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What's in E-Cigarette Liquid?

With Public Health England concluding that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, the NHS continues to recommend e-cigarettes as an effective method of quitting smoking.

Vaping helps to satisfy nicotine cravings without the carcinogenic chemicals that are found in cigarettes. They work electronically to heat E-Liquid so that it can be inhaled as a vapour. This is why using e-cigarettes is known as vaping!

But what is in E-Liquid in the UK? And why is it a better choice compared to whatever’s in a cigarette?

Here, we give you a rundown of what’s in your e-cigarette and why vaping has been deemed 95% safer than smoking.


What Isn’t in E-Liquid?

Before explaining what’s in E-Liquid, it’s important to note what’s not in it – specifically, tobacco and tar.

The most harmful ingredients in cigarettes come from tobacco smoke. When tobacco is burned, thousands of chemicals and toxins are released, many of which are carcinogenic. Cigarette smokers expose their bodies to these chemicals, and tar builds up in their lungs, which puts them at a high risk of developing cancer.

E-Liquid doesn’t contain tobacco or any of the other toxic chemicals that exist in cigarettes. This is the main factor behind vaping being called 95% safer than smoking.

What Are the Ingredients in E-Liquid?


We know that smoking is extremely dangerous, so why is it so hard for many smokers to give up cigarettes?

The answer is nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical made from plants, such as the tobacco plant. While it isn’t excessively harmful on its own; when people satisfy their nicotine cravings by way of tobacco cigarettes, it exposes them to extreme health problems.

Unless it is nicotine-free, E-Liquids contain nicotine in a liquid form. Along with other ingredients, the nicotine is heated by the e-cigarette so that it can be ingested as a vapour, rather than smoked in a cigarette. This allows people to get a nicotine hit while avoiding the dangers of tobacco.

The label will state how much nicotine there is in a specific type of E-Liquid, ranging between 0mg to 20mg. The higher the amount, the stronger the nicotine hit for each inhalation. A 0mg E-Liquid is nicotine-free. 

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol, also known as PG, is a key E-Liquid ingredient and is also used in processed foods. It helps to bind the other ingredients together as well as create the cloud of vapour that you exhale from your e-cigarette.

Because it is colourless and odourless, propylene glycol is useful for combining and holding together the other ingredients in E-Liquid, without changing the aroma of your vape cloud. 

It is not toxic or carcinogenic – in fact, 45% passes through the kidneys, and the rest is broken down into lactic acid.

A higher amount of PG in your E-Liquid is likely to give a stronger throat hit. For those who have just started using e-cigarettes, it may cause you to feel thirsty and your mouth to feel dry, which is why it’s recommended to drink extra water until your body adapts to it.

Vegetable Glycerine

Vegetable glycerine (aka VG) is made from plants and is often used as a sweetener in food products. In E-Liquid, it helps to create a bigger vapour cloud and can also add to the sweetness of the flavour.

Often, an E-Liquid will be a combination of PG and VG to get the best of both glycols. However, as VG is smoother and produces bigger clouds, some 100% VG E-Liquids exist for those who want to sub-ohm vape and create plumes of vapour!


From classic menthol to cotton candy or cola, there are thousands of E-Liquid flavours on the market. As you’d expect, they control what an E-Liquid tastes like, masking the taste of nicotine.

Flavourings are made from a combination of ingredients that must be thoroughly tested and regulated by official bodies in the UK before they’re deemed safe for consumption.

E-Liquid Ingredient Regulations

Before an E-Liquid product is released to the market, it must meet a strict series of regulations set out by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Some of the rules include:

  • Nicotine strength cannot exceed 20mg/ml.
  • Ban on specific ingredients, such as colourings, caffeine, and taurine.
  • All e-cigarettes and E-Liquids must be submitted to the MHRA before they can be sold.

This ensures that all products comply with the latest safety guidelines and prevent harmful or untested e-liquids from being sold on the mainstream market.

Whether you like the taste of tobacco or want to experiment with fruity flavours, there are plenty of E-Liquids that will help you give up cigarettes for good. Explore our huge range online or visit your nearest Red Box Vape to test out a variety of flavours in store! 

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