Common e-liquid ingredients

PG and VG
Concentrated Flavours
HiLiq Nicotine
Liquid Nicotine

Whether your e liquid is commercially manufactured or made in-house DIY, they all share the same three universal ingredients. Nicotine is always an option. Additional compounds are also included in many commercial e-liquids.

Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin – 80 – 90 %

Propylene Glycol
Vegetable Glycerin

Concentrated Flavourings  8 – 10 %

These concentrated flavour types can be used for both foods and vaping, although companies such as Flavorah create flavours specifically for vaping. FlavourArt places a heavy focus on creating flavours for vaping as well.

Capella Flavor Drops

Nicotine 0% – 5%

What we knew regarding Nicotine is being re-written. The advent of vaping has paved the way for science to re-look at nicotine outside the context of tobacco. See our post on The truth about nicotine.

Propylene Glycol

A form of mineral oil- an alcohol produced by fermentation of yeast and carbohydrates. It functions as a preservative in flavourings. Flavours without PG would not have a long shelf life. e-liquids with a higher PG content generally promote or enhance flavours as it acts as a carrier. PG also provides us with throat hit too, much like smoking.

Vegetable Glycerin

AKA glycerol, is a clear, odourless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy or coconut oil. It is considered by some to be a more natural, even healthier alternative to PG. It creates far more vapour than PG and adds some sweetness too. VG is extremely thick, which places an additional load on delivery systems.


This represents a small percentage of overall volume, but we understand its significance. The percentage of nicotine is generally displayed on the bottles and measured in ML or MG. For example – 16 mg is 1.6% nicotine per millilitre.


When it comes to e liquid flavouring, it’s important to think in terms of flavour concentrates as opposed to flavour extracts or oils. BTW, the majority of flavourings are FDA approved for human consumption, although due to the politics, there have been no classifications yet for inhalation. 

Never use food flavourings from supermarkets as they contain unwanted oils. Always purchase flavours from reputable vape vendors or flavour distributors.

Additional Ingredients

Additives & Compounds 0 – 2 %
Examples could be Sweeteners, Stabilisers and Alcohols (Many FDA and GRAS – Generally Regarded as Safe). Many e-liquids contain some form of additional ingredients. This is not to say that they represent a concern for the purists at heart, nor are they anything other than what is found in many of our consumables. Yes, some are common in tobacco cigarettes too.

Our post on Additional Ingredients.

Charles Yates

AKA Charles Vaper. Ex-smoker, current vaper and THR advocate. I started The Vapers Table in 2011 to offer information and support for smokers looking to transition to vaping. My interests are- Helping smokers quit, food, cooking, flavours, music, orchestral composing-studio recording & technology, travel & country road trips.

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