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A Guide to Vaper's Tongue

Vaper’s tongue: it has happened to everybody at some point, but to new vapers it can seem like something is going wrong. One minute everything tastes wonderful, the next and you are wondering where the flavour has gone. What is vaper’s tongue and what can you do about it?

What is vaper’s tongue?

Vaper’s tongue is the term given to the phenomenon where a person using an e-cigarette suddenly finds that they can’t taste the juice as well as they once did or at all.

Who does it happen to?

Vaper’s tongue happens to almost every e-cig user at some point – especially in the early days after switching.

How long can vaper’s tongue last for?

How long is a piece of string? For some it can be a matter of days, for others it can stretch into weeks.

Does this mean I’m not taking in any nicotine?

No. This is something that just impacts on your ability to taste the juice. As you vape, nicotine will still enter your body and you will still be able to produce clouds.

Why do I stop tasting my juice?

The tongue consists of a million cells (sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami) which tell the brain what flavours they can “taste”. Either through over-stimulation or having a dry mouth, the cells can stop functioning as they should.

Could this have something to do with my nose?

Yes, that too. What we taste is inextricably linked to what we smell, as you can see from this video. In an article in The Guardian, Dr Alan Hirsch of the Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago is quoted as saying “90% of what is perceived as taste is actually smell”.

Could this have something to do with me just quitting smoking?

Yes, this as well. Smoking has a disastrous impact on the mouth and your ability to taste – something that gradually returns the longer you remain cigarette-free.

So, what can I do if I have vaper’s tongue?

There are a number of steps you can work through:

  • Firstly, the one you should be doing anyway, drink more water. A hydrated mouth is a happy mouth.
  • Secondly, cut down on your coffee and alcohol consumption as they dry out the mouth (as does vaping).
  • Next, try using a mouthwash regularly – strong minty ones are the best.
  • Also, brush your teeth regularly – using one of those toothbrushes that have a part that cleans the tongue is best too as it will remove3 the dead cells from the surface allowing the new taste cells underneath to do their job.
  • Try a nasal spray to clean out your nostrils.
  • Are you still smoking too? Don’t. Try increasing your nicotine content in your e-liquid to help you manage that change.
  • Do you vape a lot? Again, increasing the nicotine content of your e-liquid will help you to vape less frequently and give your tongue a chance to recover its ability to taste again.
  • Swap out your favourite juice for a menthol, cooling or aniseed flavour. For many vapers this works on its own. Failing that, try having a mint in your mouth while vaping.

Will this cure everything?

For most e-cig users, one or more of the above steps will sort everything out for you…but…if the problem persists then you should be aware that there are some illnesses and medications that result in a loss of taste. If you find this is happening to you then it might be a very good idea to see your local GP.

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