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Vaping Side Effects

Vaping Side Effects & Safety: How to Protect Yourself From Harmful Chemicals

Although vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, it isn’t free from side effects. If you’re interested in starting vaping, or you’ve recently switched and are wondering if what you’re experiencing is normal, finding out about the common side effects of vaping can help to set your mind at ease. Thankfully, all of the vaping side effects identified in research so far are very minor, and usually clear up over time. However, finding out how to minimize them and how to make sure you’re vaping as safely as possible is still a good idea.

What Are the Side Effects From Vaping?

There are many ways to find out about the side effects of vaping, but the most reliable is to look at the scientific evidence on vaping, and in particular, what smokers trying to quit as part of studies report. There are quite a lot of studies addressing the question of whether vaping is useful for smokers trying to quit, and many ask the people participating to record any vaping side effects they experience.

We’ve looked through a total of seven different studies (see the references at the bottom of the post for a full list) which asked their participants about any side effects they experienced, and on the whole, the results were pretty unanimous. So, if you’re looking to find out about the side effects from vaping, these are the most important ones.

Mouth and Throat Irritation

Although mouth and throat irritation is classed as one of the side effects of vaping, it’s actually more of an intended effect than anything else. Smoke is inherently irritating to your mouth and throat, and for vaping to be a good replacement for smoking, it had to replicate this sensation. This is one of the main reasons PG (propylene glycol) is used in the majority of e-juices: it provides a smoking-like “throat hit” when you inhale it.

So it’s not really surprising that between 20 and 30 % of participants in various quitting studies reported irritation of the mouth and throat. Really, everyone would be expected to have this, but this shows that it’s worse for some vapers than others. In every study tracking this side effect over time, though, it got less common the more people got used to vaping.

Dry Throat and Mouth

One of the other most common vape side effects is a dry mouth and throat. This results from the properties of PG and VG (vegetable glycerin). Both of these ingredients are “hygroscopic,” which means they absorb moisture from their environments. So when you inhale vapor, your mouth and throat come into contact with PG and VG, and lose some of their moisture to the chemicals as a result.

This was also reported by around 20 to 30 percent of users in the studies, and although it got less common over time, it didn’t decrease as much as mouth and throat irritation did. Of course, this can be rectified by staying well hydrated when you vape.

Sore Throat

Like the other two side effects from vaping covered so far, the fact that some users get a sore throat is due to the main ingredients of e-liquid. In the case of sore throat, the “throat hit” from PG is the most likely culprit. The distinction between “sore throat” and irritation isn’t crystal-clear, but it’s best just to think about a sore throat as a persistent and likely painful irritation. This was less common than irritation (only affecting fewer than 10 percent of vapers in the studies), but can be a big issue for some vapers, in particular just-switching smokers.

We’ve known for a while that some people are particularly sensitive to the throat-irritating effects of PG. For these vapers, any e-juice with a high PG content can be very uncomfortable to use, and may even be so bad that they can’t continue to vape it. In these cases, switching to higher-VG e-liquids may be the best solution. However, higher nicotine e-liquids can also be harsher to vape, so if you’re struggling with this vaping side effect, you could also try reducing your nicotine level and see if that helps.

Cough

Another of the most common vaping side effects is coughing, which affects between 20 and 30 percent of new vapers based on published research. As you may expect by now, this is again related to the “throat hit” aspect of vaping. PG irritates your throat, and for many users this leads to a dry cough.

However, there is a little more to coughing and vaping than just PG. It may also be related to how you inhale when you vape. Smokers tend to inhale into their mouths first and then their lungs (called a mouth to lung inhale), whereas longer-term vapers inhale directly into their lungs. Mouth to lung inhales don’t cause problems when your e-cig is well-suited to it – usually when you have a tight airflow – but if your atomizer is better suited to lung inhales (like most sub ohm tanks are), trying a mouth to lung inhale can easily lead to coughing. Additionally, variable wattage e-cigs set at high power produce more vapor and warmer vapor, which can also cause coughing in new users.

The good news is that this is another of the side effects from vaping which gets better over time. Peer-reviewed studies show this to be the case, but it’s most impressively demonstrated by a survey of vapers conducted by E-Cigarette Direct. This found that over half of users coughed when they were new to vaping, but at the time of the survey, over 90 percent no longer coughed. The post accompanying this survey suggests trying a new PG/VG ratio, trying inhaling in a different way, drinking more water and reducing your nicotine level to stop coughing when you vape.

Headaches

This may seem like a strange one, but one of the other most common side effects from vaping is headaches. Estimates for how common headaches from vaping are vary quite a bit, though, with one study only suggesting about 12 percent of users experience the side effect, but others putting the figure at about 27 percent.

