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How Is Tobacco E-Liquid Made?

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Vaping has become a huge trend among young adults who often portray it as a safe method of enjoying tobacco products. While it may be safer than traditional cigarettes, if they say that it’s just water vapor, they are wrong.

There are four main ingredients mixed in different ratios to create different experiences. The label on the back will tell you exactly what’s inside, but you must understand all of the chemicals to know what’s going on when you inhale.  Keep reading, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about e-liquids.

The Ingredients

As we mentioned, tobacco e-liquids contain four primary ingredients. They are:

  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Flavors
  • Nicotine

These ingredients play an essential role, and you can’t find any tobacco e-liquid without them. Here’s a quick breakdown of each chemical and its use in e-liquid production.

Vegetable glycerin

Vegetable glycerin, or VG as it’s better known to vapers, is responsible for producing vapor.

Glycerin is an entirely natural substance made from fat. The one used in the production of e-liquids is made from vegetable oils, hence the name vegetable glycerin. It’s important to know that VG isn’t oil; it’s a type of alcohol. It doesn’t have a smell, but it does taste sweet. VG is a thick liquid in its normal state, so it doesn’t work with older vaporizers with a small clearomizer.


You can find VG in a wide variety of different products, mainly in the food industry. It’s used as a sweetener, and it’s also a standard ingredient in medicines. VG doesn’t impact health in any way, which makes it a perfect ingredient for e-liquids.


Propylene glycol

The second most important ingredient is called propylene glycol or PG. E-liquids containing higher PG levels are less thick and provide a richer taste than those with a higher VG.  For instance, products like the Virginia Tobacco e-liquid have high PG levels, making them an ideal choice for those who love rich flavors. 

PG is also a type of alcohol, with almost no smell and a sweet taste. It’s not as sweet as VG, and it’s also used in the food and medicine industry.

Propylene glycol is used to make antifreeze, which is why many naysayers say that e-liquids contain antifreeze. That’s not true, as it’s just one of the ingredients added to antifreeze to reduce its toxicity. Dozens of studies ranging from the mid-1940s to this day have proven that PG can’t harm you if you inhale or eat it.

It impacts the overall taste of the e-juices but doesn’t produce a lot of vapor. That’s why cloud chasers don’t use high PG e-liquids. However, they are trendy among discreet vapers who prefer a rich taste.


So, after the VG and the PG are mixed, the next thing added is the flavor. These flavors are what makes vaping so popular in the first place. People who vape can choose one of many different flavors and enjoy their vaping how they like.

It’s important to know that these flavorings are also widely used in the food industry. The flavorings used to contain some harmful chemicals years ago, but the e-liquid industry has entirely removed them from further use. Today, most flavorings used are entirely safe for use.


Last but not least, we have nicotine. It’s a standard ingredient in tobacco e-liquids, except the ones with 0% nicotine. It’s the ingredient that makes smokers worldwide switch to vaping.

It’s no secret that nicotine is an addictive chemical, which is why so many people need vaping. Over the years, nicotine has earned a bad name for itself, even though it’s generally very safe. When most people hear nicotine, they think about cigarettes and their damage, but the real culprit is the smoke, not the chemical.

Nicotine can be hazardous in its pure form. One drop is enough to cause serious health issues, but the nicotine used in e-liquids is much less concentrated, making it safe for use.

The Bottom Line

Today, you can find thousands of different e-juices in local vape shops, but even so, you should be careful about which ones you use. Some e-liquid manufacturers still use harmful chemicals in their products, so you should only buy the ones that state their ingredients on the back.

Look for e-liquids that contain only these four ingredients, and you’ll be just fine. Other components, such as vitamins, supplements, and some herbs, are also acceptable. Now that you know what tobacco e-liquids consist of, you can make a better choice the next time you visit the vape shop.


A big thank you to the author, Jessica Smith for another insightful article!

Also, thank you to Louis Reed for our cover blog photo - made available through unsplash-


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