One of the main reasons that propylene glycol is added to e liquid is that liquid nicotine and flavourings alone produce no visible vapour. The production of vapour is important for two reasons. Firstly, it acts as a vehicle for delivering nicotine into the lungs and secondly, because vapers enjoy the feeling of inhaling and exhaling something that visually resembles cigarette smoke.
So, to ensure a satisfying cloud of vapour, propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine (VG), both virtually odourless and colourless syrupy liquids, are added to the mix.
Do note that despite scaremongering by individuals that don't know the facts, PG is not the same formulation as a similar-sounding product used to make radiator fluid or car anti-freeze - in fact it's widely used all over the world, everyday.
BP or USP* approved propylene glycol is used in cosmetics, toiletries, food colourings, cake mixes, salad dressings, soft drinks and more. It's also used in the smoke/fog machines found in theatres and nightclubs.
Occasionally, people using an electronic cigarette for the first time will complain of a sore throat, muscle pains and strong-smelling urine when first using an electronic cigarette.
Propylene glycol is a humectant (attracts moisture) which can dry your throat and leave it feeling sore. PG is converted to lactic acid in the body and it's this that causes the muscle aches that some may experience from time to time.
Most people find that drinking more fluids helps to flush the lactic acid through the body more quickly. The sore throat should disappear on its own within a day or two, although increased fluids can help here too.
THE SIGNS OF AN ALLERGY TO PROPYLENE GLYCOL
If symptoms persist however, it may be that you are allergic to propylene glycol. Some people don't even realise they have an allergy to PG until they use an electronic cigarette with PG-based e liquid for the first time. Allergy symptoms may include night sweats, body rash, diarrhoea and a dry, irritated or sore throat.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, we recommend you seek the advice of your GP and switch to a VG-based e liquid.
Luckily, if you're allergic or sensitive to propylene glycol there is an excellent alternative – e liquid made with vegetable glycerine (ask your supplier for a VG-based e liquid). VG does the same job as PG and in fact, because VG appears to produce more vapour, many electronic cigarette users prefer it.
WHAT IS VEGETABLE GLYCERINE?
Vegetable glycerine, usually referred to simply as glycerine (and often abbreviated to VG by folks on the ECF), is a clear, virtually odourless viscous fluid which is slightly thicker and sweeter than propylene glycol. USP or BP approved glycerine is used in more than 1500 applications, many of them as additives to food and drink.
VG: A simple abbreviation of vegetable glycerine.
Glycerin or Glycerine: Small bottles of glycerine can be found in the home baking section of most UK supermarkets, next to the food colouring and flavourings.
Glycerol: Important Note: Be very careful not to confuse glycerol with glycol...similar names, different things!
*Only USP (United States Pharmacopeia) and BP (British Pharmacopeia) approved propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine should be considered food safe.
Feel free to take a 'wander' around the liberro.co.uk store if you'd like to see our range of e liquid, electronic cigarettes and accessories. Sorry, but we currently don't sell propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine.