Vape Cough: What Causes It?

Why Do I Cough When I Vape?

So, you dived right into your first vape and filled your lungs with a big puff of smoke, and now you’re coughing painfully. If it's any consolation, you’re not the only one.

In Short:

  • It May Be The Vaping Technique

  • Cilia Regrowth

  • Vapor Ingredients

  • Lack Of Anesthetics

  • The Device You’re Using

  • The Airflow Setting

  • Dehydration

People who smoke think that vaping should be smooth and easy. But as anyone who has had a coughing fit mid-vape will tell you, that is simply not the case.

Especially if you are a stranger to vaping, coughing is common. “Why do I cough when I vape?” – one of the most common questions most people ask. This article will not only answer the questions but also give you the solution.

Let’s look into the science behind it!

Coughing Is A Common Side Effect Of Vaping

vape cough

Thankfully, coughing while vaping is not a serious health issue. Yes, vapor coughs are a common phenomenon. A survey of 600 vape enthusiasts suggests that about 57% of them experienced coughing on their first try.

But, after acclimatizing for about two to three months, 92% of users show no sign of coughing. Furthermore, 1% of them claim that the symptoms of coughing disappear within the first week of use.

These stats are a little more convincing and reassuring than a smoking cough, which only worsens with time. Our suggestion is not to get discouraged by this initial discomfort. The coughing will subside over time.

Is It Temporary?

The good news is that coughing while vaping is temporary. You're not likely to experience a cough after you get the hang of it. Most vapers claim that the issue does not persist after a few days of use.

Once your body gets used to the technique and the ingredients, you can bid those coughs farewell. That begs the question, “Why do I cough when I vape?” We will answer that in the next section.

What Is Causing The Cough?

Coughing can be unpleasant in any situation. Though the vapor cough has different causes, there is no reason to fret.

It’s not ideal to blame the ingredients for the cough. Most of the time, it is the vaping technique that makes the difference. One way to stop coughing while vaping is to understand what causes it.

It turns out there are not one but several different answers to “why do I cough when I vape?” Here are a few things that might be the actual reasons behind the coughing:

●      It May Be The Vaping Technique

Nicotine experts around the world think that many vapers feel tentative when using their first vape. As a result, they inhale too much air with the vapor and only inhale for a short while.

Any experienced vapor won’t inhale the air with the vapor. Besides, the best way to inhale the air is by taking slower and longer inhales. This technique explains why first-time vapers cough.

Our research suggests that technology can have an enormous impact on a lot of vapers. Besides, anyone from the smoking community trying to transition into vaping should also not try the same technique.

Let us tell you that smoking and vaping techniques are different. Unlike smoking, you do not have to inhale the vapor through the mouth and into the lungs. Therefore, a change in technique can be helpful if you want to stop coughing.

●      Cilia Regrowth

Cilia regrowth is a physical condition that takes place in the respiratory tract. The primary function of cilia is to protect the respiratory tract and lungs from harmful foreign materials.

This hair-like growth entraps the particles and restricts them from reaching out to the lungs. One harmful effect of smoking is that it destroys the cilia around your respiratory tract.

Once you stop smoking, the cilia growth starts growing again. Once you start vaping, you are likely to cough. But don’t fret, as coughing is an indication of cilia regrowth. 

●      Vapor Ingredients

Your first thought is probably that it has something to do with the ingredients. The chemicals in your e-juice can make you cough on many occasions. This is because there are several ingredients used in the vape liquid, and they act as additives.

Upon heating, PG produces vapor that is colorless, odorless and tastes sweet like candy. Some users claim that propylene glycol (PG) is an irritant additive. Though the allergic reaction is primarily mild, it will affect your respiratory tract.

Also, studies suggest that about 10% of people are sensitive to PG. Experts also disclose that the bi-products of the vape have similar irritant effects.

●      Lack Of Anesthetics

Experienced vapers believe that tobacco contains ingredients that prevent a smoker from coughing. They are probably referring to the anesthetics present in tobacco. In addition, other botanical and chemical additives in tobacco reduce the chances of coughing.

The lack of antitussives and anesthetics in vapes explains why users cough the first time they use them. As a result, when a person switches from cigarettes to vaping, coughing is the most common side effect.

There are no chemicals in vapes to neutralize the coughing. Unlike cigarettes, vape companies do not use sneaky techniques to suppress them. We suggest you wait for the cough to fade away naturally. You may even switch to a smaller e-cigarette to help you transition.

●      Throat Hit And Nicotine Strength

Unlike vaping, smoking doesn’t make you cough. However, the primary reason for that is the presence of high nicotine in vapes. Also, smokers might not be in the habit of inhaling such high levels of nicotine.

First-time vapers might be inhaling such high levels of nicotine for the first time. Pure nicotine might be overwhelming for ex-smokers. This change in nicotine can cause a throat hit that is different from cigarettes.

