It’s been a week or so since you ditched cigarettes and decided to try out vaping. You get out of bed, get the coffee going, reach out for your new e-juice vaporizer — and start coughing the minute you take that first drag.
The vapor from your device hits you weirdly and unexpectedly. Your throat feels like it is dried up completely and instead of pleasure, you only feel pain and discomfort.
And this keeps happening throughout the day. There’s a weight on your lungs. You’re wheezing. There’s mucus everywhere.
What you have is the case of classic vaper’s cough, and I’ll show you have to get rid of it in this very post! But first — are you sure you have the right device? Our new vape juice vaporizer just hit the store, and people are loving it (and they’re not coughing!).
We Built a Vaporizer That Cuts Down On Vape Cough
We can’t guarantee zero coughs but we’ve built Breezy with feedback from users.
They’ve told us that Breezy’s quality airflow cools their hits, minimizing coughing.
NOTE: What we popularly call vape cough is not dangerous, and it’s not caused specifically by vaping. Rather, it’s caused by you not knowing how to vape correctly. I’ll list several common things that cause vape cough, and tell you what you need to do to fix each and every one of them.
Let’s dig in.
What is Vape Cough?
Vape cough is something that most vapers (especially beginner vapers) face once they get fresh off cigarettes. It’s usually a dry cough that’s caused by vapor not playing well with your throat and lungs.
The drag from a vaping device has a significantly different feel to it than traditional cigarettes and most beginners will cough immensely after taking their first puff.
A survey done by a prominent vaping research blog has shown that more than half (57%) of beginner vapers were coughing when they first started vaping. The most common side effects were dry coughs and a sore throat.
Why Do You Cough When You Vape?
Our bodies react to foreign substances differently. And while vape juice has very little components, a couple of them have been known to cause coughing.
Here’s a brief run-down of everything that might be causing your vape cough:
- PG or VG sensitivity — the two main chemicals found in e-juices are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. These substances are also found in numerous foods and other products that we ingest daily such as toothpaste, food flavorings etc. However, once you inhale these in the form of vapor from electronic cigarettes they can have an irritating effect on your lungs and cause coughing. A study by the Ashtray Blog has shown that around 10% of the population is sensitive to propylene glycol. It is more irritable than vegetable glycerin, which is why e-juices with a higher PG percent produce a stronger throat hit when inhaling.
- Nicotine — coughing can also be a side-effect of high levels of nicotine in your vape juice. The juices themselves come in various nicotine levels as well as different PG/VG ratios and different combinations will produce different hits to your throat.
- Device type — different types of devices depending on the resistance of their coils and therefore the wattage level at which they are fired each affect the throat differently as well. Usually, higher wattage hits are hotter and harsher, therefore more likely to make you cough since they produce thicker and larger clouds of vapor.
- Cilia regrowth — another possible reason for coughing from vaping is the regrowth of cilia; hairlike formation on your lungs which gets damaged over time by inhaling tobacco smoke. It re-grows gradually once you cut down on smoking. Coughing from cilia regrowth is in fact a sign that your lungs are undergoing recovery.
- Lack of anesthetics — according to Chris Price of ECigarette Politics, anesthetic compounds that are found in cigarettes are not found in e-juices. Price claims that the purpose of these anesthetics in cigarettes is to act as a cough reducer. Since vape juices do not contain those anesthetics, the possibility of coughing is increased.
What Causes Vape Cough & How Can You Fix It?
No matter how discomforting and disheartening the coughing from vaping may seem at first, it’s definitely not permanent. In most cases, you can fix it by playing around with your vape juice, altering your vaping technique, or swapping your device for something with less power.
In this section, I’ll let you in on a couple of veteran vape hacks that might make that transition from smoking to vaping a bit easier for you. ake the transition from cigarettes to vaping less painful and uncomfortable for you:
- Vaping technique: Despite deciding to leave combustible tobacco products behind, the cigarette smoking drag technique has stuck with you whether you want it or not. It is highly likely that the first drag you took on your new vaping device was inhaled the same way as you were previously used to with cigarettes. This usually leads to extreme coughing.
