About 13% of American adults have tried an e cigarette at some point in their lives. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A typical e cigarette contains ingredients such as nicotine, e liquid flavoring agents, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) also commonly known as PG VG . Additionally, some ecigs also contain distilled water, which is largely used to dilute the eliquid. Below is some more information about PG and VG eliquid ingredients..
At room temperature, propylene glycol is a hygroscopic, odorless, colorless, and syrupy substance. It is widely used in the manufacture of food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products. It is also used to generate artificial smoke. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), PG is “generally recognized as safe,” meaning it is safe for human consumption or use. After ingestion, it breaks down in the body within 48 hours. Nevertheless, continuous exposure to PG can cause skin, eye, oral, and nasal irritation, states the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Vegetable glycerin is a naturally occurring polyol compound found in many lipids. Similar to PG, VG is colorless, odorless, non-toxic and a viscous substance at room temperature. Furthermore, it has a sweet taste and it is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries as a sweetener and humectant. VG is obtained from plants in the form of triglycerides that are further processed to produce glycerin. Food grade vegetable glycerin is usually 99.7% pure.
PG VG use in E-Liquids
Propylene glycol is used in e-liquids for various reasons. Firstly, it is used to produce the distinctive “throat hit” that many smokers desire. Moreover, since it is less viscous than VG, it is easier to handle in terms of refilling e cigarettes. On the other hand, vegetable glycerin is mostly used to flavor e-liquids because of its sweet taste. However, VG is more viscous than PG, meaning it could generate gunk and clog e cigarette parts. For instance, wicks in e cigarette devices absorb PG much faster than VG (due to its low density). This translates to easier cleaning and maintenance of e cig parts such as atomizers. It also extends the lifetime of e cigarette devices. Finally, it is worth noting that e liquid may be based on VG, PG, or both ingredients.
PG VG E-Liquid Mixtures
Many e-liquid mixtures available on the market today contain varying amounts of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol. However, e-liquids with both ingredients generally have better flavor intensity, throat hit, and vapor density depending on the formulation ratio. Common formulation ratios include 50/50, 70/30, and 60/40. Additionally, some manufacturers allow consumers to customize their e-liquids. For instance, to attain a sweeter flavor, manufacturers use a ratio that contains more vegetable glycerol than propylene glycerol. If you crave a product that can deliver a stronger “throat hit,” go for one that has more PG than VG. However, varying PG and VG formulations affect e-liquid pH levels substantially. This is because both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are alkaline. For this reason, products that contain both ingredients are likely to be alkaline. All in all, it advisable to keep pH levels within the 6 to 8 range in order to maintain product flavor and improve its lifetime as well.
Carcinogens Found In Cigarettes
Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds, including more than 70 carcinogenic compounds, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reports. Known carcinogens found in regular cigarettes include arsenic, cadmium, benzene, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, furan, lead, beryllium, hydrazine, isoprene, and vinyl chloride.
Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are major ingredients in e-liquid. The latter is mostly used for flavoring e cigarettes while the former is used to generate throat hit. The FDA has designated both ingredients safe for human consumption. These aspects make e-liquid safer than traditional cigarettes which contain tens of carcinogenic compounds including arsenic, vinyl chloride and lead.