In some events, you might notice a slight burning sensation in the lungs and throat. In addition, you may experience coughing episodes because of the throat hit. Make note that coughing is a natural response to such high levels of nicotine.

●      The Device You’re Using

You might not realize it, but your device might cause intense coughing. Also, many vapers start coughing when they switch to sub-ohm devices for the first time.

Therefore, if coughing is a problem for you, it’s probably your device. It’s better to use a beginner-level device when you start your vaping journey.

Like this: 

Finding the suitable device to complement your vaping skills is the answer to the problem. It’s also worth mentioning that vapes have more nicotine than tobacco. If you are using a vape to get rid of your smoking habit, start slowly and gradually move to a powerful device.

●      The Airflow Setting

Your device’s airflow settings can also cause coughing. Before you overanalyze the answers to why you cough when you vape, it’s essential to know the right reasons. First, the airflow needs to sync with e-liquid vapor.

Based on your tolerance level and preferences, you have to strike a balance between the two. A lower airflow setting will result in a higher concentration of hot vapor and e-juice.

Moreover, it is also ideal for keeping a check on the wattage of your vape pen in the initial stage. Your vape will use a much higher power level when set to high wattage. As a result, you'll be inhaling hot vapor with each puff.

Moreover, it is also ideal for keeping a check on the wattage of your vape pen in the initial stage. At a high watt, your vape will be using much higher power. As a result, in every single puff, you’ll be inhaling g hot vape juice vapor.

The clouds that form through the vapor might look impressive, but they come at a price. Both wattage and airflow lead to coughing.

●      Poor Vape Liquid Quality

Often, the poor quality of the e-liquid should take the blame for causing the cough. You should consider the location of manufacturing for this reason. Some locations are preferable for the production of vapes because of their low cost.

With vapes, you indeed get what you pay for, and that's why you shouldn’t settle for anything cheap. Likewise, don’t go for inexpensive e-liquids as they're probably not of good quality.

Check the brand, manufacturer, and ingredient details of the e-liquid before purchasing it.  You might not be aware, but inhaling low-quality liquid can be more damaging than just coughing.

●      Dehydration

The primary cause of the cough is the e-liquid in the vape pen. The ingredients in the liquid are vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol. These additives are responsible for attracting water particles and causing them to congregate into dense clouds. 

Vapor clouds are something you see when you exhale. If your body feels dehydrated, your throat will also feel rashy, itchy, and dry. This is because the additives in the e-liquid use the water particles in your body to form a vapor.

The lack of hydration will discomfort the throat, leading to coughing.

How To Stop Coughing When You Vape

Now that you know the answer to “why do I cough when I vape,” perhaps it’s time to fix it.

Sometimes, smokers who want to switch to vaping are not always successful. A vaping cough is one of the first vaping experiences. You may even cough your lungs out while trying vapor for the first time.

This might make you want to give up on vaping altogether. However, do not let the coughing intimidate you. Here is a round-up of suggestions that can help you mitigate your coughing:

●      Try A Different Technique

As we've already mentioned, your vaping technique might be at fault here. Smokers make the mistake of applying their smoking style to e-cigarettes as well. When you are switching from tobacco to vapor, don’t forget to change the technique as well.

We understand that you might have the habit of inhaling smoke directly into your lungs. But, on the other hand, some people prefer to pull the smoke into their mouth before breathing it in.

These techniques can cause coughing for smokers who want to transition to vaping. Unfortunately, smoking techniques don't work well for everyone. 

Most experienced vapors suggest that they draw vapor into their mouth before breathing it in. If you are a first-time user, we recommend trying this method. However, inhaling the smoke directly into your lungs might take some practice and patience.

Our tip is to go slow and experiment before you settle on any technique. Besides, everyone has different experiences when going from smoking to vaping.

●      Change The Juice Ratio

Vegetable glycerine and PG are the ingredients that make up the body of the vapor. This mixture of liquid trends produces thick vapor clouds that e-cigarettes are notorious for.

Other ingredients, such as flavorings and nicotine, are mere additives to amplify the taste and texture of the e-juice.

For all we know, it might be the reason behind all that coughing. It is also possible that you might be allergic to the fluid. Nicotine, as well as PG, is the ingredient that determines the harshness level of the vapor.

The best way to harmonize the e-juice is by getting a higher vegetable glycerine to PG ratio. Also, until the coughing subsides, you can try reducing the nicotine levels in the fluid.

Once your lungs and throat are used to the e-juice, you can gradually increase the ratio and nicotine levels. You can even give a shot at swapping the flavors. For some people, sweet or menthol tastes are the actual troublemakers.

●      Wait It Out!

For any smoker who is giving up smoking to switch to vaping, there will be a period of adjustment. During this adjustment period, the throat's cilia begin to regrow. In addition, the presence of vapors can cause a tingling sensation in your throat. The results? Endless coughing.