This is probably caused by dehydration. Because the main ingredients of e-juice suck moisture out of their surroundings (which is why they cause dry mouths and throats), this leads to many vapers getting dehydrated after a day of us, which in turn can cause headaches. Thankfully, the simple cause of the headache has an equally simple solution: make sure you stay hydrated when you vape.

Dizziness and Nausea

Finally, dizziness and nausea are also commonly reported as e-cigarette side effects. About 15 percent of new vapers experience this, according to published research. Some of the studies report this getting less common over time, but the change isn’t as unanimous as for the other vape side effects we’ve covered in this post.

So what causes dizziness and nausea from vaping? This time, the culprit is likely to be nicotine. In fact, mild nausea and some dizziness is often the first sign that you’ve had a bit too much nicotine and you need to leave your e-cig alone for a little while. If you’re suffering from this regularly, it could be that the nicotine level you’ve chosen is too high for you, so try out an e-juice in a lower nicotine level and see if it improves.

How to Minimize the Side Effects From Vaping and General Safety Tips

This advice has been briefly covered in the relevant sections above too, but we’ll collect it all here for easy reference. Here are the simplest ways to reduce the side effects from vaping:

  • Try Different PG/VG Ratios: PG produces a strong throat hit, so higher-PG e-juice can often make problems like mouth and throat irritation or coughing worse. Most vapers find an even mix (50/50 PG/VG) absolutely fine, but if you get a more severe sore throat when you vape or still have problems with an even mix of PG and VG, it’s worth trying a higher-VG mix to see if it helps.
  • Reduce Your Nicotine Strength: Although higher nicotine strengths are generally good when you’re trying to quit smoking, higher-nicotine juices can cause vaping side effects like dry throat, irritation, coughing and dizziness or nausea. If you’re experiencing these issues, consider switching to a lower-nicotine juice.
  • Change How You Inhale: If you have a higher-power e-cig or an atomizer with a lot of airflow, mouth-to-lung inhales might not be the best approach. Try one-stage “direct to lung” inhales and see if it helps. Or, if you have a low airflow atomizer, make sure you’re using two-stage mouth-to-lung inhales. You can also close off or open up your airflow to suit your inhalation style.
  • Stay Hydrated: If you’re having problems with a dry mouth and throat, or you’re suffering headaches after a day of vaping, the solution is simple: drink more water! Staying hydrated is a good idea anyway, but when you vape it’s absolutely essential.
  • Give it Time: If the side effects you’re experiencing aren’t too severe, you can always just power through and see if it gets more manageable with time. Most vaping side effects reduce with time, so you might just need a little longer to get used to it.

Staying Safe When You Vape

Although most side effects of vaping are to do with how you vape or what you vape, there are also a couple of general safety tips you should follow to stay as safe as possible that also may reduce the side effects you experience.

The Benefits of Temperature Control

Firstly, if you’re finding vaping too harsh on your throat or are regularly coughing when you vape, you may benefit from switching to a temperature control e-cig. These limit the maximum temperature of your coil and effectively remove “dry puffs” – which are harsh on your throat and generally taste unpleasant – and ensure you get consistent performance from your device.

Why Quality Matters When it Comes to E-Juice

When E-Cigarette Direct investigated the issue of coughing when you vape, they spoke to Professor Riccardo Polosa, who pointed out that:

“We cannot discount the possibility of other unknown ingredients, contaminants, by-products in the e-vapour causing similar irritant effects.”

In other words, if you’re e-juice has contaminants, this could also be causing the irritation to your mouth and throat when you vape. The solution to this is simple: make sure you buy high-quality e-juice from reputable companies.

Here at Black Note, we take the quality of our juice very seriously, and take special care to ensure purity and consistency with every batch. We even get our juices tested by an independent lab to ensure freedom from contaminants and chemicals that can cause irritation like acrolein. 

Other Ingredients to Avoid

Although these are unlikely to contribute to immediate side effects from vaping, there are a few other things you should look out for when you’re buying e-juice.

The most well-known of these is diacetyl. This is a buttery flavoring that has been linked to lung disease (more on this here) and should be avoided by health-conscious vapers. The similar chemical acetyl propionyl is expected to carry similar risks, and although acetoin isn’t dangerous in itself, it’s often contaminated with diacetyl.

Black Note’s e-juice is certified by an independent lab to be free from all of these chemicals (and more).

