Side Effects of Vaping: Addressing the Causes

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Many of us have experienced these side effects of vaping at some point

Though vaping is often marketed as the safer alternative to cigarettes, it can still cause some unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, many of these side effects can be minimized or terminated by making minor changes in your vaping habits.  This list is based on my personal experiences and through discussions with other Vapers out there.  I have also scoured the internet to see what other side effects of vaping other Vapers may have experienced.

side effects of vaping

There are many things you can do to eliminate the side effects of vaping. Image: canstockphoto

Coughing

Coughing when you are new to vaping
When many people first switch from regular cigarettes to vaping, they may experience some uncomfortable and worrying symptoms. People new to vaping often report a sudden increase in both dry coughing and coughing up phlegm. While it is understandable to think that these issues are caused by the electronic cigarettes, they are often caused by the sudden cessation of cigarette smoke. When you stop using normal cigarettes, your body will begin to get rid of all the accumulated tar and buildup in your lungs from years of smoke. Though coughing is definitely a side effect when you first begin vaping, it can often be a good sign, since your lungs are adjusting to harmless water vapor instead of toxic smoke.

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On the other hand, some folks just can’t seem to vape without coughing.  This actually happened to me.  I would cough every time I took a hit off an electronic cigarette.  I guess the vapor dried my throat so much that I couldn’t help but cough.  Try drinking plenty of water and use a good quality vaporizer and eLiquid that has low PG.  A heavy PG concentration increases the throat hit effect on your lungs when you inhale.  Lowering this may lessen your need to cough.

Coughing after you have been vaping a while
Lately I have been hearing of folks who have been vaping for quite a while with no issues, then all of a sudden start coughing every time they take a hit.  The coughing would continue until phlegm is released and then the processed starts all over again with more coughing.  What makes this strange is that they haven’t changed a thing with their vaping habits – same eLiquid, same mod, same voltage/wattage levels, etc.  So what can be causing this?  Here are some potential reasons:

  • Your coil is old and releasing irritants to your throat. Put a fresh coil in and see if that helps.
  • Try going all VG and then try going all PG. Which one reduces or eliminates your cough? Many people find PG as an irritant, but there are a few whose throats get irritated with high levels of VG in their eLiquids. This is an easy way to figure out whether high levels of PG or VG are irritating your throat.
  • Nicotine is a mild irritant. Try reducing the nicotine level and see if that eliminates the cough.
  • Did your favorite eLiquid provider change the ingredients? Some flavor additives can irritate the throat. If your brand has recently changed their formula, it may be time to switch to something else.

A Dry Throat

Another potential side effect of using electronic cigarettes is a dry or sore throat. Though many people immediately begin to worry that they are somehow damaging their throat, the real cause of the dry throat is actually not that serious. The propylene glycol molecules in e-liquids tend to stick to water molecules, causing dehydration. Increasing your water intake and cutting back on diuretic drinks, such as coffee and tea, can ensure that you are properly hydrated.

Headaches

Another common side effect of vaping, headaches, can also be caused by dehydration. However, vaping can also cause headaches due to nicotine overdose. If you notice a headache or dizziness after vaping, consider reducing the amount of vaping you do  or try switching to an e-liquid with lower levels of nicotine for a few days to see if that resolves the issue. E-liquids can contain high, concentrated levels of nicotine that may be overwhelming to even habitual smokers.  Being able to vape whenever you want can inadvertently lead you to getting too much nicotine in your system.

Allergic Reactions

The most serious side effect of vaping is the potential allergic reactions. Many e-liquids contain propylene glycol as the base, and many people have reported developing an allergy to it after a few months of use. A propylene glycol allergy can cause sinus problems, feelings of nausea, itchy hives, and a numb tongue or mouth. If you think that you may have a propylene glycol allergy, try switching to an e-liquid brand that makes flavors with a 100% vegetable glycerin base instead. Vegetable glycerin is much less irritating, and it is very rare to be allergic to it. The flavorings and added chemicals in many e-liquid brands can also cause allergic reactions, so it is best to find brands that have organic, vegetable glycerin based e-liquids.

If you are experiencing any of these side effects of vaping, the first step should be making sure that you are properly hydrated and that you are not using a highly concentrated propylene glycol based e-liquid. If the symptoms still persist after a few weeks, you may want to consider seeing a doctor, because you could be experiencing severe allergic reaction or an unrelated problem altogether. However, vaping is generally not an irritant as long as you pick the right brands of e-liquid, and unlike regular cigarettes, it does not cause severe lung and heart problems.

As mentioned above, vaping is a much safer habit than smoking.  The list above covers most of the side effects of vaping experienced by new and seasoned Vapers.  But the best advice I can give you is to always see a medical professional if you think your health is affected.

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Jim H

I started vaping in January 2011 and haven't had the desire to smoke a traditional cigarette since. It inspired me so much that I created this website to help others like me who want to quit smoking. I hope you enjoy the site and please leave a comment.

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