How to fix it: Practice makes perfect. Vapers usually inhale longer drags than cigarette smokers, but my personal advice is to take shorter but harder drags with keeping the vapor in your mouth for a while and then blowing it out. The key is to inhale in smaller amounts at first and your throat will gradually get used to larger and larger hits. The coughing and sore throat will go away eventually. Other vapor might suggest the opposite. Taking harder drags in order for the airflow to dilute the vapor (and making it more pleasant to the throat)is also a technique that is not to be scoffed at. You will know which method suits you best!
- The device used: Sometimes beginners who are not yet familiar with the world of vaping devices end up purchasing a high wattage (Sub-Ohm) tank without getting properly introduced to them.
Sub-Ohm tanks are more commonly used by more experienced vapers (often referred to as “cloud chasers”) who crave a strong and rich vaping sensation accompanied by massive clouds and rich taste. Thus, a newbie might get their hands on one without realizing the power they are dealing with and end up gasping for air and coughing violently.
How to fix it: Another type of vaping tanks/pods is the Mouth-to-lung (MTL) device. This type of vapes is widely popular with beginners and veterans alike, but it is often recommended to beginners since their technique closely resembles smoking a cigarette. Their coils are of higher resistance which means they are fired at a lower wattage making their vapor very mild and kind on the throat.
I do not guarantee that they will not make you cough at first as well, but they are a perfect starting point for practicing and letting your throat adjust to this new feel of inhaling.
- Vapor irritants: As I mentioned in the last section, e-juices contain compounds to which some people are sensitive in certain ways. Some people are especially sensitive (in some cases even allergic) to Propylene Glycol (PG) which is by itself more irritating than Vegetable Glycerin (VG).
How to fix it: If a certain juice is making you cough more than the others, the reason is most likely higher levels of PG in it. My advice is to try out a vape juice with a higher level of VG. Their hit is much more mellow and easier on the throat.
- Airflow setting: The airflow of your device determines how much vapor you will inhale, and also how stiff the drag is going to be. The way you initially pictured a drag from your device might feel may be quite different than it actually is and your throat might find itself overwhelmed which will most likely cause you to cough.
How to fix it: Almost all vaping devices have adjustable airflow which is turnable like a knob. Play around with it and find which airflow stage suits you best!
- Strong and intense flavors: As rare as it is, some specific flavor profiles of e-juices like citruses, sharp fruits, and strong mints can make you cough due to their intensity.
How to fix it: Flavors such as tobacco, cake, custards, and other dessert stuff are much more mellow and much less likely to make you cough.
4 Things Veteran Vapers Recommend That Might Help Ease Your Vape Cough
If you’ve done everything from the above list and you still get an occasional cough or two, you might want to take a look at these four quick fixes.
Slow down your inhale
Coughing can sometimes be caused by dehydration from chain vaping. As exciting and cool your new habit is, it is wise to take it down a notch if you find yourself puffing non-stop.
Change your vape coil
On average, a single coil can last you from 10 days up to a month depending on device, wattage, and type of vape juice. Usually, sweeter dessert type juices tend to wear out coils more quickly. When a coil has reached the end of its life, it produces an unpleasant vape and a burnt taste which is bound to make you cough like crazy. Check that out to see if you need a new coil!
As refreshing and soothing some juices may make you feel, be aware that the vapor from your device can dry out your mouth and lungs if you vape repeatedly for a longer period of time. If you’re a chain vaper, be sure to always have a glass of water standing by.
Just wait it out.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is remain patient and be aware that the vape coughs you are getting are only temporary. The more proficient you become in your inhaling technique and the more accustomed you get to the hit of your chosen vape juice and device, the coughs will fade away and remain a distant memory.
It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Vape Coughs
A couple of months from now, you get out of bed, get the coffee going, and reach for your old, faithful vape device. (It’s the Breezy – our state of the art vape juice vaporizer, right? We knew it!)
You take a nice scrumptious drag to satisfy your nicotine craving. It’s all there — the scrumptious taste, big clouds, your morning nicotine hit. The best way to start your day!
But what’s not there is that God-awful vaping cough!
You’re finally rid of it. It’s a thing of the past.
Good on you! No vape should suffer through bouts of debilitating cough as a reward for quitting smoking. And now you’re finally there (and, in small part, thanks to my cool advice here).
If you need any more advice on vaping — from how to deal with unruly devices to which vape juice vaporizer to pick — don’t forget to visit our blog pages. We do our best to publish hard-hitting vape new and vaping tips and tricks there regularly.