When first starting out as a vaper, it is very common to experience a tickly cough either during, or shortly after the act of inhaling your vapour. There are a few reasons for this, and you shouldn’t panic if it happens to you – however as with anything that can indicate a health issue, if you are concerned, even a little, you should speak to your GP.
What can cause vapers to cough?
Choosing the right kind of e-liquid and vaping device can play a big role in minimising coughing, and a little time to adjust if you have just made the switch should also be allowed. It’s a very common phenomenon for new vapers to find the difference in technique a little tricky to adapt to, leading to a few sputters during those first attempts at vaping.
Freebase Vs Nic Salts
The type of nicotine in the e-liquid you choose can have a big impact on how much you cough. Freebase 50-50 e-liquids come in a wider range of strengths to meet your needs, but the higher up the strengths you go, the harsher the throat hit which in turn can make you cough.
If you need higher nicotine levels to manage your cravings, but don’t want a harsh hit, try nic salts – they have been made with special nicotine designed to have a neutral taste even at high strengths like 20mg. while nic salts are less likely to make you cough than freebase, if you know you only need 6mg, you shouldn’t start vaping 20mg just because it’s a smooth nic salt, that will only make your addiction worse.
50-50 vs HVG
It is also important to note that 50-50 e-liquids carry more PG, while this means they can accommodate a bigger range of nicotine strengths, it can also make the juice a little harsher on your throat. High-VG juice is a little smoother by nature as the nic strengths don’t go above 6mg. however while this can lead to a smoother vape, the massive clouds produced by these thicker vape liquids can also trigger coughing if you aren’t used to them!
Don’t vape like a smoker!
A very common reason first time vapers cough is because they drag on a vape as if it were a cigarette. While an understandable habitual behaviour, you will need to adapt if you want to get the most form a vaping journey.
MTL style vaping means mouth-to-lung. This is a style where you inhale into the mouth, then deeper into the lungs then exhale. This is closer to a cigarette style technique but the difference in the volume of vapour vs smoke and also the temperature difference can throw new vapers off.
DTL style vaping means direct-to-lung and involves you taking a deeper inhale straight to the lungs and out again. This is more common amongst HVG vapers, but is a different technique to smoking. It is worth giving yourself time to adjust to these techniques before giving up on vaping, as once you get into the rhythm it becomes second nature.
How to prevent vapers cough
Follow these pointers if you are a new vaper trying to get past the tickly cough:
Choose the right e-liquid for your needs, paying attention to the nicotine type and PG/VG ratio
Choose neutral flavours to begin with until you have acclimatised to vaping
Practice MTL or DTL techniques to get used to the differences from smoking
Pair the right liquid with the right device – 50-50s go with coils rated 1.0ohm or above. HVG 80-20s pair with sub-ohm kits running coils rated 0.9ohm or below.
Take smaller drags to begin with until you acclimatise to vaping
Don’t be afraid to experiment to find a product that works, and give yourself time to adjust
If you are concerned or the cough is worse/more persistent than a little tickle, contact your GP immediately.
With over 6 years within the vaping industry, Ian has amassed a wealth of knowledge. Extending beyond e-liquids and devices, Ian understands every aspect of the vaping world, from safety and compliance to best practice and the law, to name but a few.
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