When e-cigarettes and vaping emerged on the market, various health experts, medical workers, and health organizations recommended them as a healthier smoking alternative, going so far as to call it a treatment for smokers who wanted to quit smoking. They weren’t aware of the fact that some brands abused the positive feedback vaping received and used some toxic ingredients to achieve a stronger effect when vaping.
Now, there are hundreds of different vape juice brands available across all the continents around the globe. More often than not, people hear about different vape brands and flavors from their acquaintances, friends, and family and decide to search for them without checking whether that brand is reliable and trustworthy.
As the hype about e-liquid cigarettes grew, even non-smokers became interested, whether it was because of the flavor or hype depends on individuals, but as 2019 approached, suspicious lung injuries started occurring causing both severe hospitalization cases and deaths. FDA and CDC were quick to react, but not fast enough to prevent it when e-cigarettes first emerged on the market.
Because different brands weren’t controlled and regulated for e-liquid manufacturing, it led to EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury. Previously, it was known as VAPI, which refers to vaping-associated pulmonary illness. However, because most of the cases were related to lung injuries the names were changed.
As FDA and CDC and other health agencies around the world took action to penalize those who abused the materials and ingredients, the EVALI cases decreased. Now, it’s of utmost importance to raise awareness and inform people about what dangerous ingredients they shouldn’t ignore when shopping for vaping-related products.
That’s why we wrote this article about what to focus on when it comes to vape juice brands to avoid and what they all have in common. Continue reading through this article to learn about the red flag ingredients for e-liquid cigarettes and which brands are worth checking out when shopping for e-liquid cigarettes.
Things to Look Out For With Vape Juice Brands to Avoid
Although there are a lot of reputable brands out there, it’s almost impossible to predict which brand is rich in some harmful ingredients. Here are red flags and other things to be attentive about when shopping for vape juice.
In reality, the reputation of a brand is super important. There are many online stores, but just because the juice for vaping is available there, it doesn’t mean that it’s regulated by the online store.
The reputation of a brand is much more than “my friend’s dad’s girlfriend uses it.” It’s much more than a friend who bought it at the street retailer or some other place.
Reputation is measured in customer satisfaction and not just anecdotal evidence. Sure, you may be able to discover a cool new brand using Quora, Reddit, or some other forum structured website, but without reading confirmed customer reviews, visiting the official website, and reading about the brand both on the official website and across Google you can’t know whether a brand is legit.
Learning about the reputation of a brand is a research process, and sometimes you’ll have to read multiple sources before being able to make an informed decision about the validity of a certain brand.
Red Flag Ingredients
Vape juices can be rich in various toxic substances without having you even know it. A lot of unreputable brands seem to ignore the safety concerns and risks when manufacturing e-juices. One of the main reasons is saving costs and other reasons such as enriched flavor and others. Here is what you need to be careful about:
Diacetyl – This chemical is quite similar to ingredients put in popcorn corn. It’s a popular artificial ingredient that is often associated with lung diseases. It was tested to cause severe lung conditions in both animals and humans, which means it’s unsafe.
Given that a lot of vape juices have a butter-like flavor, Diacetyl would enrich that flavor, but it was found to cause several lung conditions such as constructive bronchiolitis which causes blockage of airflow and lack of oxygen intake. The symptoms are not visible immediately. The beginning symptoms are naïve resulting in moderate cough and wheezing and quickly develop over a few months if taken frequently.
It also causes the feeling of fatigue and intense dry cough. The condition is permanent, and there’s not much to do other than to stop breathing it in and stop its progression. However, the condition and damage are so severe that the lungs become practically useless.
Acetoin – Both these ingredients are equally harmful. At some point, acetoin converts itself to Diacetyl during chemical reactions happening inside our respiratory system, which gives just as dangerous an outcome as the previous ingestion. Reputable brands don’t contain these chemicals.
Acetyl Propionyl – Sometimes these chemicals can be found as an alternative to diacetyl and acetoin. However, it can be just as harmful. Always look for options that don’t contain these ingredients.
