One of the most numerous questions the site gets is what the heck is PG and VG? Anyone starting out using electronic cigarettes sooner or later will see these terms when shopping around for e liquid, also known as smoke juice or e-juice. They are very different and everyone who esmokes should know the difference. This article will explain the acronyms and the basics of e-liquid. Make sure you read the conclusion, not what you often hear but just the plain truths.
What is an E-Liquid?
First let’s start at the very beginning, what is an e liquid? E Liquid, often also called e juice or smoke juice, is the liquid solution that is utilized by electronic cigarettes to produce vapor mist that mimic cigarette smoke in feel or throat-hit. E-Liquid usually consists of a base solution, either PG or VG or a blend of both, which serves as the solvent or carrier for the flavoring and nicotine. Without the base solution, the raw nicotine and flavorings would be nothing but a thick goo unable to be transported to the atomizer. The base solution allows the flavoring and nicotine concentration to be suspended into a consistent liquid solution with the appropriate viscosity for your advanced electronic cigarette.
What is PG E Liquid?
PG is short for Propylene Glycol, a chemical compound utilized in a wide variety of industries from pharmaceuticals to airline industries. PG is considered by the FDA as non-toxic and essentially safe for consumption. It is the preferred base solvent in the pharmaceutical industry used in such products as injectable medicine (vaccines, etc), toothpastes, cosmetics, a large variety of oral medicine (liquid anti-biotics, etc), mouthwash, etc. It is also used in a wide variety of food items such as sodas and processed foods due to desirable characteristics of propylene glycol as base solvents for artificial and natural flavorings.
What is VG E Liquid?
VG is short for Vegetable Glycerin, a vegetable oil derivative which is a natural carbohydrate solution that is processed from plants. VG is usually has a sweet taste to the raw material and is often utilized in the food industry as a sweetener. It is also a vital ingredient in a variety of cosmetics. VG is also used to extract essential oils from botanicals. VG is has a higher viscosity than PG. This is one of the reasons why it produces more esmoke and one of the primary reasons some folks recommend VG over PG.
PG vs VG vs PG-VG Blend
To be PG or VG or Blended, that is the question. Many folks have a strong opinion about this subject. Often they claim that PG is synthetic and VG is naturally derived and based solely on this fact, they recommend VG e juices. VG also tends to produce thicker esmoke but a bit bitter and hash although the raw VG liquid is often sweet tasting. The unfortunate reality is that VG does not work well in most electronic cigarettes. They are too viscose to be readily available at the atomizer. Their slower rate of travel through the wick and similar e-liquid delivery system often results in dry puffs and damages the cartomizer or clearomizer reducing their lifespan.
PG-VG blended e juices vary from 80-20 (PG-VG) to 40-60. This ratio depends on who is selling their home-brew smoke juice and what they are touting. When using blended e-liquids, there may be a period where you would need to conduct a bit of experiment (and a few burned-out clearomizers) to see which ratio works best for your e-cigarette.
PG based e liquid is the most common and widely used nicotine liquid used for electronic cigarette refills. Their low viscosity, neutral taste, and excellent base solution lend itself to be widely used in e cigarettes.
Just because it is naturally derived and ingestible does not make it necessarily better or healthier for you. Both e-liquid base solutions are ingestible and PG is widely used as the preferred solvent or carrier liquid in the pharmaceutical industry. There are no long term studies conducted on the health effects of e-liquid, whether it is PG or VG. Just because it is okay to ingest the solution (without nicotine, of course) does not make it safe to inhale a vaporized nicotine solution of it. So, if you are basing the use of e-juice solely on whether it is naturally derived or synthetic, then think again. Blended doesn’t make the smoke juice any safer either.
Your decision on which e liquid base to use should be based on first and foremost with what your e-cigarette works best with and how quickly do you vape between inhalations. Due to its low viscosity, PG-based e juices tend to replenish the atomizer with e-liquid much quicker than VG-based e-juices. So, if you take rather successive drags from your electric cigarette, PG or High PG ratio blended e-liquid will probably work best. Most electronic cigarettes work best with PG based e-liquid. VG-based e-liquid tends to travel very slowly through the cartomizer’s wicks in a variety of popular e-cigarettes such as EGO. One can easily dry puff and burn out the atomizer requiring placements.
You will often see websites advertising how great and healthier their VG-blended e liquid are. Do you really think adding VG solution makes the e-liquid any healthier? It’s advertising! It’s a hook that played in advertising in a variety of outlets taking advantage of health conscious folks. Isn’t that why you want to quit smoking cigarettes, for healthier living?
Problem with VG-only e-liquid is that it doesn’t work well in clearomizers, cartomizers, or cartridges that uses wicks to deliver the e-juice to the atomizer. They can work great as “drippers” (folks who drip e-liquid right to the atomizer each and every time) or in certain mod models. They can also work rather well in drip delivery cartridges such as the Joye 510-T or mini electronic cigarette either the nickel-net or post atomizer types.
As for which tastes better when vaping, see our up-coming articles on e liquid reviews from a variety of e juice brands. Check out our page on electronic cigarette retailer for the best companies to visit.