Here are the common side effects vapers have reported in a survey involving over 19,000 people worldwide:
It’s important to mention that the health effects of vaping are not widely understood, and not everyone will experience these perceived symptoms. As the study above cited, 40% of participants didn’t report any noticeable side effect at all.
With that being said, about 65% of the reported symptoms were related to dry mouth, sore throat, cough, or gum problems. What’s even better is that 90% of these symptoms are avoidable or partially resolvable.
To better assess why you are experiencing some of these reported symptoms, you will learn the following:
If you are quitting cigarettes, you might mistake the symptoms of quitting for the side effects of vaping.
When you quit smoking, two things can cause you to have undesirable symptoms:
You may experience negative effects from quitting, but it’s your body’s natural response to clearing up your lungs from the years of smoking. You may experience flu-like symptoms such as coughing and sore throat. The good news is that these health effects are temporary and it’s a sign that your body is healing.
To speed up the process, be sure to keep hydrated and having a humidifier will make it easier for you to cough up the mucus.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and when you quit smoking, you will experience nicotine withdrawal. This is what makes it difficult for smokers to quit and one of the reasons why many smokers transition into vaping.
Vape juice also contains nicotine, but nicotine is absorbed differently in your bloodstream compared to smoking.
When you vape regular vape juice or freebase nicotine, it can take up to 30 minutes to get the equivalent amount of nicotine as smoking a cigarette in the first 5 minutes.
Due to the differences in how nicotine is delivered, when you start vaping, you can still get nicotine withdrawal symptoms with intense cravings for smoking a cigarette. It will also lead new vapers to vape excessively and cause symptoms of nicotine poisoning.
If you haven’t heard about nicotine salts, it’s a new thing on the block that replicates the nicotine sensation of a cigarette. Learn more about it here!
Smokers who are new to vaping have a tendency to vape too much or chain vape. This is because vaping takes longer for the nicotine to be delivered into your bloodstream than a cigarette would. Beginners will have a tendency to think they are not getting enough nicotine and will continue to vape which will result in vapers to get sick from the nicotine.
Here are the possible side effects from having too much nicotine:
These side effects can last up to an hour or two. For severe nicotine poisoning symptoms, it may last up to 24 hours. Remember, nicotine can be fatal among children if a child accidentally drinks an e-juice bottle or gets e-juice on their skin.
Getting nicotine sick or having mild nicotine poisoning is entirely avoidable. If you start to experience headaches, feel nauseous, or get the jitters, it’s best that you take a break. If you continue to vape, you will only make it worse. As long as you recognize the symptoms, you can avoid worsening the adverse effects.
If you get e-liquid on your skin, it’s not likely you will get nicotine poisoning unless you put your hand in a vat full of e-juice. If you do get e-juice on your skin, immediately run it through warm water and you should be good to go.
Another thing to consider is if you have a tendency to chain vape, you may want to choose a nicotine level that works best for you.
Read more on how to choose the right nicotine strength!
Nicotine is one of the main ingredients in e-juice that can cause adverse effects. However, you can order e-juice without nicotine although you can still get adverse effects from propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin such as dehydration.
Let’s explore some of the possible side effects from propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.
Propylene glycol (PG) is the main ingredient responsible for carrying the flavoring in your vape juice. PG is found in everyday items such as personal care products and foods. Although PG is approved by the FDA for human ingestion, the health effects of inhalation are not widely understood.
Due to its humectant properties, it is known to cause dehydration among vapers who use higher PG ratios.
Here are the side effects of propylene glycol reported by vapers caused by dehydration.
People who may be allergic to PG may experience these symptoms:
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is a viscous liquid that makes up for the majority of the e-liquid and it’s responsible for producing a smooth inhale and the thick clouds you see when vapers exhale.
VG is commonly found in shampoo, soap, deodorant, and baked goods. It is an FDA approved ingredient for human consumption, but not much is known on the effects of inhaling this chemical.
Similarly to PG, VG is used as an ingredient to preserve moisture and the side effects reported by vapers are mainly caused by dehydration.
Here are some possible side effects of VG reported by vapers:
Being allergic to vegetable glycerin is rare, and vaping comes with a territory. If you are experiencing these side effects, you may not be able to avoid them completely, but you can reduce them.
From what we know currently, the negative side effects stem either from quitting cigarettes, getting too much nicotine, or dehydration.
In a study conducted on online vaping forums, researchers have reported 405 different symptoms where 78 were related to positive side effects. Many of the positive side effects were associated with an improvement in the respiratory system.
Let’s go over some of the positive side effects reported by smokers who switched from smoking to vaping:
Although vaping can cause undesirable effects, many ex-smokers have benefited from switching to vaping. One of the main reason people are turning to vaping is that we know smoking is bad for your health. If you read our vaping vs smoking article, NASEM has reported conclusively that vaping is much safer due to the lower levels of toxicants in e-liquid compared to cigarettes.
Long-term side effects of vaping are not yet known. From the current evidence, we know that vaping can’t be worse than smoking. However, what we don’t know is if the level of toxicants is at a high enough level to cause long-term damage.
In a study examining vapers who have vaped every day for the past 3.5 years, researchers haven't found any signs of lung damage. Although the study only looked at nine vapers who have never smoked, it is still a positive sign that vaping may not be dangerous in the long run.
We may not know the long-term effects of vaping, but we know that smoking is definitively bad for your health and the improvement in your quality of life is worth the effort.
Tell us what side effects you have reported and how you have resolved them? Feel free to share your experience so you can help others learn!
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