What Exactly Is In Vape Juice?

Published On April 28, 2017 | By Nicole | About E-Cigarettes Articles, E-liquids

A lot of people are confused about what ingredients are actually used to make vape juice. Some people think that it’s made from tobacco, but this definitely isn’t true. Some, on the other hand, think that it’s mostly made of water – but that isn’t true either.

So what exactly is in E-liquid? What makes it work the way it works, and why is it supposedly so much safer than tobacco?

Here’s what you need to know.

The Main Ingredients In Vape Juice

Here is a list of the main ingredients that you will find in most typical bottles of vape juice.

  • A base (either Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin)
  • Nicotine
  • Flavourings
  • Water

Contrary to what most people believe, there is only a small amount of water contained in E-liquid. About 95% of the mixture is the base – and the rest is made up of the other ingredients.

Let’s talk about the bases first.

Propylene Glycol

According to Wikipedia, Propylene Glycol is “a synthetic organic compound. It is a viscous colorless liquid which is nearly odorless but possesses a faintly sweet taste.”

It is used for a variety of different applications. It can be used as a preservative in food products, and is also used as an ingredient for things like coffee-based drinks, ice cream, whipped dairy products, and soda.

Since its acute oral toxicity is very low, Propylene Glycol is ‘generally recognized as safe’ as a food additive, and is also used as a base for E-liquid. It is the most popular e-liquid base, because it offers the clearest taste, and gives users a more satisfying throat hit – thereby mimicking the behavior of tobacco smoke with more familiarity than you might experience with VG.

Vegetable Glycerin

According to globalhealingcenter.com, Vegetable Glycerin (or VG) is “a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil.”  

It is used in cosmetic products and foods, and can even be used as a substitute for alcohol in some herbal or botanical tinctures.

It is also the second most common base in E-liquids, and is especially popular among those who want to get bigger clouds or who suffer from some sort of allergy to propylene glycol.

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Many people vape a blend of the two bases – but you can also get bases that are 100% one or the other as well.


According to medicalnewstoday.com, nicotine is “a nitrogen-containing chemical – an alkaloid, which is made by several types of plants, including the tobacco plant. Nicotine is also produced synthetically.”

It is most commonly well known for being the stimulant that gives tobacco its addictive quality – though it is also used as a pesticide.

Nicotine is part of the reason for why E-liquids are seen as a possible alternative to tobacco smoke – because they contain the addictive component (nicotine) without the ash, flame, tar, and the many hundreds of dangerous chemicals that cigarette smoke contains.

In trace amounts, nicotine has been compared to caffeine… a stimulant that poses minimal danger to the human body.

So it makes sense that it would be included as an ingredient for a product like E-cigs.


Flavourings are a bit more difficult to figure out with E-liquids, because most of the ingredient labels don’t tell you specifically which flavourings the liquid contains. There are several reasons for this. A lot of companies like to keep their formulas a secret. Others don’t include such specifics because they don’t seem very important to include on the label.

The best way to make sure that your liquids contain only high-quality flavourings is to only buy E-juice from reputable US and UK companies that manufacture their E-liquids with safe and high-quality ingredients.

Buying cheap E-liquids from companies that aren’t as reputable could lead to you getting E-juice with less-than-desirable ingredients in it. Or even worse, flavourings that are perhaps bad for you, or that pose a risk to your health and well-being.

Good E-liquid companies will only put quality ingredients into their E-liquids. So trust the good ones (like Jac Vapour or ePuffer) and stay away from companies that don’t offer real quality that you can trust.

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About The Author

Nicole It's my passion to do the research about familiar to me topics, especially when it comes to electronic cigarettes and the whole vaping industry as such. I hope you will find my content useful and when / if you do - please do share it! I will appreciate it! :) See our ''Who We Are'' page to find out more about me and my colleagues. Thanks and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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