One of the most difficult situations that you can encounter as a new vaper is making the switch to vaping and finding that you don’t really enjoy it. If your first experience with vaping isn’t a good one, it can really be a let-down.
You’ve probably tried to use traditional quit-smoking aids and weren’t successful. You’ve heard about the millions of people around the world who have quit smoking with the help of vaping, and you thought that it would be easy for you to join those people and finally become smoke free. When you received your first vaping device and bottle of e-liquid, though, you gave it a try and ended up with a sore throat.
We’re going to start by giving you a few words of encouragement. Vaping definitely shouldn’t cause a sore throat. If you’re experiencing throat irritation from vaping, you can fix the problem fairly easily if you understand what’s causing it. So, why might you get a sore throat from vaping? Let’s look at the most common causes and how to fix them.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice. If you notice worrying symptoms, call NHS on 111 for help.
If you’ve just stopped smoking, the first thing you need to know is that there are several side effects of quitting smoking that have nothing to do with vaping; you’d experience those same side effects if you were using any other nicotine replacement product. One of the most common side effects is a sore throat, and that happens because long-term smokers usually experience several days or weeks of increased coughing when they quit.
The coughing happens because the cilia in your lungs become more active when you quit, and that triggers a clean-out process in which your lungs begin to remove the tar that’s accumulated over the years. If you’ve just quit smoking and are coughing more frequently, it’s likely that the coughing — not the fact that you’re vaping — is what’s causing your sore throat.
Buying e-liquid for the first time is one of the biggest challenges of switching successfully from smoking to vaping. When you read about vaping online, you’ll find that experts often recommend high-strength nicotine salt e-liquid for new vapers. The problem, though, is that high-strength e-liquid is only the right choice if you’re using a low-power vaping device.
When you bought your first vape kit, did you buy a large and colourful device with a glass tank? If you did, your vaping device is much too powerful for the e-liquid you’re using. You’re inhaling so much nicotine with each puff that it’s creating an overwhelming level of throat hit and giving you a sore throat.
To fix that issue, you can either buy a smaller vaping device such as a pod system — which is what we recommend for new vapers — or you can switch to a lower-strength e-liquid.
Learn more about how to choose nicotine strength in our E-liquid Nicotine Strength Guide.
When you shop for e-liquid, you’ve probably noticed that vape juice usually has its PG/VG ratio printed on the label. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine are the two base liquids that make up the majority of any bottle of vape juice. PG and VG have slightly different properties, and that’s why e-liquids are available with a variety of different PG/VG ratios.
If you get a sore throat from vaping, you may want to look for an e-liquid with a higher percentage of VG. That’s because VG tends to be smoother, while PG tends to provide a stronger throat hit.
As you’ve tried to figure out why vaping is giving you a sore throat, have you concluded that none of the explanations in this article seem to apply to you because your sore throat came on gradually rather than suddenly?
It’s likely that the atomizer coil in your tank or pod has reached the end of its life.
A vape coil can burn out for two reasons. The coil’s cotton wick can burn if the coil isn’t installed properly or if you’ve forgotten to keep your tank full. The other reason why a coil can burn out is because e-liquid residue collects on the surface of the coil and eventually changes the coil’s flavour. Regardless of the reason, the way to restore the coil’s original flavour — and cure your sore throat — is by replacing the coil.
The flavour of your vape juice can have a profound effect on your vaping experience, and buying e-liquid isn’t just a matter of choosing a flavour that you’ll enjoy. Some e-liquid flavours are optimised to deliver a stronger throat hit.
When you use a tobacco e-liquid, you may notice a slightly scratchy sensation in your throat because you’re using a vape juice that’s designed to replicate the experience of smoking as closely as possible. In comparison, you will often get a smoother experience from fruity e-liquids.
If you find that vaping irritates your throat regardless of what e-liquid flavour you use, you should give menthol vape juice a try. Because menthol is soothing to the throat, it can greatly increase the smoothness of an e-liquid.
If you’ve tried all of the tips in this article and find that you’re still getting a sore throat from vaping, it’s possible that you’re sensitive or allergic to propylene glycol.
We saved this subtopic for last because PG allergies are rare and because, if you are allergic to PG, you probably already know it, as PG is a common ingredient in a huge variety of cosmetics and other products. If you check the ingredients on your shampoo, deodorant or makeup, you’ll probably find PG. It’s even a common ingredient in many medications and drink mixes. So, it's unlikely that vaping would cause you to discover a previously unknown PG allergy.
However, if you are allergic to PG, a sore throat is one of the symptoms you might experience when vaping — so it’s worth considering the possibility if you’ve tried the other advice in this article without success. In this case, you should try a 100-percent VG e-liquid and see if your sore throat goes away. If it does cure your sore throat, it's also advisable to ask your doctor for an allergy test.