Deciphering E-liquid Ingredients: Flavorings and Additives Explained

We’ve all seen e-cigarettes being used, and they are more popular than ever before these days. For many people, they are an effective way to help quit smoking, and they might be helping you to do just that.

But there is still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding them, and one of the areas that is least understood is the flavorings and additives that go into e-cigs.

So what exactly does e-liquid contain? Here’s some information about what you can expect to find in your e-cigarette.

Quick E-Liquid Ingredients List

All e-liquids are different, but they contain very similar basic ingredients. These include:

  • Nicotine (the strength of which varies)
  • Water
  • Flavoring
  • Propylene glycol (PG)

Some e-liquids use vegetable glycerin (VG) instead of PG, while some use a combination of PG and VG.

This is the general list whatever you are buying, whether you are buying a popular brand of e-liquid like The Milkman eliquid in the UK or a less well-known product somewhere else.

Now let’s look closer at flavorings, PG, and VG, because these are the elements that are least understood.

E-Liquid Flavorings

Often e-liquids simply state “flavoring,” making it unclear what is included in the flavoring. However, whatever it is, they are usually approved for consumption by the FDA.

Whether they are completely safe for inhalation is the main factor that worries some e-cigarette users. There are many types of food, for example, that are safe to consume but unsafe to inhale.

Up until now, there has never really been a need to test the effects of inhaling flavorings, and we can expect more research to be carried out over the coming years.

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What we should remember, however, is that the number of flavorings in e-cigarettes is very small—much smaller than the amount used in a typical cigarette.

PG in E-Liquid

PG is a synthetic liquid that does not have any taste or odor. It is classified as an additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it is recognized as safe to use in food. It is often used in food coloring for products like ice-cream, and it is also used in artificial fog.

There is generally considered to be very little or no harm caused by inhaling PG on its own.

VG in E-Liquid

There has been less research carried out into VG, especially where inhalation is concerned. However, it is generally considered relatively safe.

Glycerol is colorless and has no odor, and it comes from plant oils. It is naturally produced and very benign, and it is often used in cosmetics. It is considered safe to consume and safe to use topically.

Because it is seen as very safe, there has been less research into its safety where inhalation is concerned, but this is something that is surely going to be looked at more closely in coming years.

Find Out What the FDA Says About ENDS

ENDS are Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, and the FDA has a large section on them. You can read it here, and in it you can find out what the FDA has to say about e-cigarettes, including regulations, nicotine, flavorings, etc. You can find all the latest information here to give you an informed overview.

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Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

A lot more research is needed into e-cigarettes before we know exactly how safe they are for long-term use. However, the general consensus at the moment is that they are a lot safer than normal cigarettes, as suggested by studies like this one by scientists at UCL in the UK.

It’s up to you whether you decide to vape or not. For now, the general advice if you do vape is to choose well-known e-liquids from established manufacturers and to always find out what is in your e-liquid so you know exactly what you are inhaling.