If you are planning to switch to e-cigarettes, perhaps you are wondering what ingredients make a typical e-juice. But what is the meaning of PG/VG? What is the meaning of 50/50, 40/60, or 20/80?
A vape juice (e-liquid/e-juice/e-fluid) is a mixture of varying levels of four main ingredients: VG (vegetable glycerin), PG (propylene glycol), nicotine, and flavoring.
The nicotine strength in the e-juice is determined by the amount of nicotine in the mixture, let’s assume it is about 10%. Also, about 10% of the e-juice mixture is flavoring. The remaining 80% will be filled by diluting the media of the nicotine and flavoring, and this is composed of a combination of PG and VG.
Depending on the way the vaper prefers their e-juice, the percentage of VG and PG differ. The recommended PG/VG ratio for beginners is 50/50. After consuming this ratio for some time, they can make adjustments in the subsequent orders. If the throat hit does not seem satisfactory, try 70/30 PG/VG mix. If your concern is exhaling large dense clouds, adjust it to a 30/70 PG/VG.
Sure, every time the discussion of the ingredients of e-juices pops up, two popular terms – PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (Vegetable Glycerin) constantly crop up. Sometimes these two terms appear a bit confusing to newbies but their knowledge vastly improves one’s vaping experience.
Both PG and VG come in liquid form and are blended with nicotine and flavors to form e-liquids. These liquids are classified as alcohols and their combination with other ingredients makes several consumable products. When heated, they generate vapor which is then inhaled into the lungs.
VG and PG should not be confused by oils and cannot cause medical issues – such as lipoid pneumonia – as oils can cause. Both VG and PG have varied consistency and taste. When vaped, they cause distinct throat sensations. Most vape juices are prepared with the combination of these two liquids with varying ratios.
Propylene Glycol (PG) E-liquid
Particularly, Propylene Glycol (PG), a by-product of petroleum, is a thin, colorless, odorless liquid but less viscous than VG. PG is added to a vape juice to introduce a “throat hit” which vapers claim the hit is similar to the one felt when smoking tobacco. Compared to VG, this fluid also carries flavor more effectively and this makes it the best liquid for suspension of flavor concentrates as well as nicotine.
PG is also found in several household products such as oral hygiene items like toothpaste, nicotine inhalers, medical products, pet foods, and beauty products such as shampoo, wipes, and make-ups. PG has been tested to be safe when ingested orally and it’s been recognized by food and drug authorities as a safe product when used as a food additive.
Nevertheless, some studies claim PG is safe for ingestion but don’t comment on its safety when used in aerosol form. This might have some truth because PG has been declared safe for humans but it is associated with Heinz Body Anemia in cats, so it is paramount to always be careful when vaping around cats, specifically if your e-juice contains PG.
Some vapers experience throat irritations when they consume high levels of PG. allergies to this product are not common but have been reported. Now, if you experience some sort of a rash or suffer some unpleasant reaction upon using a PG-based e-liquid, then you might be experiencing some mild PG sensitivity and you should consider shifting to a high-level VG; this option is offered by a variety of vendors.
PG is characterized by various side effects such as dehydration symptoms including dry mouth, increased feeling of thirst, and sore throat. It’s recommended to consume a lot of water and liquids to solve this problem, particularly for the first weeks into using PG-based e-fluids. If you’re properly hydrated, the symptoms will often last just a couple of days and the body will get used to PG.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) E-liquid
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is a thick, sweet, and natural chemical that is obtained from vegetable oils. VG is often used in vape juices to introduce the “thick” sensation to vapor. Compared with PG, VG is more vicious and thicker, and it is characterized by a slightly sweet taste. Also, VG gives a smoother “throat hit” than PG and this makes it a better choice for sub-ohming.
PG is found in several medical, health care, and food items like sugar replacement in sweeteners, soaps, pet foods, beauty products like deodorants, make-ups, aftershaves, et al., oral care products like toothpaste, medicinal creams, foods like baked products to add moisture, etc. VG has been approved by food and drug agencies as a safe product and it’s vastly considered as a benign substance to humankind.
