Everything You Need to Know About E Liquids
You’ve seen the 88Vape adverts on buses, haven’t you? And you’ve seen our displays in shops like Asda and B&M Bargains. Then you’re probably familiar with our policy of not saying too much in our marketing. Great vape juices, for a quid. That’s us. So it might surprise you that in our E Liquid Guide, we’re going to go into a bit of depth.
Sure, it only takes a handful of words to show how great our vape liquids taste. But explaining all the hard work that goes into every bottle of £1 eliquid, or short fill, or VG juice will take a bit longer.
But if you want to be a real e liquid expert, it’s worth taking the time to read every word. Because by the end of this guide, you’ll know all there is to know about electronic cigarette liquid, and how to have the perfect vaping experience!
So let’s get the guide started with the basics and ask…
What is an E Liquid?
If you vape, you’ll know the answer to this one already. E Liquid is the flavoured juice you fill an electronic cigarette with. Doesn’t matter if that’s a pen vape, a mod, or even a nifty new Zillion pod vape. All of them need vape juice to create vapour.
So is that all e liquid is? Flavoured juice, usually with some nicotine in it?
Of course not. It’s a bit more complicated than that. The way your vape liquids are made and the exact ratio of different ingredients used make different kinds of e liquid, all of which we’ll explain later on in this post. But for now, we can quite happily settle for simple:
What is an E Liquid?
See, that seems pretty simple and straightforward. It’s the liquid the coil heats. But how does that happen?
Seems like we’ve got another question to answer…
How Does an E Liquid Work?
If you were to take a bottle of e liquid and boil it in a pan, you couldn’t stand over it and inhale it. Well, you could, but you wouldn’t enjoy it. And drinking a bottle of e liquid would be at the very least unpleasant and at worst quite harmful (we’ll explain why later – it’s all about the nicotine).
No, a bottle of vape juice is useless without the right kit to turn it into a palatable, inhalable vapour. And that’s all because your favourite liquid is designed to work with a specific type of electronic cigarette.
An ecigarette is a fairly simple piece of kit. It’s all built around the coil. There’s a battery to power that coil, a tank to keep that coil fed with liquid, and a mouthpiece to help you inhale the vapour the coil creates, but it really is all about that coil.
The coil, or the atomizer head, contains a thin wire (the coil proper) surrounding a (usually cotton) wick. The wick soaks up your e liquid from the tank and holds it next to the coil. The battery then heats that coil to a really high temperature that instantly vaporizes the liquid closest to it. This creates a vapour, which you then inhale.
That means that the e liquid has to be thick enough to soak the wick fully to avoid it being burned, and it also has to create a vapour that’s cool enough to be inhaled, and that’s pleasantly thick and tasty.
So here’s our next question…
What’s in an E Liquid?
You might expect an e liquid to be crammed with hundreds of different ingredients. After all, even the back of a chocolate bar wrapper shows dozens of chemicals, many of which sound strange to say the least.
Here’s the thing though, our UK-made e liquids basically have four ingredients. And one of those is optional. They are:
Propylene Glycol (PG) – a food-safe chemical often used in pre-packaged foods and medicines. PG isn’t absorbed by the body, and has been used by pharmaceutical companies for decades with no ill effects. In an e liquid, it carries the nicotine and the flavourings, which would otherwise not vaporize properly. It provides the feeling vapers call a “throat hit,” which is a smooth, satisfying feeling at the back of the throat.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – a plant oil derivation that’s (obviously) the main ingredient in our VG eliquid range. VG is used as an artificial sweetener and thickener (look out for it in ice creams) by the food industry, but for our purposes it creates large, thick, billowing clouds of vapour. It’s present in all vape juices, just like PG is, but the more VG you have, the bigger the clouds.
Flavourings – As you’d expect, flavourings provide the flavour. Whether you’re vaping tobacco, mint or something specific like a New Yorker cheesecake eliquid, it all contains food-safe flavourings, just like you’d find in a bag of sweets or a flavoured drink.
Nicotine – of all the ingredients in a vape liquid, nicotine is the only one that poses a danger. That’s because nicotine is highly addictive, and it’s poisonous in large doses. Admittedly an adult would have to ingest a lot of nicotine very quickly to be harmed, but still. There’s a reason nicotine is optional in our products, and that we recommend that non-smokers stick to nicotine free eliquids.
PG – the throat hit
VG – the cloud
Flavourings – the tastiness
Nicotine – the optional bit
We know what you’re thinking now. You’ve looked at the words “propylene glycol” and “vegetable glycerin,” you’re remembering what we said about not drinking a bottle of vape juice and you’re wondering…
Is E Liquid Safe?
Here’s the thing. Apart from nicotine, everything you’d find in one of our e liquid is something you’re exposed to in your daily life. A tub of strawberry ice cream will contain VG and flavourings. A medicine capsule will contain PG.
Everything that goes into our liquids is of the highest standards, meets all of the food standards that you’d expect a British business to follow, and is made in a clean, secure and safe factory in Greater Manchester.
The only thing we need to warn you about is nicotine. And even that is mainly because it’s so highly addictive. You can become ill from a nicotine overdose, but that’d require you to drink multiple bottles of 16mg liquids.
