Coughing When Vaping

Did you cough when you tried vaping for the first time? Coughing while vaping is one of the most common complaints among new vapers. The idea of coughing when you vape might seem completely counterintuitive if it happens to you when you try vaping for the first time. Smoking means that you’re inhaling – well – smoke! Vaping means that you’re inhaling a liquid aerosol. Surely the smoke must be harsher, right?

Reading this article, you’re going to learn everything that we know about why you might cough when vaping. We’re also going to suggest some changes that you can try if the coughing doesn’t resolve itself on its own. The good news, though, is that the coughing most likely will resolve itself. It’s extremely common for people to cough when they vape for the first time, and the reason is that smoking and vaping simply feel different from one another. You’ll most likely find that the coughing resolves itself very quickly. If it doesn’t, though, you may find these suggestions useful.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. If you are concerned that your coughing is a symptom of a health issue, contact your doctor.

Try a Super-Smooth Menthol E-Liquid Today

If you find yourself coughing every time you vape, one of the most likely reasons is that your vape juice simply isn't smooth enough. It's also possible that the flavor you're using just doesn't work for you, perhaps because of a bit of unwanted harshness. You need an e-liquid that provides a smooth vaping experience, and that's exactly what you'll get with a menthol e-liquid. Here are a few of the best menthol vape juices on the market today.

  • ASAP Ice by The Mamasan: Fruit-and-menthol blends are the hottest e-liquids on the planet today, and there's nothing better than a nice, complex fruit e-liquid that makes you feel like you're lazing around on the beach with a tropical cocktail in your hand. ASAP Ice by The Mamasan captures that magical feeling with a blend of peach, green apple and strawberry set in a hard candy base and finished with a burst of cold menthol.
  • Reds Apple Iced by 7 Daze: The original Reds by 7 Daze is quite simply the most famous apple vape juice ever created. Until Reds proved the world wrong, everyone in the vaping community simply thought that it wasn't possible to create an apple e-liquid with a truly realistic flavor. If you like to drink your apple juice straight out of the refrigerator, you'll like Reds Apple Iced even more than the original. It's nothing more than a perfect apple juice e-liquid served on ice.
  • Arctic Berry Pom by Air Factory: The Air Factory brand started out with a series of taffy-flavored e-liquids that took the world by storm, and they've never stopped adding new flavors to their expansive product range since those early days. Arctic Berry Pom combines a top note of menthol with a base of pomegranate and ripe summer berries to give you an experience that truly has no equal.

Coughing Is Common During the Transition From Smoking to Vaping

The first thing that you need to know about coughing when vaping is that almost every person coughs when vaping for the first time. As we stated above, vaping doesn’t feel the same as smoking. The fact that you’re inhaling nicotine means that it does feel extremely similar – and if you stop smoking when you start vaping, you’ll find after just a few days that you no longer even notice the difference. There definitely is a difference, though, because aside from the nicotine, the composition of tobacco smoke and e-cigarette vapor have virtually nothing in common.

Another major difference between cigarettes and e-liquid is that cigarettes contain ingredients specifically intended to enhance smoothness, reduce harshness or suppress coughing. Some of those additives include eugenol – a numbing agent – and ammonia, which adjusts the pH of tobacco and tobacco smoke. E-liquid doesn’t contain any of the additives that tobacco companies use to enhance the smoothness of cigarettes with the exception of menthol, which we’ll discuss shortly.

So, in short, you could be coughing simply because vaping feels a bit different from smoking. If that’s the case, you’ll get used to it very quickly.

Coughing Is Also Common When Quitting Smoking

The second most likely reason why vaping makes you cough actually has nothing to do with vaping. Coughing, you see, is one of the most common symptoms that people experience when quitting smoking. When you experience those “quit coughs,” it’s highly likely that you’ll also cough up some fairly unattractive stuff. That’s because the cilia in your lungs – those are the small hairs that help to keep your lungs clean – become less active when you’re a smoker. That makes it easier for tar and other contaminants to collect in your lungs. When you quit smoking, though, the cilia resume their normal activity level – and your lungs are going to want to clean themselves out as quickly as possible. Naturally, that’s going to lead to increased coughing for a while.

Mayo Clinic suggests seeking medical advice if you cough up blood or if your “quit coughs” last longer than a month.

