While it’s a bit more complicated than regular cigarette smoking, e-smoking is a pretty tame science that almost anyone can understand. You have an atomizer with a wick that vaporizes the e-liquid and delivers it to you in the form of a pleasant vapor upon the activation of your e-cigarette’s battery.
The only mysterious part about the entire process are the e-cigarette ingredients. Manufacturers seem to prefer to shy away from labeling their ingredients in e-liquid, which leads many people like you to wonder what exactly is in them. The heading “natural and artificial flavors” can be used to hide a multitude of ingredients, but what exactly are they?
The purpose of this article is to inform you what’s inside of your e-cigarette when you e-smoke. This list comes from a now defunct e-cigarette vendor, so you may not find this exact list of e-cigarette ingredients in any e-liquid currently on the market. However, we believe this list contains many of the typical ingredients you might find in a mass-market tobacco or menthol e-liquid.
E-Cigarette Ingredients Explained
Most of these ingredients are found within the e-liquid of e-cigarettes. That means they’re consumed during each e-smoke.
We’ll go over the most iconic e-cigarette ingredients first and then explore some of the lesser known ones that have name that might sound a bit confusing.
Nicotine is the e-cigarette ingredient that every smoker and e-smoker should recognize. It’s what gives tobacco that extremely addictive quality that makes it nearly impossible to stop smoking.
It’s also known as the most dangerous ingredient in e-cigarettes due to the known effects it produces on a person’s cardiovascular system and blood-glucose levels. It’s such a dangerous ingredient that we recommend anyone who hasn’t already started smoking to shy away from nicotine.
It’s worth noting that e-cigarettes are an alternative to cigarettes. They are not authorized or approved as smoking cessation aids.
Propylene glycol is one of two ingredients that you will likely find in e-liquid with the highest amounts. It’s an ingredient that is regularly added to food in order to emulsify easily and allow flavors to be carried in an easier manner.
Propylene glycol has a low vaporization point, which is why it makes for one of the more preferred bases for e-liquids. The main difference between propylene glycol and water vapor is that propylene glycol creates a smoke-like effect when vaporized.
Glycerol, also referred to as glycerin, is created when fat from vegetables is used to create soap through the saponification process.
It shares many of the same emulsification uses that propylene glycol does, but it may also be used as a thickening agent. That means you may see some e-liquid manufacturers add in something like 80 percent propylene glycol and 20 percent glycerol. The reason for this is so that propylene glycol can carry the flavor while the glycerol gives a richer, fuller feel to the vapor produced.
Some e-liquid may be void of propylene glycol completely, as some users find propylene glycol as an irritant. In these cases, glycerol is typically all that is used as the base of the e-liquid.
When you boil vanilla beans in a solution of alcohol and/or water, you create vanilla extract. It is used in combination with other e-cigarette ingredients to add a trait to vapor that is similar to tobacco smoke.
When you eat fruit, it’s malic acid that gives it that tart flavor. You’ve likely tasted it in large quantities if you’ve ever consumed apple juice, wine or tart candies.
When malic acid is used in e-liquid, it adds that unique tart flavor to the vapor to make the flavor more complex.
Linalool is a member of the terpene family that provides for a subtle herbal flavor and scent when vaporized. You can find it in high concentrations in plants like cinnamon, coriander and bay laurel.
Menthol is extracted from peppermint plants. It provides a cool sensation when it comes in contact with the skin and a similar sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes, the latter of which is why you’ll often find it as the main ingredient in cough drops.
It’s added to e-liquid to reduce the irritation experienced by the user’s throat when e-smoking, but it can also be added in greater quantity to simulate a menthol cigarette.
This ingredient is commonly found in perfumes because it adds a scent similar to roses. Manufacturers may add this in small amounts to their e-liquid to add a rose scent to the vapor.
This is the ingredient that gives graham crackers that dough-like flavor. It’s added to e-liquid to give a note of yeast, bread, nuts and butter to the mix.
Tabanone is one of the component that gives chocolate and tobacco that rich flavor. Aside from its minor use in e-liquids, it’s commonly used as a food additive.
Ethyl acetate is an ingredient commonly found in perfumes that gives them that sweet scent resembling pears.
Ethyl maltol imparts a sweet, melty flavor when it’s tasted. You’ll commonly find it used as an additive in baked goods to make them taste better.
This ingredient is present in most foods that have undergone the browning process. It is an alkylpryazine that gives baked bread its distinct fresh aroma. You’ll also commonly find this in coffee and wine.
This ingredient with a long name gives off a scent reminiscent of fresh honeysuckle.
This commonly-used ingredient gives off a scent similar to fresh popcorn. It should be used in very limited and trace amounts in e-liquids to add a flavor similar to coffee, bread and roasted nuts.
You’ll find this ingredient as an extract from roses. It’s used in e-cigarettes to give them that pleasant aroma.
This exotic ingredient is created from the oil of a plant native to Australia called the Sandfly Zieria. It gives a unique and often desirable additional note of flavor complexity to e-liquid.