What Is Vegetable Glycerin And Propylene Glycol?

A vaper’s first encounter with e liquid usually brings her into contact with propylene glycol and, possibly, vegetable glycerin. Propylene glycol (PG) is the more popular for low-powered e cigs and tobacco flavors.

Interest in vegetable glycerin (VG) grew when some consumers and anti-e cig proponents argued that PG is unsafe, along with how VG is ideal for creating big clouds of vapor. Their argument is that PG is unsafe is that it is used in the making of inedible and synthetic substances such as resins and anti-freeze. At the same time, it is listed by the FDA as a GRAS food substance (GRAS – Generally Recognized As Safe).

Consequently, many vapers have turned to VG as a substitute, or have started using e-juice with a higher ratio of VG.

Truths about Propylene Glycol

The first thing consumers need to know about PG is that they have probably consumed it regularly in one form or another. Night clubs, recreation centers, and schools use it to create artificial smoke.

Propylene glycol as a food-safe additive is mixed into many processed treats. As a solvent, PG is found in many pharmaceutical products. Another truth about propylene glycol is that it is not a synthetic compound but a natural, organic one.

Allergic reactions to propylene glycol have left numerous vapers concerned about the properties of this substance. Moderate individuals realize that allergies to other products (strawberries, latex, and milk) don’t mean these items are necessarily bad; just bad for certain people. Vegetable glycerin-based juices provide an option, so they are able to continue vaping.

Vegetable glycerin or simply “glycerin” has been derived from a variety of foods and plants: vegetables, soy, Malaysian palm, and more. Manufacturers add it to detergents and cosmetics while any consumer can purchase it from a grocery or health food store in bottled form.

Allergic reactions to VG inspired e cig manufacturers to locate non-allergenic sources such as the Malaysian palm. Consumers will find many organic, Kosher, USP-grade VG products on the market sourced from other countries too, such as India and the United States.

Propylene Glycol vs. Vegetable Glycerin

E liquid mixologists choose to combine these two elements in varying ratios to achieve more or less throat hit, thinner or thicker liquid, or sweeter e juice. They select ratios to accommodate their products: low-end atomizers filled with wicking material, for instance.

PG is thinner than VG so is favored by mini cig companies. Their cartomizers and clearomizers usually contain fibrous material which becomes gummy over time and atomizers which eventually clog up.

Thin e juice prolongs the life of an atomizer. PG is also preferred when manufacturers and blenders create tobacco flavors because it provides a heavier throat hit without sweetening juice or adding a scent. PG typically has more flavor, and is the preferred delivery method for flavors, and VG produces more vapor, with less of a throat hit.

New vapers using low-powered cartomizers frequently start vaping with tobacco e juice because of its familiarity, so PG-dominant (or 100% PG) e liquids are preferred.

As vapers become more skilled and start operating wickless systems or those with removable coils and wicks, they experiment with thicker liquids. They enjoy the sweetness, additional vapor production, and VG’s compatibility with gourmet non-tobacco flavors. No longer seeking the throat hit they enjoyed as smokers, they can now select products of varying density and even organic products.

Once a consumer’s e cig is an adjustable, variable watt mod, his favorite juices tend to contain at least 50% VG but often the maximum amount possible. A hobby called “cloud chasing” is facilitated by high watt devices, low-resistance atomizers, and viscous e juice.

Brands of E Juice

Several suppliers sell brands of flavorless bases for DIY vape-mixers along with mixing tools and flavorings. Most vapers buy pre-made juices, however.

Favorite PG-heavy products include V2 Cigs e liquid and cartomizers, Green Smoke, South Beach Smoke, and VaporFi. When vapers start looking for heavier liquids, they turn to gourmet companies like Space Jam, Five Pawns, the Standard, and Blueprint. A number of vape shops also custom-blend flavors to contain a ratio of PG/VG chosen by individuals.

Speculation About The Looming FDA E-Cig Regulations

The entire e cig industry is concerned about FDA regulations. These regulations have yet to be released and a great deal of input has been sought.

The Food and Drug Administration has received the advice of WHO, doctors, scientists, pharmacists, and others with something to offer. Their opinions are potentially biased by some form of prejudice against e cigs or because they work in some element of the vaping industry.

Many regular people have also aired their concerns for and against e cigs and e liquid. Here is what the industry believes might happen.

E Liquid Manufacturing Standards

There is a good chance small artisan e liquid companies will either have to close their doors or institute certain major changes. Some companies proudly claim that they make e liquid by hand, one bottle at a time as consumers order them.

