. 

For those who would rather vape without nicotine, many vape juices contain no nicotine. Users can still enjoy the sensation without inhaling nicotine and its addictive properties. With nicotine-free options, vaping lovers can still enjoy the pleasure while controlling nicotine intake. 


Vape juices are composed of 1% to 10% of liquid flavoring. Unlike traditional cigarettes, vaping offers an abundance of flavours. PG and VG are slightly sweet but lack distinctive flavours, while food-grade flavourings are added to vape juice to provide a fun taste. 

However, natural flavourings are not suitable for use in e-juice. When heated, natural concentrates evaporate quickly, resulting in the flavour dissipating before being enjoyed by the user. Reputable brands will craft their juice recipe professionally in a lab with testing and adjustments to ensure optimal flavour retention. 

The range of available flavours is extensive, from fruity hints like watermelon and orange to more traditional options like methanol and classic tobacco. The variety caters to anyone's preference, creating an indulging and satisfying experience. 

Understanding Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG) Ratios

Vape juices comprise PG and VG, but their ratios can differ, impacting the vaping experience. Selecting the proper ratio means maximising your preferred flavour intensity, throat hit, and cloud density. In your selection, consider the type of vape kit used

The vape kit manufacturer will specify an optimal VG/PG ratio for optimal performance and compatibility. Some common ratios include 50% PG to 50% PG, 70% PG to 30% VG, and 30% PG to 70% VG. Alternatively, vapers can select 100% VG or PG juices to determine their preferences. 

Higher VG contents will create gigantic clouds but have a softer throat hit and less flavour profile. Given VG's thickness, ensure your vape kit can provide the power needed, such as a sub-ohm vape kit. Conversely, higher PG ratio juice will carry the most flavour, provide a smoother throat hit, and have more significant nicotine concentrations. Ultimately, picking the perfect VG/PG ratio takes time but will lead to a personalised and satisfying experience. 

Different Types of E-Liquids

There are many E-liquid types: 50/5 E-liquid, shortfills, nic salt E-liquid, and 100% VG E-liquid to accommodate diverse preferences and setups. 

  • 50/50 E-Liquid offers a balance between VG and PG with a 50/50 ratio. These are available in 10 mL bottles with 3, 6, 12, and 18 mg of nicotine. These are compatible with many starter vape kits, pens, and pods. You can expect a perfect throat hit, flavour, and vapour ratio that is the most comparable to smoking. 
  • Shortfill E-Liquids come without nicotine but provide flexibility for the user to customise their intake. The bottles are "short-filled" to allow you to add nicotine shots if you wish. Aim to create a 3 mg concentration; otherwise, your throat will hurt. This liquid works best for sub-ohm vapours with a powerful vape kit. High-power vape kits use more liquid, so shortfill E-Liquids come in 50 -100 mL bottles. 
  • Nic Salt E-liquid contains salt nicotine, a specialised nicotine molecule for swifter delivery and gentler throat hit. With their fast delivery, this e-liquid allows users to experience the nicotine hit quicker than other options. Nic Salt e-liquids are excellent for those initially transitioning to e-cigarettes, wanting a higher nicotine dose but not the throat burn that traditionally comes with it. 
  • 100% VG E-Liquids contain no PG. 100% VG is an excellent option for anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to PG. These include 0 mg/mL of nicotine, but like shortfills, have room in the top of the bottle for you to add your own. Those sensitive to PG can still customise their nicotine concentration. 

Tips for Choosing Your Ideal E-Liquid Flavour

The best flavour for you is based solely on your preference. Let's discuss some popular flavours and why users keep returning to them. 

Methanol is a classic flavour if you're new to vaping. The relaxed and refreshing flavour is perfect for any level of vape use. Those transitioning from cigarettes might enjoy the familiar taste of fresh methanol. 

Fruity and dessert flavours are also popular in the vaping world. Familiar fruity flavours like peach, strawberry, pineapple, and mango orange offer a juicy taste. Vanilla is another popular flavour with a sweet taste for those craving a dessert character. The taro scoop flavour is perfect for something unique, like a cool, nutty, sweet sensation. 

Selecting the Right Nicotine Strength for You

Vape juice bottles have a nicotine concentration listed, indicating how much nicotine is present per millilitre of juice. Some vape juice bottles contain 0 mg/mL of nicotine. Choosing the right nicotine strength for you depends on your goals and individual smoking habits. 


A heavy smoker, someone consuming more than a pack a day, should use the maximum nicotine concentration in vape juice, 18 - 24 mg/mL. Such high concentrations are intended for those who want to replace smoking directly and thus need a heavy hit to receive the same satisfaction. 

Average smokers, or those consuming half a pack a day, should choose an e-juice with 12 mg/mL. This dosage is also a good starting place for those wanting to kick the cigarette smoking habit. 

Light smokers, or those consuming ten or fewer cigarettes a day, might prefer a lower dosage of nicotine. A 6 mg/mL strength is still on the smaller side without excessive nicotine intake. If you enjoy vaping but want a nicotine hit, this is an excellent dosage to test. 

Social smokers, those smoking once or twice a week, should opt for the lowest nicotine concentrations. Vape juice with 3 mg/mL of nicotine is well suited to provide enough nicotine hit without overdoing it. 

Suppose you want to reduce your nicotine intake or quit it altogether. In that case, vape juice offers a reliable scale of nicotine concentrations for users to start tapering off while still satisfying the craving. Additionally, nicotine-free ( 0 mg/mL) vape juices are an excellent option for those only wanting to enjoy the experience and sensation.

Are E-Liquids Safe?

Vaping is better for you than smoking a cigarette– which contains many carcinogenic chemicals. Strokes, lung disease, and heart disease are common health problems associated with cigarette smoking. In 2022, UK experts showed that the issues related to vaping are a small fraction of those with traditional cigarettes in the short and medium term. Nicotine by itself is not harmful, and many of those wanting to stop smoking turn to vaping as an alternative quite successfully.  

Even more, regulations for e-liquid ingredients are stringent in the UK. Before selling an e-liquid, toxicity and emission testing is completed to ensure its safety in the UK. As long as you purchase vape juice from a trusted retailer like RELX, vaping can be safe. 

Final Thoughts

Picking out the best vape juice starts with understanding the chemicals inside it. The four primary ingredients, propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), nicotine, and concentrated flavourings, combine in varying ratios to form the vaping experience's backbone. 

Exploring different PG and VG ratios is critical to tailoring the strength of flavour, the density of vapour, and throat hit sensation for your vape hit. Different E-liquid types like 0/5 E-liquid, shortfills, nic salt E-liquid, and 100% VG E-liquid make experimenting with the ingredient combinations easy. 

If you're ready to explore safe, effective alternatives to traditional cigarette smoking or want to try vaping, work with reliable and trustworthy companies. RELX offers a variety of flavours and ratios with high-quality ingredients to create the best experience for you. 

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