A common side effect experienced by those who take their first vape is a cough and sore throat.
While these side effects are temporary it can still be annoying when it occurs. So, what causes you to cough when you vape? Lets look at some of the reasons why.
1. There are irritants in the vapour. Some of the people who vape are sensitive to propylene glycol, which is a main ingredient used in e-liquid. Fewer still are allergic to it. This can cause that irritating cough. There may also be other unknown elements in the vapour that cause the cough too, but this does not explain why the cough tends to subside after a while, it could possibly be because your body simply gets used to these chemicals.
2. Vapes do not contain anaesthetics. Why is it that when you smoke tobacco based products you rarely cough, but the same cannot be said for when you vape? Could it be because the tobacco contains ingredients that help to make the smoke smoother and less irritating to inhale? Vapes do not have these ingredients, so is therefore a little more irritating when inhaled.
3. The technique that is used when vaping. Those who smoke tend to draw the cigarette smoke through their mouth and directly into their lungs, while those who vape often hold the vapour in the mouth before then inhaling into the lungs. This tentative approach used when vaping can cause extra air to be inhaled, which could be causing you to cough.
4. The cilia in your respiratory tract is regrowing. When you smoke the cilia, which are tiny hair-like projections on your respiratory tract, are destroyed. These cilia regrow once you stop smoking, which can cause irritation to occur. Perhaps it is just coincidence that when you make the switch from smoking to vaping the cilia is starting to regrow.
5. How strong is the nicotine used? If you have been vaping for a while you may have noticed that choosing a zero nicotine e-liquid will be less harsh on your throat, while those e-liquids with a higher nicotine amount will give you a harsher hit to your throat.
6. What device are you using? The device you choose to vape with can have an impact on the amount you cough. Those who choose a sub-ohm device may find that they will cough more than those who vape using a basic device. This is probably because a more advanced device will deliver more nicotine more quickly.
7. You may be dehydrated. Both propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG), the main ingredients of e-liquids, and the ingredient that helps to create those vape clouds, can cause dehydration to occur, which can lead to a dry and irritated throat that is susceptible to coughing.
So, now we have discussed the possible causes of coughing, lets look at what we can do to stop this irritating experience from occurring:
1. Experiment with technique. There are a few techniques you can use when vaping. There is no right or wrong technique, but it is best that you experiment to find the one that works best for you. You may want to try inhaling a little quicker, or slower, and changing the speed that you exhale may also help too.
2. Change the PG/VG ratio. Most of the e-liquids found in the shops and online contain PG or VG. VG is the smoother of the two, and will cause less irritation. There are even 100% VG e-liquids available but these can be harsh on your atomisers.
3. Experiment with e-liquids that contain less nicotine. E-liquids with less nicotine will be less harsh on your throat. The problem is that the less nicotine you have the less satisfied you will be, so the more you will want to vape or smoke.
4. Consider experimenting with nicotine salts. Nicotine salts are the natural form of nicotine, that will enable you to vape using higher nicotine levels without causing irritation in your throat.
5. Drink more water. As both PG and VG cause dehydration to occur, it makes sense that you should tackle this issue by drinking more water.
6. Use a device with a lower wattage. One possible reason for coughing when vaping is that you are getting too much vapour. In this case you may want to try using a lower wattage vape device.
7. Add a drop of menthol. It has been claimed that adding a single drop of menthol e-liquid to your normal e-liquid may help to reduce coughing.
Even though a cough can be irritating it should not last too long. Just remember that vaping is still healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes, so I’m sure you can live with a little irritation.