Vapor products are electronic devices that are composed of a few key parts; a battery power source, a heating element, and e-liquid. E-liquid is applied to the heating element directly or passively with the use of a tank and with the power of the battery the liquid is heated to the point that it becomes vapor.
Vapor products have many different looks and are called various things such as electronic cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, mods, pens, cigalikes and vapes. The one unifying characteristic is that these devices do not burn or cause combustion. Combustion of traditional tobacco cigarettes is where the problems begin. More on that later!
E-liquids generally contain a mix of 4 ingredients with the base being comprised of PG (Propylene Glycol) , VG (Vegetable Glycerin) or a combination of both. PG and VG are then combined with natural or artificial flavors and sometimes nicotine.
Propylene Glycol is used as a flavoring carrier in food products and also used as an additive in various medicines. It imparts little flavor itself, and is used to keep packaged foods moist and certain drugs or topical ointments and lotions stabilized. It is used in e-liquids because it mixes well with flavorings and produces a smoke like vapor.
Vegetable Glycerin possesses similarities to PG but is almost exclusively vegetable derived. It is a sweet thick liquid that is used widely in food and drug production. It is used for the same reasons as PG and because it is thicker than PG, it produces a thicker cloud of vapor.
Nicotine is widely derived from the tobacco plant, but can be derived from plants in the nightshade family (eggplant, potato, tomato and green pepper) or produced synthetically. It is a mild stimulant similar to caffeine. E-liquid can be purchased in various levels of nicotine that allow a person to choose what level they use, and are able to decrease nicotine over time if they choose. E-liquids are also available without nicotine. As a harm reduction tool, vapor products allow a consumer to enjoy the effects of nicotine without the smoke or tar associated with a traditional combustible tobacco cigarette. Vapor products are also able to offer the simulation or act of smoking with or without nicotine but most definitely without the thousands of chemicals and particulate matter that are caused by burning tobacco.
Flavoring in e-liquids are generally the same ones you would find in many foods and drinks. They can be naturally or artificially derived. These flavorings can make e-liquids taste like your favorite fruit or candy, beverage or dessert, tobacco blend or menthol. Flavor can incredibly important for people who are looking to make the switch from traditional tobacco cigarettes to vaping. Taste is subjective and an enjoyable experience helps in the transition process.
With these 4 ingredients and the thousands of flavorings available there are endless combinations of e-liquids.