Electronic cigarette liquids: how long do they last, and what are the health risks?

E-cigarette liquids: expiry date and health risks

Modified on: 06/12/2022

They don’t have an expiry date, but they don’t last forever!

You are tidying up your room and have found a bottle of e-cig liquid you didn’t remember existed. If you then run out of refills, I imagine the temptation to put the newly found liquid into your e-cigarette is quite strong, right?

Too bad, though, that the liquid has expired.

What to do in that case? Throwing it away seems a pity, but inhaling it as if nothing had happened is not the best…

What risks do you run by vaping an expired liquid?

What if vaping or trying to do so would irreparably ruin your electronic cigarette, which you may have even recently changed?

Risking your health or having to repurchase a device to save a few euros is undoubtedly not a good move.

In this article, I will tell you the primary information about the expiry date of e-cigarette liquids and the consequences for you and your e-cig of consuming them, even though they have long since expired.

Read also: How (and where) to store electronic cigarette liquids to keep them in perfect condition.

What does the law say about the expiry of e-cigarette liquids?

As far as the current law is concerned, the only products that must have an expiry date on their packaging are foodstuffs and those intended for medical use.

E-cigarette liquids, as inhalation products, are therefore not subject to this obligation.

The decision as to whether or not to indicate an expiry date for the consumption of the liquid is left to the manufacturers’ discretion, who may choose to display a date beyond which the product’s organoleptic properties are no longer guaranteed.

But how long can they still be considered reasonable if they are subject to deterioration?

Girl checks her electronic cigarette liquids

How long do e-cigarette liquids last?

As we said, e-cigarette liquids do not have an actual expiry date. However, this does not mean that they do not lose quality after a specific time and that it is therefore preferable not to consume them.

The manufacturers agree on a two-year guarantee if you can call it that. So put. It is ensured that the original properties of the liquid do not deteriorate during this period.

Very often, it is precisely this indication that is regarded as the expiry date.

In reality, the shelf life is much longer due to the presence of propylene glycol with its known bactericidal properties.

Moreover, you too can positively or negatively influence the shelf life of your liquids.

As a rule, manufacturers have no significant problems with the question of expiry. Still, it can happen that some customers, or the competent authorities, reading the date indicated, consider the liquids on the market too old to sell.

Read also: Electronic cigarette: how much nicotine to start with? Tips and mistakes to avoid.

What happens if you sell expired liquids?

For clarity of communication, we will refer to the indicative date of 2 years from production as the expiry date, even though we know it does not exist.

Let us now suppose that the Guardia di Finanza or the Nas realise that the seller has not removed the so-called expired liquids from the shop. In this case, the authorities, in their duties, are obliged to enforce the manufacturer’s instructions and will then proceed to seize the goods in question.

The seller will then be able to prove the non-existence of the irregularity before the Justice of the Peace and calmly return to his business.

This can be a considerable waste of time for shopkeepers, who in most cases tend – precisely for this reason – not to affix any expiry date to bottles of liquids.

However, it is necessary to make the product traceable and to be able to tell how long it has been on the market. For this reason, the production date and batch number are indicated.

Doubt may have arisen in you at this point: if there is no official expiry date, how can I tell if my e-liquid is still vaping?

How do I realise that the liquid is no longer good? And what are the health risks?

Electronic cigarette liquids are composed of various ingredients that affect the spoilage of the finished product.

In short, not all of them spoil in the same way and at the same time.

However, some valuable tips help you assess the state of preservation of your liquid.

Let’s see what you need to pay attention to understand whether the product is still good.

  • The taste of the liquid is not the same as when you bought it. You perceive a bitter or sour aftertaste on the palate by vaping it.
  • The liquid stinks. In this case, the bad smell can be attributed to the decomposition of the flavouring, mainly if it is concentrated.
  • The liquid’s consistency has changed and taken on a more gel-like appearance. I recommend you not go further if you notice this change and throw the bottle away immediately without vaping. The product’s viscosity can clog the holes in the resistance, irreparably damaging your electronic cigarette.
  • The liquid has taken on an almost solid appearance, and you can distinguish the different components inside the bottle. Again, do not hesitate. Throw everything away without compromising your e-cig.

These reactions are rare in quality liquids, so I advise against going cheap when buying vaping products.

Another liquid deterioration process is oxidation, which is directly dependent on the presence of nicotine, a substance that is highly susceptible to reaction with oxygen.

The liquid will take on an easily identifiable darker colour in this case.

Good, non-oxidised e-cig liquid

Even though there is no official expiry date, as you may have read, electronic cigarette liquids can be spoiled. Therefore, I recommend that you store them to the best of your ability and pay due attention to them so that you are aware of any changes in good time.

But what if this is not the case? What if you noticed the difference only after you had already vaped a liquid that had gone bad?

Don’t panic. You are in no danger except to experience a poor vaping experience!

In conclusion, how long do e-cigarette liquids last?

We have realised that the durability of liquids is not a matter of precise dates but more a question of the storage and condition of the drink itself.

To understand whether your liquid is still suitable, relying on the dates on the bottle may not always be the answer.

Observe your liquid carefully and if you notice any changes in colour, smell or consistency, avoid vaping it.

The risk, even if you do not run any danger to your health, is to ruin your electronic cigarette forever.

The vaping experience would also be less than satisfactory.

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