What You Need to Know about Propylene Glycol, "Fuel" of e-Cigarettes
A worrying proportion of heavy smokers are reluctant to quit, since research has revealed that a pack of 20 cigarettes per day will burn roughly 150 calories. As such, letting go of a pack-per-day habit will no longer burn those calories and cause weight loss. However, NRTs are slowly changing that bleak landscape, as they allow smokers to gradually decrease their nicotine intake and eventually quit for good. One such therapy makes use of electronic cigarettes, hailed by some as the best way to quit.
Are E-Cigarettes Healthy?
While the jury is still out on the health risks and safety of e-cigarettes, many people are rushing to take sides or pass judgment. As is often the case in such debates, however, many of those judgments could be best labeled as uneducated guesses, since the number of partakers who actually know what an e-cigarette contains or how it works is comparatively small. What everybody does know is that, like regular cigarettes, electronic ones contain nicotine. How that nicotine is dispensed and the process through which it reaches one’s lungs is a whole story altogether. We did our research on www.e-cigarette.net and today we bring you facts on Propylene Glycol, an essential ingredient in the functioning process of most commercially sold electronic cigarettes.
Chemistry 101: The Basics of Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is one of the base fluids included in e-cigarettes. The flavor elements and nicotine in the cigarette require hygroscopic components in order to dissolve into water. The property of hygroscopic elements is that they attract other elements present in water and literally ‘trap’ their molecules between theirs. One such hygroscopic component, used by the majority of electronic cigarette manufacturers is propylene glycol, together with vegetable glycerin and polyethylene glycol 400.
If this all sounds too ‘chemical’ to you, you can rest your mind at ease. Electronic cigarettes are not the only devices that use this element, nor is the dissolution of nicotine the only use for the substance. Alcoholic beverage drinkers will be surprised to learn that propylene glycol is also included in the composition of Angostura bitters, as well as in the Sweet and Sour mix used in the preparation of numerous cocktails. It is commonly used to dissolve food colorings and flavorings, contained in tooth paste, massage oils and several types of fragrances. Its other main use is as a coolant, included in the structure of glycol jacketed fermentation tanks. It is also used by pharmaceutical companies in the composition of medication and it’s also included in the ingredient list of numerous antibacterial lotions and sanitizers.
Conclusions on Safety
Anti-e-cigarette advocates will clamor that, while all this may be well and good, its widespread use for such various purposes still does not mean it is safe for human ingestion and/or consumption. In this respect, they might want to learn what many an electronic cigarette review will also tell them: propylene glycol has been classified by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration as “generally acknowledged as safe.” It has very low levels of acute oral toxicity—in brief, it’s safe. And while the debate on the overall safety of electronic cigarettes rages on, everyone can, at least until further notice, rest their minds at ease about this particular component.
At the same time, what remains fact is that most former smokers, especially those who choose to renounce the habit ‘cold turkey’, will put on roughly 10 lbs. By avoiding the withdrawal symptoms that come along with a sudden attempt to quit, however, the weight gain process that usually follows cessation will be reduced to a minimum. Indeed, excess weight can be just as damaging to one’s health as a tobacco cigarette addiction—however, nowadays, modern technology allows us to control this risk through the use of electronic cigarettes.
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