Vitamin E acetate -This oily chemical is often contained in THC-containing vaping juices, for those who want to experience weed vaping. However, even though this substance helps thicken the liquid, it’s highly dangerous and the main culprit of EVALI disease. It’s considered a toxin as acknowledged by CDC and other regulators, while there’s also a study that acknowledges it.
That being said, if you consume vaping juices, and don’t want to avoid taking the THC-containing e-cigarettes you should avoid those that have vitamin E acetate. Keep in mind that according to experts, while this vitamin acetate is dangerous for inhaling, it’s completely safe to ingest it.
THC – According to experts, the aforementioned substances aren’t the only potentially toxic ingredients. Besides nicotine, e-juices can contain THC, a marijuana ingredient that is responsible for making the users feel “high.” It’s also a toxic ingredient and should be avoided.
Other toxins can include flavors, colors, and other artificial ingredients. In some cases, flavors can react with compounds that make the e-cigarette coil, with their heating causing new and dangerous toxins to be synthesized and released through heat. That being said, be wary of the artificial flavors.
As mentioned earlier, you should always shop only from confirmed and reputable vendors. There are many websites, social media accounts, and pages that just scream “fraud.” Some of the first signs that the website is fake are the lack of an SSL certificate or safe connection, as well as an overall odd feeling when entering the website.
Lack of indexed ads and proper product labels can also make you think that the website is fake and promotes odd and unhealthy values. Only shop from reputable vendors or buy from official, approved websites.
One of the biggest indicators that the brand is fake can be its price. Remember, those brands that want to make an easy sale without considering all the risk factors associated with selling their products won’t care about setting a high price. They’ll make their products as available as possible, which is why you should be careful.
Remember, cheaper isn’t always better. Cheaper vape juices just mean that less time and weaker manufacturing processes were invested and that it’s more likely that there are some unwanted ingredients contained in the product. Compare the price of the vape juice products you saw on one site as opposed to those on other websites, and you’ll be able to determine whether some option is better or not.
Double Check The Label
Upon receiving your ordered product, or upon inspecting the product pictures, always check the product label. Usually, the label should contain some extra information that isn’t shown in the product description.
Make sure to pay attention to small font letters that indicate warnings or special attention to be taken towards the product. That should indicate whether there is a special product to take with a reserve and whether the product is worth taking.
The Customer Service
Now customer service depends on what kind of vendor you’re buying from, whether it’s an online shop that sells multiple brands or a customer service of the manufacturer.
If you have some concerns of your own, you should contact the customer service either by email or chat so that you have the written evidence and confirmation that the product you’re ordering is free of dangerous toxins. After that, you can be sure whether you can order the product or not.
Vape Juice Flavors To Avoid
As mentioned before, some flavors may contain toxins that are in contact with heat, and material from coils can cause those toxins to be released and be harmful to inhale. Here are the most toxic vape juice flavors to also be aware of when shopping for an ideal vape juice.
Popcorn is a highly toxic flavor, because of the chemicals that go into making it. We talked about it before and the key reason behind its discovery are the employees that inhaled too much of the chemicals in a Missouri popcorn factory. Instead of using the highly toxic chemicals, we mentioned before, a lot of manufacturers switched to healthier options such as vegetable glycerin as a healthier alternative.
Cinnamon is a quite popular flavor for making e-cigarette juice. However, not many people know that it’s also highly toxic. One study showed evidence that chemicals that go into making cinnamon e-juice are toxic and harmful for respiratory organs. Luckily, some alternatives are being looked into and used by reputable manufacturers.
Vanilla is also a notorious member of this list. Its ingredients are known to be highly toxic, due to the flavoring chemical vanillin. According to scientists, this ingredient can kill cells with ease due to its toxic nature.
A recent study gave an inside look at how vanillin results in cell death. It is also known to affect the health of blood vessels and cause the blood vessels to be impaired and with time damage lungs and heart as the vanillin is inhaled. Vanilla wasn’t the only flavor that was tested, there were also butter, clove, burnt flavor, cinnamon, banana, and others.
