PG vs. VG – What is the difference between the two most essential E-liquid ingredients?

words Al Woods

As we progress with science, technology, and creativity, we have seen a rise in the number of unique devices and equipment that were not even thought of a couple of years ago.

One such addition to the world of smoke and flavour was Vaporizers. Started as a substitute to the general cigarettes, vapes have gone ahead and occupied a large section of the smoking arena, with more people opting for these handy, compact, and powerful devices.

E-liquid ingredients

Vaporizers are used to consume dry herbs, concentrates, and flavoured e-liquids. These e-juices are widely available in the market ranging from the most common flavour to the most peculiar ones that leave your taste buds in a state of frenzy. If you’re a novice vaper or someone who has recently discovered the world of these delectable liquids, I am sure you wonder what the ratio imprinted on the bottles mean. The abbreviation VG and PG are very widely and commonly used to denote the amount of the ingredient used in the particular vape juice. As it affects the flavour and vapour of your session, it is a good idea to have a fair knowledge about them.

In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look into the two ingredients. Let’s get started!

What is Propylene Glycol (PG)?

Propylene Glycol (PG), also known as propane-1,2-diol, is an odourless liquid widely used in many commercial products. A common preservative in the food industry and even used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and flavourings, its use is not limited to the vaping world. However, when it comes to e-juices, it is used as a base ingredient as it has a lower viscosity than vegetable glycerin (VG).

E liquid ingredients

PG is a colourless liquid with a mild, sweet flavour. If you’re worried about whether it is safe to inhale, studies have ruled that PG is safe to ingest orally, and even the FDA has announced that the ingredient is “generally recognized as safe”.

Its use in E-juices leads to a stronger throat hit, which gives the users a similar experience as to smoking tobacco(sans the harmful additives). It also gives a stronger flavour, though a high PG vape juice might not produce a large amount of vapour.

A word of caution; there has been a few, rare cases of people being allergic to high levels of PG. If you experience any amount of unpleasantness after using PG-based-juices, you might want to look at high VG juice. They are available in many vape shops.

Other symptoms include dry mouth, sore throat, and increased thirsts which can be easily battled by keeping yourself hydrated through the vaping session,

What is Vegetable Glycerin (VG)?

Eliquid ingredients

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is a colourless liquid that finds employment in a number of industries. Also known by its scientific name Propane-1,2,3-triol or glycerol, it is a non-toxic liquid that is thicker and sweeter than PG. It can be either derived from plants or animals or can even be synthetic. Its sweetness and ability to retain moisture makes it a very common ingredient in cough syrups, creams, cosmetics, toothpaste, and even food flavourings.

In vape juices, it is used as a base and its thick consistency helps to produce more dense vapour. As with the PG, FDA has ruled it to be “generally recognized as safe”. Even the SIDS assessment profile claims that it has extremely low toxicity when consumed, and has very low potential to irritate the skin or eye.

VG is known for its thick consistency, which leads to creating dense vapour clouds usually associated with sub-ohm vaping. It provides a smoother throat hit than PG, so people who are sensitive to the harsh hits opt for higher VG e-liquids.

The viscosity of VG-based e-liquids may not be suited to all types of atomizers and can even clog up the coils. Try opting for newer models that are not susceptible to succumbing to the thick, VG e-liquid. On the side-effects front, they are the same as PG-based e-liquids; dry mouth and throat that can be battled by keeping yourself hydrated.

How does it make a difference for a vaper?

Choosing the PG/VG content can make a huge difference to your vaping experience. Let’s take a look at all that you can alter or affect with the two main ingredients.

E-liquid ingredients
  1. Strong or Smooth Hit

As a vaper, I am sure you have an opinion about how strong or smooth the hit should be. This doesn’t necessarily depend on the type of flavour you opt for, but simply is a matter of the PG/VG content in the vape juice. A higher amount of PG will lead to a stronger, almost cigarette-like throat it which is preferred by smokers making the shift. On the other hand, VG-based e-liquids tend to give a smoother, more relaxed throat hit.

  1. Dense Smoke or Less Smoke

If you like to stay on the higher end of vapour production, you might be interested in a VG-based E-liquid rather than the other one. VG Vape Juice leads to denser, thicker vapour, and most of the ‘cloud chasers’ opt for this one.

If you’re just starting with vaping, it is ideal to have a balanced VG: PG ratio as it will help you to enjoy the benefits of both the ingredients without getting affected by downsides.

  1. Does it Soak well?

This is a very important question related to the vaping experience, as the longer, it takes for the wick to soak the liquid, the longer it will take to reach the coil. Since high VG liquids are more viscous than PG-based liquids, they take a longer amount of time to soak the wick and reach the coil. This leads to something known as “dry puff” that happens when you inhale before the wick is soaked, and it is not a very pleasant experience.

In many modern devices, they have effectively avoided the ‘dry puff’ situation by providing efficient wicking and larger portholes. You’re less likely to run into a nasty situation with these types of equipment.

  1. Flavours & Taste

PG is a near-tasteless e-liquid that does not interfere with the flavour of your e-liquid, and hence it is better at carrying the flavours. On the other hand, VG has a slightly sweeter taste which alters the original flavour a bit. It is a very negligible difference, but a difference nonetheless.

However, this does not necessarily mean that PG e-liquids will lead to more flavour. If you compare vapour to taste, the high clouds of VG e-liquid take away the price.

Now that you are aware of what is VG and PG and how they affect your vaping, you can now make better and informed decisions.

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