Electronic cigarettes use a special solution called e-liquid which is vaporized by a battery powered atomizer to produce the same sensation of smoking.
E-liquids have two primary ingredients: an atomizing base and flavouring. Liquid nicotine is included in solutions intended to fulfil a nicotine replacement role while zero-nicotine formulas are designed for smokers who are looking to get rid of the addictive substance but don't want to give up the ritual. When the e-liquid becomes too thick for vaping, additives such as distilled water, vodka or pure grain alcohol are used to dilute the solution.
The diluent base makes up 80-90% of the entire e-liquid formula. The most common diluents used in electronic cigarette e-liquids are propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG) and polyethene glycol 400 (PEG 400). All three liquid bases are common food additives used in a variety of pharmaceutical formulations.
Propylene glycol, the most popular e-liquid base compound, has been utilized in asthma inhalers and nebulizers since the 1950s. Because of its ability to hold water, PG is the substance of choice for delivering atomized medication. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has included propylene glycol in its list of substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), and it meets the requirements of acceptable compounds within Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
More PG means a stronger throat hit and a more pronounced flavour. Because VG is thicker than PG, it is often mixed with PG to produce thicker clouds of vapor or to give it more consistency. Vegetable glycerin is also an excellent sweetener.
Most pre-mixed e-liquids are sold in ratios of 100% PG, 100% VG, 50-50 PG/VG, and 80-20 PG/VG.
In addition to the cloud of "smoke" and throat hit, electronic cigarettes try to imitate the taste of cigarettes.
E-liquids are available in a wide variety of tobacco flavours, including Virginia tobacco, Turkish tobacco, American light tobacco, Cuban cigar and clove. Menthol is the most popular flavoured cigarette, and e-liquids offer so many menthol variants in fresh mint, peppermint, green tea, spearmint and ice.
Since the US government has recently introduced legislation that will ban all flavoured cigarettes, smokers are looking to e-cigs to satisfy their palate. There are around 300 different e-liquids available spiked with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, fruits, spices, candy and soda.
E-liquids containing nicotine are available in different concentrations.
- Solutions in low strength usually contain 6-10 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of liquid. These liquids deliver the same hit as ultra-light cigarettes.
- Medium strength liquids, equivalent to light cigarettes, contain 10-14 mg/ml of nicotine.
- High strength e-liquid is similar to regular tobacco and contains 16-18 mg/ml of nicotine.
- Extra-high strength juices are comparable to unfiltered cigarettes and may contain 24-36 mg/ml of nicotine.
The actual amount of nicotine is printed on the bottle or packaging. Often, the standard notation "mg/ml" is shortened to a simple "mg".
Large doses of nicotine can be lethal especially in the range over 40 milligrams so be sure to stay within safe limits.
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