Why is Propylene Glycol Used in Electronic Cigarettes?

One of the aspects of electronic cigarettes that make them attractive for prior users of traditional tobacco is the similar look and feel that e-cigs have to regular smokes. A problem arises, however, when just vaporizing nicotine, water, and the flavoring ingredients– there is no smoke produced. As a result, propylene glycol (or PG for short) is added to the e liquid mixture in order to produce an colorless vapor when smoking an e-cig. This helps better mimic the action of smoking without producing the dangerous second hand smoke produced by regular tobacco cigarettes.

Other Products that Use Propylene Glycol

Other products that make use of Propylene Glycol include cosmetic products, food coloring, cake mixes, sodas, salad dressings, and toiletries. PG is also used as an active ingredient in fog machines used in industry, nightclubs, and theaters.

What Are the Known Side Effects of Propylene Glycol?

Some of the side effects experienced by people that use Propylene Glycol are muscle pain, sore throat, and a stronger smelling urine. These symptoms can all result from using e-cigs that have  Propylene Glycol-based e liquid in their cartridge. Since PG is considered a humectant (it collects moisture), your throat can become dry after use and potentially sore. It can also result in an increase of lactic acid production by your body causing muscle aches that occur more often than normal. In order to counter-act these symptoms, it is recommended that you increase your fluid intake in order to flush the lactic acid from your body more quickly. This will also help with alleviating your sore throat more quickly which normally disappears after a few days. If you find yourself beginning to suffer from bowel movements, a rash, or having night sweats you may be allergic to propylene glycol. If this occurs, you will need to seek out an electronic cigarette solution that is vegetable glycerine (VG) based instead.

What to Do if You Are Allergic to Propylene Glycol?

If you are allergic to Propylene Glycol it does not mean that you have to give up on electronic cigarettes. Many e-cig manufacturers produce products that either use VG or have it available as an alternative to Propylene Glycol. VG also produces an ordor-less vapor though it is considered to be a bit thicker and sweeter than PG. Vegetable glycerine is also known as Glycerin, Glycerine, VG, or Glycerol. United States Pharmacopeia and British Pharmacopoeia produce “food safe” versions of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine.

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2 comments to Why is Propylene Glycol Used in Electronic Cigarettes?

  • angela

    yes, started ecigs about 5 days ago and have the sore throat and muscle aches. I am concerned that I am exchanging one health risk for another… I like the brand I am using as it is very cost effective and the service is good so hate to have to look around for another brand… any sugestions are appreciated… thanks, angela

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  • admin

    You may want to switch brands to one that uses VG over PG such as Blu E Cigs. If you are into filling your own cartridges, Johnson Creek offers VG e liquid (they call it Smoke Juice). Best of luck.

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