If you currently use electronic cigarettes or are thinking about switching over, you may be interested in the different liquids that are used within the vape pens. There are two main type of e liquids that are used for vaping. Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Gylcerin are alike in some ways, but different in many. Here are some of the ways that these two juices compare so that you can make informed choices with your vaping.
How do E-Liquids Work?
In order to understand the differences between each type of e liquid, it is important to know how these liquids work. E liquids are the solutions inside of the electronic cigarette that creates the vapor that acts like traditional smoke and that carries the nicotine. These e juices come in different strengths, which indicate how much nicotine is in the blend. Additionally, the vape juices carry the flavor that you experience when you smoke the electronic cigarette. The base of the liquid is made of either PG, VG, or some combination of the two.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene Glycol is dervived from petroleum and is a substance that is commonly used as a flavoring agent in food products. It can also be found in medications as an additive. PG is odorless, colorless, and is safe to ingest and is non toxic. This form of vape juice is a thin liquid with a runny consistency and a low density that carries flavors well. PG liquids have a strong throat hit, which is a similar feeling to smoking an actual cigarette. A PG liquid will have a drying effect on the throat when inhaled, especially with repeated use.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Vegetable Gycerin is a thick e liquid derived from the oils of palm plants. This liquid is generally recognized as safe, and is found as an additive in many medications, skin care products, and cosmetics. The VG liquid absorbs slowly in the cartomizer or wick, and can get gunky in the e cigarette due to its consistency. The VG base has a sweet taste to it and does not translate added flavors very well. While it is not very allergenic, VG can cause an over production of phlegm, especially when it is used often. The VG liquid also creates significant vapor, very similar to or surpassing traditional cigarettes.
PG vs VG
Now that the makeup of each of the different vape juices has been explained, how do the two compare on key characteristics that are important for e-cigarette users? Here are some of the main differences to consider when selecting one of the e liquids.
- PG liquids absorb more quickly than VG juices. The PG mix is also less gunky because it is thinner, which means fewer cleanings and issues with buildup than with VG.
- E liquids made of PG produce a stronger throat hit than those made of VG. The PG liquids also dry the throat, while the VG liquids produce more phlegm.
- VG e liquids are less allergenic than PG juices, and therefore are less likely to cause a reaction in their users. Those who have experienced reactions to PG liquids or are likely to react often will switch completely to VG juices.
- The sweeter taste of the unadultered VG liquid can impact the taste profiles of the flavor additives in the vape juice. PG liquids have a more neutral base taste, which pairs better with the added flavors.
- For fans of the smoke rings or heavy puffs of vapor, the VG liquid is the top producer of these features. The thinner consistency of the PG juice leads to much less vapor when puffing on the e-cigarette.
Choosing a side in the PG vs VG debate often comes down to preference. However, PG liquid offers an experience most similar to smoking traditional cigarettes, so this is the one to begin with if you are new to vaping. The type of liquid that you choose may also be determined by the e cigarette that you use and the strength of resistance in the atomizer.
Are PG and VG ever mixed together?
In order to reap the benefits of both types of e juice, you can find liquids that are a blend of both PG and VG. In fact, very few people prefer a blend that is 100 percent one or the other, because they miss out on key components that make for a satisfying smoke. A blend of 50 percent PG and 50 percent VG is the most common mix available for a PG e liquid, as this combination produces the smoothest vape juice with the best balance of the two types. It is also intended for the most common atomizers between 1.0 and 2.0 ohms. For a VG blend, 70/30 VG to PG and 80/20 VG to PG are the most commonly used mixes. These liquid blends are both intended for vaping with sub ohm atomizers, and produce significant vapor and still allowing for a smooth and detectable flavor.
Different Nicotine Amounts in PG and VG Blends
Another thing that you will likely notice when purchasing PG and VG e liquids is that they list different amounts of nicotine for similar advertised strengths. For example, a moderate PG liquid has a nicotine content of about 12 mg, whereas a moderate amount for a VG liquid is around 3 mg. This is because there is much more inhaled vapor with VG liquids, and therefore less nicotine is required to deliver the same strength.
What are the Risks of PG and VG?
In general, both types of these vape juices have similar risks and side effects. While the safety of vaping in general is still under review, both of these substances have shown to be safe for ingestion and are ingredients in many products that we use and consume everyday. With prolonged and frequent use, vaping with either PG or VG e liquids can lead to side effects that mimic dehydration, including a sore throat, a dry mouth, and feeling thirstier than usual. Using the wrong blend of e juice with an e cigarette that is not designed for that type can cause a sore throat or inconsistency with wicking and dry hits. Vapers also run a higher risk of an allergic reaction or sensitivity to PG liquids, though it is rare that a true allergy will develop.
When it comes to vaping, PG and VG liquids both have their place. Once you determine the type of vaping experience you want to have, you can purchase an e cigarette and choose a PG or VG liquid that works for you and your equipment. Try a few different vape pens and PG and VG blends to find the right fit for you.