Propylene Glycol vs. Vegetable Glycerin (PG vs. VG) E-Cigarettes

I’ve had a lot of inquiries on the topic of “what is the difference between propylene glycol versus vegetable glycol in electronic cigarettes?”  For simplicity sake, we’ll call these “Pg” and “Vg” wherever possible.  I can’t stand typing out words that are tough to say and remember how to spell, such as propylene and glycerin.  :)

If you are new to electronic cigarettes, the nicotine used in them is dissolved in one of these two forms.  Both PG and VG are very popular food additives.

Propylene Glycol (hey I spelled it out on accident) has been a staple in asthma inhalers and nebulizers since the 1950′s, working as the aqueous-based chemical additive.  There has never been a reported side effect. PG is known for it’s ability to retain water, which is why it’s the compound of choice for delivering atomized medication.  The FDA of the USA includes PG as a part of it’s list of substances “Generally Recognized as Safe.”  They actually abbreviate this (GRAS).  I can’t make that up!  PG meets the requirements of acceptable compounds within Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.  This said, PG can be viewed as a substance that is consumable without much concern.

VG (Vegetable Glycerin or vegetable glycerol)  is a carbohydrate that is normally sourced from plant oils.  It is also a sweetener and you can find it in a number of cosmetic products.  Some examples are toothpaste and shampoo.  If it were dangerous, it would not be in such staple household items.

Reason I say this today is that many people are confused due to reports that electronic cigarettes contain harmful substances.  A while back (I don’t have a link but if someone does, please post it in the comment section) an organization called them harmful due to the substance Propylene Glycol.  I’ve even read that PG is used in many household consumables, but I don’t have stone cold evidence so I won’t go making any claims about that until I do find further information.

I’ll be back later to update this entry.  In the meantime, I’m just trying to get facts about these two substances.