Understanding the Short Fill E-Liquid Trend

The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a set of laws and directives which has put in to place limitations on the way Tobacco products are sold & distributed and of particular importance is the change in the sale & distribution of products that contain nicotine.

For vapers, the two most important components of the TPD enforcements are that there is now a limit on e-cigarette tank size – nothing can have a tank that is larger than 2 ml  – and the limits that have been set on eliquids - the size of e-liquid bottles with liquids that contain nicotine, where to be TPD compliant, a bottle of e-liquid (with nicotine) can be no larger than 10 ml & additionally, that the liquid strength can be no more than 20mg/ml.

Small e-liquid bottles were fine during the days of the eGo type e-cigarette and the ability to buy higher-nicotine e-liquids. Then, with the rise in popularity of sub-ohm vaping, more people than ever changed to using lower-nicotine e-liquids with their higher-power vaping devices. If you use a sub-ohm tank or rebuildable atomiser with high settings a10 ml of e-liquid may not even be enough for a full day of vaping!

Some companies meet the demands of modern vapers by selling their e-liquids in packages of several 10ml bottles. Here at Exhale for example, the best selling eliquid, Hangsen Black Label, is now sold to pre-order offering a full box of 10 bottles at a lower cost than that of buying 10 individual bottles from warehouse stock.  Short fill e-liquids have emerged as an alternative option, it's less wasteful of resources and can be easier on your wallet. Their main selling point is that  with a short fill product you can finally buy a usable quantity of e-liquid suitable for your sub-ohm vaping needs without violating the TPD's regulations.

Here’s how short fill e-liquids work.....

What Are Short Fill E-Liquids?

A short fill e-liquid is a bottle of nicotine-free e-liquid that isn’t quite full, thus earning its name of Short Fill. 

Since the TPD bottle size restriction only applies to e-liquids with nicotine, a short fill bottle can actually be any size, though the most common size is a 60 ml sized bottle that contains 50 ml of the nicotine-free flavoured e-liquid. 

Adding a 10 ml nicotine shot which is a 10ml bottle at a strength of 18mg to the underfilled 60ml sized bottle then gives you a full 60 ml bottle of e-liquid with nicotine. 

In this example, you end up then with a bottle of e-liquid that’s big enough to keep your sub-ohm tank filled, and you can do it without violating the TPD.

How to Use Short Fill E-Liquids

Conveniently, every short fill e-liquid from Exhale Cigarettes includes the nicotine shot(s) that are required to make an e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 3 mg. So, for every 50 ml of nicotine-free e-liquid, you need to add 1 x 10 ml nicotine shot (strength of 18 mg) to create a final blend of 60 ml of e-liquid at 3 mg (of nicotine per ml). 

With that ratio in mind, for a 3mg strength liquid you need to add:

  • One nicotine shot to a 60 ml short fill e-liquid bottle
  • Two nicotine shots to a 120 ml short-fill e-liquid bottle
  • Three nicotine shots to a 180 ml shortfill e-liquid bottle

To add a nicotine shot to a short fill e-liquid bottle - 

  1. remove the top from the bottle. You can usually remove the top by rocking it gently between your thumb and forefinger. Some people even use a set of pliers or a small adjustable spanner to remove a stubborn bottle top!
  2. Carefully empty the entire contents of the nicotine shot into the e-liquid bottle. 
  3. Replace the cap, close the bottle tightly and shake the bottle to mix the contents. 

Just like when we used to custom blend eliquids, some people advocate allowing the mixture to rest for 24 hours before use, but that isn’t really necessary. It is a good idea, though, to shake the bottle each time you use it.

Improving Your Experience With Short Fill E-Liquids

Although filling & mixing a bottle of short fill e-liquid isn’t as convenient as it would be to buy a bottle that’s already mixed, short fill e-liquid does allow you to customise the strength of your e-liquids in a way that would otherwise be impossible. 

Do you want to reduce your nicotine intake? No problem!

To create a final nicotine strength of 2 mg with a short fill e-liquid, add 6.25ml from your 10 ml nicotine shot. 

For a nicotine strength of 1mg, add 2.94 ml of the nicotine shot. 

If you want a final nicotine strength that is higher than 3 mg, add an extra nicotine shot. 

Alternatively you add some of the your nicotine-free e-liquid into your nicotine shot if you required a significantly higher nicotine strength.

If you’d like to increase the nicotine strength of a short fill e-liquid to one that is higher than 3mg however, you should bear in mind that the e-liquid makers have calibrated their short fill e-liquids for the perfect flavour to be used with a specific number of nicotine shots so adding additional nicotine may muddle the flavour of the e-liquid.

When you add a nicotine shot to a short fill e-liquid bottle you are combining two liquids with different base ingredients and different manufacturing processes. As such you may find that after mixing it when left sat still on a shelf for a while, the mixture may tend to separate hence our recommendation of shaking the bottle each time you refill your tank.

About the Author

Gary Sharma is the author of Electronic Cigarette Info, a blog dedicated to sharing knowledge that can help improve the vaping experience for every e-cigarette user. Electronic Cigarette Info uses no affiliate links and no advertisements.

29th Mar 2018 Gary Sharma

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