A vaper’s first encounter with e liquid usually brings her into contact with propylene glycol and, possibly, vegetable glycerin. Propylene glycol (PG) is the more popular for low-powered e cigs and tobacco flavors.
Interest in vegetable glycerin (VG) grew when some consumers and anti-e cig proponents argued that PG is unsafe, along with how VG is ideal for creating big clouds of vapor. Their argument is that PG is unsafe is that it is used in the making of inedible and synthetic substances such as resins and anti-freeze. At the same time, it is listed by the FDA as a GRAS food substance (GRAS – Generally Recognized As Safe).
Consequently, many vapers have turned to VG as a substitute, or have started using e-juice with a higher ratio of VG.
Truths about Propylene Glycol
The first thing consumers need to know about PG is that they have probably consumed it regularly in one form or another. Night clubs, recreation centers, and schools use it to create artificial smoke.
Propylene glycol as a food-safe additive is mixed into many processed treats. As a solvent, PG is found in many pharmaceutical products. Another truth about propylene glycol is that it is not a synthetic compound but a natural, organic one.
Allergic reactions to propylene glycol have left numerous vapers concerned about the properties of this substance. Moderate individuals realize that allergies to other products (strawberries, latex, and milk) don’t mean these items are necessarily bad; just bad for certain people. Vegetable glycerin-based juices provide an option, so they are able to continue vaping.
Vegetable glycerin or simply “glycerin” has been derived from a variety of foods and plants: vegetables, soy, Malaysian palm, and more. Manufacturers add it to detergents and cosmetics while any consumer can purchase it from a grocery or health food store in bottled form.
Allergic reactions to VG inspired e cig manufacturers to locate non-allergenic sources such as the Malaysian palm. Consumers will find many organic, Kosher, USP-grade VG products on the market sourced from other countries too, such as India and the United States.
Propylene Glycol vs. Vegetable Glycerin
E liquid mixologists choose to combine these two elements in varying ratios to achieve more or less throat hit, thinner or thicker liquid, or sweeter e juice. They select ratios to accommodate their products: low-end atomizers filled with wicking material, for instance.
PG is thinner than VG so is favored by mini cig companies. Their cartomizers and clearomizers usually contain fibrous material which becomes gummy over time and atomizers which eventually clog up.
Thin e juice prolongs the life of an atomizer. PG is also preferred when manufacturers and blenders create tobacco flavors because it provides a heavier throat hit without sweetening juice or adding a scent. PG typically has more flavor, and is the preferred delivery method for flavors, and VG produces more vapor, with less of a throat hit.
New vapers using low-powered cartomizers frequently start vaping with tobacco e juice because of its familiarity, so PG-dominant (or 100% PG) e liquids are preferred.
As vapers become more skilled and start operating wickless systems or those with removable coils and wicks, they experiment with thicker liquids. They enjoy the sweetness, additional vapor production, and VG’s compatibility with gourmet non-tobacco flavors. No longer seeking the throat hit they enjoyed as smokers, they can now select products of varying density and even organic products.
Once a consumer’s e cig is an adjustable, variable watt mod, his favorite juices tend to contain at least 50% VG but often the maximum amount possible. A hobby called “cloud chasing” is facilitated by high watt devices, low-resistance atomizers, and viscous e juice.
Brands of E Juice
Several suppliers sell brands of flavorless bases for DIY vape-mixers along with mixing tools and flavorings. Most vapers buy pre-made juices, however.
Favorite PG-heavy products include V2 Cigs e liquid and cartomizers, Green Smoke, South Beach Smoke, and VaporFi. When vapers start looking for heavier liquids, they turn to gourmet companies like Space Jam, Five Pawns, the Standard, and Blueprint. A number of vape shops also custom-blend flavors to contain a ratio of PG/VG chosen by individuals.