Researches have established its low toxicity for consumption and low irritation effects to the skin and eye. This fact, alongside its widespread application in food and medical products, confirms its safety to humans. The risk of getting allergic to VG is rare, and this makes it an appropriate alternative for vapers who experience unpleasant reactions when they consume PG-based e-fluids.
However, people who are allergic to coconut and palm oils might encounter problems when they consume vape juices containing VG, but it is very rare. Diabetic people could probably experience some issues to metabolize VG, but this might not be a problem at VG levels used in e-juices.
VG’s increased thickness implies that it can deteriorate the atomizer at a quicker rate than PG: VG e-liquids cause clogging up of the coils more rapidly adversely affects their performance. Like PG, the common side effects associated with consuming high VG levels are dehydration symptoms including dry mouth, increased feeling of thirst, and sore throat.
Again, vapers are advised to take a lot of water and even take frequent breaks from vaping if necessary.
What is the Best PG/VG Ratio?
There is no exact answer for this, it all depends on the vaper and the sort of vaping experience they prefer. Many vapers consume different PG/VG ratios for different purposes: smoothness, throat hit, stealth vaping, or cloud chasing.
Consuming e-juices with high levels of VG tends to be kind to the throat. Also, VG slightly mutes the flavor but this is improved by applying more power to enable more production of vapor. Most importantly, a proper voltage/wattage limit should be carefully selected to prevent dry hits.
To enjoy a sharp hit requires you to consider increasing the PG level in your e-fluid. The kick one experiences at their throat is a feeling most ex-smokers crave for and PG together with nicotine offers more it compared to VG. There is a slight improvement of flavor as PG is proven to carry flavor better than VG.
For someone looking to keep their vaping lowkey especially when doing it in public or the family house, then high PG is the right choice. During exhalation, less vapor is emitted and this makes it ideal for less pretentious vaping lovers.
Nevertheless, vapers should always use common sense; behave responsibly by not vaping in certain places like public transport places or waiting rooms as all that is regarded as bad manners.
It’s simply the love of exhaling large dense vapor clouds. Amazingly, there are even sporting events founded on this habit where the individual that exhales the largest cloud triumphs. High levels of VG, in this case, will enable you to win the competition.
Which is Better, VG or PG?
PG e-juices tend to offer a better hit at the back of your throat and plenty of flavors. On the other hand, VG-based e-liquids enable the vape atomizers to generate huge vapor clouds.
VG e-liquids are much thicker and even sticky compared to PG e-liquids and although the majority of people do not complain of allergic reaction with VG, a few people experience a buildup of phlegm in their throats. The higher the level of VG in the e-juice, the less the throat hit feeling you will experience.
But the vaping community is split when considering the preferences they require in their e-liquids. Some vapers love that intense throat hit than large vapor clouds while others love the opposite.
So, the question of which one is better is best answered with “neither” as each is required in their own way. Although this might seem like a personal opinion, it’s recommended to begin with a high-level PG e-liquids to get a similar smoking sensation.
Finding the Best PG/VG Spot
The only way to discover the right PG/VG spot “sweet spot” is by experimenting by preparing a homemade e-liquid. Surprisingly, it is easy and cheap to make. When doing this, there are a few things you need to know:
Most flavor concentrates available suspend better in PG than in VG.
A high VG ratio causes wicking problems as the fluid is thick. Distilled water is added where PG is not required.
VG-based e-juices take longer to steep than PG e-liquids.
This is for people who want to discover their sweet spots without wasting many resources. Here, only VG and PG are mixed in different ratios.
The fundamentals of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are easy to grasp. The two work in their own ways and each comes with its pros and cons. To begin with, although this might sound like a personal opinion, start with a 50/50 PG/VG ratio and experiment with various combinations to determine which one satisfies you. You can as well use different combinations at different times. Generally, there are no tight rules, simply go with what your taste buds ask for.