Have you ever wondered what’s actually in your e-cigarette? The truth is surprisingly simple. Here we’ll take a look at what e-liquid is made of, and what each of the ingredients do.

Basic ingredients

E-liquid comes in many varieties and flavours. But at its base, e-liquid contains just four primary ingredients, sometimes topped up with a little distilled water. These are: 

  • Propylene glycol (PG), derived from petroleum
  • Vegetable glycerine (VG), produced from vegetable oils
  • Flavourings
  • Nicotine 

Each of these basic ingredients has a part to play in your e-liquid, as we’ll see below.

PG and VG

PG and VG both act as carriers for the main players in your e-liquid: the flavourings and the nicotine. Different types of e-liquid will contain different proportions of PG and VG, and this may affect your choice of vape. That’s because the exact ratio of propylene glycol to vegetable glycerine contained in your e-liquid changes the vaping experience; there are subtle variations in taste and viscosity that will change depending on the makeup of your vape juice. 

You’ll find e-liquid made of a 50/50 mix; then there are also 75/25, 60/40 and other assorted ratios. Everyone’s different, so you’ll have to experiment to find your particular preference. Try different combinations to see what works best for you.


If you’ve ever browsed vape flavours online, you’ll know there’s a mind-blowing array of assorted aromas to choose from. These often evoke classic culinary favourites, from fruit to ice cream and donuts. For the more experimental vaper there’s a wide range of wacky flavour combinations to sample, and for those still craving traditional cigarettes, tobacco flavours can hit the right note. 

What are the flavours in your e-liquid made of? The ingredients that make up vape flavours will vary. Just like food additives, some flavourings are derived from natural, plant-based sources, while others will be chemically constructed to ape the flavour of the real thing. In general, vegans and vegetarians can rest easy; that rhubarb and custard e-liquid will not be derived from dairy, so you can go ahead and enjoy it.


The final component of e-liquid is, of course, nicotine. This is the active ingredient that provides the ‘hit’ that cigarette smokers crave. A naturally-occurring ingredient in tobacco, the chemical can also be produced synthetically. This synthetic form of nicotine is the type that e-liquid is made of. 

The nicotine strength of your e-juice can vary. High-strength vape juice (12mg per millilitre and above) is often the first choice of ex-smokers who are weaning themselves off the tobacco and require a nicotine level that can help them battle their cravings. But lower concentrations of nicotine are also popular, with some vapers finding that the flavour tastes better at lower levels. In fact, many people opt for a zero-nicotine e-liquid, preferring to enjoy a completely non-toxic vaping experience.

Choosing your e-liquid

If you’re new to vaping, the sheer amount of choice can be a little overwhelming. Ask yourself some questions to help select the right e-liquid for you: What is the e-liquid made of? How much nicotine does it contain? What’s the VG/PG ratio? And – most importantly of all: Does it sound like something I would enjoy? Check out our range of over 200 e-liquid flavours to find your favourite.