All eCig juices whether commercially made or made at home consist of a base liquid, to which flavors and sometimes nicotine are added. There are two base liquids available that are commonly referred to as PG and VG.
Propylene glycol (PG) is the most commonly used base liquid for making eCig juices. It is clear and flavorless and mixes well with other flavors, and tends to burn cleanly on an atomizer. It is considered to be safe for human consumption, and as such is found as a solvent in certain medicines, as well as food stuffs, perfumes and other cosmetics, and hand sanitizers. There are a large amount of other uses too.
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is a water soluble liquid that is also used in food, cosmetics and medicines. It is sweeter than PG and is an alternative choice to PG in eCigs, or can be mixed with PG in various ratios. Given that you’ve got a choice to make between these two base liquids, it’s important that you know the difference between the two. It is especially important that you understand the different experiences that you are likely to get from using each of these.
A juice that has only PG in it-no VG-is likely to present the added flavors well. PG has little to no flavor or odor of its own, and hence all that you taste are the flavors in your juice. It is often used to dilute the concentration of nicotine that you are vaporizing down to the strength that you are looking for.
Both PG and VG are viscous liquids, but PG is the thinner of the two. Some atomizers work better with this thinner liquid, as the thicker VG doesn’t wick well, and may foul the atomizer a little sooner. If you are using 100% VG because of an allergy to PG, you may find that your atomizer doesn’t work well. Dripping can work better in this situation, and gives a good amount of both vapor and flavor. If the thickness of VG is a problem for your atomizer, it can be thinned with water or alcohol.
VG is noticeably sweeter than PG, and people either like or dislike this. It is more noticeable when vaporizing largely unflavored juices, as the sweetness in many flavors tends to overpower the sweetness of VG. There is a thicker, more noticeable vapor with VG, and the vapor tends to linger for longer.
Unfortunately, what vaporizes well on one atomizer, may not vaporize well on another atomizer. This means that once you find a good mix for flavor and the amount of vapor produced, you may still have to experiment further in order to find a mix that works well on the atomizer that you have.
PG, VG and the Risk of Allergies
Some people will find that when using PG they experience some side effects. A dryness in the mouth and throat that is known commonly as cottonmouth may happen if you use the atomizer a lot and don’t drink enough. Rarely, PG can cause an upset stomach, with stomach pains and nausea, and even more rarely a person may be allergic to PG. In this case, hives, another rash, or dry skin can occur, and can become very uncomfortable. Once you stop using juices with PG in them, the symptoms will stop, and VG may be the answer for you.
VG doesn’t have the allergy issues that PG can do, and the cottonmouth tends to be less severe. However some people complain that it is heavier on the lungs. Allergy is possible but rare, and includes such symptoms as vomiting and hives.
Mixing the Two
If you like the flavor of PG but want the larger amount of vapor or the thicker liquid that VG will give, then it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. VG and PG can be mixed in varying ratios to find the perfect effect for you. Mixes can be achieved in DIY juices, or can be ordered from many of the manufacturers of commercial juice.
Because PG wicks well and is less likely to foul your atomizer, it is common to start with this and add a little VG to increase the sweetness of the juice and the amount of vapor produced. An 80/20 PG/VG mix is commonly used, as is 50/50.
If you don’t have any allergies or sensitivities that mean that you can’t use one or the other, then which liquid you use, or what mix of them that you choose comes down to personal preference. A little experimenting will help you to find the mix that you like, for the perfect flavor and amount of vapor.
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