Infographic header with pictures of e-liquid bottle.

What is Vape Juice?

Vape juice is one of a number of terms used for e-liquid. E-liquid has been the most commonly used terms in recent years, along with e-juice, but more and more people are now using the words vape juice.

We’ve put together a great vape juice infographic which will provide you with all the essential need to knows, and you’ll also find plenty of other information and links in the text below, as well as a free, downloadable guide to steeping e-liquid.

Vape Juice What Is It?

Vape Juice – Remember the Basics

Vape juice (aka e-liquid) may have been around for years now, but it’s still easy to get the basics wrong.

For example, when I’m standing in one of our shops listening to customers coming in, I always wince at the word oils, which is commonly used for e-liquid. Oils are not used in e-liquid, and for good reason as when inhaled, oils can lead to major health problems.

Vape Juice in the UK

There’s a very good reason to source your e-liquid from the UK (or elsewhere in the EU). In the EU it’s required by law that vape juice undergoes emissions testing. Essentially this means that the e-liquid is vapourised and the vapor is tested for known harmful contaminants. In the UK, at least amongst the better manufacturers, there’s also an ongoing effort to analyse flavour compounds and eliminate any which could cause harm.

It’s worth noting that this does not apply to shortfills. Shortfills (also known as shake and vape) contain no nicotine and therefore do not fall under EU regulations. In fact, they were essentially invented as a way to get around the regulations, which put a minimum size of 10ml on the amount of liquid that could be contained in a bottle. By separating the nicotine and the e-liquid, suppliers created a product for vapers who needed larger bottles and the lower (per ml) prices that go along with them.

There are some good shortfills out there which undergo the same stringent testing as 10ml bottles, but there are also shortfills which contain very poor quality e-liquid. If in doubt, only buy from reputable suppliers. For more information and a video guide, see our Guide to Short Fills.

Vape Juice EU Testing

What’s in E-Liquid?

In your average e-liquid you’ll find:

  • Nicotine: The addictive part of cigarettes. However, nicotine alone is not as addictive as nicotine combined with other elements of tobacco smoke.
  • Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerine: These are responsible for producing the vapour that gives vaping its name. Propylene Glycol produces more throat hit and arguably carries flavour better, vegetable glycerine is sweeter and produces more vapour and is best used in more advanced vape devices. For more info see our article on PG vs VG.
  • Flavourings: Food grade flavourings are also used to create the taste. In the UK a huge amount of work has gone into analysing the flavourings used in order to maximise the safety compared to smoking.

CBD Vape Juice

One area we haven’t explored in the infographic is CBD vape juice. Essentially this is e-liquid made from the cannabis plant with either zero or extremely low THC levels. The idea is you get the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without getting high. It’s a specialised area, so to learn more check out our guide to CBD e-liquid.

Vape Juice What's In It?

How do you store vape juice?

Both heat and light can affect the colour and taste of e-liquid. To avoid this, it’s always a good idea to store e-liquid in a cool, dark place (especially if planning to store for a long time). For more information see How to Store E-Liquid: Tips for A Zombie Apocalypse.


Steeping, at its most basic, refers to leaving an e-liquid for a period of time before using it. Although it can depend on the exact flavour, steeping is known to improve the flavour. There is some controversy over this, but when we ran a small experiment with reviewers there seemed to be a clear indication that steeping changes both the flavour and throat hit.

For more information on how to steep e-juice, download our cheat sheet at the bottom of this blog post!

Vape Juice Storing and Steeping

Vape Juice: The Infographic

Vape Juice Infographic

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Article Sources

E-cigarettes: regulations for consumer products, Feb 2016 (updated May 2019),
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

E-cigarette working group discussion paper on submission of notifications under article 20 of directive 2014/40/eu
Chapter 3 – Emissions from electronic cigarettes, UK Government

Four in 10 smokers incorrectly think nicotine causes cancer, March 2018, Public Health England

Domino F, The Nicotine Content of Common Vegetables, August 5, 1993, N Engl J Med 1993; 329:437, DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199308053290619

Martin A.E. Murphy F.H., Glycols: Propylene glycols, Dow Chemical Company

Mc Neill A et al, Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018: executive summary, March 2018, Public Health England


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