Posted December 12, 2010 by Jack Keenan in About e-Cigarettes

Propylene Glycol (PG) vs. Vegetable Glycerin (VG)

PG vs VG propylene glycol vegetable glycerin
PG vs VG propylene glycol vegetable glycerin

What is the difference between propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG)?

Most makers of electronic cigarette liquids use propylene glycol (PG) as a base for their electronic cigarette liquids. However, a few such as Virgin Vapor offer liquids based on vegetable glycerin (VG) as well. Is there a reason why you should consider one over the other?

PG is a common food additive, classified as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) by the FDA. It carries flavors well, making it a good choice generally for those who want to clearly taste their electronic cigarette liquids.

VG, on the other hand, is more viscous. It wicks more slowly, which means that you may need to wait longer between puffs when dripping with a VG-based liquid. It can also “muddle” the flavors of electronic cigarette liquids slightly, making the individual flavor notes more difficult to identify.

VG vapor also has a thicker mouth feel, which might give you the impression that it produces a greater amount of vapor than PG.

My understanding is that most electronic cigarette liquid makers use an 80/20 mix of PG and VG to get the flavor carrying ability of PG and the vapor production of VG. However, from what I have seen, it can be hard to tell what mix any particular company uses. Always assume that an electronic cigarette liquid is based mostly or completely on PG unless the company specifically states that it is VG-based.

I choose my electronic cigarette liquids based on taste, so whether a liquid is based on PG or VG has never been a concern for me. Liquids based entirely on VG are intended primarily for those who are sensitive to PG. If you avoid foods containing PG or have found that you do not like the taste of any electronic cigarette liquid that you have tried, consider trying a VG-based liquid instead.