How Vape Juice Enhances the Flavour of Vaping - Our Guide
Vape juices are made of three essential ingredients: VG (vegetable glycerin), PG (propylene glycol), and the flavour concentrate. These three ingredients can be combined in hundreds of different ways, each of which results in a unique flavour. Generally, those who want to produce more fumes prefer high-VG vape juices. High-VG vape juices also have a lighter, sweeter taste, but the problem is that these juices are thicker, which prevents the release of full-strength flavours.
To enhance the flavour concentrate, manufacturers reduce VG levels and add more PG. Propylene glycol is thinner, which allows the substances responsible for the flavor to diffuse more easily. Taste is also a function of odour, not solely a perception of taste buds on the tongue, contrary to what most people think. This is why food is tasteless when you have colds. With more free aroma molecules floating around, the body will perceive a stronger flavour. Thus, PG is said to strengthen the flavour of an e-liquid or vape juice.
The flavour concentrate itself also contributes to the taste of the vapour. These substances are made of the same food-grade ingredients that add flavour to most edible products. The higher the concentration of the flavouring, the stronger the aroma and taste.
What does science say about nicotine and vape flavour?
Pure nicotine is something that you can't smell and therefore taste directly, as even just one drop of it is poisonous. However, the amount of nicotine used in e-cigarettes is very low, but it's still enough to fulfil a person’s craving for the substance.
While there have been studies suggesting that flavouring can reduce a person’s dependence on nicotine, there are no studies yet concerning how nicotine levels influence flavour. While there are those who claim that nicotine enhances the flavour, in reality, the body has different and separate mechanisms for flavour perception and nicotine absorption. That means the flavour and nicotine levels may be unrelated.
To make matters more complicated, nicotine is known to suppress appetite. When a person doesn't have much of an appetite, their senses of smell and taste are somewhat dulled. That means higher nicotine levels will prevent a more thorough appreciation of flavouring substances. However, users might mistake the enhanced pleasant experience associated with higher nicotine levels with that of “enhanced flavour,” even though the two things are really unrelated from each other. This is what's known as a placebo effect.
The way nicotine affects vape juice flavour - oxidation?
There are vape users who claim that “oxidation” through “steeping” e-juices will contribute to flavour strength. These people say that higher-nicotine e-juice will react to oxygen in the air to give it a better flavour. Is there a chemical basis for their claim?
When used in a strict chemical sense, “oxidation” does not simply refer to exposure to oxygen. It actually refers to a more general process in nature where one element gives their electrons to another. There is no causal relationship between chemical oxidation and flavour perception. But when used in the context of vaping, oxidation refers to the result of steeping, in which e-juice is exposed to the air for some time before consumption.
Remember that to enhance flavour perception, your nose and tongue must perceive more flavour-bearing substances. Since nicotine has been demonstrated to reduce odour and taste senses, there is no basis in the claim that higher nicotine levels work in steeping. However, nicotine is a volatile substance at room temperatures. That means it can escape easily from the e-liquid when exposed to air. Consequently, there’s less nicotine in the e-liquid which could interfere with the body’s perception of odour and taste, thereby improving the flavour. So actually, steeping may improve flavour, but in a way that users don't expect.
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