Introduction to e-liquids
A fundamental part of electronic cigarettes is e-liquid, with that in mind we have provided this section of our site dedicated to giving users all they need to know about e-liquid.
We include in this the three ingredients that make up e-liquid: Nicotine, diluent and flavouring and an explanation of e-liquid strength. Here at Totally Wicked we understand that e-liquid is not a household term, it is even possible that people who have used e-liquid for a long time do not know the first thing about it; we have aimed to make the information as digestible as possible so that everybody who wants to learn more can do so with relative ease. We hope that this will help all of our users to make an informed decision about the e-liquid they choose to vape with.
A bit of history
When electronic cigarettes first came onto the market, buying e-liquid was a bit of a hit and miss affair. Most people didn’t know what was in it, and with most e-liquid coming from China, many people were concerned: Could we be sure of the quality of the fluid? Were the levels of nicotine 100% accurate?
Since the company’s formation in 2008, Totally Wicked aimed to take a responsible position in finding and controlling the source of our e-liquid to ensure it was of the best quality and safe. We did a lot of trialing, contacted many different manufacturers, until we were happy we had found a company that could match our specific requirements. This meant we knew the manufacturers, we knew where the e-liquid came from, and we could state that our e-liquid was the best – and really know it. We confirmed the fluids’ quality using UK laboratories and proactively worked with UK authorities to achieve the first UK e-liquid CHiP compliance; these are EU rules, regulations and standards for consumer protection.
This work established our first unique Totally Wicked range – our Original e-liquid. Since then, we have continued to grow and keeping to our core principles we have established and improved the range, quality and value of our e-liquid. This has included the introduction of a number of new ranges, importantly the development of our nicotine solutions, Platinum and Titanium ice, and flavour concentrate range, Gold Standard, which were the first internationally available range of ‘do it yourself’ e-liquid mixing equipment and products. We also have our pre-mixed e-liquids, Red Label and Totally Herbal, which are produced exclusively by Totally Wicked in the UK and Patriot Range, which is produced exclusively for Totally Wicked in the USA.
What is e-liquid?
All electronic cigarettes, whether using pre-filled cartomizers or a fluid tank system, require e-liquid to produce the inhaled vapour. The e-liquid is a simple solution that contains the following three components:
Nicotine: The stimulant in cigarettes and the substance that is addictive in cigarettes is the nicotine. In our ‘mix your own’ range we offer nicotine in strengths of 54mg/ml and 72mg/ml, in our Platinum and Titanium Ice fluids. These are available in either a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine base and in volumes of 50ml and 100ml.
Flavouring: Nicotine has no discernible taste. Therefore to produce the taste in your e-liquid a flavour needs to be added. There are an infinite number of flavours that can be used. We believe we stock not only some of the finest tasting and highest quality e-liquid flavourings, but also one of the widest and most exciting ranges available. For example, The Gold Standard is a range that has been developed and made by Totally Wicked in our own facility. It uses only the finest quality UK sourced flavours and is a range we are particularly proud of.
Diluents: The third ingredient of e-liquid is a diluent. The diluent essentially performs three functions. Firstly it is added to dilute the mixture of nicotine and flavours to the correct strength. Secondly it adds the part of the solution that produces the vapour that is inhaled and ‘transports’ both the flavour and nicotine from the electronic cigarette to the user and lastly it generates, what is commonly referred as, the ‘throat hit’, the sensation smokers get when the smoke and flavour hits the back of the throat.
The common diluents used in our products are:
Propylene Glycol (PG): Our Propylene Glycol is high quality pharmaceutical grade. Propylene Glycol dilutes the mixture to the correct viscosity and helps to produce the ‘throat hit’ in combination with nicotine and flavours. As a guide, our pre-mixed e-liquids contain a mixture of 80% Propylene Glycol and 20% Glycerine.
Vegetable Glycerine (VG): In its raw state this is a thick viscous liquid. Glycerine helps to produce greater vapour and adds a little sweetness to the mixture. As a guide, our premixed e-liquids contain a mixture of 80% Propylene Glycol and 20% Glycerine.
Aqueous Glycerine (AG): Our Aqueous Glycerine is high quality pharmaceutical grade, and is diluted with de-ionised water to the correct viscosity so that the e-liquid does not become too thick and this is what is used when mixing your own e-liquid at home.
