So you’ve got your top notch atomizer tank, maybe a Subtank or an Aspire Atlantis. You’ve got your fancy box mod and it’s all set up ready to use. Nicely coiled and the best Japanese cotton. What next?
One of the main components of vaping is your juice. Now juice obviously varies in quality. I’ve had stuff from a gas station that has been not too bad at all (Criss Cross strawberry) and stuff from juice vendors that was absolutely dire although these were exceptions to the general rule. You do generally get what you pay for. Also if you’ve made the jump to sub-ohming you’ve probably noticed you are getting through a lot more juice. Those big clouds and increased flavour do come at a price.
Now I switched from smoking to vaping for 2 main reasons as most people probably do. First are health reasons and no matter what you read from the health Nazis and big tobacco/pharma who would rather keep their lucrative tobacco income vaping is generally safe.
99.9% of people who have stopped smoking to take up vaping will tell you how much healthier they feel now, how the hacking cough has disappeared, how much cleaner they feel and smell etc etc. Now maybe there are a few unknowns in vaping but I think the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say. Vaping IS generally one hell of a lot less dangerous than smoking.
The other reason I switched to vaping was cost. I was spending over $4 a day on 20 cigarettes, $10 a day in the UK. Now I will not for one moment pretend that vaping costs mere pennies unless you are happy with the cheapest ecigs and juices but if you can rein in the temptation to buy the latest mod or the latest tanks every week then vaping is probably going to save you a hefty wedge of cash depending on what you spent previously on cigarettes of course.
And the point of this post is how to maximize your savings on one of your biggest consumables, juice. I have already explained how the cost of the other consumable, being coils, can be reduced by building your own.
Juice? Is there a perfect flavour for you? Probably not and the majority of vapers are always on the hunt for that perfect tasty juice that surpasses all expectations but that is probably like the Holy Grail. Many have searched but none have found and being as our tastes change from day to day we are unlikely to.
Now juice can get expensive. I have seen so called designer juices going for almost cigarette prices, over $20 for a 10ml bottle in some cases. So what are you paying for?
Juices are simple and composed mostly of 4 components in varying ratios.
1&2) Your base mix which comprises 75% plus by volume of your mix and is made of usually 2 ingredients. These are Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerine. You can use 100% of either but in the majority of mixes both are involved. They are known as PG and VG for short. Popular mixes are 50/50 or maybe 70% VG to 30% PG which can create larger clouds. Generally PG is sweeter and gives more of a throat hit while VG smooth’s the mix down and creates more vapour. Also some tanks run better at certain wattages on differing mixes but I won’t get into that here as that is very much a personal preference and you will find as a vaper you are always messing about with wattages and juice mixes. It’s part of the fun.
3) Flavourings. These are the all important ingredient that gives you the flavour that you desire. For the record there are NO vape specific flavourings. They are in fact all food flavourings and can even be bought in the baking section of your local store in most cases although if you do make sure they are PG based and not oil based. This is where some of the safety arguments enter the fray. Food flavourings are stringently tested but only for eating obviously as they are usually added to our foods. None have been officially tested for inhaling into our lungs and there have been several worries about diacetyl in some flavourings causing popcorn lung. See my earlier posts about that but generally most flavourings are not considered harmful. Usually you will use them at between 10 – 25% of your mix. Some flavours are obviously stronger and need lower amounts in your mix.
4) Nicotine. This is obviously the same as you find in cigarettes and usually vapers will start at the higher levels of nicotine say 24% and steadily ease off hopefully down to zero nicotine. I am actually on zero nicotine myself now. Nicotine is actually comparable in safety to caffeine. Most of the nasties in cigarettes actually come from the tar/ carbon monoxide/ formaldehyde and the hundreds of other nasties and not the nicotine but it is a health risk so beware. Also if you do use nicotine in your own juices be careful not to get the concentrate on your skin on anywhere even more sensitive. Concentrated nicotine IS TOXIC. Be aware.
There may be several other additives for your mixes such as distilled water and sweeteners/ flavour enhancers but they are not required by most mixes.
And so back to price. Why do people pay so much for vendor juices? They can be tasty. They can have lovely packaging but they are all made from the things above … PG/VG/Flavour/Nicotine in various amounts and that bottle of fancy juice you just paid $20 for and waited a week for it to arrive probably contains about a dollar or less in ingredients. The bottle it comes in is probably worth more than its contents … really.
So. How do you mix? Ever made a gin and tonic? Cooked a homemade meal? Then you can mix. It is pretty simple. There are sites and apps that will even give you recipes or provide mix calculators. Google and ye shall find. You just need some of the above ingredients and some basic equipment to measure and mix and you are away. Made a bad mix? Throw it away. Made a brilliant mix? Hopefully you’ve kept a record of your mix recipe and can recreate it by the gallon if you so desire.
What are you waiting for? Give it a go.
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