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PG or VG: How Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin Affect E-Cigarette Vaping

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What is the Difference Between Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin? 

E-Cigarette liquid, also called e-juice or vapejuice have 2 main ingredients beside flavorings and nicotine. They are Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). Their ratio within e-liquids can make a difference in your vaping experience.

What is not commonly known is that both ingredients are FDA approved and are regularly used in food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Both are considered harmless and safe to ingest. They are not “oils” as many would have you believe, because they are both water soluble. 

Propylene Glycol was first approved in 1950 and then again in 1959 by the FDA for use in hospitals. PG is still used today as a hospital air disinfectant because PG is believed to have curative properties when inhaled. Sound unbelievable? It's true. Check out this report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Propylene Glycol is used in many food products – from beer to gummy bears. It's also a common ingredient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Vegetable Glycerin is similar to PG in that it is a clear, odorless natural organic compound that is a carbohydrate. This eco-friendly product is also called “glycerol”. USP (United States Pharmacopeia) VG is made from pure vegetable oil, which comes from palm and/or coconut oil. It’s used in the manufacture of medicines, cosmetics, beauty products and toiletries like soaps, shampoos and toothpastes. 

Why are PG and VG used in E-liquids?

Propylene Glycol (PG) is commonly used in electronic cigarettes as a base carrier for all the other ingredients. It is also a humectant which means it keeps everything moist and well lubricated. PG is also responsible for giving you a “throat hit” similar to smoking a cigarette.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) has a naturally sweet taste. When used in ecig liquids Vegetable Glycerin enhances the flavors and improves vapor production.

A few ejuice companies such as Mt. Baker Vapor and Virgin Vapor organic ejuices let you design your own eliquids. That means you can choose your own PG/VG ratios as well as the intensity of your eliquid flavors. Virgin Vapor is the only ejuice company I know of where the Max VG choice (their Absolute Line) is 100% VG.

Why Choose Different Ratios of PG to VG?

There are several reasons why vapers favor different PG/VG ratios, or no PG at all.  

– The Best Features of Propylene Glycol

As mentioned earlier, Propylene Glycol is known for creating the “throat hit” desired by many former cigarette smokers. Because it is tasteless, it doesn’t interfere with the flavor of your eliquid. The thin viscosity of the liquid won’t clog your atomizer so you can vape longer without having to replace it.

– Downsides of Propylene Glycol

Some people (about 3% or 4% of the population) are allergic to Propylene Glycol. They may experience a rash, or vaping with eliquids containing PG simply makes them cough.

– The Best Features of Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable Glycerin is known for creating great clouds of vapor and provides a smoother vaping experience with less harshness. If you want those major clouds and don’t need a significant throat hit, choose a mixture that has more VG.

– Downsides of Vegetable Glycerin

An e-juice mixture that has more VG than PG is thicker in density and can clog your Clearomizer Tank faster than you can say “Cloud Nine” and more easily than a 50/50 mixture. If you’re not a fan of cleaning your tank, or if you want your atomizer coils to last longer; choose a thinner ejuice mixture with more PG than VG.

Also remember, Vegetable Glycerin has a naturally sweet taste that does affect the flavor of your vape.

What’s the Best Ratio of PG to VG?

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Many e-cigarette companies will happily disclose the ratio of propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin. Some keep it a closely guarded secret. 

Before you begin trying out every Cartomizer or e-juice flavor on the market use these guidelines:

1- Not all eliquids are alike. Some that are made by the most reputable companies such as Halo (who now has High VG e-liquids) and V2Cigs and all others mentioned here, are made with 100% pure US made ingredients and flavors. Some eliquids are made in China and it will be reflected in the price as well as the taste.

Do your homework by visiting e-cigarette websites and reading trusted reviews (like those found here on Cloud Nine. 

Don’t be shy about testing your own PG to VG ratio’s. Try ordering a few custom e-liquids from Mt. Baker Vapor. They’re reasonably priced and worth some trial and error.  Starting out with a 50/50 blend of PG to VG. Mt. Baker Vapor also lets you add extra shots of flavor so you can create the perfect vape for your particular taste. 

One note about both Mt. Baker Vapor and Virgin Vapor. Because all of their ejuices are freshly prepared, I recommend you let it sit for day or more with the lid open. This is called “steeping” and it really does bring the flavor to it’s peak. Of course, all eliquid bottles should be stored away from children and pets even though the companies featured in this article sell their products with child-proof lids.

To wrap it up, just remember more PG means a thinner eliquid, more flavor and a stronger throat hit. An eliquid mixture that has more VG will be thicker, sweeter and will give you greater vapor production.

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Happy Vaping!

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About the author


Hillary Miles, Cloud Nine’s editor and contributing author has been an advocate of the vaping industry for over 8 years. After a long career writing and producing for national television networks, Hillary now focuses on helping smokers and former smokers better understand the many benefits of electronic cigarettes and the role they play in tobacco harm reduction, health and well being.

She is the editor for Cloud NineSavvy ExaminerBest E-Cigarette Guide and ECigarette News .

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  1. Why Steeping ELiquid Creates the Best Flavor

    […] glycerine (VG) can affect the taste and vapor production of your ecig vaping experience. We have a very informative article that explains this in detail, but for the purpose of this post, you should know that steeping is […]

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