Learn eLiquids – PG vs. VG

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Users of electronic cigarettes find themselves having to make choices about what liquid blend to buy. eLiquids are generally quite simple in composition- they have nicotine, they have flavoring, and they have a solvent. The function of the solvent is to hold the nicotine and flavor in a liquid form that can easily be turned into clouds of inhalable vapor.

After selecting the preferred nicotine concentration and flavor, the next step is to decide which solvent to use. The solvent is either vegetable glycerin (VG) or propylene glycol (PG), or a mixture of the two. Different types of eLiquids offer different proportions of the two solvents.

NEwhere eLiquids PG vs. VG

Vegetable Glycerin

VG is a very thick, sticky sweet-tasting liquid. It is used in an amazing variety of commercial products and foods. It is a popular food additive because it tastes sweet but contains no sugar and isn’t metabolized like sugar. It is derived from vegetables and is considered perfectly safe to consume. In eLiquids, it adds a sweet flavor to the vapor. It also helps produce large amounts of vapor. Many users report it produces a smooth, pleasant throat hit that they enjoy.

Propylene Glycol

PG is a tasteless, odorless liquid with the consistency of syrup. It is manufactured from petroleum. It is used in a wide variety of different products, including cosmetics, soaps and foods. It is toxic if consumed in very large quantities. It is impossible to consume toxic levels of PG from inhaling eLiquid. However, approximately 2% of the human population is extremely sensitive to PG. Individuals sensitive to PG may experience throat soreness or skin irritation after using eLiquid containing PG.

PG has many advantages over VG as a solvent for eLiquids. Due to its tasteless and odorless nature, it doesn’t change the flavor of the eLiquid at all. It is also thinner and runnier than VG, which means it is more easily absorbed by the fabric wick inside the e-cigarette. Its thinner nature also means it doesn’t gunk up the tank and atomizer of an e-cigarette the way VG can. Unlike the smooth, pleasant throat hit that VG provides, PG provides a harsher throat hit that is similar to the feeling a cigarette produces. Many smokers prefer this sensation over the smooth VG throat hit.

NEwhere eLiquid PG & VG Mixes

Mixing PG and VG together is an attempt to bring the best qualities of the two solvents together in the same eLiquid. A common blend is 70% PG and 30% VG. This blend produces the throat hit of PG, but also has the sweetness and excellent vapor production qualities of VG. Increasing the VG content to 50% PG and 50% VG smooths out the throat hit and produces even better vapor, but may clog up your atomizer faster.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, like the choice of flavoring, the choice of solvent depends on personal preference- which requires individuals to do some experimentation. The knowledge provided above should assist the user in their experimentation process. For example, if someone tries a mostly VG eLiquid and doesn’t like the throat hit experience, he/she knows to look for something with more PG. Or, if the user doesn’t like the vapor production properties of a particular eLiquid, he/she knows to look for a product with more VG.

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  • Ali Esmaili
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