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Can Vaping Cause a Sore Throat?

October 14, 2023

You don’t have to vape to get a sore throat. However, sore throat, or throat irritation, is a common symptom among vapers. Sadly, many factors could contribute to your sore throat, but with a little trial and error, you’re bound to find your symptoms decrease.

Can Vaping Really Cause a Sore Throat?

While it might surprise some, vaping can cause throat irritation, especially for those who haven’t used an e-cigarette before. Even for those who have quit tobacco smoking and have since moved to vaping, the “smoker’s flu” can continue. Other side effects of vaping pen smoking include headaches, coughs, and nausea. 

And unfortunately, the inhalation and exhalation of the vapour are still likely to affect tobacco smokers. 

6 Reasons Why Vaping May Cause a Sore Throat

High Nicotine Strength

A feature of vaping is adjusting your nicotine level to suit your needs. However, nicotine is an addictive substance, and many vapers might be tempted to increase their nicotine threshold to get a more potent vaping experience and satisfy their cravings. 

This increase in nicotine will irritate your throat, and if you’ve come to vaping from being a tobacco smoker, you might think your nicotine threshold is higher than it is. 

Regulations in the UK are strict to help prevent people from inhaling more nicotine than is necessary!

Reacting To The Humectants 

The main humectants that you’ll find in e-cigarettes are propylene glycol and glycerol, also known as vegetable glycerin. Vapers inhale these delivery solvents and help carry the flavours to the user. While propylene glycol brings more flavour than glycerol alone, glycerol is a smoother humectant but generally less satisfying. 

While researchers generally consider propylene glycol safe for use in cosmetics and food, its aerosolization for inhaling during vaping poses unknown long-term risks to users. Vaping is still relatively new, and the research, as a result, needs to be more thorough. Yet, if you have a sore throat after vaping, you might be allergic to propylene glycol, which could produce asthma symptoms.

Furthermore, during vaping, propylene glycol forms new chemicals, carbonyl compounds, or aldehydes, and inhaling these new chemicals could be harmful and irritate your throat. Formaldehyde contributes to a sore throat, but as with vaping in general, researchers can’t yet determine the long-term effects. 

Flavour Irritation

One draw to vaping is the vast array of flavours offered. While it might make the experience of quitting smoking more pleasant for some, this variety of flavours is attracting young people who have never smoked before to vape for the first time. 

While some regulations are getting tighter, many vaping manufacturers don’t include a list of the ingredients of their flavours on their packaging, meaning they don't fully inform you about what you’re consuming or inhaling. Thus, there might be ingredients you’re more sensitive to but won’t know due to a lack of information. 

You’re Dehydrated

As mentioned above, vapes contain propylene glycol and glycerol. Both have water–absorbing properties, meaning that you’re likely to experience dry mouth and dehydration with increased use. So, if you vape too much in one sitting, you'll likely have a sore throat if you don’t drink enough water. 

Don't know how to tell if you're dehydrated? Check to see if you’re experiencing a dry mouth or chapped lips. If so, you’re likely dehydrated. 

High Power Level

If you have a sore throat or you’re coughing, your device power might be too high. Many vapers enjoy having adjustable power because it gives them a personalised vaping experience. Yet, setting the wattage too high might be overheating the coil - and your throat.

Each vape coil will have a suggested power range on the side of the casing, and you should also be able to find the recommended wattage on the box. It might be tempting to go beyond the wattage to get an enormous vape cloud, especially if performing tricks, but this comes with risks. 

Setting your wattage too high may deliver poor flavours and a sore throat because you’ll likely burn your vape coil. 

You’re Using The Wrong Vaping Technique

Another reason you could be suffering from a sore throat is inhaling using the wrong technique. In vaping, there’s typically the mouth-to-lung or the direct-to-lung approach; depending on your style, you might inhale too much for your desired method or use a vape pen unsuited to your chosen method. When getting rid of a sore throat from vaping, double-check what e-cigarette you’re using and remain conscious of your technique. 

How To Avoid a Sore Throat From Vaping

Stay Hydrated 

Drink plenty of water whenever you vape, and don’t vape too much in one go. Always carrying a bottle of water with you can be helpful. 

Change Your Flavour 

The flavour you’re choosing may have ingredients you’re sensitive to or allergic to. So, change your flavour to something else and start the process of elimination. If other flavours give you the same reaction, the flavourings may not be the problem. 

Take A Break 

If you have a sore throat, vaping might only worsen it. So take a break and lessen your usage to see if that helps your throat condition. 

Change Your Technique

Remember that your breathing technique could contribute, so check that your e-cigarettes work with your style; if not, try a different pen or method. 

Lower Your Power and Nicotine Levels

Lowering your power will prevent the inhalation of too much vapour, while the lower nicotine will prevent further irritation. Lower both and ensure they adhere to guidelines - you may have both settings higher than you realised. 

Final Thoughts

Having a sore throat is no fun, so it's essential to understand why you have one and how best to avoid getting one again due to vaping. It’s often a process of trial and error, but a great place to start is checking that your vape pen works for you. Why not browse RELX’s collections today to see if a new flavour or design might help?

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