Everything you need to know about e-liquid.
E-liquid is the main ingredient that creates the vapor in your e-cigarette. It is made up of Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), flavouring and nicotine (or not). This guide tells you everything you need to know to understand and choose your vape.

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What is an e-liquid?

E-liquid is the main element that creates the vapor on your electronic cigarette. It's made up of Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG) in varying proportions. Then you have flavourings and nicotine, depending on the strength. Small quantities of water or alcohol may be added to dilute the flavourings. When your e-liquid is heated by the coil, it evaporates at around 50°C and produces the vapor that reproduces the sensation of smoking tobacco.

The components of e-liquid

Propylene glycol (PG)

Propylene glycol (PG) or propane-1,2-diol is a chemical compound that is also very present in our daily lives. Derived from carbochemistry, it is used in the food industry as an emulsifier, and in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. It is very fluid and has the particularity of transporting aromas well. Another advantage is that when combined with nicotine, it enhances the "throat hit". It is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is an everyday product. Slightly sweet to the taste and fairly thick, it is found in medicines, cosmetics and everyday foods, where it is used as an emulsifier, stabiliser or thickener.

It is used in e-cigarettes because it produces a lot of vapor, but does not transport flavours well. That's why propylene glycol is added to thin the liquids and give a better flavour without excessive doses of concentrated flavour. It is neither toxic nor carcinogenic.


There are many and varied flavourings in e-liquids. They add flavour during vaping. Flavourings allow a multitude of tastes that only the imagination seems to stop. They can be natural or artificial, but they are all food-grade.


Nicotine is absolutely non-carcinogenic ! Nicotine is a molecule produced by several varieties of plants in the Solanaceae family to protect them from insects. The best-known plants containing nicotine are :

  • Aubergine
  • Tomatoes
  • potato
  • Flowering cabbage
  • Certain ferns
  • Tobacco plants

Tobacco contains the highest concentration of nicotine.

Nicotine has an exciting effect comparable to caffeine, but with an added addictive effect.

In tobacco cigarettes, nicotine is absorbed very quickly by the body, producing a 'shoot' effect that leads to a strong dependence on the product. In an e-liquid, nicotine is absorbed much more slowly, in around 30 to 45 minutes, so you need the right strength to start with to avoid withdrawal. We always advise you to start with the strongest strength you can tolerate, whether you're smoking 5 or 20 cigarettes a day.

Single flavour or complex e-liquid

Single-flavour e-liquid have a single, clearly defined flavour, for example strawberry, apple or red fruit. They are recommended for beginners.
Complexes e-liquids have several different flavours, often with a top note and a finish. They are used more by regulars and experts, and provide a more flavoursome vape.

Choosing your e-liquid

To choose the right e-liquid, you need to know what level of VG your equipment can accept. Too much VG in unsuitable equipment will destroy the coil by burning the cotton inside, and your equipment will be unusable.

As far as flavourings are concerned, if you're just starting out in vaping, you should give priority to the simplest flavourings and limit yourself to one or two flavours in the same e-liquid. Too many flavours will quickly make the e-liquid unpalatable when you're just starting out. Classic, mint and fruit are the most effective flavours to start with.

When it comes to nicotine strength, you need to choose the highest dose you can tolerate, whether you smoke 5 or 20 cigarettes a day, you'll be sure to have a sufficiently satiating effect. Depending on how much you smoke, you'll vape more or less often. When you want to lower your strength, you need to adapt it to the situation and don't hesitate to increase it if necessary.


At the beginning, try 2 different nicotine strength for vaping. You can then go down a notch every 3 to 4 months.

At the beginning, take a "Classic" liquid, a fruity liquid, and possibly a mint liquid, to find what suits you.

Enjoy your vape!


What is the composition of an e-liquid?

An e-cigarette liquid is made up of: propylene glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, flavourings, nicotine or not. The flavourings may contain a little water or alcohol as a diluent.

Is e-liquid controlled?

In France, all e-liquids containing nicotine must be declared to the government (ANSES) 6 months before being marketed, with the full list of ingredients in the recipe and the list of molecules emitted during vaping. The government knows exactly what each nicotine-containing liquid contains, and what it emits.

Is nicotine dangerous?

No, nicotine is not at all carcinogenic; it's the burning of tobacco that is. Nicotine is not toxic to the body except in very high doses.

Should I lower my nicotine strength?

Nicotine has a similar effect to caffeine. Do you try to lower your caffeine dose every morning?
There's no particular need to lower your nicotine strength.
However, if you want to kick your nicotine addiction, it's a very good idea to reduce your nicotine strength very slowly and regularly (every 3-4 months at least, no faster, otherwise you'll go back to smoking).

