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Long Beach Electronic Cigarette & E-Juice Vape Store

Propylene Glycol (PG)

images5Propylene Glycol is one of three or four ingredients found in e-liquid for electronic cigarettes.  

Propylene Glycol or PG is a type of alcohol.  PG is an organic compound with properties that both act as a humectant (meaning it retains moisture) and also disrupts the formation of ice crystals in water.

Propylene glycol is considered Generally Recognized As Safe ("GRAS") by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it is used as an humectant, solvent, and preservative in food and for tobacco products. It is also used in pharmaceutical and personal care products.  Any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.

Because of these properties, PG is produced in the US on a massive scale and is used in a wide array of products.  The substance can be found in everything from pet (and people) food, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, medicines and of course electronic cigarettes. It's also a popular suspension medium for nebulizers used with breathing treatments. 

Issues with Propylene Glycol

One of the side effects of PG inhalation is indeed a respiratory irritation.  The irritation subsides once exposure to airborne propylene glycol is removed. Furthermore, the symptoms only occur in a small number of people.

That's not to say PG is perfect. Many people who use the stuff in their e-cigarettes are well aware of that. The biggest problem with propylene glycol is allergic reactions.  According to some studies about 3.5% of the population may be allergic. Skin contact can cause a rash, while inhalation would indeed cause respiratory irritation among other symptoms.

Beyond allergies, there's sensitivity as well, which could also lead to irritation and other symptoms. Levels of sensitivity vary by person and amount of exposure to the substance.  Naturally, there can be a few issues for some people who are sensitive to the product.