You’ve taken your first hit off of an electronic cigarette, and it’s far from the pleasurable experience your friends have raved about. You find yourself coughing and sputtering more than you ever did with a combustible tobacco cigarette, leaving you with the burning question: “Why do these things make me cough?” There are several possible explanations for your coughing jags, which will fortunately subside with time or a few adjustments.
Combatting Side Effects of Vapor Cigarettes
When first making the switch from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, new users may experience a few side effects, such as coughing and an overly dry, irritated throat. Heavy and long-term smokers may also experience symptoms associated with the common flu (influenza), which has become so common that it has earned its own name as the “Smoker’s Flu”. Unpleasant side effects of vapor cigarettes usually subside after the e-cig user has become accustomed to vaping; however, there are a few things to keep in mind when making the switch.
Vaping vs. Smoking: A Different Type of Throat Hit
“Throat hit” is a commonly used term among smokers and vapers, and it refers to that satisfying sensation you feel at the back of the throat and in the lungs when you take a drag. When using an e-cigarette for the first time, the sensation is different than with a regular cigarette and can be shocking to your system. Your body will eventually get used to the way the vapor feels, but with your first few drags, your throat and lungs will likely treat it as a foreign substance and try to expel it by coughing. Taking shallow hits and adjusting nicotine levels will help your body adjust.
E-Cigs vs. Dehydration: Hydration is Key
The propylene glycol (PG) in electronic cigarettes is used as an excipient (carrier) for the nicotine and flavorings in e-liquid, and is one of the ingredients used to produce rich, satisfying vapor. PG can have a drying effect on the soft tissues of the mouth and throat, which may lead to coughing. Some users find the dry throat sensation abates after a few days, but others continue to feel slightly dehydrated. This is easily remedied by drinking lots of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.
Sensitivity to Propylene Glycol
Although sensitivities rarely occur, some people may have reactions to propylene glycol. About 1 in 10 e-cig users may experience some form of sensitivity to PG. These sensitivities most often present themselves as itchy, red skin irritations; however, coughing that doesn’t subside may be another sign of a reaction. If you experience a persistent cough with throat sensitivity or an allergic reaction after switching to e-cigs, we recommend contacting a medical professional to rule out PG sensitivity.
Clearing Your Lungs: The Smoker’s Flu
If you’ve given up tobacco cigarettes completely in favor of electronic cigarettes, your lungs are going to thank you, but first they will alarm you by purging all of the tar, mucus and other contaminates that they have accumulated due to your smoking habit. You may feel disgusting during the process, which can take a month or longer, but try to think of each coughing fit as a makeover of sorts for your lungs. This is what is known as the “Smoker’s Flu”, as mentioned above. Much like combatting the common flu, drinking plenty of fluids can help speed up the process.
If you’re having any issues adjusting to electronic cigarettes, check out the helpful e-cigarette FAQ section on our website, or contact our award-winning customer support team and they will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about electronic cigarettes. At White Cloud, we are dedicated to helping new e-cig users find the right products and nicotine strengths for an ideal vaping experience.
Author: Michael Murray