Vape juice, just like any product, has an expiration date. But how long vape juice lasts before it goes bad depends on several factors. If you have always wondered how long e-juice really lasts or had questions like what happens when vape juice expires, if nicotine has an expiration date, or if heat affects the shelf life of vape juice, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into how vape juice expires, how to tell apart expired e-juice from vape juice that is still good to use, and even answer what happens if you use expired vape juice. So, if you are ready, let’s get started.
Yes, vape juice expires. But not like food or other products you might consume. It mainly loses strength because its main ingredients slowly degrade and lose potency. If you are a regular vaper, you know that e-juice has specific ingredients: nicotine (optional), vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, and natural or, most often, artificial flavorings.
As expected, nicotine, propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin ultimately have a shelf life, and it is this shelf life that most manufacturers use to decide when their vape juice expires. It is important to note that this degradation point is reached slowly and does not happen from day to night, meaning that vape juice can last for a very long time before it goes bad.
Almost all vape juices can last from one to two years before they start to degrade, since this is approximately the shelf life of nicotine, propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin. But this is only sometimes the case. Some critical factors to consider that can affect how long a vape juice lasts include:
The most important factor out of all of these is how the vape juice is stored. Improperly stored vape juices will reach that degradation point faster and can even go bad before a year goes by. The ratio of the ingredients used in the vape juice is also essential, since the less nicotine there is in it, the less susceptible it is to degradation. Finally, the type and quality of flavorings used are essential since these, too, will break down over time.
As expected, natural flavorings degrade faster, while artificial flavorings are created to last longer. Some vapers even state that simple flavors lose their taste faster (think fruit and one-note flavors), while multiflavored vape juices like desserts will last longer.
Yes, vape juice can go bad. Five things usually cause this:
When a chemical breaks down, it is almost always because the chemical bonds that hold together the compound come undone. Heat, light, air, and movement excite the particles and break these chemical bonds. Plastic, which allows heat, light, and air to pass through, is also a factor. Certain types of plastic are more permeable than others—PET is generally considered a better choice than PE or similar types.
A combination of these is usually why vape juice goes bad before its expiration date. Leaving your vape juices in the car in the summer, keeping them in a cabinet or closet next to a window, or opening them and closing them too often will speed up the degradation process. The vape juice ingredient most susceptible to degradation is nicotine—your vape juice may start by losing some of its strength, but further degradation may lead to your juice getting darker and even having a fishy smell and/or taste.
If you recently bought vape juice in bulk and aren’t planning on using it immediately, we recommend storing it properly so it will last as long as possible. To do this, we recommend you store your vape juice in a cold, dark, airless place, preferably in dark glass bottles. These conditions are also ideal for steeping e-juice, so you won’t only delay degradation; you’ll also have better-tasting e-liquid!
Many vapers opt for a small freezer, providing the ideal environment for holding bulk vape juices you don’t plan to use immediately. This is especially useful when storing nicotine, or even nicotine salt juice with a high strength, since as mentioned above, nicotine is the ingredient that’s most susceptible to degradation.
In the vaping industry, two types of expiration dates are commonly used in the labeling: best-by dates and manufacturing dates or born dates (keep in mind labeling requirements change from country to country).
Best-by dates will tell you exactly by when the vape juice should be used, while manufacturing dates tell you when the ejuice was created or manufactured. Checking these dates on the label can give you an idea of whether or not the vape juice has gone bad.
These expiration dates can be found at the bottom or on the side of the vape juice. However, you might only sometimes see them. An explanation for this can be found on the World Health Organization website, which suggests that nicotine and tobacco products should not have an expiration date since “displaying an expiry date may mislead consumers into thinking the product is safe to be consumed at any time before the expiry date.”
So, if the ejuice bottle does not come with an expiration date, some things that will tell you if the e-juice has gone bad are the following:
The consensus in the vaping community seems to be that nothing serious will happen to you if you vape juice that’s beyond its expiration date. In most cases, your juice will be fine. Worst case scenario, it’s gross.
If your juice has actually gone bad, then it will be an experience you won’t want to repeat. But there are no recorded cases of someone falling ill after vaping expired vape juice. Still, we don’t recommend you vape expired vape juice to be on the safe side.
Yes, vape juice does expire. Still, because the shelf life of nicotine, vegetable glycerin, and propylene glycol is relatively stable, vape juice can last for up to two years before it begins to degrade. This degradation process is slow, so some vape juice flavors could last even longer, depending on how they are stored. Ideally, you want to keep vape juice away from light, air, heat, and movement. With proper storage, your juice will probably be fine even beyond its expiration date.
While expiration dates are your best bet when determining when you should vape or use vape juice, not all manufacturers use an expiration date and labeling requirements change from country to country. So, remember to check the vape juice’s smell, color, and viscosity. There have been no recorded cases where expired vape juice has been proven harmful, so if it passes the eye and nose test, it’s probably still good to vape.