A few others who are trying to transition might also hack up phlegm. This situation occurs since your body is trying to get rid of all that tar due to smoking.

Unfortunately, there’s not much for you to do in such cases. However, you can take baby hits for the first few days until your lungs and throat adjust. Give your lungs some time to heal, and don't take big drags.

It might take your body a week or two to acclimate to the sensation of vapor. Our suggestion is to wait it out.

●      Plenty Of Hydration

What is the one key issue that smokers face? It is a problem of dehydration. The thing is, vaping is not very different when it comes to ripping your body from its hydration levels. 

Similar to cigarettes, a vape is also likely to cause dehydration in your body. For this reason, carrying a bottle of water with you is good practice. All first-time vapers who plan to chain vape should follow this practice.

At first, vaping can cause your throat to feel dry and itchy. After some time, it might feel like your throat is experiencing a drought.

Unfortunately, most vapers ignore the importance of hydration while vaping. Therefore, it would be best to keep a chapstick and water bottle handy whenever you do so.

●      Restricted Airflow

This powerful device can have several issues that may cause the vaper to cough. Typically, a high wattage relates to a robust machine. In addition, as the vaping device creates more and more vapor, the device will get increasingly hotter.

With no other place to escape, that enormous vapor amount will start to condense in your mouth, throat, and lungs. This event triggers unusual irritation. Moreover, if you are taking large puffs or holding the vapor in your lungs for long, it can be a significant problem.

By limiting the airflow and restricting the wattage, you’ll be able to consume longer hits with a safe amount of vapor.

●      Slow Down

When switching from smoking to vaping, you might feel the temptation to puff cloud after cloud. We hate to break it to you, but this temptation is a terrible idea.

As the liquid inside the vaporizer begins to heat up, its likelihood of overflowing into the chamber also increases. It can even result in hot juice being splashed into your mouth.

Another problem is that the wick might not have enough time to soak in the liquid between the constant hits. Sometimes, this can cause a 'dry hit.'

Since they are unexpected, dry hits can take you by surprise and feel painful. The combination of hot air and burnt cotton can result in a never-ending string of coughs. That’s not it; it leaves behind a very terrible taste as well.

You can skip past such painful experiences by taking it slow and keeping an eye on the juice reservoir.

●      Using Nicotine Salts

Nicotine salts can alleviate coughing in most situations. By vaping nicotine salts, you can soften the throat hit. This ingredient enables users to puff at high nicotine levels without experiencing a harsh throat hit.

If you feel the throat hit from vaping to be uncomfortable, it’s worth giving nicotine salts a shot. You can find many vape pens with nicotine salts. Also, note that nicotine salts are best suited for low-powered vapes and not high-powered mods!

●      The Coil Needs A Switch

After a period of extensive usage, your vape will need some maintenance. You have to swap the old coil for a new one. The wick that is responsible for absorbing the juice equips cotton as its primary material.

To create the vapor, the e-cigarette heats the cotton. After repeated usage, the cotton will be clogged with carbon and start getting burned.

Is there a specific time after which you should change the coil?

Unfortunately, no. Some vapers claim that their coil only lasts for less than a week. However, that’s not the case with the majority of the vapes. You can keep an eye for two signals that scream “coil change.”

The first indication is when the juice that comes from the vaporizer seems to taste a little off. The second indication is the poor clarity and volume of the vapor.

Almost everyone had a slight wheeze during their first vaping session. However, changing the coil can fix the problem.

The Bright Side Of Vaping

As a general rule, more than half of first-time vape users end their sessions coughing. We suggest not giving up at the sight of the first hurdle. You might be convinced to overcome this problem if you knew the benefits of vaping.

To start with, most vaping side effects are temporary and minor. The good news is that research has discovered several advantages to vaping.

If you are planning to switch entirely over to vaping, brace yourself for multiple physical benefits. The overall benefits outshine these minor issues like coughing. 

You’ll notice an improvement in breathing and respiratory health. Vape users also claim that there is no obnoxious air lingering after they take a puff. And you’ll be delighted to know that switching to a vape will improve your blood pressure.

One of the significant benefits of switching from tobacco to vape is the improved sense of smell and taste. After learning about these benefits, we are sure that a week-long cough won’t be much of a deal breaker.

Key Takeaways

You have to learn a few things about why you cough when you vape—after that, stopping just takes a little patience. You’ll experience throat irritation and coughing for a couple of weeks when you first start vaping. Eventually, it won’t be an issue.

Besides, vaping has many health benefits compared to cigarettes. So even though transitioning to vaping can be full of hurdles, we don’t recommend giving it up.

You can follow the guidelines we have mentioned above. Alternatively, you can try using a dry herb vapor if you continue coughing. Just remember to take it slow and easy!