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Why Does Vaping Make Me Cough?

Sore Throat From Vaping? Try This.

Millions of people around the world have used vaping as a method to quit smoking, the main reason being that vaping is pleasurable in forms that other nicotine replacement methods aren’t, and vaping can offer an experience very similar to smoking a cigarette. People don’t just smoke for nicotine, if this was the case everyone would be on nicotine gum instead of cigarettes, smoking can be enjoyable. This is where vaping comes in, it bridges the gap between cigarettes and traditional nicotine replacement.

Despite this, some people don’t get the satisfaction or enjoyment from vaping as it can offer. These people find that they experience a sore throat from vaping or that it can make them cough. This sore throat or cough can suck all the enjoyment out of vaping and isn’t normal.

We don’t want that to happen, or if it is happening to you, we’re going to provide advice that can help you at the root of the problem. We’re going to explain what can cause a sore throat and how to cure it and we’re also going to explain the root causes of a vaping cough and outline ways you can make your vaping experience as enjoyable as possible.

Your Nicotine is Too High 

The first thing to consider when making the switch to vaping is what strength of nicotine you are going to need, this is crucial as if your nicotine is too low, you may find vaping doesn’t give you a satisfying kick, this can be easily rectified, however, by vaping more often or switching out to a higher strength of nicotine. If we go the other way and your nicotine dose is too high, it may be way too harsh to even vape the liquid and cause you to cough and splutter, we don’t want that. Picking the right strength of nicotine is one of the big points to minimise the sore throat and stop you from coughing from vaping. Learn more about What Strength Nicotine Do I Need?

You’re Using The Wrong Type Of Nicotine 

Yep, nicotine isn’t a one-brand kind of thing, there are two different types of nicotine and they both act very differently; Freebase Nicotine and Nicotine Salts. In some areas of the world, such as the United States and Canada, you may only find Nicotine Salts in e-liquids with higher nicotine contents with lower strength liquids using freebase nicotine. However, in Europe, it is much more common to find both types of nicotine across the whole spectrum of strengths.

In this case, it makes it even more important to find the correct type of nicotine for you to make it as satisfying and enjoyable as possible. The case tends to be that freebase nicotine will give you more of a throat hit as opposed to the salt counterpart and tends to be harsher at higher strengths, leading to a potentially sore throat or cough. If this is the case, give nicotine salts a go they are smoother on your throat whilst still giving you the correct strength of nicotine you need.

If you’re in a bit of a state of confusion asking yourself “What Are Nicotine Salts?” then click the link for a full breakdown of what they are and what makes them special.

You’re Using the Wrong VG/PG Ratio

Vegetable Glycerine (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) are the two main ingredients in making e-liquids. In a typical bottle of liquid, only about 10-15 per cent of the contents are flavourings and nicotine. The rest is made up of VG and PG which have very different properties, VG tends to produce thicker, denser clouds, whereas PG is a better carrier of flavour.

VG and PG both have desirable characteristics, so e-liquid is in a bit of a Goldilocks situation where they contain a blend of both. The two main ratios are 70% VG and 30% PG, or a straight 50/50 split. The type of device you are using will dictate what ratio liquid is best for you, we’ve got a guide on picking the correct ratio here. PG does have one property which some people don’t agree with, it tends to give you a slightly scratchy sensation at the back of your throat. Some people enjoy that as a satisfying throat hit, some people can’t stand it and associate it with a sore throat.

Your Vape Cough Could Be A Side Effect of Quitting Smoking

Many first-time vapers making the switch from smoking have had their mind made up that they’re stopping smoking for good. Fantastic. However, from smoking cigarettes, especially true with heavy smokers, the cigarette smoke damages all the little hairs in your throat called cilia. These go all the way down into your lungs and they become more active once you’re not inhaling smoke, once you quit, they get to work on clearing out the tar that’s accumulated and that causes you to cough. Thankfully these cilia are very effective at this and repair quickly, we’ve found that within a week to ten days this cough could completely disappear so it’s a case of perseverance, you can do it.

With this in mind, a cough that occurs when you start vaping may not have anything to do with vaping at all. It could be down to several factors, including a PG intolerance. If the cough does persist and you are concerned, do not try and fight through it in the hopes it’ll go away, it may be something else. In which case you should speak to your doctor.

You Aren’t Using The Ideal Inhaling Style For Your Device 

One of the most important things to know about when first starting vaping is the different styles of device on the market, they are split into two categories. Mouth to Lung Vaping and Direct to Lung Vaping (Or Sub-ohm vaping) which we have a full guide on here. When you view a device on our website we will always state what kind of device you are using and the recommended ratio of liquid in the product description. This way you know which device is going to be suitable for you.

Ultimately, new vapers switching from cigarettes see much more success with a Mouth to Lung device.

However, let’s say you’ve just bought your first vape device, exciting. But you haven’t confirmed its intended vaping style. In this case, you could find you cough because your device’s airflow capabilities are unsuitable for your vaping needs. Your best option is to buy a device that’s designed for the inhaling style you want. If you are unsure about your device either bring the device to a vape shop for advice on it or click the little chat icon in the bottom right corner and we can assist you here!

You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water When You Vape

This is one very overlooked area of vaping, one of the characteristics of Vegetable Glycerine (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) is that they are both humectants (Don’t ask me how that’s pronounced), what this means in plain terms is they attract and trap moisture. Because they both have this property, some people report feeling dehydrated from vaping. Now we know when you’re dehydrated you get a dry throat. When this dry throat is partnered with vaping it can cause a sore throat and coughing. If you are getting other signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth or chapped lips there’s a good chance you’re getting dehydrated and not getting as much liquid as you require. Thankfully there’s an easy fix for that, get some more water into you! 

Your Device’s Power Level Is Set Too High 

One final reason why vaping may be giving you a sore throat and a cough is simple, you may be vaping at too high of a wattage. Having a device with an adjustable wattage is a great thing as you can finely alter the performance of your device for a custom experience giving you the exact warmth and intensity you’re looking for. The downside of these kinds of devices is it is possible to set the wattage too high.

Every vape coil has a suggested wattage range on the side of the casing. You can also find the correct range of the coil on the box. Manufacturers test these coils to determine which power range they can operate in reliably. You may be tempted to use your device outside of its recommended power setting to get an increased flavour or greater clouds. But by doing this you are more likely to burn your coils out faster and get the opposite results. On the other side, a burnt coil not only gives poor flavour but is also very likely to give you a sore throat. It is important to always stick to the correct recommended wattage range for your coil.


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