The FDA could institute certification standards that require mixing and bottling by machine, not by hand. Laboratory conditions will potentially be required involving investment in machinery, furnishings, filters, and more.

Numerous tiny companies will be forced to either go out of business or join forces and work together to fund efforts in a shared facility. The FDA could also insist that only tobacco and menthol juices contain nicotine.

Revealing Secrets

Companies might be forced to reveal ratios of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin plus flavoring that they have chosen to keep secret so others couldn’t make these juices at home. Some vendors and consumers would say a bit more transparency is long overdue. Many vapers are simply satisfied that vaping is so much safer than smoking and they do not care if there is a small amount of toxicity or uncertainty involved.

E Cigs and Big Tobacco

Even R.J. Reynolds had something to say about e cigs before releasing their version, the Vuse. It’s a great little device winning a lot of fans, but opinions from this tobacco giant confirm that Big Tobacco is no friend of vaping.

They believe this is a potentially dangerous industry drawing in young non-smokers, especially flavors of e cigs like grape and chocolate. To them, this isn’t what e cigs should be about.

There are legitimate fears that established companies such as Reynolds will manage to sell their version of an e cig in the category of “tobacco products” by sticking with tobacco and menthol flavors.

The FDA could then block efforts by independent firms unassociated with Big Tobacco or insist they withdraw sweet flavors.

Chinese Manufacturing

Almost the entire industry relies on Chinese factories in some way. Many components are made in China, if not the entire e-cig. Liquids are often made and bottled there.

People will be bringing e cigs and e liquid back with them from China and countries where there are no prohibitions even if the FDA places a ban on the import of electronic cigarettes and e liquids from overseas.

The FDA cannot control standards in this country, but if US firms are forced to shut their doors, vapers might start buying goods through eBay and Alibaba, giving rise to illegal trade.

Comparing Smoking vs Vaping

Vapers, non-smokers, scientists, medicos, and regulatory bodies are busily comparing smoking vs vaping as they debate how to progress with electronic cigarettes. They would be foolish to argue that smoking is safer, but there are built-in risks with e cigs as well.

Safety is just one factor to consider too: what about the environment and money? Which one is worse from an ecological standpoint and which one is cheaper overall? Health is the other overriding concern which sends smokers flocking to e cig kiosks around the world.

Before getting more into this, I will say that vaping is very similar in the taste, and feeling in the back of your throat.

Does it taste exactly like a real cigarette?

No, but some brands get pretty close, considering it is vapor as opposed to smoke. The feeling in the back of your throat you get from smoking is mimicked very well by e-cigs, and depending which you try, e-cigs can hit the back of your throat even more harshly than a tobacco cigarette.

Weighing up the Facts

Smokers spend hundreds — and even thousands — of dollars annually on cigarettes and accessories. Switching to e cigs can cut costs down by anything from 20% to 80% depending on how much you smoked and how you proceed.

At the very cheapest, if you were in a financial bind and are looking for the most cost savings, here’s an example of what you could save:

If you smoked 1 pack a day, and spent $10 a day, you could do this with e-cigs for less than $50 per month (compared to $300 a month @ $10 per day). This would be using e-liquid and refilling your own vape device.

Vaping Savings

Vaporizers require rechargeable batteries, liquid and tanks, chargers have to be replaced, and there are other optional accessories. One spends less time fumigating a room or clothing when e cigs are involved. Ashtrays become antiques.

Vaping Costs

But vapers who just use disposables and don’t plan to wean off of e cigs entirely will probably spend a fair amount of money: $10 for the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes on average. This is true if the disposable is working and properly filled with e liquid.

Most e cigs are in good shape if they come from reliable brands but there are some that don’t perform and many companies overstate the puff count on a single-use e cig. Maybe you are getting ¾ of a pack or perhaps 1 ¼ packs on a good day.

Bundle Bonus

Starter kits for mini cigs potentially reduce outgoings because, with a bundle, each piece is included at a discount over what it goes for when sold separately. Then again, if you start adding carry cases and other extras, those unnecessary accessories add to the price. If you purchase a mini cig, reliable, safe brand-name KR808D mini cigs are overpriced to start with.

Yet, loyalty points and discount coupons make it cheaper to buy goods. Points at an e cig company are like grocery rewards that customers exchange for goods.

Once vapers switch to filling cartomizers with their own e liquid, they see savings increase as long as they don’t spend even more money exploring hundreds of flavor combinations.