Scientists also matched the possibility of ingredients used in making mint (menthol) taste for the vape juice to cause cell death, while also being responsible for the malfunction of epithelial cells.
Nevertheless, scientists found that mint doesn’t have as alarming side effects as opposed to other flavors that we highlighted.
Too Many Mixed Flavors
Besides these four we mentioned, scientists also advise against taking mixed flavors that contain more than two flavors. One of them is a strawberry and banana mix. Always make sure that the mixed flavors use natural ingredients and not those that we mentioned earlier and that the manufacturer and brand have a good reputation.
Things to Look Into When Shopping For Vape Juice
Finally, let’s look into things you should focus on when shopping for vape juice from a reputable seller. These will help you choose the vape juice that will work for you.
- Reputable seller – Make sure to only buy from checked, confirmed, and regulated sellers, backed with positive reviews on Google, and online stores. Search on forums for a second opinion too.
- Focus on these ingredients – Vegetable Glycerin (VG), propylene glycol, natural flavor, and nicotine. If you’re vaping to stop smoking, you should grab juice with a minimal amount of nicotine. In most cases, nicotine is an optional ingredient.
- If you use nicotine – Make sure to stay within the recommended limit. Experts recommend 3-6mg of nicotine.
- Stay away from salt nicotine – It creates a much stronger effect on the throat, and it’s bad for high wattage devices.
- Double-check the website – If you’re buying online, always make sure that you’re buying from a legit website. Don’t use your credit card info unless you’re 100% sure that they won’t abuse your data.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vape Juice Brands – FAQ
If there are still some unanswered questions regarding the use of different vape juice brands, we’re here to answer all your queries that you may have. Read through the questions carefully and make sure that you’re making the right decision.
What Brands Should I Avoid?
We can’t point fingers and say which brands boast toxic and harmful substances in their e-liquid. What they all have in common is that those brands don’t last long and more importantly, they are not regulated. FDA and CDC don’t pay close attention to vape juice brands and won’t disclose the brand names directly that are associated with EVALI.
That’s why we can’t point fingers either but only give you advice on which ingredients and red flags to focus on.
As you may know, no company ever discloses 100% of its ingredients on the label, so the final choice is down on the customer to make. Just make sure to stick to our directions and contact customer service if you’re confused about anything.
Then, What Brands Do You Recommend?
Of course, there are brands that we recommend for various reasons, the quality of the ingredients, the friendliness towards consumers and exceptional customer service that they provide, the variety of flavors, and sweet packaging. Some of those include but are not limited to:
- Mad Hatter Juice is known for making super-delicious flavors such as cookies and donuts. They also have various fruit flavors and are known for reliable ingredients.
- VaporFi – This is a reputable brand that has been making its name big for years now while providing great flavors. It’s also recommended who want to fully switch to e-cigarettes but don’t want to quit smoking.
- Boosted E–Juice – Whether you’re looking for a fuller taste and rich flavor, Boosted E-juice is our favorite combination of quality ingredients and a pleasant experience.
What Flavors Are Acceptable?
Of course, flavors are an individual and personal thing and we can’t speak in the name of everyone. However, you can see that some flavors are highly toxic due to the materials that make them what they are. That being said, here are the most acceptable and natural flavors that you can find for your vape juice.
- Dragon Banana Berry (VaporFi)
- Cavendish Bland (Black Note)
- Shurb (Jimmy The Juice Man)
- Fuji Apple Strawberry Nectarine (Pachamama)
- Boosted (Boosted E-Juice)
How Can I trust a Vape Juice Company To Use Quality Ingredients?
With so many unreputable and third-party brands, it becomes increasingly difficult to rely on some brands to use sustainable substances and not jeopardize the health and lives of their consumers. The best way to be able to rely on a company is to check their website regularly, as well as the standards and regulations that they go through in order to manufacture your favorite flavors and juices.
Finally, one of the best insights you can get from the lab test results that they conduct before releasing a flavor into the market. If the company doesn’t run such tests, likely, you can’t trust it. You won’t be able to find this info on shops that sell multiple brands, find the brand’s official site and get info from there.