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PG VS. VG: A VAPER’S GUIDE

If you are new to vaping or you are a current smoker looking to quit cigarettes, then you may have started investigating e-cigarettes and how they work.  During your endless google searches you would have come across the terms PG and VG but may not fully understand what they are, how they are used, why it is important to your vaping experience.  

You may have been smoking tobacco for many years now and surely you are aware of the dangers of smoking tobacco cigarettes, which has led you to this article.  

In this Vapers Guide, we will answer all your questions about PG vs VG so you can find the perfect vape starter kit for you!

WHAT IS IN E-LIQUID OR VAPE JUICE?

Before we get started, it will make more sense to understand what is an e-liquid and how it is used in a vape.  

All e-cigarettes and vapes work the same way.  They use a battery source and a heating element to vapourize a flavoured liquid that contains nicotine to create a smoke-like vapour similar to inhaling a cigarette.  This liquid is commonly referred to as e-liquid or vape juice.  

E-Liquids contain 4 main ingredients: Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerine (VG), flavours and nicotine.   These ingredients combine to create the liquid that is found in e-cigarettes and will vapourize when heated to create the vapour that you inhale.

WHAT IS PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG)?

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a colourless liquid with a slightly sweet taste that has many uses and is completely safe to humans.  PG is a synthetic additive that comes from the same chemical group as alcohol and is slightly thicker than water.  But due to its numerous properties, it has a wide range of uses.

WHAT IS PROPYLENE GLYCOL USED FOR?

Propylene Glycol is used in a number of various industries but is widely used in the food industry.  You will find PG in salad dressing, cake mixes, breads and pastries, candies and gums and more.  

Without getting to scientific, PG’s many properties include:

Antioxidant - protects food from oxidising and helps to extend shelf life of your favourite foods 

Great Carrier of Flavour - it dissolved and binds flavours and nutrients better than water, so is widely used

Preserves Moisture - it maintains a constant level of moisture and stops foods from drying out and can be found in marshmallows, nuts and coconut flakes

Emulsifier - it keeps other ingredients from separating - like vinegar and oil in salad dressings

Stabilizer and Thickener - helps to hold other ingredients together, like in breads and cakes

Adds Texture - because of some of these other properties, it can help to change the “mouthfeel” of many of our favourite foods

So from keeping your favourite snacks lasting longer and tasting better, PG is a bit of a miracle ingredient.

Because of its properties, Propylene Glycol is also one of the most important ingredients in vape juices and e-liquids.  It essentially holds the flavour and nicotine together allowing e-liquids and vapes to work properly.  Without PG, there would be no e-cigarettes!

IS PROPYLENE GLYCOL SAFE?

Absolutely 100%.  Propylene Glycol is totally safe for human consumption.  It is widely used in almost all the food you buy from the grocery store.  It is also used in toothpaste and cosmetics as well as your favourite snacks, cakes, candies and gum.  PG has been approved for human consumption by the EU and the FDA in the US. 

The myth that PG is not safe in e-liquids which is completely untrue.  There were some fear mongering headlines from some media outlets over the last few years that reported e-liquids contained the same ingredients that are found in antifreeze.  PG is an ingredient that is commonly used in antifreeze yes, but antifreeze is ABSOLUTELY NOT used in e-liquids.  

Extensive studies have been done on vaping and PG and there is no evidence to suggest there are any dangers whatsoever.

HOW DOES PG AFFECT MY VAPING EXPERIENCE?

Propylene Glycol plays a number of roles when it comes to vaping and e-cigarettes.  Not only does the PG provide the carrier for the nicotine and flavour in your e-liquid, but it also gives you the smoking sensation and “throat hit” that you would get with a traditional cigarette.  The higher the amount of PG in an e-liquid means you will have more flavour and a greater throat hit.  Conversely, the lower the PG concentration, the less intensity of the flavour and less realistic throat hit.  

For many first time vapers who are looking for a more realistic smoking sensation will be more satisfied with a higher PG content in their e-liquid.

WHAT IS VEGETABLE GLYCERINE (VG)?

Vegetable Glycerine is the other major ingredient that is commonly found in your e-liquid or vape juice.  VG is a clear and odourless liquid that is derived from plants like soybean, palm or coconut oils and is widely used in everyday life.  It has been used for the last 200 years and helps to add a sweetness and maintain moisture in many food products.