Nature Negative

In an ideal world, no one would vape or smoke. Neither habit is good for the earth. Batteries and other “e-waste” is piling up quickly around the world and leaching toxins from lithium batteries, etc.

Cigarette poisons have polluted the ground, water, and air. Whatever they do to human beings also takes place in the environment. Arguably, rechargeable, recyclable batteries are better than cigarettes. But one mustn’t mistake “better” for “good.”

Health and Hope

In testimonials posted on YouTube, vapers tell moving stories of how electronic cigarettes changed their lives. Some of them couldn’t climb stairs without getting out of breath. A few were nearly dead with lung disease. Cancer had claimed the lives of those they loved and still they were unable to break the chains of addiction to cigarettes.

Thanks to vaping, they could stop choking back poison but didn’t have to endure nicotine withdrawal. Some time in the future they might kick that habit too, but there isn’t any big rush now that the smoke is gone.

There is no denying personal, poignant stories of health and hope regained. Of continued concern to some authorities, however, is the appeal of fruit-flavored, nicotine laden e cigs to a generation of non-smokers keen to feed their curiosity. Moreover, vapers are kidding themselves thinking nicotine is entirely safe (of course most know that it isn’t entirely safe). Doctors often prefer their patients to be fighting this addiction, however, if it means they are doing it as an alternative to smoking.

Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?

Quite apart from concerns over the nature of e-cigarette liquid and inhaling vaporized nicotine, there is another battle between vapers and skeptics. Are electronic cigarettes even safe to use? Do they pose a threat the way any electronic device might?

Batteries are not without their dangers, although consumers use them every day in countless ways without giving them a second thought. Is the situation somehow different when you use a vaporizing system?

e cigaretteElectronic “Smoking”

One must not forget that electronic cigarettes are designed to operate at high enough temperatures to vaporize liquid material.

That is hot indeed, so if there are inherent risks to operating any electronic item, this forms part of the concern. Will a malfunction lead to greater danger when one uses a heated vaping pen versus a Smart Phone or handheld GPS?

Early on, well-publicized troubles with chargers catching fire and e cigs that exploded could have brought this industry to its knees. Accidents and even tragedies associated with vaping painted a grim picture if you were searching for the darkest side of this industry, eager to overlook the way chargers and battery-operated products of other sorts have also malfunctioned spectacularly. Whatever you use a battery for, there are children prepared to swallow them and wall adapters that will overheat in the night.

At least, they would have 5 years ago. Extra safety measures put in place as a result of these accidents have made e cigs safer.


Even the smallest e cig has a built-in microprocessor; a tiny computer that controls how the battery and heating coil work and will, potentially, shut the device off in the event of danger.

More complex e cigs with variable voltage and wattage controls provide excellent coverage against a shorted circuit, low voltage, overcharging during the night, and other potential catastrophes. A device will simply shut down if overheating is detected by the tiny but sophisticated computer chip inside.

Inhalation of Vapor

Arguments always come around once more to the issue of e liquid and its safety. Advocates relate e liquid safety to that of cigarette smoke. The FDA and non-vapers aren’t looking for relative values but data regarding e liquid in its own right.

They are right to be concerned: many vapers have been so caught up with the fact they aren’t inhaling smoke anymore that they forgot about nicotine and how much damage this could be doing. Nicotine, no matter how you cut it, is a highly addictive stimulant.

What’s In The Vapor?

There is also the question of what all is being released into the individual’s lungs as well as the atmosphere via the vapor which is used as a delivery system for nicotine and the flavorings. There are various ratios of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine used in the liquid which is vaporized. Along with that is how the liquid is heated, and what that vapor contains under normal circumstances, as well as when people have powerful devices that produce lots of vapor.

There are numerous studies being released, some of which argue very heavily on both sides of this (some say there are some levels of toxins worse than that which is in cigarette smoke, such as formaldehyde, and others that say the danger levels of vapor are comparable to ambient air in their toxicity).

Both of these sides of the research (that they are highly toxic, or not highly toxic) are also highly debated. Whether a study comes out stating that they are safe, or dangerous, there are typically counter arguments to both of these as well.

Of course this then leads to conspiracy theories and such, and it’s impossible to come up with something that everyone can agree on, but there is a lot of money involved in this industry, which some claim influences certain publications, as they are suspicious that certain institutions have an agenda in relation to it.

All of that can all be interesting, frustrating, or even entertaining, but eventually facts will come out after some years of research, and we will know more, and in the meantime, there is a lot of optimism and hope from many organizations that these will indeed turn out to be an alternative that is better in many ways.

