Like other perishables, e-liquids are also commonly printed with a date by which they should be used. But do e-liquids expire and is it dangerous to vape expired e-juice? We clear up the matter in this post.
Understanding labelling terminology
According to the UK’s Food Standards Agency, the term “use by” concerns safety, whereas “best before” is about quality. After the use-by date, it is unsafe to ingest the product due to the risk of poisoning.
A consumable that has a best before date means that though not unsafe to ingest after that date, the quality may suffer. Best before dates are often found on frozen, tinned and dried foods.
It should be noted that both the use-by and best before dates are only correct if the product is stored correctly.
Is it dangerous to vape expired e-liquid?
E-liquids are printed with a “best before” date rather than a “use by” date because they don’t actually go bad. The EU Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) doesn’t require e-liquid manufacturers to print a best before date on their bottles at all, but responsible brands will include a date 1-2 years after the production date on the label to be safe. However, different flavours, nicotine strengths, PG and VG ratios can last longer than others before spoiling.
You can still vape an expired e-juice (though not recommended) but you may notice the flavour isn’t as good, the nicotine strength may no longer be what is stated on the bottle and the smell, consistency (more watery in particular) and colour may change. None of which are likely dangerous, but they will affect your vaping enjoyment so if you notice any of these indicators, it’s probably best to buy a new bottle. Also, there hasn’t been much research conducted on the effect of expired e-juices so better be safe than sorry.
How to keep e-liquids fresh
The quality of e-liquids is affected by light and heat so you should store your e-liquids in a cool, dark place. The fridge would be ideal but not entirely necessary; a draw or cupboard would be fine so long as it’s cool. You should also avoid keeping the cap off e-liquids for extended periods of time to prevent nicotine oxidation and therefore a reduction in the nicotine strength.
There can be a residue at the bottom of a vape juice bottle that hasn’t been used for a while. This is normal, and if the juice is still within the best before date and the residue disappears after a good shake, then it’s fine to vape. If it doesn’t or the best before date has passed, then better dispose of it by sufficiently diluting it with water before pouring away down the drain.
An improperly stored vape juice will mean it may spoil before the best before date stated on the bottle so save yourself money by looking after your juice!
Do e-liquids expire?
Yes, but in the only in the sense of “best before” so the quality and nicotine strength of the vape juice will likely suffer if it passes the best before date.
E-liquids which are improperly stored may actually deteriorate before the best before date so make sure you take care of your liquids by keeping them in a dark, cool place.
If you notice the best before date has passed, whether or not there is a change in the colour, taste, smell or consistency, we would still recommend picking up a new bottle…life’s too short to vape bad e-juice!