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Safe Handling and Disposal of E-Liquids


As we're all aware (or certainly should be aware), nicotine is a hazardous substance, and at high enough concentrations can even be deadly. For that reason, we thought it might be time for a quick refresher on proper handling of your favorite, and particularly your least favorite, e-juices.

First, while you're still using your liquids, make sure you keep them under control. This means always keeping them out of reach of children and away from places where pets could get at them, as the sweet smell and/or often colorful packaging could make for an appealing but deadly snack. It's also a good idea to store any liquid you're not using in a cool, dark place like a cabinet, possibly under lock and key if there are older children around who might get . . . curious.

This much should be common sense – as it should be that even more potentially harmful substances like concentrated nicotine for use in making your own liquid ALWAYS needs to be secured. But what do you do with old liquid you're not going to use? After all, most of us can admit to a purchase that sounded so much better than it turned out to be, or that got old and caramelized.

A quick side note here – the average shelf life of an e-liquid is about six months once opened, though properly stored bottles can last up to a year and some heavily-sweetened versions may go south more quickly. You'll be able to tell how your juice is doing (if the taste doesn't give it away) by the liquid changing colors (though higher-nicotine liquids will darken faster), or by a tendency to gunk up and foul coils at an increased rate.

Okay, back to disposal. The obvious thing may be to dump bad juice down the sink, but that's in fact the one thing you shouldn't do! National and regional poison control centers recommend treating e-liquid the same as a spoiled liquid drug like cough syrup – too many drugs dumped down the drain can actually affect the water quality of a whole aquifer, as sewage treatment plants aren't designed to remove nicotine any more than they are antibiotics.

Instead, here's what to do – dump your liquid into a bag full of cat litter, sawdust, used coffee grounds, or whatever other solid you may have that will absorb it. Seal that bag up and throw it in the trash to be sent to your local landfill, which should have procedures in place to trap and treat any runoff on-site.

It may seem like a bit of extra effort, but we believe it's worth a few minutes to keep yourself, your family, and the community at large just a bit safer by following these proper handling and disposal techniques. And after all, how often do you really need to dump liquid into anything but a tank needing topped up?