Also, nowadays, vaping is pretty widespread, and rather than looking to find answers in these contradictory publications, there are enough vapers where most people can find out how it has been for friends and family, and make their own assessments, based on the experiences of people they know.

Other E-Juice Ingredients and Flavorings

Scientists also continue to study the contents of colorants and food flavorings which consumers regularly consume in processed foods and fizzy drinks. To be fair, many detractors of the e liquid industry eat processed food containing these ingredients but point a finger at nicotine juice as unhealthy. Maybe they fail to realize the nature of their diets, but often this position is simply hypocritical.

A generation of consumers, however, has turned away from artificial ingredients and is looking for the best and shortest lists of ingredients which do not contain colors and artificial flavors because of their uncertainty.

At least, commercially available food is prepared and packaged in factories complying with strict health regulations. Can e liquid companies say the same thing?

There is a good chance they can’t. Most of the dozens of gourmet e juice firms make no statements regarding their production techniques or the state of their manufacturing environment. It might be a room, a kitchen, a laboratory: consumers just don’t know.


The safety of electronic cigarettes is not in doubt if you buy a brand name from a reputable dealer, not from a kiosk or a TV promotion. E liquid, however, still needs to be debated in scientific circles for its inherent safety over the long term.

Vaping Organizations

Smokers might be surprised by how much resistance there is to electronic cigarettes. They have been urged by their doctors and the American Heart and Lung Association to quit smoking, and nothing has given them as much success as vaping.

Vapers and e cig entrepreneurs, however, are defending their field and the habit of vaping from the FDA, the American government, and a suspicious public. It is no wonder that many organizations have sprung up in their defense.

The SFATA or Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association

SFATA logoAs you can see, this particular group represents trades people along the entire supply chain; anyone involved at the business end of electronic cigarettes.

Theirs is one of the best-organized groups headed by an executive and features an attorney, entrepreneurs, and more. Michael Mullins owns Digital Ciggz in California. J. Andries Verleur is CEO of V2. Phil Daman (president) is a lawyer. One of the executive represents Ecigs Ecuador.

Their joint purpose is to advocate for the growth of an e cig and vaping industry generally, which includes the highly powerful vaporizers capable of more than 100W and supporting sub-ohm atomizers as well as vaporizers for herbs, etc. Membership in their trade association is like an all-access pass to information, events, and news.

Read newsletters and academic papers publishing the latest finding regarding e cigs. Attend national and local meetings or conferences. Take part in webinars. Theirs is the largest trade association for the e cig industry nationally.

AVA: American Vaping Association

American Vaping Association logoThis smaller non-profit group is sponsored by vaping and e liquid companies and by donations from members of the public.

Sponsors include NicQuid, AltSmoke, Smokeless Image, and others.

Their goal is to educate the public about the various benefits of choosing e cigs as smoking alternatives and to support small and mid-sized businesses in this arena.

Their president is George Conley who recently gave testimony to the FDA to advocate for vaping. Consumers can use the AVA website as a source for information and news and plenty of details are accessible without becoming a member.

Other Organizations

Aside from state or local chapters of large organizations, there are a few other national groups standing behind vapers and the vaping industry.

One of these is particularly interested in e liquid blenders and manufacturers: the AEMSA or American E liquid Manufacturing Standards Association. Their interest is protecting e liquid industry professionals, educating vapers about e liquid standards, and also disseminating information to each other regarding the pros and cons of certain regulations to make their profession safer (how to setup a suitable clean room, appease the FDA, dangers of dyes, and so on).

CASAA is the Consumer Advocate for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association. As the name says, this organization speaks for consumers where the others seem mostly interested in the professional side.

Apart from these organizations, several forums exist for the candid exchange of ideas, questions, and concerns between vapers. Professionals often log in to take part in these discussions.

Advocates for Consumers

When trouble happens (ingredients cause a reaction, mixing standards have been unhygienic, or a company does not stand behind faulty products), there has to be a voice for those consumers. As yet, the Food and Drug Administration and Better Business Bureau appear to be the main sources of protection for consumers who experience any negatives from the vaping industry, and there have been many. No matter how much the industry vilifies these groups, their role is important to public safety.

E cig and e liquid companies have gone through teething pains: it happens in every industry. The goal now is to find a meeting point where everyone can agree that to protect the public and traders from tragedy or law suits, there have to be some regulations set down.

