Why do I Cough When I’m Vaping?

The following content is a guest post. All content and opinions offered in guest posts are solely those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of this site. The article was originally written for the local Toronto vape shop market, but everything applies to people everywhere.


If you have chosen a nicotine level without first visiting your vape shop for suggestions from an experienced vaper or without doing sufficient research, your nicotine strength might be too high. The higher the nicotine, the stronger the throat hit. If your nicotine strength in your Canadian ejuice is too high, it can definitely cause you to cough. The higher the nicotine, the harsher or more intense the throat hit. With mouth to lung tanks, and smaller/lower temperature ecigs, higher nicotine is more suitable. With sub-ohm tanks, which run at higher temperatures, lower nicotine is far more suitable. If you think that your nicotine level could be the issue, try visiting your local Toronto vape shop, to sample lower nicotine levels!

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Coughing when vaping is usually an effect that new vapers experience. This effect has not been scientifically proven, but the cause is most likely the propylene glycol in your ejuice. When you inhale PG for the first time, your body is not used to it, but through sustained use of vaping, you most likely will not experience the coughing anymore.

Another reason that this may happen is if you are shifting from cigarettes, to vaping. A cigarette is a mouth to lung type of draw, but most vape tanks are direct to lung draws. The difference between these two types of draws, is that with a mouth to lung draw, you inhale into your mouth, then into your lungs. With a direct to lung inhale, usually seen in vaporizers or hookahs, you pull the vapour directly into your lungs. If you are used to a mouth to lung draw it may take some getting used to, to be comfortable with a direct to lung inhale. If you find it feels uncomfortable after sustained use, it may be wise to switch to a mouth to lung tank.

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If neither of these reasons seems to be the cause of your coughing and if you have recently shifted from cigarettes to ecigs, there is another possibility. When you quit smoking cigarettes small cilia on

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your respiratory tract start to grow back. These are small hairs, and when they grow it may cause you to cough.


The nicotine level that you absorb varies depending on your electronic cigarette tank. With sub ohm tanks (higher temperature, lower resistance), the nicotine absorption is much higher compared to that of a mouth to lung ecig. So, if you have recently switched from a lower temperature ecig, into a sub-ohm tank, your body may still be getting used to the higher temperature and correlating increased strength in nicotine and vapour density.

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In short, yes. It may take some investigating as to what is causing you to cough, but once you identify the cause, it is most likely an easy fix. Try visiting a vape shop in Toronto and discussing your ejuice, ecig type and technique to see if they can help you troubleshoot. Some suggestions that you can try yourself are as follows

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1. Visit your local Vape shop

If you can’t seem to figure out what is making you cough, whether it’s your nicotine in your ejuice, or another variable, then try visiting the experts at your vape shop and see if they can help!

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2. Try drinking some water

Vaping can be very dehydrating, and you may simply just not be drinking enough water. Try this simple fix and see if it makes a difference.

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3. Try a different type of draw

As we discussed briefly above, there are two types of draws with ecigs. There is a mouth to lung draw, which is most similar to combustible cigarettes, and typically correlates with lower temperature, pen style ecig. This type of draw is identified through two inhales, one into your mouth, and one into your lungs before exhaling. If this is the type of tank you are using, try a direct to lung ecig and see if that makes a difference. If you are using a direct to lung ecig, try using a mouth to lung style ecig

4. Try a lower PG level in your e juice ratio

Most ejuice in Canada are “max VG” or at least 70% VG and 30% PG. Check the label of your ejuice to determine the ratio you are using. If you are still coughing after trying the first two suggestions, it may be worth trying an ejuice with a lower PG ratio. There are ejuices available which are 80% VG and 20% PG and although not as many flavour options, you can also find 90% PG and 10% VG.

5. Try a lower nicotine level

Try visiting your local vape shop, and asking them to try a nicotine strength that is lower than the one you currently use. Nicotine strengths are typically available in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, 24mg, and 36mg. Try the nicotine level that is one lower than what you currently use, or if you don’t want to reduce your nicotine intake drastically, you can mix ejuices to get a nicotine strength in between by purchasing two different nicotine levels and mixing them in a separate bottle or directly into your tank. There are online calculators to calculate how to mix ejuice to get a desired nicotine strength.

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6. Time

If you are new to vaping, and have recently quit cigarettes, give your body some time to adjust to the big and healthier change you have made! Your body will not be used to the same ingredients in the ejuice, or the way it feels on your throat. Your cilia may also be growing back which is causing you to cough. Cigarettes also contain thousands of chemicals, some of which are similar to anesthetics, and allow the smoke to feel smoother, when inhaled.

So if you are coughing, there is most likely a simple explanation for what exactly is causing it, but don’t give up. If you don’t think any of these solutions will solve your problem, try heading into a local vape shop and see if they can help you troubleshoot!