Your Nicotine Strength Could Be Too High

Choosing the right nicotine strength for vaping isn’t easy because the right nicotine strength for your situation is going to change depending on your personal needs and the equipment you’re using. If you’re using a pod vaping system, for instance, the correct nicotine strength will usually be higher because pod-based vaping devices produce smaller vapor clouds. If you’re using a powerful mod, on the other hand, you’ll need to use a lower nicotine strength due to the higher vapor production of your hardware. If you happen to make the error of using a high-strength nicotine salt e-liquid with a powerful mod, you will almost definitely cough because you’re inhaling far more nicotine than you should.

If you’re using a large vape mod with a glass tank, the ideal nicotine strength for you is probably 3-6 mg/ml. If you’re using a small pod-based device, on the other hand, the ideal nicotine strength is probably 25 mg/ml or higher. As always, we encourage you to get in touch if you’re not sure which nicotine strength is the right choice for your vaping device. Our friendly vaping experts are always happy to provide suggestions that can help to make your vaping experience better.

Your E-Liquid May Have the Wrong VG/PG Ratio for Your Needs

One thing you’ll learn very quickly as you gain vaping experience is that e-liquid is primarily made up of two base liquids: vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol (VG and PG). By varying the ratios of those two bases, an e-liquid company can make vape juices with different characteristics. An e-liquid with a high percentage of PG, for instance, will have a stronger throat hit because PG feels slightly scratchy in the throat when it’s vaporized and inhaled. VG, on the other hand, feels smoother, wetter and more soothing in the throat. If vaping makes you cough – and the cough doesn’t go away with time – you might find that your vaping experience will become more pleasant if you switch to an e-liquid with a higher percentage of VG. You can find the VG/PG ratio of almost any e-liquid printed on the bottle’s label.

It’s also worth knowing that a small percentage of people are allergic or sensitive to PG. Propylene glycol is in so many consumer products that you’d probably already know if you were allergic to it. PG is a common ingredient in foods, drink powders, snacks, medications, supplements, lotions, eyedrops, cosmetics and more. Persistent coughing when you vape, however, could possibly be a sign that you’re allergic or sensitive to PG. If nothing else works, you might consider switching to a 100-percent VG e-liquid.

Another element of e-liquid composition that you should think about if vaping makes you cough is whether the e-liquid uses freebase nicotine or nicotine salt. Between the two types of nicotine, nicotine salt has a more neutral pH. Therefore, many people find it smoother and easier to inhale. If you use a pod vaping system, you’re probably using nicotine salt e-liquid anyway. If you’re using a mod, though, there aren’t many companies that make low-strength nicotine salt e-liquids for mods. One-Hit Wonder E-Liquid is one of the few exceptions.

Your Coil May Be Overdue for Replacement

Do you have a cough that didn’t start until after you’d been vaping for a few days? Are you using an e-liquid with a very sweet flavor? If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, it’s likely that you need to replace the atomizer coil in your tank. The thing that’s causing you to cough is probably coil gunk, the residue that forms on your atomizer coil when you use e-liquid that’s sweetened with sucralose.

Sucralose causes residue to form on your vape coil because it doesn’t vaporize. This YouTube video shows what happens when you heat sucralose with glowing metal – which is essentially what a vape coil is. As you’ll see when watching the video, sucralose doesn’t vaporize. It bubbles, caramelizes and burns. The same thing happens when you use sweetened e-liquid.

Most e-liquid is sweetened because that’s what the majority of vapers want. If you use sweetened vape juice, though, you’ll just have to remember that it’ll be necessary to replace your coils more often. If you don’t keep your coils fresh, they’ll eventually become so heavily coated with residue that vaping will make you cough. Alternatively, you can use unsweetened e-liquid. Your coils will last longer, and you never know – some people actually think that unsweetened vape juice tastes better!

You May Find Menthol Helpful if You Cough When Vaping

If you’ve tried every suggestion in this article and find that vaping still makes you cough, maybe you need an e-liquid with an extra ingredient that soothes your throat a bit. That ingredient, of course, is menthol. If you’re new to vaping and weren’t a menthol cigarette smoker, you might have initially ignored menthol vape juice with the assumption that it wouldn’t be the type of flavor that you wanted. Menthol isn’t the same thing for vaping, though, that it is for smoking. If you add menthol to a cigarette, it’s still going to taste like a cigarette because flavored tobacco products aren’t allowed.

In vaping, though, menthol is just one of a wide array of different flavors that can be used for e-liquid. One of the most popular types of menthol vape juice these days, for instance, is the fruit-and-menthol blend popularized by companies like Nasty Juice. When you try these vape juices, you won’t think of them as menthol e-liquids at all. Instead, you’ll think of them is big, bold fruit e-liquids with just a touch of coolness on the finish. That touch of coolness might be all you need to make that cough go away.