The choice to make, however, is where to focus regulations, how strict they should be, and whether or not to treat e cigs and e liquid as the FDA treats tobacco products.

Research continues to reveal good and bad sides to this business, mostly good however. Discovering an unbiased source to interpret the facts is a harder business, but only a decade has passed since these little pens were first launched in China. There is a long way to go before controversy settles down to a sensible level.

Purpose Of The E-Research Foundation

The e cig business is facing opposition from various quarters. The subject of vaping is not yet considered mainstream, partly because of the lack of scientific and medical research attributed to this field.

Until a topic can be located in peer review journals, it remains on the fringes of serious discussion. This is the case with electronic cigarettes.

Thoughts and views by anyone from within the e cig industry or even intelligent commentary by medical and scientific professionals is dismissed by regulatory bodies. The E-Research Foundation seeks to put an end to speculation by speeding up investigations and posting studies.

The Problem with FDA Research

Although the E-Research reports that FDA funding into e cig studies is $270M, results from these studies are slow to surface. They can take several years to appear in academic journals read by advocates and/or detractors in research communities.

Regulations and suspicions about e cigs, however, are affecting vapers and business owners right now. The E-Research has been able to speed up the review process with private funding and organization.

E-Research FoundationWhat is the E-Research Foundation?

As a non-profit organization, this American group accepts donations from private individuals and companies to dig into topics of concern to the vaping community and those on the outside looking in.

Many of their studies have already been published in medical journals. Others are currently being set up: all the organization needs are volunteers and money.

Upcoming Studies

For example, one upcoming study requiring $170,000 will look at the effects of second-hand vapor. Another explores the role e liquid flavoring has on nicotine absorption and defeating nicotine cravings among smokers. This study has a budget of $140,000 and needs smokers to take part.

Who are the Members of this Group?

Members so far are all related to the e cig industry in some way: there are no non-partisan participants at the executive level. You can read the bios of these people who include Lou Ritter of the AEMSA (President), Vice President Cynthia Cabrera of the SFATA, and Brandon Ward from EVOLV.

VaporShark’s Brandon Leidel and Consumer Aaron Frazier of the Utah Smoke Free Association are also on the executive board. The organization is based in Dayton, Ohio, but serves the entire United States.

What the E-Research Foundation is not

You will not find advertising on this site: it’s not an e-commerce web page. There are no rants from consumers peppered with colorful language.

E cigs are not overtly promoted, yet there is a subtle leaning in favor of the technology. You don’t notice it right away, but slowly the language begins to show that this is a partisan organization.

None of the writings appears to criticize the FDA or US government overtly except regarding how slowly the wheels of public research turn. There are just subtle hints as to the expected outcomes of these scientific studies; suggestions that these people only expect to see results that prove that e cigs are good news. The most powerful evidence can be seen in the makeup of their executive.

While it would be great to see someone, somewhere act and speak without bias, it is good for vapers to have a foil for the FDA in their courts. With their carefully thought-out language and professionally presented website, it would be difficult for the US government to turn a blind eye to whatever the E-Research Foundation uncovers to the benefit of vapers.

What We Know About Second Hand Vapor

As scientists and medicos scramble to come up with evidence for or against e cigs, they realize something: the more they know, the more questions arise. For instance, are e cigs truly safer than cigarettes? Is vapor better than smoke? Does second hand vapor pose a threat to non-vapers?

What Consumers Know So Far

At this point, there is so much bias on both sides of the argument that it is difficult to determine the truth about e cig vapor. That it’s safer than cigarette smoke is not disputed.

All bodies involved, however, want to know if it is safe. They wonder if vapers are being negatively affected and if those around them are inhaling anything they should avoid.

An attitude that promotes e cigs as truly safe is an under-informed one. For smokers, vaping is probably a far better option. Testimonies give proof of lives changed and health improved exponentially. Proving that a non-smoker can take up vaping or inhale second-hand vapor and not be negatively impacted is much harder.

Research has revealed this much so far: the number of toxins produced by vapor are minute in comparison to those produced by cigarette smoke. That is, they exist but in such tiny proportions that many vapers, quick to defend their stance, argue that “less” means “zero.”

Go here to see a recent study posted at ScienceDirect on vapor versus tobacco smoke.

Individuals who have maintained some objectivity realize that there are potential dangers from vapor. Here are some of the facts they have learned.


For one thing, heating materials to temperatures high enough to turn a blend of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin into vapor can also cause the release of toxic fumes. This is of particular danger when items contain sub-standard forms of plastic, or any kind of plastic actually.

