Alcohol in e-liquids

28 Sep 2016 E-liquid
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A lot of you probably wonder what kind of alcohol is used in liquids found in electronic cigarettes and why is it there in the first place. I have decided to write a few words to answer these questions.

First of all, the alcohol used in e-liquids serves two basic functions: it adds flavor and makes the liquid less sticky. It is thanks to alcohol that the flavor of liquid is more profound, thus more enjoyable for us. On the other hand, the reduction of stickiness helps the liquid to penetrate wicks and other materials that draw e-liquid in to a heating element – clearomizer.

Only spirits with high concentration of ethyl alcohol, 95% or more, can be used in e-cigarettes. Rectified spirit is composed of 95% ethanol (C2H6O) and the remaining part is water (H2O) and minimal amounts of impurities. Theoretically, you could use any available vodka in your e-liquid; however, due to low concentration of ethyl alcohol, it might not bring the expected results. Nevertheless, if you do decide to use widely available vodka, I would suggest you use only clear vodka. Any flavor additives found in flavored vodkas may not only drastically change the flavor of e-liquid, but also sugar found in them may damage the atomizer.

Do not ever use other alcohols than potable alcohol in e-liquid. Do not use salicylic alcohol that you can find in pharmacies, nor denatured alcohol used as a cleaning aid, and under no circumstances can you use wood spirit, which comprises of an extremely toxic and poisonous methanol (CH3OH), consumption of which can lead to death.

When it comes to how much rectified spirit should be used in production of electronic cigarettes my advice is not to exaggerate. 1% of spirit in liquid is definitely enough to reduce its stickiness. To put it simply, 2-3 drops in 10ml bottle is more than enough.

I would like to end this post with good news for drivers. Ethyl alcohol used in e-liquid does not impair your ability to operate vehicles as there is simply too little of it.

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