For some time now, vaping has gained popularity, with most people preferring to use vape pens instead of smoking typical cigarettes. People who smoke heavily are also advised to switch to vape pens since they are considered less harmful to the health and less dangerous. One great thing about vape pens is that they use different flavours of vape liquids, and because of this, one may want to have a collection of their favouriteflavours. One question that bugs those who collect different flavours of vape liquids or buy more to refill later is if the vape liquids can go off.
Well, the answer to that question is yes, vape liquids can go off. Like any other consumable product, vape liquids have a set shelf life because they contain some food-based ingredients that are not supposed to last forever. In many situations, vape liquids don’t get to go off because the shelf life of most vape liquids is estimated to be between one or two years. The shelf life is mostly determined by the ingredients or components found in the vape liquid.
Components of vape liquids
Vape liquids contain four main ingredients :
- Propylene glycol (pg) produced from propylene oxide. This is the substance that carries the flavour in vape liquids. When the PG ratio is high, the flavour you get becomes sharper than VG.
- Liquid Nicotine
- Vegetable glycerine(vg). The thick and clear glycerine is extracted from soybean or palm trees.
- Flavouring concentrates. These are a blend of natural or artificial flavours to create a pleasing taste when the vape liquids are taken in as vapour.
The propylene glycol and the vegetable glycerine are probably why vape liquids have a shelf life of one to two years. But other changes that show a vape liquid is gone off are caused by the decomposition of nicotine and deterioration of the flavours.
What causes the vape liquids to go off?
Many factors cause vape liquids to go off. The only difference is the rate at which they do. First of all, the amount or level of nicotine in a vape liquid determines how fast it goes off—the more the nicotine level, the faster the degradation process over time.
Another factor is the flavour. Since there are different flavours, some tend to accelerate the speed at which the vape liquids go off. Complex flavours like custard tend to maintain their potency for much longer compared to floral and fruity flavours.
Finally, the way you handle and store your vape liquids determine how long your vape liquids will remain good for use. Following simple steps like not opening the bottles unnecessarily, storing them away from light in a cool and darkroom, and not shaking the vape liquids can significantly reduce the degradation rate.
Signs to look out when checking whether a vape liquid has gone off
Changes in colour
If you have vape liquids that contain nicotine, a colour change is one of the most noticeable signs of a vape liquid going off. Most nicotine vape liquids tend to turn dark after some time due to oxidation. When the oxidation of nicotine takes place, a black residue is formed, which affects the colour of the vape liquid. When the vape liquid turns too dark compared to the original colour, one can conclude it has gone off and should be replaced.
Dissolution of the various components
Separation is normal in vape liquids, and that is why there is an instruction to always shake before use to bring the various ingredients together. But in incidents where the vape liquid has stayed for a very long time, no matter how much you shake the bottle, the ingredients never come together. When it has gone off, you can see the crystalized flavours and debris that don’t dissolve whether you heat or shake the vape pen. When it gets to that, it is time to get a refill of the vape liquid.
When the taste and smell become unpleasant
A fresh batch of vape liquids should have a pleasant taste and smell. However, when the vape liquid stays for too long, the flavour starts to degrade, thus affecting the taste and smell they produce when vaped. The changes in taste and smell are too noticeable to ignore and require an immediate change of vape liquids.
Changes in thickness of the vape liquid
If you notice the vape liquid has become thicker than before, you should take it as a sign it has gone off. These changes in texture will make it unpleasant to vape since it won’t have the same consistency as before.
Degradation of the nicotine content
Due to oxidation, the level of nicotine content reduces in the vape liquid as time goes by. If the liquid is not used over a long period, one will notice that the nicotine won’t affect satisfying their craving and changes in colour and flavour.
From the above information, it’s clear that vape liquids can go off, only that they do so after a long time due to their long shelf period. However, the long shelf life is only guaranteed if one does not expose them to factors that increase the rate of degradation.