Why does my e-liquid no longer taste good?

There are two possible causes: either a clogged or broken coil that you simply need to replace to get the flavour back, or a taste habit that can cause a loss of flavour, in which case you simply need to change e-liquid.

Why has my e-liquid changed colour?

The nicotine in the e-liquid, when it oxidises, gives the e-liquid a darker colour. There's nothing to worry about, so it's normal for the colour of the e-liquid to darken over time.

How do I store my e-liquids?

To store an e-liquid, it is essential to avoid direct sunlight and excessive heat, which degrade nicotine and flavour. A simple storage cabinet will suffice.

Can I mix different e-liquids?

You can mix two liquids of the same flavour with different nicotine strength without any problems. For example, mixing a 3 mg/ml and 6 mg/ml nicotine liquid will give you 4.5 mg/ml.

However, we strongly advise against mixing e-liquids with different flavours, as some flavours react with each other and can produce potentially undesirable and harmful molecules.

Can I consume an e-liquid with an expired use-by date?

The BBF/DDM is the best before date for your e-liquid. This means that after this date, the e-liquid is not unfit for consumption, but its qualities are not optimal. If the date is exceeded by one or two months, you won't be taking any risks. On the other hand, e-liquid with a best-before date older than 6 months or that has changed colour (turned black) should not be vaped, as there is a risk that the flavours will be too degraded.

How do I choose the right e-liquid for my equipment?

First of all, you need to check the maximum usable VG content on your equipment's product sheet. If your equipment does not appear on our site, please contact us. In short, for an e-liquid with a VG rate > 50%, your coil should have wide opening holes. Once the percentage of VG has been determined, all you have to do is choose your liquid according to your tastes. If in doubt, we'll be happy to advise you.

Which brand of e-liquid should I choose to start with?

Calumette only offers quality brands. So you can choose any brand you like.

What VG/PG level should I choose to start with?

We advise you to choose a VG/PG ratio of around 30/70 to 50/50. The VG content should not exceed 50% to start with, and you need to do an indirect inhalation.

Which e-liquid flavour should I choose to start with?

Test several styles of e-cigarette e-liquid to find the one that suits you best: at least one flavour oriented towards Classic blond or Classic brown, a mint or ice mint or fresh mint or menthol e-liquid, a fruit e-liquid such as red fruits or raspberry or blueberry or liquorice or aniseed or caramel or vanilla. At first you'll probably take Classic flavour e-liquid, then you'll discover that with a gourmand flavour, you can reach the grail of vaping. If you're in the process of giving up smoking and switching to vaping, it's important to try several eliquids so that you don't give up on the first one if it doesn't suit you. Avoid mixing different flavours, which can generate toxic or dangerous molecules.

Why does e-liquid make me cough?

An e-liquid can make you cough at the start of vaping, this is very common. The nicotine contained in an e-liquid has no additives to soften its slightly irritating side, and when you're a former smoker your airways and larynx are often very irritated, which amplifies the phenomenon. All you need to do is vaporise slowly and break down the inhalation well for the phenomenon to disappear. If irritation prevents you from vaping the right strength of nicotine at first, you can also switch to nicotine salts, which, because they don't hit, allow you to vape high strength of nicotine without discomfort. You can also try an e-liquid with Vegetol, which contains no PG and is less irritating.

If the phenomenon doesn't go away, it's because your equipment isn't suitable (direct inhalation should be avoided if you cough) or because you're allergic to one of the components in the liquid. Don't think that all irritations are due to PG. It can come from the flavourings but also from the VG. You'll need to test several different brands of e-liquid to find the right one.

What is the risk of nicotine overdose?

Sometimes when you first start vaping, your body isn't used to the slower release of nicotine, so you vape continuously, which can cause dizziness or headaches. All you need to do is lower your nicotine strength or vape less. This is generally a very temporary phenomenon.

The good thing is that as soon as you start to overdose on nicotine, your body lets you know straight away!

Why do I vape so much more than I used to?

Because nicotine diffuses more slowly through the body. It's perfectly normal to have a lot of vaping during the first few weeks, while your body gets used to it. This phenomenon disappears fairly quickly, provided you have the right nicotine dosage (and not too low!).

What is High-VG?

These are e-liquids containing at least 80% VG. They are made for direct inhalation and produce large clouds, and require suitable equipment (large openings for liquid to enter the resistance). Not for beginners.