The main reason people start vaping is as a means to stop smoking traditional cigarettes. Another big reason is the flavor of the e-liquids. Also, because of cloud chasing (a popular trend today). No matter the reason why you may have got into vaping, there is a link/commonality to all of it – the vape juice.
The main ingredients in vape juice or e-juice or e-liquid are PG and VG. Do you know what the acronyms VG or PG mean? And what effects these compounds have on the vape experience? Your health? Keep reading and learn about PG and VG. While it might not matter to people visiting my site that don’t vape or smoke, a little knowledge never hurt anybody.
PG and VG – WTF Is It?
Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin. Both of these compounds affect the vapors you get and determine whether you’ll like or hate vaping.
There are different liquids with different content, the main difference being in the content of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. If you think that this has nothing to do with the taste of the e-juice, think again.
The selection of e-juice you end up using is a personal choice, but the flavor solely depends on the content and ratio of PG and VG in the juice.
If you’re not into reading, I’m going to leave this video here for you to check out. It covers the differences between PG and VG pretty well.
The propylene glycol is a diol (having two hydroxyl groups) and it can be mixed with many other substances. It has almost no taste and has the ability to mix well with added flavorings. That is why it is often used in food production. So in a vape liquid that contains more or even pure propylene glycol, one gets to feel the added flavors without much interference from PG.
The vegetable glycerin is a polyol (has three hydroxyl groups). It has its unique signature taste and has difficulty absorbing added flavorings. In food industries, vegetable glycerin is used as a sweetener. When it is put in a vape juice, the vegetable glycerin has a stronger flavor, and vaping a blend with more or pure vegetable glycerin is sweet.
So basically, an e-juice with more PG tastes like the added flavors the creators intended, and an e-juice with more VG has a sweeter taste that doesn’t deliver the added flavors well. If you like to experiment with fruit or spice flavors, then you need to select a blend with a higher PG content. If you only like the nicotine effect with a subtle sweet undertone, then select a blend with a higher VG content.
Even though both PG and VG are viscous liquids, there are great differences between the two. And you should be careful what kind of mix you put in your vape pen, as many pens can get clogged up by the viscous mix.
VG has a higher viscosity than PG. This means that if put in a cheaply made tank, it will surely clog it up. The higher quality tanks can withstand pure VG e-juice, but you should always check with the manufacturer of your gear to confirm what you can use.
The PG has a significantly lower viscosity than the VG. That is why this is more suited to be used in cheaper vape tanks, in cheaper pens and also in more expensive devices. There is a very small chance of gunk appearing from a PG-based e-juice.
PG and VG Cloud Differences
It is easy to determine the content of an e-liquid based solely on the vapors it produces. The more dense, viscous vegetable glycerin – VG produces denser, bigger clouds. This is why it is a favorite among the cloud chasing enthusiasts, and why they use expensive, high-quality gear that can support the viscous VG blend.
Propylene glycol can give dense clouds, but only if used in higher settings. Used at a lower setting, the PG gives smoother, less dense clouds. That is why it is more used in e-cigarettes: it uses a lower temperature and it helps with the delivery of the added flavorings in the mix.
The thick, dense, white clouds are cooler in every sense but cooler as in having a lower temperature. Because of the density of the VG clouds, the flavors get trapped in the thick vapors. The PG vapors are airier but have a higher temperature. Due to the higher temperature, the flavors get pronounced more easily for your satisfaction.
The Throat Hits
When first lighting a cigarette, you feel the first kick of the nicotine in the throat. And if this is what you are still after when switching to vaping, then you should select an e-juice with a higher nicotine content and more propylene glycol in the blend.
The most important part is the nicotine content in the mix, the carrier (either PG or VG) is the second choice. Any vape juice with a very high nicotine content will have a harsher hot on the throat, no matter if it is PG or VG blend. There are many different vape juices with varying nicotine contents, and you should carefully select the one you think will suit you best.
Since the nicotine is an added flavor in the vape juice, PG-based vape liquid releases the flavors more easily, giving a better throat hit. But VG-based vape liquid delivers a more smooth effect on the throat, without any harsh effects.
Are They Allergens?
There have been some cases where people have suffered from vape juice related allergies. But only vape juices that have PG in them. The allergic reaction manifests like inflamed skin or small red dots on the skin. This is more likely to occur in countries where people don’t get enough sun and lower vitamin D, so it is not very likely to occur to the majority of the world.
There have been no reports of allergic reactions related to VG vape juice. This is due to the vegetable glycerin content in many foods, there is almost no chance for it to cause an allergy, as our bodies can handle it very well.
If you try any vape juice, and you feel some strange feelings that may seem like an allergic reaction, then be sure to ask a medical advice. Risking your life over an e-juice is simply not worth it.
Everything I’ve shared above are my personal thoughts on PG and VG vape juice. Well, I can talk a lot more, but that would be going into some deep scientific areas that you certainly would not appreciate.
That’s why I’m just going to finish this article with the simplest explanation possible: PG makes warmer, more flavorful, airier clouds, while VG gives colder, less flavorful, denser clouds. You should select your next vape juice depending on your personal preferences and past experience. Before you do, read this page on vaping ejuice in general.
You should move forward with an open mind to giving new blends a try. You’ll be amazed by the flavors that are out there and your overall vaping experience.
Looking for another opinion? There’s a Quora discussion on this topic, check it out here if you want to hear other people’s thoughts on it.