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What is Propylene Glycol (PG)?

Propylene Glycol (PG)


Propylene Glycol Molecular Shape

Propylene Glycol (PG) is one of the most common substances in the vaping industry, yet not many people seem to know exactly what it is or why it is used.

As one of the main ingredients in most e-liquids (e-juices or vape juices) along with Vegetable Glycerin, it is important as a user to understand what propylene glycol is, why it is used in e-juice, and the effects of propylene glycol. 


What is Propylene Glycol?

Propylene Glycol, commonly referred to as PG in the e-cigarette industry, is a synthetic organic chemical compound. It is clear, colorless, odorless and virtually tasteless, although some consider it to have weak sweet taste. PG is water-based and is relatively thin in consistency. It is used for a number of applications, mostly for making polymers but is also used for food grade applications.


Why use Propylene Glycol in e-juice and e-liquid?

PG is used in vape juice because of the colorless, odorless, and essentially tasteless nature of the compound. It’s used to dilute liquid nicotine and does not diminish the flavor of the e-juice. At the concentrations found in e-liquid, propylene glycol is relatively nontoxic to humans.

Propylene Glycol is also relatively thin compared to Vegetable Glycerin, balancing the consistency of e-juices. This thin consistency makes it much easier for the fabric in mods, cartomizers, and atomizers to absorb which is necessary for proper vaporization, or converting the e-liquid into an aerosol which the user then inhales. PG and VG ratios in vape juice differ from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as between different e-juices.

Unlike the smooth, thick “hit” you receive from VG, PG provides more of a “throat hit,” a distinct sensation in the back of the throat when vaping. Some former smokers prefer this throat hit as it has a similar feel to smoking actual cigarettes. The higher percentage of PG the more intense the sensation the user gets. High-PG blends are common among people that used to smoke cigarettes and now use vapor products as a safer alternative to tobacco.  50% Vegetable Glycerin/50% Propylene Glycol blends or lower PG concentrations are common among the rest of the vaping community.


Propylene Glycol in Beaker

What are the effects of Propylene Glycol?

Although there are many sources claiming many different things about the effects of propylene glycol, the US FDA considers propylene glycol used in food and medical applications as “GRAS” or “generally recognized as safe” for ingestion. Ingestion is different than inhalation though.

Studies done in both human and animal trials with propylene glycol (including doses up to 700 times the amount that could be absorbed) have shown very minimal effects from inhalation.

There are a number of studies currently researching the effects of propylene glycol inhalation such as the use of PG aerosols with medicines.

Long story short, inhaling very large doses of propylene glycol, larger doses than you are able to find in e-juices, can cause users can experience nausea, headaches, throat irritation, and other side effects. Some individuals may also be allergic to propylene glycol, although this is rare.



Where to buy Propylene Glycol for E-Liquid

Since propylene glycol is an ingredient in almost all e-juices, Nicotine River offers many different sizes of PG to fit your unique needs. We only sell the highest quality USP propylene glycol because we care about our customers and want you to be able to create high quality e-liquid.

E-juice manufacturers looking to create premier e-juice, shop our selection of pure propylene glycol USP or vegetable glycerin to find the right size for your needs.


Other Applications for PG

There are different grades of propylene glycol which are used for different applications, which is why we Nicotine River only offers United States Pharmacopeia (USP) propylene glycol, the highest grade of PG generally recognized as safe by the FDA as a food additive.

Other types of PGs are used for preservatives in food such ice cream, coffee-based drinks and soda; oral, injectable, and topical medicines; as a chemical raw material for production of polyester resins; anti-freeze ingredients because of the low freeze point; and many more applications.

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