Both Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG) are used to make e juice or e liquid for e cigarettes. These e liquids contain the nicotine and flavourings which are heated by the battery and the produced vapour is what is inhaled and exhaled.
Few people understand the differences between these two active ingredients and so this guide will clear up some of the misconceptions.
Typically e liquids will contain four ingredients, nicotine, water, flavouring and either PG or VG. It is possible to mix PG and VG to ensure you enjoy the best possible smoke these combined ingredients have to offer. More often than not PG (Propylene Glycol) is used in conjunction with VG(Vegetable Glycerin) used.
What Are They?
Propylene Glycol (PG): An organic compound which comes from Propylene Oxide, PG is almost odour-free, has no colour and has a low viscosity. It is commonly used in food production (as a preservative), in tobacco products, in medications, solvents and e liquids.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) : Vegetable Glycerin (VG) comes from plant oils such as coconut oils, palm oil and even soy. This is a completely natural product which is usually colourless, has no scent and is fairly viscous. While it may be tasteless usually there may be a sweet undertone to it. Vegetable Glycerin is used in e liquids, cosmetic production and in foods.
Propylene Glycol E Juice More often than not PG is used in e liquids production for a number of reasons such as the fact that it is less viscous than VG making it easier to handle during e cigarette refilling. In addition to this PG has a lower density which reduces the risk of a build-up which may affect the e cig’s performance. PG absorbs quicker which means that whether your e cig device is wick based or uses a polyfill (etc) fabric that consumers may enjoy their vaping experience much quicker. While PG itself is typically tasteless PG based flavourings for your e cigarette tend to have a higher taste intensity.Vegetable Glycerin (VG) E-juiceThe key benefit of using Vegetable Glycerin over Propylene Glycol is that VG has a higher viscosity which enables it to produce a higher density / thicker vapour which some smokers prefer. It also delivers a less fierce throat hit when vaping.
Some VG solution does occasionally have a residual taste of its own which is a sweet taste and many feel that this may dilute or alter the taste of the e juice. For those who prefer a sweeter smoke this is not a negative point however for those who don’t PG is the more popular choice. As compared to PG the VG e juices are more likely to clog the coil and cause a build-up within the e cigarette which would result in extra maintenance being required.
Mixing Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin
Many manufacturers have realised that mixing PG and VG when making e juices is the best way to produce quality e juices which incorporate all of the positive points of both base solutions. Combining the two results in a better vapour density, or a thicker vapour, better flavour intensity and variable throat hit levels, depending on the ratio of the two solutions being mixed.
Experimentation is the only real way to know whether you prefer a VG based e juice, an e juice made with PG or a mixture of both at different strengths and ratios.
PG, VG and Health and Safety Issues
Both Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are considered safe by relevant authorities and are used regularly in food production and in a number of other applications which result in both being handled, used or even *ingested by the consumer. In rare cases of allergic reaction a minor throat inflammation or skin irritation may occur and use should be discontinued. The World Health Organisation lists Propylene Glycol as having no safety concerns.
Which e liquid base is “best” depends entirely on the user as each individual has different tastes and expectations when it comes to their e cigarette smoking enjoyment.
*E liquids are not safe to ingest and anyone who does should seek immediate medical advice.