So there we have it. e-liquid is a simple mixture of these 3 basic components:
The strength of e-liquid is essentially how much nicotine the fluid contains in a set volume of e-liquid. We use a basic measure of milligram of nicotine per millilitre of total fluid volume (mg/ml). This is how the solutions we currently offer denote the amount of nicotine they contain. This notation was defined to compare directly e-liquid to conventional cigarettes. For example, if a cigarette package states that there is 1.8mg of nicotine in the product, it means that each cigarette provides an average delivery of 1.8mg of nicotine. Therefore a pack of 20 cigarettes provides a total delivery to the average user of 36mg of metabolised nicotine. In comparison, an e-liquid of 18mg/ml strength denotes that there is 18mg of nicotine in each milli-litre of fluid. Therefore if you were to ‘vape’ 1ml of this fluid, and you were able to absorb 100% of the nicotine, you would receive the same amount of nicotine as provided by 10, 1.8mg conventional cigarettes.
However, It is important to note that current research shows nicotine uptake through vaping is not directly comparable with nicotine uptake through smoking. Importantly, cigarettes contain significantly more nicotine per cigarette than cigarette manufacturers are required to label. Cigarettes actually contain at least 10 times more nicotine per cigarette than labelled. This is due to the labelling on cigarettes reflecting the average metabolised nicotine per cigarette (referred to as the ‘yield’) NOT the actual nicotine content which is the current method of denoting e-liquid nicotine content. It is interesting to note that the body’s ability to extract nicotine from tobacco smoke (the metabolised nicotine) is significantly more efficient than extracting nicotine from electronic cigarette vapour. Importantly therefore do not be misled by the apparent comparisons between conventional cigarette and e-liquid nicotine content. Our experience tells us that a typical “20 a day” smoker will find 18mg/ml a suitable strength to start vaping. Heavy smokers sometimes find a much higher nicotine concentration is more satisfying. For occasional and light smokers 10mg/ml is a very good starting point.
More experienced users are now often referring to the percentage of nicotine in the solution. For example, each 1mg/ml of e-liquid contains by volume 0.1% nicotine i.e. 99.9 parts are diluent and flavouring mixture and only 0.1 parts of the fluid is nicotine. Using this notation, an 18mg/ml e-liquid contains 1.8% nicotine.
Totally Wicked offer market leading e-liquid ranges that allow users to buy ready to use flavoured e-liquid, with set nicotine levels, as well as a large choice of products that allow for our customers to ‘mix their own’. Our ranges can be summarised below:
Why do we believe Totally Wicked e-liquid is 'The Best'?
Let’s not get ourselves involved in marketing hype here, this question is too important for that. The essence of how we design, develop and procure our e-liquid is based upon 3 very simple principles:
Safety, Quality and Value
The market for e-liquids is growing rapidly as the immense positive potential of electronic cigarettes is starting to be more widely understood. This growth has produced a rush to find e-liquid, often from whatever source can provide, irrespective of the quality or indeed an understanding of the constituent ingredients. Totally Wicked NEVER sources fluid unless we have assured ourselves we are content with the safety and quality. We build long-term relationships, we do not flit from supplier to supplier and we demand and assure both quality and consistency by working closely with all our suppliers and building strong inter-dependent relationships that build further the assurance of quality.
By the end of 2012 we established the foundation ranges that define our long-term company vision of excellence. With the exception of our Titan fluid, all our nicotine containing products will contain only UK Pharmaceutical Grade Nicotine, procured by ourselves from the most reputable source in the European Union. This included our Red Label range that was launched in Autumn 2012, and offers an exclusive range of flavours developed and produced using only UK sourced products, manufactured in our own Totally Wicked production facility. Our Totally Herbal range, introduced in 2013, which is 100% natural and organic and has been developed to be the first range of e-liquids optimised as nicotine free e-liquids, again manufactured at our own Totally Wicked production facility. Whilst our partner company in the United States produces our Patriot Range fluid, it already includes our independently sourced Nicotine that we insist upon using. Furthermore, our Titanium and Platinum Ice Nicotine solutions and our Gold Standard flavour concentrates are already produced ‘in-house’ by TW using only the highest-grade UK source products.
Our Titan Fluid is produced by our long-term primary partner Joyetech. This fluid, whilst produced in China by Joyetech on our behalf, is produced in Joyetech’s own specially developed fluid production facility to European standards of quality and product specification.
By continuing to drive our business in this direction, Totally Wicked will not only be able to lift higher the Safety and Quality benchmark we are setting, we will also be able to deliver on our promise of the ‘best value’ e-liquid. The more we make ourselves, in house, the more we can pass back to our customers.