Lots of cheap devices do. When you are searching for tanks and atomizers, you’d notice that something made from stainless steel and glass is both more expensive and more highly lauded.

The neutrality of these media enhances their safety. Researchers have identified some carcinogens in vapor, but whether those were produced by e liquid or by a device is unclear.

Dangers of Nicotine Exposure

However much ex-smokers want to play down the role of nicotine in causing illness, it really is an addictive drug; a stimulant. They argue that no one wants to ban coffee, and energy drinks are sold over the counter, so why get so upset about nicotine?

Caffeine is an equally dangerous stimulant and (in the case of energy drinks), potentially more dangerous. Studies are underway regarding those products but pointing in that direction is a way to throw attention off of nicotine, not to prove anything.

Moreover, a lot of people forget about the nicotine in e liquid. Although it is an optional ingredient in many brands of liquid, most disposable e cigs contain at least some (1.2% or more).

The scientific community wants to determine whether inhaling nicotine via vapor is more powerful than ingesting it. Their concern is that vapers and second-hand vapers are processing more nicotine than they realize.

It is also agreed by scientists that caffeine is potentially dangerous for the same reason that nicotine should be viewed with concern. Both products can cause an addictive response, meaning brain chemistry changes. When one does not receive enough of this stimulant, he or she experiences withdrawal.

Nicotine has been shown to cause medical problems in some people who are oversensitive or have smoked/vaped for a long time. Certain individuals will experience an immediate reaction: perhaps arrhythmia, dizziness, vomiting, or worse.

Most people, however, are not stimulated to this point by inhaling second hand smoke or vapor. It is the toxins in smoke which cause cancer and lung disease. Researchers will continue exploring the issue, while the FDA makes their decisions about how to regulate e cigs.

E-Cigs and Big Tobacco

Assumptions that e cigs and Big Tobacco sit at opposite sides of the vaping table could be wrong. The two industries don’t seem like they should be allied, yet a few well known companies are either owned by or partner with Big Tobacco.

Meanwhile, Tobacco giants are developing and marketing their own brands of electronic cigarettes. It is as if the world has turned upside down, and it gets even more bizarre.

big TobaccoElectronic Tobacco Partnerships

R.J. Reynolds bought out Lorillard, but before this even happened Lorillard had already purchased Blu Cigs.

Purists would not think it possible, but one of the industry’s earliest players decided money from Big Tobacco suited their purposes. There was, of course, an outcry from the e cig industry.

Green Smoke was also acquired by a tobacco company: Altria. This association is even stranger because of Green Smoke’s eco-friendly, health-conscious image. Nothing is more contrary to the “green and healthy” profile than smoking. Yet e cig businesses must have needed the capital.

Big Tobacco E Cigs

The twists and turns continued as, realizing they could not beat the electronic cigarette industry, Big Tobacco decided to join their competitors and develop rechargeable devices of their own. This led to the release of Mark Ten e cigs by Altria and Vuse by R.J. Reynolds.

The latter brand has been acclaimed for its authentic flavor and excellent digital performance; the Mark Ten has been panned. Both were issued on a limited basis as consumers tried and tested them.

It seemed for a while that tobacco companies were becoming savvy and trying to change their image. They have recently developed non-combustion cigarettes as well, realizing that when tobacco burns, this is where a lot of the problems originate. Are you ready for another twist? Big Tobacco offers some free advice: do not buy e cigs.

E Cig Caution

Electronic cigarettes could be bad for your health according to big tobacco. Few statements could be cheekier or more ironic, but that is what tobacco giants assert. Do not vape: you could become addicted to nicotine. Cigarette labels stop short of advising people to smoke instead, but their e cig warnings are like an attempt to take the spotlight off of the real killer: cigarette smoke.

That nicotine is a dangerous substance and can cause illness — even death — is undoubted. Anyone who pretends differently is in denial.

But if someone is going to make this kind of statement about e cigs, surely the Mayo Clinic or other medical institution should be responsible, not a tobacco giant. Consumers might believe cigarette companies were playing unfairly to undermine the competition.

Fear and Loathing

Consumers are not sure what to make of e cigs. The FDA has not yet ruled in their favor, against e cigs, or created guidelines for the industry.

Meanwhile, cigarettes are known killers and bad publicity has not helped the tobacco industry. E cigs have come along and rocked their boat further still. Are tobacco companies playing dirty now?

