About vape juice
Vape juice or e-liquid is the substance that evaporates within the atomizer of your e-cigarette. Using both propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerol (VG) as a base, flavourings and a nicotine solution are added before being packaged and sold.
The question of ‘does vape juice go bad’ is a complicated one to answer, with several factors to be considered. While all reputable vape juice retailers include an expiry date on the bottle, can you be sure that these dates are accurate? And how can you identify when an e-liquid has started to go bad?
How long does e-liquid last?
Due to a lack of official guidance on the subject, there is no standardised expiration date for e-liquid. However, if you’re wondering how long does vape liquid last, the general consensus is that depending on the flavourings used and nicotine content, most vape juices last between one and two years although this very much depends on its composition. The most significant factor that can determine an e-liquid’s “shelf life” is its flavouring. Once flavourings are added to an e-liquid during its manufacture, they begin to steep. This essentially means that, much like wine and cheese, the flavours mature and develop over time. Some steeping time is required to allow a batch of e-liquid to reach it’s “optimum flavour”, however if left for very long periods of time these flavours can become much stronger and can sometimes taste unpleasant – while this does not pose any harm to the user, this could be considered the point at which the vape juice has “gone bad”.
Correct storage of vape juice
E-liquid is a very stable mixture that is highly unlikely to go bad in the short-term. But there are certain steps you can take that ensure your vape juice stays viable for as long as possible:
- Make sure that the receptacle containing the liquid is sealed correctly to prevent air and bacteria from reaching the juice and possibly spoiling it.
- Find a place to store the liquid that is away from direct sunlight, as exposure to light can impact the nicotine and flavourings within, often causing the liquid to turn dark over time – while this does not pose a health risk, it does not look very appetising!
Does vape juice go bad if the temperature isn’t right where you’re storing it? Unfortunately, yes; excessive heat can often increase the pace of the steeping process, meaning your juice may start to taste unpleasant sooner than if left at room temperature – heat will also make your juice appear thinner, however, this is only temporary and once it cools its viscosity will return to normal. Try to avoid storing your juice in the fridge also, as the additional moisture can encourage a greater risk of microbiological contamination if the bottle has already been opened. Room temperature storage away from direct sunlight will have the least impact on your e-liquids usability.
How long does e-liquid last once opened?
Once opened, you can expect e-liquid to last around two years from the manufacture date. As long as you make sure that your e-liquid is stored correctly as above, there’s no reason to expect that it will go bad, even if it’s already been opened – just keep an eye on the strength of the flavour, as once opened the steeping process will accelerate.
Has my vape juice gone bad?
So how do you know if your vape juice has gone bad? When assessing a bottle, ask yourself these questions:
- Has the vape juice turned very dark?
- Does the vape juice smell different or stronger than normal?
- Has the vape juice split? – This is where the ingredients have separated out from each other and is often clearly visible, showing obvious separation or little bubbles in the mixture similar to when oil is added to water.
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you should consider disposing of the juice and starting fresh – while it is unlikely to cause you harm it will most likely be an unpleasant vaping experience.
Is expired vape juice dangerous?
Whilst the e-liquid itself is unlikely to cause any serious harm – especially when compared to the chemicals found in traditional cigarettes – like any consumable if you’re having doubts about the status of the vape juice, it’s best to simply throw it away. After all, there’s no point risking feeling queasy if a new bottle only costs a pound or two.
How long do vape coils last?
Aside from your e-liquid, other important expiry considerations include how long the rest of your vape equipment should last. New vape coils should last between one to two weeks but may last a little longer if you make sure that you take proper care of them. The longevity of your vape coil will depend upon how often you vape; if you’re a light vaper you could go between two weeks to a fortnight, whereas if you’re a heavy vaper you’ll likely have to change your vape coil every week at least. The type of juice can make a big difference to coil lifespan too; HVG juices often have increased amounts of flavour and sometimes sweeteners, these cause your coil to degrade much faster than simple flavours like menthols and tobaccos.
Vape coils usually need replacing due to becoming burned, this is because the wire or mesh within the coil has degraded to a point where it does not fire properly, burning the cotton, or if the cotton itself has simply reached the end of its lifespan, tainting every puff with an unpleasant flavour.
The most important thing to remember is to never vape a burned coil as this will not be a nice experience – make sure you change it as soon as possible and try to refrain from vaping until you do.
How can you tell when a vape coil needs changing?
You’ll be able to tell when your vape coil needs changing as there’ll be a change in your vaping experience. Look out for tell-tale signs such as a burnt taste while vaping, a change in the flavour of your e-liquid, and a gurgling sound when you inhale on your vape. This gurgling means your coil is flooded, which often means its internal structure has degraded. Coil flooding can also cause intermittent leaking which is another critical sign that your coil should be replaced.
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