What in the PG/VG?

Article by Nicholas Daul

If you are just getting into the vaping world, you probably want to know what you are putting in your lungs.  Unlike a cigarette that has approximately 600 ingredients in it, e-liquid has only 4 ingredients.  The 4 ingredients in e-liquid are propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavor concentrate and nicotine.  Let’s break down what PG and VG are.


What is PG?

PG stands for Propylene Glycol, a petroleum by-product. The fluid has no odor or color and is less viscous than VG. In vaping, it is used to provide a “throat hit,” which some users claim is like the sensation experienced when smoking tobacco. It also carries flavor more effectively than VG.


How is it used?

Propylene Glycol can be found in various common household items. Amongst others, these include:
  • Nicotine inhalers.
  • Toothpaste and other oral hygiene products.
  • Medical products used orally, injected or as topical formulations.
  • Pet food (excluding cat food).
  • Beauty products, including make-up and shampoo.

Is it safe?

Studies have shown that ingesting PG orally is safe, and the FDA deems it “generally recognized as safe” to be used as a food additive.  Now many studies have been done on the safety of PG being ingested by food and oral products.  Studies have been done, and are continuing to be done, on inhaling PG and currently studies suggest it is safe to inhale. 
Ever have someone tell you propylene glycol is in anti-freeze?  Well they were not completely wrong.  PG is in anti-freeze, however there are two types of anti-freeze: toxic and non-toxic.  Toxic anti-freeze has ethylene glycol in it which is not used in vaping.  PG-based anti-freeze is used in food-processing machinery which is safe and non-toxic.


What to know about PG.

Some people have found to have higher levels of PG e-liquid irritate their throat.  Since there is the possibility to have allergies to almost everything in this world, PG isn’t any different.  Although there are very few reports of allergic reactions to PG, it can still happen.  If you happen to be experiencing a rash or other unpleasant side effects after using higher PG level e-liquid, we recommend using higher level VG e-liquid which is an option at your local VapinUSA store. 
Some common side effects of using higher level PG e-liquid in general are symptoms of dehydration like dry mouth, sore throat or increased thirst.  This is common with people who are new to vaping and using higher level PG e-liquid.  We advise that you drink more water and liquids for the first few weeks of using your new e-cigarette.  If hydrated well enough, these symptoms will disappear within a few days or a week as your body gets used to the PG.


What is VG?

VG stands for Vegetable Glycerin. It is a natural chemical, derived from soybean, coconut and palm oils. It is commonly used in e-liquid to give a “thick” sensation to vapor. VG has a slightly sweet taste and is considerably thicker than PG. Vegetable Glycerin provides a much smoother throat hit than Propylene Glycol, making it more suitable for sub-ohm vaping.


How it is used?

Again, it can be found in numerous medical, food and personal care products:
  • Sweetener as sugar replacement.
  • Beauty products, such as make-up, mousse, bubble bath, aftershave, and deodorant.
  • Pet food.
  • Soap and hand cream.
  • Food such as baked goods, to increase moisture.
  • To provide thick gel for certain medicinal creams, capsule pills and jellies.
  • Toothpaste and other dental care products. 

Is it safe?

The FDA has classified VG as generally recognized as safe and it is widely regarded as one of the most benign substances known to man.  In addition, the widespread use of VG in food and medicine suggests it is safe for humans.  A 2008 study on the risks of inhaling VG found minimal to no risks.  Just like PG, more studies of ingestion have been done but studies show so far that inhaling VG is relatively safe, and more studies are always being done.
It is important to note that VG has a very low risk of being allergenic.  That is why it is a good alternative to use when vaping if you happen to be allergic to, or are having issues using, PG.  If you are allergic to palm or coconut oil, VG may become a problem, but this is not a very common allergy.  Diabetics could possibly experience problems with metabolizing VG, but this would not be an issue at the levels used in vaping.


What to know about VG.

The increased thickness of VG means it can reduce the life of atomizers quicker than PG-based juice. High VG liquids clog up coils more rapidly, and will not work well, if at all, in certain tanks. Older products are especially susceptible to this problem occurring; particularly models that use smaller coils such as “clearomizers.” The Nautilus and eGo tanks are some of the more well-known tanks that are known to have difficulties dealing with high VG fluid.
As with PG, the most common side effects of vaping high VG e-liquid are those of dehydration: dry mouth, sore throat, and increased thirst. Again, be sure to drink plenty of water and take a break from vaping if necessary.



Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published