If you’ve just discovered the vaping universe, you know it isn’t difficult to become confused by the selections of devices and accessories available. Take heart. It’s not as hard as you might imagine.
The central part of the e-cigarette, the part which contains the battery, atomizer and liquid, are all pretty much the same. There are only so many ways to mix electricity and atomized nicotine.
The real spot to be watchful for is the liquid itself. With hundreds of different flavors and strengths on the market, sold by dozens of manufacturers, how can a person know when they’re getting a safe, effective product at a reasonable investment?
How to Select the E-Liquid
From DIIY home brews to the local shops how do you determine which option is the right one and how do you choose the correct e-liquid for your device and desires. Here are some things to keep in mind when you switch from a traditional cigarette to an e-device.
Use Only Reputable Companies
No matter which e-liquid is chosen, all of the recipes are made include the same four ingredients:
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
It can be risky with cheaply made imports or DIY home brews which are below par, so look for high-quality, American made liquids that use USP-grade PG/VG and top-grade nicotine.
Difference Between PG and VG
Once a supplier of USP-grade ingredients has been found, the next step is to determine which PG/VG combination will provide for the most satisfying experience. PG and VG have minor differences in qualities, so it’s important to know how they’ll affect the vaping experience. E-liquids come in different ratios, so here’s what it’s important to know about each of the base ingredients.
PG is the normally base ingredient and is used in thousands of FDA approved consumer products. Thin and tasteless, PG doesn’t have any taste of its own and won’t affect the e-liquid flavoring. As it is thinner it will be easily absorbed by the atomizers and won’t build up on the heating element.
The bad news is PG doesn’t produce as much vapor as VG. Also, a small percentage of vapers report having mild allergic reactions. The reactions include rash and/or upset stomachs.
Like PG, VG is FDA approved and considered safe, but instead of being made in a lab, VG is 100 percent natural — coming from vegetables and plant oils. Being thicker, VG normally produces thicker clouds of vapor and some users find this more satisfying than e-liquids based on PG based products. However, since VG is thicker, it will build up quicker on the atomizer and e-device meaning cleaning the device more often.
Experimentation Doesn’t Stop
Once a satisfying e-liquid supplier has been found, it is up to the user to find the right e-liquid. There are literally thousands of different options and personal preferences may change over time.
E-cigarettes are new to the market, and there are still hundreds of makers maneuvering to position their products at the top of the sales charts. Numerous online sites have sprung up to provide reviews of existing products as well as products slated to come on the market soon;
With all the hype and e-cig reviews, how do you know which ones to trust?
Some of the unethical practices the industry as seen in promoting their product through reviews are:
- Small mom-and pop shops have paid people to write great reviews without a basis in customer experiences. Other merchants have “bought” customers with discounts for posting positive reviews.
- Some businesses have paid people to put up negative reviews of their competitors.
Small businesses have reported being “strong-armed” by ad-sales staff. Website sales teams may strongly hint that paying for ads will get the site to “lose” negative reviews resulting in favored advertisers being positioned better in search results.
There still isn’t a nationwide, nonprofit ratings site for local makers and suppliers. Consumer Reports provides this service for national products, but there has yet to such a service locally. The closest entity currently available is Consumers’ Checkbook, but it is only available in seven areas: Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC.
The nonprofit Better Business Bureau, where ratings are based on a firm’s commitment to BBB standards and history of dealing with customer complaints, is starting to move into reviews as well.
At the end of the day, the ancient saying is still the best to follow: “Let the buyer beware.”