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How is Vape Juice Made? Get an Inside Look
Like making wine or home-brewed beer, DIY vape juice sounds like a great idea. You have complete control over the ingredients, strength and flavors, and it’s probably cheaper. But let’s be honest: it’s a whole lot of time and work spent on something that may not turn out to be any good. It might make a great hobby, but does it really give you the best vaping experience? Probably not. And when you find out what goes into the manufacture of the retail versions, you’ll understand why.
Vape juice is an ingestible product, which means it needs to be created in an environment that is secure and clean. If any kind of contaminant gets near the product, it can affect its quality, purity and even its safety. Most reputable manufacturers use comprehensive air filtration systems with carefully regulated air flow to remove microscopic particles that can interfere with the process.
What’s it Made Of?
There are two main ingredients: vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). The composition of some vape juices is as high as 80% VG but the only thing this element contributes is the level of vapor, from thin wisps to huge plumes. The higher the VG content, the bigger the clouds. VG is produced by processing vegetable oils. It’s colorless, non-toxic and has no smell, but it tastes sweet. Often it can be too thick to work effectively, so many manufacturers will add water.
Propylene glycol accounts for most of the rest of your vape juice, and the proportions of VG and PG can vary significantly. Like VG, it is an alcohol that is non-toxic, sweet-tasting and odorless. Its primary function is to intensify both the taste and the hit. Some juices contain more PG than VG; your choice will come down to personal preference.
Much smaller by volume but absolutely essential is the flavoring, which commonly accounts for between 3% and 15% of the composition. One of the great attractions of vaping is the virtually endless flavor possibilities, from fruity flavours like Apple Hookah to dessert flavours like Chocolate Cake. The effectiveness of this is improved not only by the PG but also through the introduction of ethyl alcohol, which homogenizes the blend and enhances the flavor.
The last major ingredient is nicotine. This, of course, is optional. For people who are vaping in an attempt to kick the smoking habit, nicotine-free vape juice probably won’t cut it. Moving from the hit of cigarettes to no hit at all is a big leap. But for many people, vaping is a pleasant activity in itself so it won’t be an important factor. For them, it is the sensation of inhaling flavor that really works. There are still many myths surrounding nicotine, not least the widespread belief that this is what makes cigarettes harmful. In fact, it is the smoke and tar that cause lung damage. The nicotine levels in even the strongest cigarettes are not close to being dangerous.
Manufacturers of vape juice appreciate how competitive their market is, so they take great care to source the best ingredients and establish partnerships with reliable suppliers. When the materials reach them, the production process begins with the precise weighing and measuring of the different quantities, which is frequently performed in lab conditions where the staff even wear masks and head coverings.
Once the ingredients are ready, they are blended - either manually or by a mechanized process - to create the vape juice. This is then immediately transferred to sterile glass or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. Again, this may be done by hand or, in larger production plants, using machinery. The containers are then hermetically sealed with a tamper-evident closure and labeled. The labels will state not only the brand and product name but any warnings required by current legislation and all the traceability features.
Testing and Control
Once the juice has been produced and packaged, both the labeling and the security of the seals are checked. In addition, random quality checks of the liquid itself may be carried out, which will involve consideration of its look, smell and taste. Microbiological analysis is not uncommon to ensure the purity of the product and the absence of contamination by bacteria, mold, staphylococcus or any other yeasts that might pose a health risk or compromise the quality of the vape juice. Occasional tests of the nicotine content are also a matter of routine.
This is an abbreviated guide, but it gives you an idea of the care and skill that goes into the production of vape juice that is safe and satisfying.