Electronic Cigarette – Propylene Glycol
When it comes to electronic cigarettes the new user is faced with the choice of whether to get e-liquid, whose primary ingredient is either Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin. What are they? What is the difference? And why would you care? Well as always, it comes down to personal choice and it’s easy to make a better choice when you are better informed, and the best way to become informed, in this case, is to try both of them, but it’s not the only criteria. All electronic cigarette vendors supply both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin and also, if you prefer, a mix, but trying them and choosing one over the other simply based on taste is not the only factor to take into consideration. After all, in this chemically saturated age, it’s wise to take note of the things we put into our bodies and especially as a smoker or ex-smoker who has already made the decision to dispense with the chemical cocktail that is latent in tobacco cigarettes, it is more prudent to consider what will replace that cocktail.
Propylene Glycol in an Electronic Cigarette
Propylene glycol (also known as 1,2 propanediol) is a relatively small molecule with two alcohol (hydroxyl) groups (-OH). So much so for the science. It is a colorless and odorless liquid and is completely water-soluble. (Source: NaturallyCurly.com, The truth about Propylene Glycol). It is primarily used in cosmetic products; such as; makeup, shampoo, soap, conditioners, after shave etc. and it is also used in some foods such as cookies, cakes, processed cheeses, soft drinks and beer. This is because it has solvent and stabilizing properties which help to carry flavor and extend shelf life. But is it bad for you? The answer, like so many other things is really unknown. There are many opinions concerning Propylene Glycol but in the end of the day, as an individual you have to decide what’s best for you. The FDA has categorized it as “Generally Recognized as Safe” but when dealing with such statements a certain amount of common sense must be used. For instance there is huge difference between working with gallons of toxic chemicals everyday and ingesting a thimble full over a long period of time. Being a company who sells and promotes electronic cigarettes you might think we want to whitewash over the details to promote our product, but the truth it that Propylene Glycol has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people, and if you find that this happens to you, you may want to switch to Vegetable Glycerine.
PG is used in e-liquids for the same reasons that it is used in foods and cosmetic products, it is soluble and carries the flavor well, and in most cases better than VG. Most electronic cigarette smokers agree that it also gives better “throat hit”, i.e. it simulates the feeling of smoking a real cigarette better than VG does. However this is also down to personal opinion as some would disagree with that last statement. The controversy over PG will probably continue, but as this article is primarily aimed at smokers who are looking for an alternative it is worth pointing out again the list of ingredients compared with the ingredients in tobacco cigarettes and also worth mentioning that PG exists in tobacco cigarettes as well. Logic dictates that you cannot do any worse to yourself by switching from tobacco to electronic cigarettes.
What about Vegetable Glycerin?
Unlike PG, VG is an organic carbohydrate usually derived from plant oils or animal fats, like PG it is also used in chemical products, such as toothpaste and shampoo and also many medical products for treating skin irritants like psoriasis, rashes, burns and bedsores. When used in foods, it is provides sweetening characteristics and because of its chemical composition it bonds with water making it resistant to freezing and giving it a sticky syrupy consistency. (Source: WiseGeek). There are generally no allergic reactions associated with VG on the contrary it tends to have more healing than destructive attributes. When used in an electronic cigarette the difference between the fluidity of both is noticeable, the VG does not flow as quickly, however I have not noticed much of a difference in the way of flavor. While the general consensus is that PG gives better throat hit, it is considered that VG gives a better a vape, in other words the smoke cloud or flume is greater. This is more appealing to some as the closer one can get to a real cigarette the better.
The third option, of course, is that you can try a mixture of both, most electronic cigarette providers offer a mix but this differs from provider to provider. OzECigarette provide a 60% PG and 40% VG as we feel this is a nice mix. There is a compromise on both throat hit and smoke plume but if offers the best of both worlds.by