Electronic cigarette and e liquid companies have their own problems to deal with, including suspicion from consumers and the federal government. Maybe there is substance to some of their fears about e cigs, but it is unlikely that Big Tobacco’s version will be any safer.

Yet, companies like R.J. Reynolds seem to know their way around the establishment. Read the website for Vuse, for instance, and it’s clear they are making every effort to comply with predicted measures by the FDA to regulate electronic smokeless nicotine delivery systems: e cigs.

Different Types of Vaping Devices

This industry is expanding at such a fast pace, it is hard to keep up, and at times can be pretty confusing, even overwhelming.

Cigalikes – Rechargeable and Disposable

Cigalikes, or mini e cigs, are what most people think of for a standard electronic cigarette. These are what you see in convenience stores and gas stations next to cigarettes, which look pretty similar, though they typically have just 1 or two in a package.

If you are brand new to e-cigs, doing some research, this is a great way to find out if you like it

With a rechargeable device, you can recharge the battery and they will last for a couple hours.

Typical Rechargeable E-Cig

Eversmoke Battery

Disposables look almost the same, and function the same, though they are a one time use e-cig.

A disposable is the cheapest way to try one out, as that is all you need, and they are usually rated as having roughly the same amount of nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes.

Pros and Cons of Disposables

The upside is that you can just take a couple puffs, and put it down, unlike a real cigarette, where you light it up, and either smoke the whole thing or can save it if you really want, though that stinks up your pack or pocket.

The downside is that you could finish it off in a few hours if you vape like crazy. On average, they can last 3 hours or much longer, depending on the size of the disposable, and of course how heavily you are vaping.


Using disposables are going to cost more than rechargeable e-cigs. Each one has a cartridge (looks like a cigarette filter), which is what contains the nicotine and flavor that turns into vapor. The rechargeable cartridge is built in, and rechargeable cartridges are replaceable. It costs roughly half as much to use rechargeables, as you only need to replace the cartridges (cartomizers).

eGo Vape Pens

This is  often a next step. eGos are a larger battery, and they allow a larger piece in place of the e-cig cartridge, called a tank or clearomizer.

Typical eGo Pen

Vapor Fi Pro

The battery and e-liquid last longer, and you typically can get a full day out of an eGo set up. Of course there are different sizes here as well, and the biggest eGo batteries could even go for 2 days or more.


This is a broad category, which even encompasses eGos, as it is typically anything beyond your standard cigalike, though it is mostly thought of as more advanced or powerful devices than an eGo.

Typical Box Mod with Digital Screen

VaporFi™ Vox 50 Side View

More advanced means that you have more options, such as variable power output, or control of the airflow through the device, and some other options to control the functioning of the device. Some of these can even include features such as the ability to charge your smartphone while you vape, such as the Innokin iTaste MVP series.

Mod Categories

The main mod categories are eGos, tube mods, mechanical mods, box mods, and then variable wattage and variable voltage.

A few of these categories overlap, as with box mods, they mostly all have variable power options, and then mechanical mods are just straight forward on/off devices, often with beautiful craftsmanship.

Sub Ohm

This is a really popular trend, which is comprised of mods and e-liquids that are essentially geared towards creating lots of vapor, and there are flavor preferences achievable from tinkering with sub ohm settings.

It essentially consists of an atomizer which has a resistance of less than 1 ohm, and that means more power flowing through, creating big clouds of vapor. This would be one of the more advanced areas of vaping, and you want to know what you’re doing with this, as you’re pushing higher power levels through the different components.


Technically, any device that creates vapor, is a vaporizer, e-cigs, eGos, box mods etc., though in this category are introduced other materials to be vaped, such as waxes, oils and loose leaf products. Much of this can be done with eGOs etc as well, but vaporizers often refers to portable and desktop units that vaporize herbs, oils and waxes.

That covers most of the bases of the vaping devices that are currently available, and at present, there is an incredible amount of new devices being released, seemingly every day, and it is a very exciting time to explore the vaping world!


Vaping 101

Most of the western world has heard of e cigs by now. They find them online, at dedicated vapor shops, at smoke stores selling traditional products like cigars and pipes, and at convenience stores and gas stations. While electronic cigarettes are no longer a mystery to many, the term “vaping” often leaves them confused.

What Is Vaping?

“To vape” is to inhale vapor whereas “to smoke” is to inhale cigarette smoke. The two are different enough that e cig manufacturers and users had to coin their own phrase. It might not be in dictionaries yet, but the term is likely to turn up. (Vape was Oxford’s 2014 word of the year).

