Is Vaping Vegan Friendly?
With many people choosing to reduce or avoid their use of animal products this article examines the question of whether vape products are vegan friendly.
Vegan products has become much more mainstream these days, and it’s not entirely because more people are deciding to go vegan. For many people, buying more vegan products is simply a matter of rebalancing the things that they use and consume. Is it really necessary to put meat on the table every day or to use so many products with animal-derived ingredients? Upon closer examination, many people end up deciding that avoiding or minimising their use of animal products is the right decision for their health, for the environment, for animal welfare – or all three.
When you begin looking for animal-based ingredients in the things you consume each day, though, you’ll find that you’re going down a bit of a rabbit hole (sorry – we had to!). Animal-derived ingredients are much more common in foods, drinks, cosmetics and other products than you might realise, which leads us to the question of the day: Is vaping vegan friendly?
Here’s the good news: Vaping is almost always vegan, and there’s generally no need to worry that you’re inhaling animal-derived ingredients. Although it is possible to use animal ingredients in e-liquid, most companies choose not to because there are plenty of vegan alternatives available. There are a few situations, however, in which that might not be the case. In this article, we’ll explain the exceptions that you need to be aware of if you want to ensure that you’re only using vegan e-liquids. First, though, let’s discuss the standard ingredients that are in almost all vape juice.
The Primary Ingredients of E-Liquid Are Vegan
The three primary ingredients in most e-liquids are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and nicotine. Propylene glycol is a synthetic chemical that can be derived from vegetables or from petroleum. Nicotine is usually extracted from tobacco, although it’s also possible – and becoming increasingly common – for laboratories to synthesize nicotine from non-tobacco sources.
Glycerine is the one e-liquid ingredient that would be of potential concern to people who want their products to be vegan because it’s possible to source glycerine from animal fat. Glycerine is one of the two products of saponification, which is the process of making soap. To create soap, you add lye to fat. The chemical reaction creates soap and glycerine. Many soaps are made from animal tallow, so animal-based glycerine does exist. You may notice, however, that when you read an e-liquid’s ingredient list, the glycerine component is always written as “vegetable glycerine” or “VG.” That’s to signify that the glycerine comes from a vegetable source. We are not aware of any e-liquid brand that uses animal-based glycerine.
We are also unaware of any e-liquid company that has ever conducted animal testing, but it is possible that animal testing has happened among the companies that supply chemicals to e-liquid makers. Propylene glycol, glycerine and nicotine extracts are widely used across many different industries.
Are E-Liquid Flavours Vegan?
Next, let’s discuss the flavours used in vape juice. An e-liquid may use natural flavours, artificial flavours or a combination of the two. Now, you might assume that if you see “natural flavour” on the ingredient list of a strawberry e-liquid, then the e-liquid’s flavour must come from strawberries. That, however, isn’t necessarily the case. In flavouring, the difference between natural and artificial flavours is that an artificial flavour is synthesized in a laboratory, while a natural flavour comes from non-synthetic sources. A natural ingredient, however, doesn’t have to come from a plant – it doesn’t even have to come from the plant named on the bottle.
In e-liquid, the primary flavours of concern are vanilla, strawberry and raspberry. Some flavour purveyors may use castoreum (an ingredient derived from animals) in the creation of those flavours. Needless to say, castoreum isn’t vegan. It is, however, very expensive. It’s primarily used for perfumery, and its use as a food flavour is not common.
On the other hand, dairy and egg e-liquid flavours like ice cream, custard, milk and cream generally aren’t derived from animal products and are usually completely vegan. You should bear in mind that many “dairy” e-liquid flavours will include vanilla, so it might be worthwhile to contact the makers of those e-liquids before you buy to confirm that the products do not contain castoreum.
E-Liquid Colouring May Not Be Vegan
Carmine red – also known as E120, crimson lake or cochineal extract – is an animal-based food colouring. Because of the increasing demand for cruelty-free products around the world, carmine isn’t as commonly used as it once was. It has also declined in popularity because it is a potential allergen. Coloured e-liquids are very rare, but a few pink e-liquids do exist. We suggest avoiding coloured e-liquids because colour doesn’t contribute anything to the vaping experience. If you do want to use a pink or red e-liquid, though, it isn’t vegan if it contains carmine.
Some Vaping Hardware May Have Non-Vegan Trim Options
When you shop for a new vape mod or pod system, you should be aware of the fact that some vaping devices offer non-vegan trim options. Two popular non-vegan trim options for vape mods are leather and abalone shell. If you want to make sure that your vaping device has no animal-derived materials, these trim options are easy to avoid because manufacturers use them as selling points and may even charge extra for them. If a vape mod has leather trim, you’ll definitely see that in the marketing language. In virtually all cases, a vaping device that has animal-based trim options will also have vegan options available.
Please note the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. Please do your own research before choosing which vaping products you will personally use.