Obviously, that dangerous dose is lower for children and pets, so we advise you to treat your e liquid as you would medicine, or cigarettes, or cleaning products. Keep them out of the reach of your kids, and don’t let your dog chew on them.
And as for the persistent questions about whether or not vaping is safe for your health, we’ll turn to the experts. The NHS:
“E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.”
That’s why they, the British Heart Foundation, and Cancer Research UK recommend you put down the cigarettes and pick up a vape pen.
So now we know what’s in an e liquid and whether it’s safe, let’s move on to the next part of the e liquid guide. Let’s dive into the 88Vape range and explain…
What Are the Different Types of E Liquid ?
Broadly speaking there are two types of vape juice. VG liquids and PG liquids. Most products can be comfortably filed into one of those categories. But if you’re reading our deep dive guide into e liquids, you don’t want broad. You want specifics.
So let’s be specific.
88Vape currently makes four types of juice:
The differences between these are the ratio of PG to VG in each. Other than Short Fills, which are a special case that we’ll explain here.
PG E Liquids
Our famous £1 e-liquid range started off with standard PG e liquids. These have a ratio of 70% PG to 30% VG. Why? Because this is the ratio that works with most standard vape pens. PG is much more easily vaporized than VG, meaning that you don’t need a high-power battery or a low resistance coil.
PG also carries more flavour than VG, and delivers a deeper, more satisfying throat hit. For people who are quitting cigarettes and who want a mouth-to-lung vape that reminds them of a traditional tobacco cigarette, PG vapes provide the closest approximation, admittedly in a far wider range of flavours.
VG E Liquids
VG liquids are loved by vape hobbyists, because they provide thicker, sweeter and more visible clouds. A liquid that’s 70-80% VG will produce large, thick clouds that linger for a moment, meaning you can use them for cloud chasing and all kinds of vape tricks that aren’t possible with a PG vape.
VG liquids require a sub ohm coil and a more powerful battery, which means they’re usually used for direct-to-lung vaping. Because that requires deeper, longer inhales, VG liquids have far lower nicotine content than a PG vape, mainly because you don’t need as much to get the same dose as you would with a short, sharp PG inhale.
Technically speaking, Short Fills are all VG Eliquids, but you’ll see why we treat them differently in a minute.
50/50 E Liquids
50% PG, 50% VG, 50/50 liquids provide a perfect balance of flavour and clouds. Throat hit and juicy mouthfeel. And best of all, they can be used in any vape – whether that’s an off-the-peg vape pen or a custom-built sub ohm mod.
We’ve found that people who like variety love to pair our 50/50 liquids with the Zillion pod vape kit. By adjusting the power level, one bottle allows everything from stealth or zero vaping straight up to blowing big fluffy clouds.
Strictly speaking, a short fill is a nicotine free VG liquid. Because it’s nicotine free, we can sell it in larger bottles as they aren’t restricted by the TPD legislation that limits our other bottles to 10ml.
But we leave 60ml of space in each short fill, meaning you can add a nic shot to make your nicotine free liquid 3mg, allowing you to get the satisfaction of a low nicotine vape in a larger bottle. Just squeeze in a shot, shake, and leave for a few days.
While we’re speaking about nicotine strengths, it’s time to move on to the final step of our e liquid guide, with one final question…
How do I Choose the Right Nicotine Strength?
The type of e liquid you choose depends on the type of vape kit you use. But the strength of nicotine depends on how much you used to smoke.
If you’re an ex-smoker, you’ll want to start with enough nicotine to satisfy your cravings, and slowly taper down to nicotine free liquids. If you never smoked to begin with, then don’t start vaping nicotine now. Stick to the nicotine free options.
So let’s look at your history.
If you smoked 15 or more cigarettes a day, you’re definitely a heavy smoker, and your body will be used to getting serious amounts of nicotine on a regular basis. If this is the case, you’ll want to look at the higher end of our range – the 16mg e liquids.
We do offer 20mg in our Nic Salt range, but frankly we think that in most cases 16mg is more than enough for even the most hardened chain smoker!
Most smokers in the UK smoke between 10 to 15 cigarettes per day. For them, we recommend our mid strength 11mg e liquids to begin with, before tapering down to 6mg and then even lower.
If you smoked less than ten cigarettes today, head straight for our 3mg e liquids. If they don’t quite satisfy you, you might want to consider 6mg, but we find that the vast majority of light smokers are comfortable with a 3mg liquid.
And if you didn’t smoke at all, don’t start a nicotine addiction now. Stick to the 0mg liquids, and enjoy a great tasting vape with none of the addictive nicotine.
Picking the Right Strength
There’s no hard and fast rule, so you’ll need to experiment. But as a rule of thumb, we recommend the following:
15+ cigarettes per day – 16mg to 20mg
10-15 cigarettes per day – 11mg to 16mg
1-10 cigarettes per day – 3mg to 6mg
0 cigarettes – nicotine free
That’s about it for the 88Vape e liquid guide. All that’s left for us to say is that we hope you’ve found it useful. But remember, if you have any questions at all about our vape juices or our other products, we’ll be happy to help. Simply drop us a line in the comments section, or on social media. We’ll gladly share our expertise with you!
And if you're stuck on what flavours to try, have a look at what we think are the best vape juice flavours.