What is Vegetable Glycerin?
Vegetable glycerin is also known as vegetable glycerol. It is a carbohydrate that is usually derived from plant oils. It is used as a sweetener and as an ingredient in a number of cosmetic products. Vegetable glycerin is also used in place of alcohol to extract botanicals.
Vegetable glycerin based E-liquid usually contain at least 80% and as much as 92% Vegetable glycerin. This is the ingredient that produces the smoke like vapor when the e-cigarette is exhaled. Approximately 20% of all e-liquids on the market today are vegetable glycerin based. Vegetable glycerin typically produces more vapor production then propylene glycol, but has reduced throat hit. It is also slightly more viscous (thicker) and slightly sweeter then propylene glycol. Its increased thickness makes it a culprit in reducing the life of atomizers. Some e-smokers use a blend of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol - most often 80-90% PG and 10-20% VG, and sometimes a 50/50 split VG to PG in their e-liquid.
Products with Vegetable Glycerin can be found in various common items around your house. A few examples include:
- Sugar substitute
- In Beauty products including makeup, mousse, shampoo, bubble bath, after shave, and deodorant
- Pet food
- Skin and hand cream
- Baked goods - increase moisture
- As a thick gel for creams, gel capsule pills, rubs and jellies
- Eye & ear drops, toothpastes, pastes, and many dental care products
Glycerin is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) and complies with specifications for the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur. or EP) E244. It is manufactured according to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and is shipped according to applicable Good Trade and Distribution Practices (GTDP).
Vegetable Glycerin studies
Glycerol is one of the most benign organic liquids known to man. It is hype-allergenic, non-carcinigeic, non teratogenic and non-mutagenic. It is metabolized quite easily by a process called beta-oxidation. This process results in the production of CO2 and H2O and is a quite normal, common, and natural catabolic process.
The following is a few excerpts from a study called SIDS initial assessment profile of Glycerol
- Glycerol is of low toxicity when injested, inhaled, or in contact with skin
- The NOACE for local irritant effects to the upper respiratory tract is 165 mg/m3
- Glycerol is of a low order of acute oral and dermal toxicity with LD50 values in excess of 4000 mg/kw bw.
- Glycerol has low potential to irritate the skin and the eye
- Glycerol is not a skin sensitiser
- Glycerol does not induce gene mutations in bacterial strains, chromosomal effects in mammalian cells or primary DNA damage in vitro
- Overall, glycerol is not considered to possess genotoxic potential
- No effects on fertility and reproductive performance were observed
- No further work is indicated by this study, because of the low hazard potential of this substance.
Vegetable Glycerin Allergies & Side effects
The risk of being allergic to vegetable glycerin is very low. The only patient population which may experience problems with metabolism of Glycerol would be diabetics owing to the anabolic hepatic pathway which can convert free Glycerol to glucose(but this would still not be an issue at the levels used in vaping).
The most common noted side effect of inhalation of e-liquid containing vegetable glycerin is a dry mouth, sore throat, and increased thirst. These symptoms usually last just a few days to a week as the body gets used to the vegetable glycerin. These symptoms can be lessened by drinking more water and liquids than usual for the first few weeks of using your e-cigarette.
If you are moving from smoking traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes, you will find there are many side effects of quitting smoking tobacco products. It is very easy for a new user of an e-cigarette to incorrectly attribute these quitting smoking side effects to the e-cigarette, when in fact they are likely the result of your body's reaction to quitting smoking tobacco cigarettes. Side effects of quitting smoking include: Bad breath, stomach pain, nausea, constipation, increased appetite, skin breakout's, increased coughing, insomnia, depression, vagueness, irritability, gas, dry throat, nasal drip, dizziness, vertigo. Many of these side effects of quitting smoking will be alleviated by using the e-cigarette.