If you’re new to vaping and having problems, you may be wondering if you have an allergy or sensitivity to one of the ingredients in your eliquid. While possible, allergies to vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are actually quite uncommon, and there could be another potential cause for your discomfort.
The signs of quitting smoking can be very similar to those of a PG sensitivity, so if you’re experiencing headaches, nausea, and coughing up phlegm, it could be your body clearing out the toxins from tobacco smoke rather than PG allergy symptoms. It’s also possible that your nicotine concentration in your eliquid is too high, or that you aren’t vaporizing your juice properly.
So to help you figure out if you’re really experiencing PG allergy symptoms, we’ll discuss what a PG allergy is, what the signs and symptoms are, and what to do about them.
What is Propylene Glycol?
PG or propylene glycol is colorless, odorless, and almost tasteless and is one of the main ingredients used in eliquids. Along with VG, PG is generally recognized as safe for consumption by the United States Food and Drug Administration and is non toxic, and thus widely used in many household products and foods.
Generally, if you had a severe allergy to propylene glycol, you would know it far before you ever used an e liquid containing it.
Why is PG Used in Eliquids?
PG is very useful when it comes to making eliquids, and this is for a number of reasons. Firstly, PG is great at carrying and suspending flavors in your eliquids, much better than VG. Secondly, PG provides the ‘throat hit’ that a lot of ex-smokers and vapers crave. Because of these two hallmark qualities of PG, it sees wide use in most eliquids at concentrations of 50% and above.
PG Sensitivity or just the ‘Smokers Flu’?
As mentioned earlier, VG and PG allergies/sensitivity are actually quite uncommon and thus it’s possible that your discomfort arises from elsewhere. Only around 1 in 1000 people are sensitive to VG, while around 1 in 10 will experience slight sensitivity in the form of a dry throat from PG.
Thus, it’s possible that you are experiencing the signs of quitting smoking if your experience sounds similar to the following:
- Coughing up phlegm
- Sore throat and sneezing
- Constipation, diarrhoea, stomach aches
- Dizziness or feeling light-headed
- Mouth ulcers
If that sounds like you, it’s probably just your body detoxifying and ridding itself of the chemicals present from tobacco smoke.
You could also be experiencing the signs of a nicotine strength that is too high for you to handle. If your throat is hurting and you’re using a high concentration nicotine e liquid, try using a lower nicotine strength of the same ejuice and see if there’s any difference. This is one of the most common problems that is mistaken for a PG allergy.
Because PG and VG attract moisture, vaping will dehydrate you and this can also lead to dry mouth and a sore throat if you aren’t hydrating properly. Make sure to drink plenty of water.
PG Allergy Symptoms
Now, while similar to the above problems, the signs of a pg sensitivity can be discerned right away if you know what to look for:
1 in 10 new vapers are slightly sensitive to propylene glycol and will suffer from upper respiratory tract irritation and/or drying. This may not be a severe effect, and most will experience the symptoms gradually going away as they become tolerant.
About 1 in 100 people are very sensitive to PG and will experience and very painful sore throat when using high PG eliquids.
If you’re experiencing swollen, painful gums while vaping a high PG ejuice, you may have a PG allergy.
Rashes and Skin Problems
1 in 5,000 people are highly sensitive and allergic to PG and will experience skin problems that can range from dryness to extreme and severe itching, as well as rashes and hives. If you start to experience rashes on your face, lips and neck you should stop vaping PG immediately and see your doctor.
If you’re experiencing sinus problems and discomfort while vaping on a high PG eliquid, this is a common sign of a PG sensitivity. Watch for a burning or tingling sensation in the nose/sinuses that persists as you vape.
What to do If You Have a PG Allergy or Sensitivity
If you have a PG allergy, no need to fret! You can still enjoy the benefits of vaping over smoking, but will have to make some adjustments. To start, you’ll definitely want to find yourself a juice without PG. Luckily, there are some great pure VG ejuices out there for you to try that are amazing! VG is thicker than PG, and has a naturally sweet taste that blends in well with ejuice flavors.
eJuices.com is a great, reputable source to buy 100% VG ejuices and you’ll find a wide selection of the most popular brands. These juices are completely PG free, and will therefore be suitable to anyone with a PG sensitivity or allergy.
Similarly, Kind Juice carry a PG-free line of eliquids called Nectars because of their use of only natural wild crafted botanical extracts, and organic flavor concentrates. For those with a PG allergy or who are extremely conscious of what they vape, the Nectars from Kind Juice are extremely tasty and still provide a satisfying throat hit!
Just because you’re sensitive to PG doesn’t mean you can’t still vape! See your doctor if you believe you have a PG allergy or sensitivity for the best treatment and results.