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Propylene glycol (PG) is one of the key ingredients in e-cigarette juices. Unfortunately, it is also a source of allergies for certain individuals. While PG allergies are rare, it is still important to educate yourself on the symptoms and causes of this inconvenient condition.
PG is one of the building blocks of vape juices, and it is completely odorless and colorless. Studies have shown that it is safe for human consumption, but that does not mean that everybody will be able to tolerate it. Fortunately, you’re unlikely to be surprised by this allergy when you start vaping. PG is found in a variety of foods and products encountered in everyday life, so the chances are you’ve already been exposed to it.
The sneaky part of PG allergies is that the symptoms can be quite similar to those you may already be experiencing if you have taken to vaping as an alternative to cigarettes or other forms of nicotine. Anybody who has ever quit smoking will tell you it is not a pleasant experience. PG allergies are similar in that they can also cause chest congestion, headaches, and nausea. It may be hard to put your finger on the true cause of your symptoms, as the unpleasant feelings could also be side effects of too much nicotine intake or not enough nicotine intake if you are addicted.
Symptoms of a PG allergy
While there are a variety of symptoms that may accompany this allergy, there are a few key indicators, such as problems with your throat or chest. Overall, it’s very likely that a PG allergy will just make you feel sick in general. It may be mistaken for the flu or bronchitis, and it is not generally regarded as a life-threatening condition. You may experience:
- Swelling of the gums: If you are finding it difficult to eat and feel like your gums are tender to the touch, this could be a telltale sign of a PG allergy. Unlike some other common symptoms, there are not many other conditions that mimic these symptoms, including the flu or a cold.
- Sinus infections or difficulty breathing: Issues in the nasal cavity can be an extremely unpleasant experience. PG allergy sufferers are prone to these symptoms, which can include difficulty breathing, snoring, trouble smelling, excessive snot, and extreme discomfort or burning sensations.
- Skin rashes and breakouts: These symptoms are among the most uncommon in PG allergy sufferers, but they can happen from time to time. These reactions include splotches on the skin, itchy skin, discoloration, extreme dryness, flaky skin, and hives. Sometimes these symptoms may appear on the face, lips, and upper torso, in which case, you should put the vape down and contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Throat issues: These symptoms are probably the most common. Unfortunately, these symptoms may also accompany new vapers who don’t have a PG allergy! Throat issues cause a great deal of confusion, as vapers can continue using e-cigarettes while being oblivious to the real cause of their discomfort. Vaping can be harsh on the system when it is first taken up, and this becomes especially problematic when the new vaper is using e-cigarettes to break away from traditional tobacco. They may continue vaping to satisfy their nicotine urges – no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Why do companies choose to use PG in their products?
Basically, PG can be looked at as a carrier of sorts. It helps hold the liquids in the cartridge and prop them up for better burning and smoking. Since it’s tasteless, you won’t notice that PG was included in your batch. Instead, you can only feel the smooth hit every time. Another quality of PG is that it gives the hit just enough of an edge to keep the smoker satisfied.
When people take up vaping as an alternative to tobacco products, their bodies will naturally crave the feeling of smoke hitting their throat. PG helps provide that sensation without being overwhelming. PG is especially prevalent in stronger e-liquids with higher concentration levels.
Confusion with the symptoms of quitting smoking
As we discussed earlier, PG allergies are quite similar to those of nicotine withdrawal. Therein lies the confusion in most cases. If quitting smoking was easy, there would be many fewer smokers in the world. Instead, nicotine is a powerful substance that binds to the brain’s receptors. When you deprive yourself of a cigarette after years of smoking, your body begins to lash out because it is not getting its medicine.
The symptoms can be extremely similar, in some respects, to someone having an adverse reaction to PG. The symptoms of quitting smoking may include:
- Coughing fits and coughing up gunk
- A feeling of light-headedness
- Sores in the mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Throat issues
- Excessive sneezing
- Troubles making bowel movements or watery stool
- And more
If your symptoms fall into these categories, especially if you’re experiencing irritability or mood swings, then your problems may just stem from quitting smoking. A plethora of hazardous chemicals are included in and produced by smoking traditional cigarettes, which can cause the body to react in strange ways when they are withdrawn.
Either way, it does not hurt to contact a medical professional and get a clean bill of health. With so much in common, it may be impossible for a layperson to tell what their body is truly going through. Simply speak with your physician or go to an urgent care center to find out more.
How to avoid a PG allergy
We have plenty of vape juices that don’t use PG in their products. As such, it may be in your best interest to switch to one of those brands, instead of sticking with a brand that might be the source of your adverse reactions. Electronic juices containing VG (vegetable glycerin) as an alternative to PG can give you just as good of a smoking experience without any of the drawbacks. If you believe you might have a PG allergy, talk to your doctor about how to prevent further exposure.