There has been a lot of talk over e-liquid ingredients. Some people just seem to want to scare everybody, while others are simply trying to inform. This article will be doing the latter by going through each ingredient found in e-liquid, specifically VG and PG, and describing them in some depth so you can understand how they are used, why they are used in vaping specifically and the health risks associated with them.
First of all, how many e-liquid ingredients are there? Well, there are approximately 4 ingredients in your typical juice. Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) are the base liquids - the ‘bulk’ that carries everything else - which are used in different ratios in order to vary the style of vape. For example, a higher PG content will provide a higher throat hit and bring out more flavour, which is very useful for someone trying to replicate the feel of smoking. VG, on the other hand, creates a larger amount of vapour and is much smoother than PG, which is excellent if you are a cloud chaser or you do not like the feel of smoke or high PG vapour going into your lungs. The other two e-liquid ingredients are flavour concentrates and nicotine. Flavour concentrates are the same flavouring that is put into food! They are seen generally as safe, however there are a few concerns that the community has brought forward which I will mention later. Nicotine is optional in e-liquid, however many vapers use it as an aid to quit smoking. It is only sold in the EU at relatively low levels of concentration, but it can be absorbed through your skin. This is why gloves are must when you are making DIY juice.
So, are these ingredients safe? When it comes to PG, there have been countless arguments against it in the media. What it boils down to is that PG can be toxic but only in very high quantities; much higher than you could possibly vape. Some people have also reported being allergic to PG, with the most common symptom being a skin rash. Its worth saying, though, that PG is FDA approved and has many uses in the food industry where its ‘toxicity’ has been deemed negligible. Another risk put forward are the ingredients in flavour concentrates. Some food flavour concentrates contain diacetyl, acetoin and acetyl propionyl which create a ‘buttery’ taste has been linked with ‘popcorn lung’. However, most flavour houses have taken steps to eliminate such ingredients, or produced 'diketone free' (or DX) versions of their flavours. E-liquids which have passed testing to TPD standards should not contain these ingredients. You can take control of this by searching for diacetyl free e-liquid, or diacetyl free flavour concentrates if you are looking to get started with DIY mixing. In summary, if you are trying to decide which PG VG ratio to choose, go for higher PG for stronger flavour and a cigarette style throat hit. Otherwise, go for more VG to produce more cloud and have a smooth vaping experience. Remember that there are some health risks posed when vaping, but Public Health England have stated that, on balance, vaping is likely to be 95% less harmful than smoking. There is still much to be researched and discovered about e-cigarette technology, though by mixing your own you can be in full control of what you are putting into your body. If you learned something from this article, spread the knowledge and share it with the social media buttons below!