Getting to grips with vaping vocabulary

Anyone who’s new to vaping could be forgiven for feeling a bit confused with some of the terminology used to described the various e-liquids, and still being in the dark when it comes to knowing their PGs from their VGs, never mind understanding what Max-VG means! More than that, what consumers want to know is whether some of these e-liquids contain anything they should be wary of.

As many vapers already know, most e-liquids are described as containing a mix of 50-50 PG/VG or 40-60 PG/VG, which lets you know the proportions of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine(VG) each one contains. Sounds simple enough, but it can start to get confusing when e-liquids are labelled Max VG, which may lead some vapers to believe this means the product is 100% VG, when strictly speaking it’s not. Our products labelled Max VG are in fact 100% VG Base with PG in the flavouring – but more on that later.

Max VG and 100% VG

When you see e-juice labelled 100% VG, you can assume that the liquid has been produced from vegetable glycerin with water, some flavouring (usually organic), and the option of nicotine. In other words, e-liquids labelled in this way can be taken to contain no propylene glycol whatsoever, and this is potentially a big deal for vapers who suffer from a PG allergy. When you see e-liquid labelled Max VG, on the other hand, this means the product have a very high vegetable glycerine content such 70%, 80%, 90% but will also contain some amount of propylene glycol, usually in the flavouring used.

So why does all this matter?

It matters because some people can have an allergic reaction or intolerance to propylene glycol – and I speak as one of them who does – with symptoms including dizziness, a scratchy, swollen throat and feeling as if you have come down with a dose of the flu. It goes without saying that if you know for sure you are allergic to propylene glycol you’re better sticking to e-juices that are known to be 100% VG, but does that mean you should also avoid brands labelled Max VG? We don’t think so, simply because the brands we offer to customers have an extraction mix of the juice that is made from a 100% vegetable glycerin, with propylene glycol added usually only in the flavouring. And this is what seems to make all the difference.

Personal experience

Of course, this is anecdotal evidence rather than hard scientific proof and experiences can vary, depending on the person. In the meantime, we’d be delighted to hear from those who may have switched to Max VG after experiencing allergic reactions in the past to PG. It’s also worth pointing out that a true allergy to PG is actually pretty rare and in fact what people are more likely to suffer from – including myself - is an intolerance, which isn’t quite the same thing.

Why use PG at all?

Propylene glycol is a colourless compound liquid that is practically odourless with a slightly sweet taste, and as well as being used in e-liquids, PG is widely used in commercial food production as a preservative. PG is also found in most tobacco products, and is extensively used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. There are a number of reasons why PG is used in e-liquids, including its low viscosity which makes it easy to handle and helps reduce build up, and its high absorbency which intensifies the vaping experience.

A typical e-juice contains a 50-50 blend of PG and VG, with PG being the primary ingredient that carries the all important flavour of the e-liquid. VG helps produce those fantastic vaping clouds, and the PG gives you the flavour hit. E-liquids are a matter of personal taste and finding the ones that are right for you involves trying out a variety of flavours, as well as blends. If you have an intolerance and not an allergy to PG you may feel your choice is restricted to using only 100% VG e-juices, but this isn’t necessarily so as our Max VG blends, with their 100% VG base and PG in the flavouring, seem to offer the best of both worlds. We’d love to hear what you think and your experience.