The World of E-liquid
So, you’ve decided to start Vaping? Good for you! Welcome to a healthier alternative to smoking! One of the best things about vaping in my opinion is the flavours – so how do you choose where to start? Hopefully I can lend a hand as you tumble into this rabbit hole.
While it may seem daunting at first, once you get your head around it it’s fairly straightforward. Let’s start with some basics about e-liquid in general. E-liquid is almost always made up of four basic parts: VG, PG, Flavouring, and nicotine. What’s PG and VG you ask? Well let’s take a closer look.
PG stands for Propylene Glycol. It’s been around for a long time, and is used in many things, such as use as a food preservative and sweetener. VG stands for Vegetable Glycerine (or glycerol), and is also commonly used in foods, and you may even have used glycerine in your own cooking. Both PG and VG are also used in some types of medicines, and smoke machines – yep, that smoke machine on the dancefloor at your local disco is basically a giant vape, just without the flavours or nicotine.
How does this help when choosing an e-liquid? Well, while almost all e-liquids contain both of these ingredients, they’ll be in differing amounts. You’ll often see “high VG” or “80PG/20VG” on the labels or descriptions of e-liquids. This is referring to the proportion of these two liquids in your chosen e-liquid: for example, 80PG/20VG just means this e-liquid is 80% PG and 20% VG. “High VG” means anything over 50%VG, and “Max VG” usually means 100%VG without any PG. So What difference does it make? Well these two liquids have different characteristics when you vape them. E-liquids higher in PG tend to have more of what is called a throat hit, mimicking the slightly harsh feeling of a cigarette, and will feel more like smoking. E-liquids with more VG are generally more viscous, and while the feeling on your throat is softer, the vapour produced is much more voluminous and fluffy looking.
It is worth noting that while both are non-toxic, a very few people may be sensitive to PG, and experience mild irritation from inhaling PG vapour. Don’t worry though, chances are you’re one of those who are totally fine with it. If you are unlucky enough to be one of those sensitive to PG, there are those 100%VG liquids available for you.
Deciding which is for you
Now that you have a bit of knowledge on PG and VG, it’s time to decide which one you’d like to be more prominent in your e-liquid. This decision depends largely on the hardware you’re vaping on. With MTL (mouth-to-lung) devices, where you draw the vapour in your mouth and either inhale or exhale afterwards, you’ll need e-liquid with higher PG, or 50/50. This type of setup is very much like smoking a cigarette – the draw is similar to inhaling on a cigarette, and you can feel that throat hit. For new vapers this one is commonly an easier transition as it is so much like smoking. A device like the Innokin Endura T18 is a good example.
The Mist Cloud kits, however, will need liquid that is higher in VG. This is because the liquid is thicker, whereas PG can soak right through and leak. It also produces bigger clouds, and combined with the right hardware some people blow huge clouds. The draw on these devices is a lot airier, and you inhale straight into your lungs. Think breathing through a straw instead of a cigarette and you’re almost there.
So the question you have to ask yourself is, do you want vaping to be as much like smoking as possible, or would you prefer billowing clouds to feel like a dragon?
Now we’re moving onto the nicotine. Nicotine in e-liquid is measured in milligrams per millilitre, usually just given as the mg. For example, 12 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of e-liquid would be called simply 12mg liquid. If you picked the MTL devices, you can pretty much choose whatever nicotine level you like, but if you went for a cloud device the maximum I would recommend is 6mg – anything higher and you’ll likely be coughing and getting a head rush after just one or two inhales. Even 6mg is too strong for many people using sub-ohm devices, and many vape 3mg, or even 0mg liquid with no nicotine at all. To achieve 3mg with Mist’s liquids, buy a bottle of 6mg and a bottle of 0mg, and just fill your tank half and half – this will average out and give you a strength of 3mg overall.
For the standard Mist vape kits, it’s a good idea to pick your nicotine strength based on how much you smoke. Light smokers, who perhaps only smoke a few cigarettes per day should be able to satisfy their nicotine cravings more than adequately with a 6mg liquid. If you were averaging a pack of 10 cigarettes a day, or maybe a few more, I’d recommend 11mg. Smokers who’d go through a 20 packet I’d say go straight for 18mg. If you smoke more than 20 a day, I still wouldn’t recommend any higher than 18mg as the vape can be quite harsh above this, and e-liquids like 24mg or 36mg that you find some places I would only recommend to a cigar smoker. To any heavy smokers of more than 20 cigarettes a day I’d say still get 18mg but you may simply find yourself vaping more often.
It’s better to start high and gradually reduce your nicotine than to start too low and be unsatisfied. You don’t want to put yourself off of vaping by not satisfying your nicotine cravings and returning to cigarettes. As you get used to vaping, you can gradually lower the strength of nicotine you vape, to wean yourself off of it altogether if this is your goal.
Now the fun part…. flavours!
Now you get to choose a flavour! Vaping has so many flavours, there is something for everyone. Taste is subjective, so my first bit of advice here would be simply to find something that you think sounds nice and try it! Even if it isn’t to your taste don’t give up, there are so many flavours to try you’ll find something you like for sure.
There’s e-liquid to taste like cigarettes, for anyone who enjoys the taste of tobacco, or there’s minty flavours, fruity ones, bakery, beverages…. All sorts. Let’s take a closer look at a few of Mist’s most popular ones:
If you enjoy the taste of a cigarette, you might enjoy the Tobacco e-liquid. The best way I can describe it is earthy, and to me tastes like the cigarette I used to roll myself. Back in my smoking days, I mostly smoked Benson and Hedges, and for anyone who’s the same I’d recommend Mist’s Silver and Gold tobacco flavour as this is closer (to my palate anyway). You could also get creative, and mix a tobacco flavour with something like cherry, to replicate a flavoured pipe tobacco. Just put both liquids in your tank, give it a little shake, and let it sit for a few minutes.
Or perhaps you smoked menthol cigarettes? Mist have got you covered. The menthol flavour is great, and gives a nice strong menthol taste without being sickly or harsh. It’s even clearing my sinuses up while I vape it, so if you’ve got a cold this might be a great vape to unblock your nose. There’s also the spearmint flavour, which to my tongue tastes just like chewing gum.
If you’d like to move away from the taste of cigarettes, or just would like to try other flavours, one of Mist’s most popular is blueberry. It’s a very sweet, crisp vape with plenty of flavour, and one I find myself smacking my lips afterwards. I’d also heartily recommend the strawberry flavour, which in my opinion is a bit more full-bodied, and brings to mind a strawberry jam.
At the end of the day, taste is subjective. Go forth, experiment, try flavours that sound nice to you, and you’re sure to find something delicious that will help you enjoy vaping to the fullest.