One cannot refer to using an e cig as “smoking” because there is no smoke. Vapor is the cloud produced by heating liquid and, in this case, liquid that is not produced from a dry herb. A vapor cloud comes from something known as “e liquid” or “vapor juice” which only shares one thing in common with tobacco: nicotine.

What Are People Vaping?

This stuff known as e liquid contains a mixture usually from a list of 4 things: nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavoring. One of these might be absent, but there has to be either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.

Flavoring is what makes an e cig taste like chocolate, tobacco, or oranges. PG or VG give vapor juice its substance. Nicotine is optional, although usually present in disposable e cigs. Once vapers start using rechargeable kits, they often reduce their nicotine intake, regarding this as much a part of the danger as the smoke itself.

There is a lot of controversy about the contents of e liquid:

Is inhaled nicotine dangerous when suspended in a solution that does not contain the many chemicals present in cigarette smoke?

Are artificial flavorings more dangerous inhaled than ingested?

Should stricter standards be enforced in the making of commercially available e liquid? If colorants are present, are these dangerous to inhale?

Is using 100% vegetable glycerin better than inhaling something with propylene glycol in it?

Many of these questions still need to be answered and, besides more studies and experts to investigate, they just need time. As was the case with cigarettes, it was not until time had passed that the many risks of smoking became apparent owing to the numerous cases of cancer and lung disease which were eventually linked to cigarettes. If there are inherent dangers to vaping, these will also need time to show up, although many suspicious consumers, scientists, and officials are looking for them.

What Companies Are Making Vaping Products?

There are several classes of e cigs on the market. The ones usually associated with the name “e cigs” are also called “cigalikes” or “mini cigs.” Their dimensions echo those of cigarettes and they glow at the end, thanks to the presence of an LED light. Familiar brands are White Cloud, V2 Cigs, South Beach Smoke, Eversmoke, VaporFi, Green Smoke, and several others — all American in these cases.

The next category is eGos. These are slightly larger and come in many different colors. The ends do not light up but they last a lot longer on a single charge and there are no disposable versions, only rechargeable ones. Brands include VaporFi, South Beach Smoke, EonSmoke, 777, Halo, and Volcano. These are the American brands but Chinese companies such as KangerTech, JoyeTech, and Innokin also produce popular, inexpensive versions.

One might also be seen vaping an Advanced Personal Vaporizer such as those mostly made by companies like Innokin and JoyeTech, but VaporFi also puts out some advanced devices and Volcano has its own version too. Some are cylindrical; some are box-shaped.

Considerable interest in thick vapor produced with vegetable glycerin-heavy juices at high watts has led to growth in the box mod industry. Slowly the numbers have gone up: from 20 watts to 30, then 50, 100, and finally 150. A few devices have topped 150 watts and allow vapers to get to as low as 0.2 resistance for very hot vapor indeed.

E Juice Trends

It is unlikely that a vaper who gets past mini cigs will continue vaping tobacco- or menthol-flavored e juice for long. The vast array of flavors available to vapers is simply too interesting and tempting not to try. People who do not get to this point literally use e cigs as a way to stop smoking, but a lot of individuals have become hooked on this smoking alternative and love it in its own right.

Some of the favorite flavors from mini cig companies have been vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. As you get into this industry more and explore flavors, you find there are no limits. If a flavor can be made for any other use (baking or cooking, for instance) it can also be used in the making of e liquid should anyone wish to try it (custard, jalapeno, or cake, for instance).

Consumers make their juice at home or, more often, buy it from e liquid manufacturers. Some of the most popular are Space Jam, Virgin Vapor, Pink Spot, Halo Purity, and Suicide Bunny.

Many of the top vapor companies come out of California. They are currently charging around 80 cents per ml for their e juice.

It is even possible to buy juice costing more than $1 per ml, especially “reserved” juice kept in barrels for 3 weeks or more and tasting/smelling slightly of oak or alcohol if the barrel had been previously used to store brandy or whisky.

Where Can You Vape?

Some cafes, clubs, and shops regard vaping as something entirely different from smoking. They don’t ban it and might even encourage it in their establishments if the local government hasn’t created any bi-laws of their own. In other businesses, smoking and vaping are regarded as the same thing.

Employees are expected to take their vaping break outside with smokers and their habit is not looked upon favorably. This might all change if the FDA decides to favor e cigs in their upcoming report, but there are too many clouds hovering over the industry to imagine this will happen.

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