Does Vape Juice Expire?
Almost every consumable product that’s sold in the UK has an expiry date assigned to it, and vape juice is no different. If you’ve bought some in the past, it’s likely that you may have bottles sitting around in a cupboard or on a shelf.
Does vape liquid expire? Can you use it? Should you use it? Whether you’re new to vaping and want to know about the lifespan of vape juices, or if you’re actively using these products and want to learn more about when they expire, we’ll cover everything you need to know in this article. Find out how long to keep open vape juice, the best ways to store it, and whether out-of-date vape juice is safe to use.
Does Vape Juice Have an Expiration Date?
Does the expiration date on vaping juice actually matter? You’ll find most bottles have a printed expiration date somewhere on the bottle. In the same way that food products come with a printed label denoting expiration, vape liquids will have theirs listed with a printed date and message that says something like, ‘expires by’, ‘use by’ or ‘best before’. What’s known as the shelf-life is based on the duration the e-liquid ingredients, and how long these are designed to last for.
However, unlike fresh food, sealed e-liquids are shelf-stable - meaning they are less likely to react with the environment. This makes them a longer-lasting product than items like milk, or eggs. However, it is helpful to know that once opened, e-liquid can still react to oxygen and light. This is because direct sunlight and heat can break down the components in the e-liquid. For example, the nicotine in vape juice will oxidise more quickly if it’s exposed to a lot of heat.
The three most common ingredients in e-liquid are nicotine, PG (Propylene Glycol), and VG (Vegetable Glycerine). These typically have a shelf-life of about two years, while the shelf-life of other common vape juice ingredients like flavourings can vary. The shelf-life of flavourings can vary significantly. Vape juice that includes natural flavourings is likely to spoil faster than one with artificial compounds.
When deciding which e-liquids to buy, bear in mind that quality e-liquids are a better choice than cheaper versions. It’s fair to say that cheaper e-liquids will spoil faster than those that include quality ingredients.
In Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the competent authority regarding tobacco and related product regulations, including vapes. The MHRA ensures the safety and quality of vapes and refillable products for consumers. You can find more information on the latest policy and consumer advice via Gov.uk.
Is Expired Vape Juice Dangerous?
So, what happens if you use expired vape juice? And what are the implications of using an out-of-date e-liquid? If e-liquid is old, it’s unlikely to be anywhere near as good as when you bought it.
Vape juice won’t make you ill if it goes bad, but it will lose its sweet flavour and the potency of the smell it once had. If you choose to vape it, you’ll probably notice it's not quite as flavourful as it was when you first opened it.
We always advise users to follow the recommended ‘use by’ guidance that comes with the product, to maintain a satisfying vaping experience.
How Long Before E-Liquid Goes Bad?
As a general rule, you can expect your new e-liquids to last between 1-2 years. Like many products, over time, the quality will begin to decrease. As we’ve explored, due to the components within e-liquids, exposure to heat or direct sunlight will affect how quickly these aspects break down.
It’s always best to follow the ‘use by’ or expiration date on a bottle of e-liquid so that you get the best from the product and the most satisfying vaping experience. That said, most vape juice will last a reasonable amount of time - depending on how it’s stored. This includes whether it’s stored correctly. If you leave your e-liquids out with no lid or cap, then it’s likely they’ll go bad quickly. Use your vape juice in a relatively timely manner once you’ve opened the bottle.
Here’s how to tell if your opened e-liquid is beginning to deteriorate.
- The efficacy of the nicotine within will diminish.
- Flavour may be lacking, or be less detectable.
- Texture or ‘mouth feel’ may alter.
These signs don’t necessarily mean that the e-liquid is unsafe to use. However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for signs that your e-liquid has, or is, turning bad.
How Would I Know if my Vape Juice Has Expired?
If you’re worried your vape juice has expired, here’s what to look out for:
- Separation or solidification - this is where the e-liquid congeals and starts to gel together.
- A bad or unusual smell or taste.
Check your e-liquids regularly. You can do this simply and quickly, just by inspecting the bottle for signs it’s separating or solidifying, or by smelling it. Changes in colour or lack of clarity can also be a telltale sign your e-liquid is going bad.
Some vapers may actually enjoy the taste of an older, aged e-liquid. Even so, you should always be wary of any significant changes in the flavour such as a peppery flavour. This is a notable development, and can indicate spoilage. If you do notice any signs of ageing, you should stop using your e-liquid and dispose of it responsibly.
You can find out how to recycle your vape products in our article. ‘A Guide to Recycling Vape Products’.
How to Store E-Liquids
Looking after your products will ensure their longevity, and mean they last for the length of time the manufacturer intends them to. Here’s how to look after your vape juice and keep it in good condition for the duration of its lifespan. These tips should help minimise the risk of your e-liquid going bad.
- Always store your e-liquid with the lid screwed on. Remember that once opened, the quality of vape juice will naturally begin to degrade over time.
- To keep your e-liquid fresh, it’s a good idea to store it in a cool, dark place. Avoid direct sunlight and anywhere that’s too warm.
Find a selection of our best-selling vape juices on our website - plus learn more about vape juice flavours, and discover what to expect from different types of vape juices and nicotine strengths.