For a bit of science, Vegetable Glycerine is made by heating vegetable oils under pressure.  This causes the glycerine to separate from the fatty acids and mixes with water to create a syrupy, slightly sweet liquid.  That is why having a vg base in your vape juice is important.

WHAT IS VEGETABLE GLYCERINE USED FOR?

Due to its qualities, VG is used in an incredible amount of the food and products we use in our day to day lives.  From some of our favourite foods, our most important medicines and prescriptions and in many of our skin care products, Vegetable Glycerine is a bit of a wonderkid!  

Do you like your ice cream to be super cream and rich?  Then you have Vegetable Glycerine to thank for that as it stops ice crystals forming in many frozen foods like ice cream and frozen yogurts.  It can be found in many heart medications, cough syrups and anesthetics.  Due to its ability to help water-based ingredients and oils to mix, you will find Vegetable Glycerine in many of your skin and beauty creams.

But most relevant to e-cigarettes, Vegetable Glycerine is the 2nd most important part of your e-liquids.

IS VEGETABLE GLYCERINE SAFE?

Vegetable Glycerine is absolutely 100% safe for human consumption.  Whether you are eating or drinking a product that uses it, vaping it in your favourite e-liquid or applying it to your skin to make those wrinkles magically disappear, VG is widely used and completely safe.  

As it is derived from plant oils, it is a natural product that is derived from sustainable sources.  So it is safe for the planet as well.

HOW DOES VG AFFECT MY VAPING EXPERIENCE?

Vegetable Glycerine plays an important part in your daily vaping experience.  Not only does it work with the Propylene Glycol to bind the flavours and nicotine together, it also helps to create the smoke-like vapour that an e-cigarette produces.  So VG is what makes the “clouds” when you vape.

The higher the VG concentration in your vape juice will result in more vapour production.  So a higher VG e-liquid with a lower nicotine percentage is usually preferred by vapers using larger, open vape systems to produce the big clouds that you see.   But VG doesn’t hold the flavour of the vape juice compared to the Propylene Glycol.  This means that many people using larger vape mods tend to turn up the power output on their devices to a higher level in order to get the same flavour experience.

HOW ARE VG AND PG SHOWN ON E-LIQUID?

WHAT VG/PG RATIO SHOULD I USE?

The question as to which VG/PG ratio you should use will depend on a number of factors.  Some of these include the type of e-cigarette or vape mod you are using, how strong a “throat hit” you are after, how realistic you want your vaping experience to be, how much flavour you would like and how much “cloud” or vapour you want.  The VG/PG you will want to use will be quite a personal choice depending on what you want.

Most closed system e-cigarettes like cigalikes and pods that are Mouth To Lung (MTL) devices are designed to deliver a more realistic smoking sensation.  They tend to use pre-filled refills or pods with a 80% PG / 20% VG mix which give a vaper a richer flavour experience with a stronger “throat hit”.  This is why e-cigarettes and cigalikes are the most popular with smokers looking to quit smoking cigarettes and move to vaping for the first time.  

A more experienced vaper using a larger open system that is a Direct To Lung (DTL) device will generally look for a higher VG concentration in the vape juice.  Due to the higher power output and the great clouds DTL vape mods produce, a 30% PG / 70% VG would be more appropriate.  The downside is less of a throat hit and a less intensity of flavour.

So depending on your device and what kind of vaping experience you are after, the choice of your PG/VG mix should now be pretty clear.  The high PG e liquids deliver a more realistic smoking sensation whereas if you are looking for more cloud production, a high VG e juice will give you more clouds of vapor.

WHY IS THE VG/PG RATIO SO IMPORTANT?

CONCLUSION - WHAT IS PG AND VG AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

In conclusion, the PG vs VG vapers guide will be incredibly informative in helping you make the right choice of PG/VG ratio in your vape juice or e-liquid to get the most out of your switch to e-cigarettes.

If you are still smoking and looking for a great vape kit to help you kick the habit while delivering a realistic and satisfying smoking sensation, then you may want to check out our great e-cigarette and vape starter kit deals!

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