Basic E-Liquid Safety
By Lindsay Fox Posted March 24, 2014
There’s a recent story about an Israeli toddler who died after swallowing e-liquid that underlines the need for basic e-liquid safety. The story may not be rife with detail, but it’s without question that you don’t want your child or pet to drink any e-liquid. It takes much less nicotine to kill them than it would an adult, so this is one area where it’s better to be over-cautious.
Additionally, you need to look out for yourself when you’re filling up a tank, clearomizer or cartomizer, because nicotine can seep into your system through your skin.
- Store e-liquid in a cool, dark place away from sources of heat and flame.
- Cupboards or locked boxes are ideal for maintaining your liquids and preventing children and pets from getting at them.
- Use child-proof caps wherever possible.
- Nicotine is a poison that can be absorbed through the skin, so be careful when you’re refilling! Clean up any spills immediately, along with affected surfaces, clothes and exposed skin.
Though most companies use child safety caps on bottles, it doesn’t always prevent children from opening them. Let’s be honest here, the child safety caps suck. With that said, it’s your duty as a responsible vaper to always keep your e-liquid in a safe place and out of the hands of children, especially if the children are young and don’t understand.
There are many ways to prevent children from being exposed to e-liquid. You can place your e-liquid in a high out of reach place. This will also be beneficial by keeping the liquid in an unexposed or dark space, which will prolong the life of your e-liquid. – Blake Brown (GuidetoVaping.com)
Use some common sense people! You wouldn’t allow your child to get to rat poison… don’t let them get to your e-liquid either. All e-liquid (even the zero nicotine stuff) should be kept out of reach of children and pets and kept in bottles with childproof safety caps. – Phil Busardo (TasteYourJuice.com)
Sadly, accidental poisonings happen far too often with a variety of consumer goods and medicines. The advice is the same when it comes to e-liquid. Treat e-liquid as you would any medicine or cleaner. For parents of small children, lock up your e-liquid, use childproof containers and keep out of reach. Remember, child-proof containers on anything are only designed to slow kids down, not make the containers impenetrable. For older kids, explain to them why they should stay away from this stuff, if you have a particularly willful child, get a good locking cabinet or box. – Steve K (Steve K’s Vaping World)
Much like a gun or booze or draino, don’t keep your liquid out where kids can get it. I have a 4lb Chihuahua dog that LOVES to chew things. If she got a hold of some juice it would certainly kill her. Just be careful honestly. – Nick “GrimmGreen” Green (GrimmGreen.com)
Quite simply, use a little common sense! Always keep your e-liquid out of the reach of children (and pets, let’s not forget the pets!) and always ensure that the bottles have child safety tops that are secured on firmly. Ideally it will always be best to keep e-liquid in a locked cupboard, but to have it out of reach on a high shelf is also a good option. – Scott Bonner (E-Cig-Reviews.com)
Dr. Houezec has pointed out that flavour degradation is more of a concern than nicotine degradation. But even so, it should be safe to store for a year, or more than a year if frozen. – James Dunworth (Ashtray Blog)
Storing E-Liquid Safely
Thankfully, the vast majority of e-liquids come with child-proof caps, so there is an inherent amount of protection built in already. Regardless of how many other steps you take to ensure your kids or pets can’t get it, you shouldn’t decant your liquid into another bottle unless you have no children or pets to worry about and – for whatever reason – you’d rather use a different container.
If you do have animals or kids, and you order from suppliers who don’t use child-proof caps, spare bottles are extremely cheap to pick up, or you can just wash out and re-use old ones if you want the extra protection. However, it’s not that hard to open them, so in no circumstances should you leave this to be the only protection.
For a variety of reasons, it’s best to store your e-liquid in a cool, dry and dark place, away from any sources of fire or excessive heat. Nicotine will oxidize in the presence of air and light and turn dark, but this doesn’t impact on its properties, according to nicotine expert Dr. Jacques Le Houezec. However, pure nicotine evaporates in significant quantities at 68 °F (20 °C), and e-liquid is flammable, so it’s best to avoid sources of heat or fire. In e-liquid, there are also numerous different flavorings which could be degraded by excessive heat or sunlight, so it’s best to protect it from the elements.
Keeping your e-liquid in a cupboard or locked container makes sense for these reasons and to ensure that it stays out of reach of kids and animals. You could use a wall-mounted cupboard, a locked box on a shelf or pretty much any other inaccessible-to-curious-children location you can think of. You can use a refrigerator (or even a freezer), but juice thickens up when it’s cold, so you’ll need to take it out for half an hour before it’ll vape nicely.
In any case, ensure the caps are firmly on and they’re stored upright. If you’re “steeping” with the cap off, it’s especially important to ensure it’s out of reach (more on safe steeping later in the series).
Filling Your Tank, Cartomizer or Clearomizer Safely
If you bear in mind that nicotine is toxic and can be absorbed through the skin, you won’t have any problems when you’re filling a cartomizer, tank or clearomizer. Technically speaking, gloves would make the process of filling up much safer, but if you’re careful it’s easy to stay safe even without them. Almost any e-liquid bottle will have a dripper tip, which makes the entire process pretty simple – as long as you know where to put the juice.
After unscrewing the top of your clearomizer or tank, or popping the tip off a refillable cartomizer, you’ll see a little hole in the center. All you have to do is not put juice in there; use the dripper to direct it around the outside of the hole and into a clearomizer or tank, or into the absorbent material around the outside of a cartomizer. If you spill any e-liquid, wash the surface thoroughly, and if you get any on yourself, wash any affected area of skin and take off any clothing it was spilled on. Use a paper towel or a folded up bit of toilet paper to wipe down the outside of your tank or bottle if any spilled down the side.
If you’re refilling a cartomizer, it’s important to give the juice time to soak into the wicking material. There’s a useful post about it on Totally Wicked’s blog, but the main message is that if you don’t let the juice soak in, you can kill the cartomizer for good. This applies to other materials too (you can’t dry-burn silica or cotton wicks, for example), but if you’re using a cartomizer, rotate the cylinder as you fill so the liquid is distributed evenly, and wait around ten minutes before vaping it.
E-liquid is inherently dangerous because it contains nicotine, but it doesn’t take much care to ensure that the incident from Israel is not repeated any time in the future. Exercising caution when refilling is essential, but there’s no cause for concern as long as you clean up any e-juice spills and drip carefully.
Part One: Beginner E-Cigs Safety
Part Two: E-Liquid Safety
6. Basic E-Liquid Safety
7. Allergies, Conditions and E-Liquid
8. Safe Nicotine Consumption for Vapers
9. Steeping E-Liquids Safely
10. Do E-Liquids Expire?
11. E-Liquid and Tank Safety
12. DIY E-Liquid Safety
Part Three: E-Cig Mod Safety