You’ve taken your first hit off of an e-cig, and it’s not quite what you expected. 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 cough, which will fortunately subside with time or a few adjustments.
Combatting Side Effects of Vapor Cigarettes
When making the switch from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, new users may experience side effects, such as a cough and a 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”. Side effects of e-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 term used among smokers and vapers, and it refers to that sensation you feel at the back of the throat and lungs when you take a drag. When using an e-cigarette for the first time, the feeling is different than a regular cigarette and can be shocking to your body. With your first few drags, your throat and lungs will likely try to expel it by coughing. Your body will eventually adjust to the way the vapor feels. 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. This effect is what often leads the vaper to cough. 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. Coughing that doesn’t subside may be another sign of a reaction. If you have an ongoing cough 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. They’ll start by purging all of the tar, mucus and other “gunk” that they have accumulated due to your smoking habit. You may feel disgusting during the month-long process, but try to think of each cough as clean-out 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. Feel free to 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, our goal is to help new e-cig users find the right products for an ideal vaping experience.