When new vapers talk about e-liquids, they usually discuss the variety of flavors that are out there in the market. Talking about the numerous tempting flavors makes the vapers realize how much more enjoyable vaping is than smoking. The manufacturers can get insanely creative with the e-liquid flavorings. Gone are the days when e-liquid flavorings were limited to a few generic essences. Nowadays, e-liquid flavorings can give ice cream and beverage flavors a run for their money in terms of variety and quality. As appealing as the flavorings may be, newcomers need to understand that there is a lot more to e-liquids than simply the flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
The Ongoing Debate
Flavorings are only one of the four basic ingredients that are used to manufacture e-liquids. The other three ingredients include water, nicotine and propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin. Instead of going on and on about the amazing flavors that can be enjoyed, vapers should concentrate a little more on learning about why propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are interchangeable ingredients. Indeed, propylene glycol vs. vegetable glycerin is one of the biggest ongoing debates in the world of e-liquids. As a newcomer in the vaping community, you can be slightly confused as to why people are even having this debate in the first place. The confusion gets worse when you are out there purchasing e-liquids. Should you go buy e-liquids that are made with propylene glycol? Or should you opt for e-liquids that are made with a base of vegetable glycerin? The choice is difficult. The only way to make the selection easier is by increasing your knowledge about both of these chemical substances.
Understanding The Basics of PG and VG
For the sake of convenience, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin is referred to as PG and VG respectively in the vaping community. Therefore, if you hear a vaper talking about PG during one of your conversations, do not make the assumption that the person is talking about “parental guidance” and vaping. Whether vaping requires parental guidance or not is a debate for another day. Let’s focus on the two chemical substances that we have been talking about all this while. In the simplest of terms, PG and VG are odorless liquids. These liquids are combined with the flavoring that goes into the e-liquid as well as with the nicotine that gives e-liquids its quality of being addictive. An e-juice or e-liquid is hardly ever complete without the presence of PG or VG. When heat is applied to PG and VG, they vaporize. This is the vapor that you inhale when using an e-cigarette. In the absence of PG or VG, there would be no vapor for you to inhale. You would be stuck with an e-liquid filled with nicotine, water and flavoring that cannot produce the amazing vapor that you are looking for.
The PG/VG Ratio and Its Importance
Even though both the liquids are odorless, they differ in taste as well as in viscosity. The mouth and throat sensations of PG and VG are different from one another. There was a time when manufacturers would either use PG or VG to create the e-liquid. A lot has changed since then. Today, the market is filled with products that use both the PG and the VG in different combinations. This means that the PG/VG ratio can differ quite significantly based on the brand of e-liquid that is being used. It is also worth noting that certain vaping setups can only work with specific PG/VG ratios. If you get the ratio wrong, then you may end up experiencing a really unpleasant vaping experience.
The Differences between PG and VG
There are a number of differences that can be observed between propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. For starters, PG has a lower viscosity than VG. In addition to that, PG is flavorless on its own unlike the VG, which has a sweet natural taste. Furthermore, the throat hit (the vaping sensation in your throat) with the PG is much stronger compared to the VG throat hit that tends to be a little smoother.
Pros of PG
● Can be easily absorbed by the coils/wicks due to low viscosity
● Great for public vaping as it produces smaller vapor clouds
● Better throat hit (idea for regular vapers)
● Carries the artificial or natural flavoring better since it is flavorless on its own
Cons of PG
● Since it has a high rate of sensitivity, it can trigger allergic reactions in around 2% of the vapers
● Smaller vapor clouds often take the fun out of vaping
Pros of VG
● Minimal leakage due to higher viscosity
● Produces bigger vapor clouds
● Ideal for sub ohm devices
Preferred by novice vapers for smoother throat hit
Cons of VG
● The thickness of the fluid can cause clogging
● Doesn’t work well with starter kit devices