E Liquid – A Bit of History
When electronic cigarettes first came onto the market, buying e-liquid was a bit of a hit and miss affair. Most people didn’t know what was in it, and with most e-liquid coming from China, many people were concerned: Could we be sure of the quality of the fluid, were the levels of nicotine100% accurate, and the packaging was sometimes confusing.
Since the company’s formation in 2008, Totally Wicked aimed to take a responsible position in finding and controlling the source of our e-liquid to ensure it was of the best quality and safe. We did a lot of trialing, contacted many different manufacturers, until we were happy we had found a company that could match our specific requirements. This meant we knew the manufacturers, we knew where the e-liquid came from, and we could state that our e-liquid was the best – and really know it. We confirmed the fluids’ quality using UK laboratories and proactively worked with UK authorities to achieve the first UK e-liquid CHiP compliance; these are EU rules, regulations and standards for consumer protection. We have a couple of pages on the website where you can see the Lab Reports and find out more about the main ingredients of e-liquid, such as Nicotine and Propylene Glycol.
This work established our first unique Totally Wicked range – our Original e-liquid. Since then, we have continued to grow and keeping to our core principles we have established and improved the range, quality and value of our e-liquid. This has included the introduction of a number of new ranges, importantly the development of nicotine solutions and flavor concentrates that were the first internationally available range of ‘do it yourself’ e-liquid mixing equipment and products. More recently, we have commenced, and are now introducing our bespoke Totally Wicked exclusive UK fluids and flavors.
What is E-liquid
All electronic cigarettes, whether using pre-filled cartomizers or a fluid tank system, require e-liquid to produce the inhaled vapor. The e-liquid is a simple solution that contains the following three components:
Nicotine: The stimulant in cigarettes and the substance that is addictive in cigarettes is the nicotine. Nicotine is a relatively simple alkaloid, called pyridine. It is naturally formed in tobacco leaves and is released, along with all the related toxic products of combustion, when a cigarette is burned. The nicotine used in our e-liquid, is natural nicotine produced from tobacco leaves. It is produced by mechanically and chemically stripping the nicotine from the leaves and then under the most stringent control, distilled out of solution, using fractional distillation techniques, to produce the highest possible levels of purity – purity standards that are used in UK pharmaceutical grade regulations.
Flavoring: Whilst our nicotine is produced from tobacco leaves, the distillation process produces extremely pure nicotine, which has no residual tobacco flavor. To provide an e-liquid that has a taste that resembles a normal cigarette, flavors must be reintroduced to the nicotine solution. Due to the development of the e-liquid industry there are an infinite number of flavors that can be added to make whatever flavor you desire. At Totally Wicked, we offer ranges of flavor concentrates that can be added to our ‘pre-mixed’ e-liquids for those that want to boost the flavor or add a personal touch, or as ‘flavor concentrate’ that can be used with the diluents and nicotine base to make your own e-liquid.
Diluents: The third ingredient of e-liquid is a diluent. The diluent essentially performs two functions. Firstly it is added to dilute the mixture of nicotine and flavors to the correct strength. Secondly it adds the part of the solution that produces the vapor that is inhaled and ‘transports’ both the flavor and nicotine from the electronic cigarette to the user. The common diluents used in our products are:
Propylene Glycol (PG): It is a colorless, nearly odourless, clear, viscous liquid with a faintly sweet taste. It is a common base solution used in a range of pharmaceutical products and a food additive often referred to as E1520.
Vegetable Glycerine (VG): Again Vegetable Glycerine, like Propylene Glycol, is a common food and pharmaceutical additive. It is used to provide similar functions of bulking, diluting and stabilising a range of common products. It is often referred to as E422.
So there we have it. E-liquid is a simple mixture of these 3 basic components:
The strength of e-liquid is essentially how much nicotine the fluid contains in a set volume of e-liquid. We use a basic measure of milli-gram of nicotine per milli-litre of total fluid volume (mg/ml). This is how the solutions we currently offer denote the amount of nicotine they contain. This notation was defined to compare directly e-liquid to conventional cigarettes. For example, if a cigarette package states that there is 1.8mg of nicotine in the product, it means that each cigarette contains 1.8mg of nicotine. Therefore in a pack of 20 cigarettes there is a total of 36mg of nicotine. In comparison, an e-liquid of 18mg/ml strength denotes that there is 18mg of nicotine in each milli-litre of fluid. Therefore if you were to ‘vape’ 1ml of this fluid then it would contain the same amount of nicotine as in 10 1.8mg conventional cigarettes. More experienced users are now often referring to the percentage of nicotine in the solution. For example, each 1mg/ml of e-liquid contains by volume 0.1% nicotine i.e. 99.9 parts are diluent and flavoring mixture and only 0.1 parts of the fluid is nicotine. Using this notation, an 18mg/ml e-liquid contains 1.8% nicotine.
Totally Wicked offer market leading e-liquid ranges that allow users to buy ready to use flavored e-liquid, with set nicotine levels, as well as a large choice of products that allow for our customers to ‘mix their own’.
Let’s not get ourselves involved in marketing hype here, this question is too important for that. The essence of how we design, develop and procure our e-liquid is based upon 3 very simple principles:
Safety, Quality and Value
The market for e-liquids is growing rapidly as the immense positive potential of electronic cigarettes is starting to be more widely understood. This growth has produced a rush to find e-liquid, often from whatever source can provide, irrespective of the quality or indeed an understanding of the constituent ingredients. Totally Wicked NEVER sources fluid unless we have assured ourselves we are content with the safety and quality. We build long-term relationships, we do not flit from supplier to supplier and we demand and assure both quality and consistency by working closely with all our suppliers and building strong inter-dependent relationships that build further the assurance of quality.
By the end of 2012 we established the foundation ranges that define our long-term company vision of excellence. With the exception of our Titan fluid, all our nicotine containing products will contain only UK Pharmaceutical Grade Nicotine, procured by ourselves from the most reputable source in the European Union. This included our new Red Label range that was launched in Autumn 2012, and will offer an exclusive range of flavours developed and produced using only UK sourced products, manufactured in our own Totally Wicked production facility. Whilst our partner company in the United States produces our Patriot Range fluid, it already includes our independently sourced Nicotine that we insist upon using. Furthermore, our Titanium and Platinum Ice Nicotine solutions and our Gold Standard flavor concentrates are already produced ‘in-house’ by TW using only the highest-grade UK source products.
Our Titan Fluid is produced by our long-term primary partner Joyetech. This fluid, whilst produced in China by Joyetech on our behalf, will shortly be produced in Joyetech’s own specially developed fluid production facility to European standards of quality and product specification.
By driving our business in this direction, Totally Wicked will not only be able to lift higher the Safety and Quality benchmark we are setting, we will also be able to deliver on our promise of the ‘best value’ e-liquid. The more we make ourselves, in house, the more we can pass back to our customers.