You might find yourself asking questions like — What is e-liquid made out of? Does vape juice expire? How often should I replace e-liquid? How should I dispose of e-liquids if they are expired? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to all of your vape liquid questions.
WHAT IS E-LIQUID DERIVED FROM?
Vape juice is made from a few simple ingredients: vegetable and propylene glycerin bases, nicotine and food-grade flavourings, all of which are safe and heavily regulated through the Tobacco and related Products Regulations (TRPR) and the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products Regulations 2020 (Amendment) (EU Exit) (5).
Vegetable glycerin is an odorless clear liquid that has a syrup-like consistency and is sweet in taste. The main function of vegetable glycerin or ‘VG’ is to provide flavour to your vape juice. Vegetable glycerin has a wide and vast variety of uses that include skincare, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and you guessed it, vape juice products (1). Vegetable glycerin can sometimes derive from animal products but typically is vegan friendly only containing products from coconut oils, palm and/or soybean (1).
Propylene glycerin is also a clear and colourless liquid, but is tasteless and thicker in texture when compared to vegetable glycerin. The main function of propylene glycerin or ‘PG’ is to provide you with flavour, massive vapour production and that satisfying throat hit we all know and love. Propylene glycerin has soluble properties and is typically used as a food additive in foods and beverages you already consume on a daily basis (2). Propylene glycerin is also found in topical ointments, injectable medications as well as vape liquids (2). Propylene glycerin is also known as propanediol, dihydroxypropane, methylene ethylene glycol and triethylene glycol (2). It is important to note, propylene glycol is often confused for ethylene glycol. While propylene glycol is safe, ethylene glycol is an industrial compound used in the production of antifreeze. With that being said, ethylene glycol is not safe for human inhalation or consumption.
Vape liquid also contains nicotine (unless you’ve purchased nicotine free vape juice also known as shortfills) and food-grade flavourings. The nicotine that comes in e-liquids can vary in dosage but can go up to 20mg per the Tobacco Products Directive (5). Nicotine is a synthetic chemical that is made up of nitrogen extracted from various plants including the tobacco plant, eggplant, potatoes, red peppers, and tomatoes (3). While nicotine is not cancerous or harmful, it is highly addictive. If you need assistance with nicotine addiction you can seek help and advice here. Food-grade flavourings in e-liquids consist of natural and artificial food flavouring concentrates that mimic the taste of your favourite foods, drinks etc.
DOES VAPE JUICE EXPIRE?
Vape juice does indeed expire. Vape liquid has a shelf life of approximately 2 years. It is possible for a vape juice to live up to its 2 year manufacture date but only if the juice has been properly stored. Imagine vaping using your favourite e-liquid and not producing those monstrous clouds or getting your desired dose of nicotine. To prevent this, vape liquid should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place to maintain its shelf life. Do not store vape juices in your car or window sills as vape juice consists of ingredients that breakdown over a period. When vape juices are exposed to extreme cold and/or extreme heat, their ingredients begin to breakdown which affect its quality. Take care of your vape juice to get the best vaping experience possible.
HOW OFTEN YOU SHOULD REPLACE E-LIQUID
There is no black or white answer for this one however the number one give away to a vape juice expiring is that the vape liquid develops a stale after taste. There are other giveaways that let you know your vape juice has gone bad which include changes in smell, thickness, separation and colour is a dead give away that you need to swap out your e-liquids. You may also notice a loss in flavour, vapour production and in nicotine levels. There is a possibility to notice other inconsistencies within vape juices over time. Vaping expired vape juice isn’t dangerously harmful. Using expired vape juice will usually only impact the flavour and your vaping experience. A rule of thumb — Anything that seems odd or off means it’s time to responsibly dispose of it.
Vape juice expiration is also dependent on how often you vape. You should also be mindful of how much e-liquid you vape on a regular basis. If this means purchasing a smaller bottle to get the freshest and best tasting vape juice, it is more reasonable to do so. Luckily, there are plenty of vape juices you can choose from to replace your expired vape juice with. Need to stock up your vape juice collection? Stock up on 10ml, 50ml and 100ml e-liquids.
LEAVING E-LIQUID IN YOUR VAPES POD/TANK
Leaving vape juice in your pod/coil is generally ok. If left for several months at a time, exposure to air impacts the quality of your vape liquid causing breakdown. This also causes changes in colour, consistency, taste, nicotine dosage and vape juice flavour. Your vape kit can also leak if e-liquid is left in the pod or tank for too long. If this happens, thoroughly clean and dry the tank, then refill with your favourite juice. All in all, aim to clean your tank on a weekly basis.
HOW TO DISPOSE E-LIQUID
Nicotine is a hazardous waste which means it poses a threat to humans and the environment (4). To get rid of expired vape juices, it is recommended that you avoid throwing e-liquids in the waste bin or down the drain. Pouring vape juices down the drain has a negative impact on the environment and all things co-existing within it. Instead, pour expired vape liquids into a porous or highly absorbent material like sawdust, woodchips, coffee grounds or cat litter. Thoroughly rinse vape liquid containers then store in a separate container apart from your normal rubbish bin. To reduce your carbon footprint, gather all of your empty vape juice bottles and recycle them on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis depending on how often you go through e-liquid bottles. Contact your local city council to set up a collection service for your expired or empty vape juice bottles. Keep vaping environmentally friendly by disposing of e-liquid, bottles and other vaping related products responsibly.