Conclusion – Vaping Side Effects Aren’t Serious, And Can Be Avoided

Whenever you inhale anything that isn’t air, take any medication or do pretty much anything, there can be side effects, and vaping is no different. The good news for vapers and just-switching smokers is that the side effects from vaping appear to be minimal, don’t affect every user and tend to clear up with time. Even better than this, if you choose your e-juice carefully and take some steps to reduce any potential issues, you’ll probably be able to avoid them altogether or at least make them manageable. After you’ve taken a few simple precautions, you can focus on what’s really important: quitting smoking and managing your cravings.

References

Adriaens. K. et. al. (2014) Effectiveness of the Electronic Cigarette: An Eight-Week Flemish Study with Six-Month Follow-up on Smoking Reduction, Craving and Experienced Benefits and Complaints

Polosa, R. et. al. (2014) Success rates with nicotine personal vaporizers: a prospective 6-month pilot study of smokers not intending to quit

Polosa, R. et. al. (2014) Effectiveness and tolerability of electronic cigarette in real-life: a 24-month prospective observational study

Bullen, C. et. al. (2013) Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: a randomised controlled trial

Caponnetto, P. et. al. (2013) EffiCiency and Safety of an eLectronic cigAreTte (ECLAT) as Tobacco Cigarettes Substitute: A Prospective 12-Month Randomized Control Design Study

Caponnetto, P. et. al. (2013) Impact of an Electronic Cigarette on Smoking Reduction and Cessation in Schizophrenic Smokers: A Prospective 12-Month Pilot Study

Polosa, R. et. al. (2011) Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e-Cigarette) on smoking reduction and cessation: a prospective 6-month pilot study

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Writer at Black Note
Lee is a writer and vaper from the UK. He quit smoking (without intending to) when he started vaping in 2012, and now writes for EcigaretteReviewed and E-Cigarette Direct's Ashtray Blog. He's always searching for a new all-day vape, loves rebuilding and is passionate about providing smokers with accurate information about the harm reduction potential of vaping. He drinks too much tea.
Lee Johnson

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What is E-Juice?

E-juice, also known as e-liquid or vaping liquid, is the liquid that’s placed in the vaping device and subsequently atomized into vapor. When you go to buy e-juice, you’ll notice it contains a mix of several ingredients. These typically include vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), some type of flavoring, and nicotine.

VG and PG form the base of the e-liquid. VG is a component used in food and personal care products; its role in e-liquid is to create a thick, dense vapor. PG is another popular solvent used in a variety of everyday items. It carries the e-liquid flavor, provides the “throat hit,” and enhances the vaping liquid’s ability to soak into wicks or cartomizer materials.

Nicotine is an optional ingredient, often available in different levels. E-juice also contains some type of flavoring.

Black Note leads the pack of tobacco vaping liquid by using only natural flavoring – extract from real tobacco leaves to produce real tobacco taste. When you go to buy e-juice from other companies, you may find any number of chemicals used to create synthetic flavors that include fake strawberry, manufactured vanilla, and even man-made tobacco flavors.

If your aim when you buy e-liquid is to experience the subtle nuances, genuine flair and authentic taste of real tobacco, then you’ll be on the mark if you buy e-juice from the Black Note lineup.

Best E-Juice

When you’re going to buy e-liquid, it’s only natural you’ll want the best e-liquid. But what, exactly, does it “best e-juice” mean? We’ll tell you.

For starters, you’ll want an e-juice that doesn’t contain all kinds of strange chemicals and concoctions that you can’t even pronounce. True, even the best e-liquid will contain vegetable glycerin (VG) and proplene glycol (PG), which serve as the base of e-juice, but you don’t necessarily need a host of other chemical compounds.

The best e-juice will stick to natural ingredients, like real tobacco extract, rather than rely on synthetic flavorings, colorings and other additives. Diacetyl is one of those synthetic ingredients that has gotten a pretty bad rap, although its use is not all that uncommon for producing sweet e juice flavors.

Definitely read the ingredient list before you buy e-juice to ensure you recognize what’s on it. Better yet, see if the e-juice company offers a lab report to confirm what’s actually inside the e-liquid.

In addition to having as few chemical ingredients as possible, the best e-juice will have an amazing taste. For those who enjoy authenticity over imitation, the most amazing taste is the most natural taste, especially when it comes to tobacco. Since Black Note uses real extract from tobacco leaves, we not only avoid all those weird chemical flavorings, but we also produce the most authentic experience: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like tobacco.

Best E-Liquid on the Market

Anyone looking for the best e-liquid on the market need look no further than Black Note. Black Note tobacco vaping liquid ranks as the best e-juice across the board in every category, starting with the taste.

Black Note’s main claim to fame is producing a tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. That because we use real tobacco extract, not chemicals, to create the best e-juice tobacco flavor. Using extract from real tobacco leaves retains tobacco’s nuances and flavor notes, giving you the most authentic and multi-faceted tobacco experience.

In addition to being the best e-juice for tobacco taste, Black Note also has the best e-liquid manufacturing process. We spent years researching and testing various production methods, and finally landed on one that we believe is absolutely perfect.

It starts with growing carefully selected tobacco seeds, followed by an equally precise of steps that include an extensive natural extraction process. Even our bottling and packaging is done with the utmost care, using recycled and recyclable packaging materials to ensure our products are as earth-friendly as they are vapor-friendly.

One more category where Black Note ranks as the best e-liquid is with the value. Every order comes with free domestic shipping, one-to-three day domestic shipping guarantee, and a 90-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, or don’t agree we’re the best e-juice on the market, send it back on us and we’ll refund your money.

Vape Juice Ingredients

Vape juice ingredients can be pretty straightforward – or not. At the very least, most vape juice contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and some type of flavoring. Nicotine has largely become an optional ingredient that can be included at varying levels or left out altogether.

Vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are usually the two main ingredients that make up the base of most vape juice.

VG is a plant-based substance with the ability to produce a dense, thick vapor. PG is an additive found in many food items and certain medicines. It carries the flavoring, provides the “throat hit” and enhances the vape juice’s ability to soak into the wicking materials.

Nicotine levels can vary, as can ingredients that make up the flavorings. The components that make up vape juice flavoring are where ingredients can get rather complicated.

Vape juice that relies on artificial flavorings can contain any number of extraneous chemicals and other additives, whatever it takes to recreate the flavor the ecig juice is going for.

Black Note uses only natural flavorings: extract from real tobacco leaves. That keeps our ingredient list incredibly simple, backed by a lab report to prove it. You won’t find any strange chemical concoctions used to produce our tobacco flavor, just real tobacco extract that delivers a real tobacco experience.

What is the Best Flavor for Ecig Juice?

From strawberry shortcake to banana rum, ecig juice comes in tons of flavors. While folks can debate and discuss all the fruity, sweet or food-like flavors all day long, the best flavor for e-cig liquid is straight-up tobacco.

Why? Vaping was originally created as an alternative for traditional cigarettes, mainly for those who enjoy the taste of tobacco. And when you can find an e-cig liquid that is able to recreate tobacco’s full-bodied yet delicate flavor notes and nuances, but without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, then you’ve found the best ecig juice.

Recreating tobacco’s complex flavor isn’t easy, especially when it’s attempted with artificial ingredients. That’s why Black Note sticks to the real thing, extracting the essence of real tobacco leaves to flavor our vaping liquid. Not only does this avoid the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, but it also eliminates the flavoring chemicals found in many ecig juices. The end result is real tobacco taste, an authentic tobacco experience and the best flavor for ecig juice you can find.

Notice also we said the best e-cig flavor was straight-up tobacco, not plain old tobacco. Black Note’s real tobacco vaping liquid happens to come in a variety of different blends, from the light and airy to the peppery and robust. Not all tobacco is created equal, and different blends capture the specialized subtleties that make each tobacco unique.

Best Sweet Tobacco E-Juice

When it comes to sweet tobacco e-juice, your options can be broken down into two categories.

The first category contains tobacco e-juice that overlays the tobacco flavor with artificial chocolate, caramel, vanilla, fruity or other dessert-like flavorings. We wouldn’t classify any such flavors as the best tobacco e liquid, simply because they typically use chemicals and other artificial ingredients to create the tobacco taste, the sweet taste, or both.

The second category of sweet tobacco e-juice is where you’ll find the best tobacco e-liquid, sweet or otherwise. This category contains vaping liquid created using only natural flavorings, which is exactly where Black Note fits in. Instead of concocting flavors using synthetic ingredients, Black Note uses an extensive extraction process that slowly and deliberately extracts the tobacco essence from real tobacco leaves.

The result is the best tobacco e-juice: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. And if you’re going for the best sweet tobacco e liquid, we have a few tobacco blends that offer varying levels of sweetness.

Prelude is our sweetest tobacco e-liquid, containing golden Virginia tobacco. Made from fire-cured dark Virginia tobacco, Sonata is our Cavendish blend with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. Solo is our menthol blend, giving you a semi-sweet minty taste created from natural menthol crystals extract from dried mint leaves.

For the best tobacco e-liquid that’s naturally sweet and remarkably delicious, Black Note is at your service.

WARNING: Black Note products are not smoking cessation products and have not been tested as such. Black Note products are intended for use by adults of legal smoking age (21 or older in California), and not by children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Black Note products contain nicotine, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients can be poisonous. Keep out of reach of children and pets. For immediate advice, contact poison control center: (800) 222-1222