Why Do Vapes Make Me Cough?

When some people first pick up a vape, they find themselves asking questions like “why does vaping make me cough?” and “why do vapes make me cough more than smoking?” After all, e-cigarettes are supposed to be better for your health, right?

Although it can be alarming, coughing when you first pick up an e-cig is actually a really common occurrence. But why exactly do these coughing fits occur and, more importantly, will they go away over time? Read on to find out…

Why Does Vaping Make Me Cough All is Revealed!-03

Why Does Vaping Make Me Cough?

So you’ve picked up a vape because you’ve read about the myriad of health benefits that come from swapping cigarettes for an electronic substitute. But after deciding to give vaping a try, you’re now coughing more than ever! So what gives?

Well, there are a few reasons why some people find themselves coughing after they start vaping, including:

  • Propylene glycol (PG) 
  • Nicotine strength/wattage too high
  • Damaged cilia
  • Coughing up tar
  • Poor-quality e-liquid
propoylene glycol making me cough

Propylene Glycol (PG)

PG is one of the main ingredients in e-liquid. Together with vegetable glycerin (VG) it makes up the bulk of your e-juice. PG’s role is to carry the flavour and provide a throat hit which mimics the sensation you get when you smoke, but some people can find it a tad harsh. This can result in the user coughing.

Additionally, some users also have an intolerance to PG. Although it’s a safe, MHRA-certified product that’s found in many everyday products, a small number of people have a high sensitivity to it, so for them vaping an e-liquid high in PG could easily result in a sore throat and coughing.

Tip: Try vaping a high VG juice such as a 70/30 e-liquid to see if the coughing improves. VG is notably smoother than PG so you might find it helps. Just remember you’ll need a higher-powered, sub-ohm device as VG has a more viscous consistency.

Nicotine Strength

Have you started off on a really high-strength liquid? Although it can be tempting to begin your vaping journey on a super strong vape juice – especially if you were a heavy smoker before you quit – this could well be the root cause of that irritating cough.

The higher the strength of e-liquid, the more the chance of irritation when you inhale the vapour. If you find you’re coughing and spluttering whenever you take a hit, we’d suggest reducing the strength of your liquid.

Tip: Try vaping a liquid that’s 10mg or less and see if this helps. Also, if you’re using regular, freebase nicotine, try nic salts as these are notably smoother and allow you to vape stronger juice while avoiding the usual harshness.

Wattage Too High

Using a variable wattage device? If so, you might have the power turned up too high. 

When inexperienced vapers get their hands on an advanced piece of hardware, it’s not uncommon to find them vaping at a higher-than-optimum wattage. If you’ve got the power cranked up, try turning it down and you might see the coughing clear up.

Tip: All devices should come with guidance on the ideal wattage, which can be found on a label on your vape. Stick to this so you know the power setting is correct.

why am i coughing after vaping cilia damaged

Damaged Cilia

Inhaling cigarette smoke is known to damage cilia, the microscopic hairs on the back of your throat that help remove dirt and mucus from your airway. 

Years of inhaling tobacco fumes obliterates your cilia, however once you quit they start to repair and grow back. When this happens, it’s possible for it to cause irritation, which can make you cough.

Tip: Sadly, there’s not a lot you can do about this. Just remember the process is only temporary and shouldn’t last too long.

why am i coughing when i vape

Coughing Up Tar

Similarly, if you’re an ex-smoker, all that cigarette puffing will have left a lining of black, sticky tar on your lungs. Once you’re no longer flooding your airways with this dirty, cancer-causing substance, you’ll start to cough in order to clear the tar from your lungs. 

Although this might seem rather disgusting, as the saying goes, it’s better out than in! Coughing up the tar is your body’s way of purging this toxic sludge, so be thankful it’ll no longer be sitting in your lungs where it could cause all sorts of harm to your health!

Tip: Regular exercise such as running, swimming or cycling is a great way to help remove the tar quicker after you quit smoking.

Poor-Quality E-Liquid

Purchasing good-quality e-liquids is one of the most important things if you want an enjoyable vaping experience. Substandard liquids are made using substandard ingredients, and if you’re not careful these can start to take their toll on your respiratory system. 

The only way to avoid this is by purchasing your e-liquid from a trusted, reputable seller that’s renowned for producing high-quality products. Thankfully you came to the right place as here at Vapoholic we’re known and loved by vapers across the UK and beyond for our premium-quality vape liquids.

Tip: For e-juices you can trust, head over to our e-liquid page and check out the range of amazing brands we stock!

treating a vaping cough

Tips for Treating a Vaping Cough

So now you know the main causes of a vaping cough, you should be armed with all the info you need to remedy the issue. With that said, if you’ve been coughing continuously then chances are your throat is feeling a bit tender!

If so, there are a few things you can do to help it, including:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Restricting airflow
  • Cough drops/lozenges 
  • Avoid coffee & alcohol

Drink Water

PG can cause the mouth and throat to dry up, leading to further coughing, so make sure you’re drinking enough water. This will also help to soothe the throat if it’s become inflamed due to a persistent cough, so be sure to keep your fluids topped up.

Restrict Airflow

Restricting the airflow will reduce the amount of vapour you inhale, which may be the break your throat needs after coughing continuously!

Cough Drops/Lozenges 

If you’ve got a scratchy throat then there are countless products on the market that promise to provide relief from a sore throat. For the most effective, opt for the ones with anti-inflammatory or local anesthetic ingredients. 

Avoid Coffee & Alcohol

Alcohol and coffee can cause throat dryness which will only worsen the severity of your cough so try to avoid these, or at least limit your consumption.

why does vaping make me cough


Hopefully you’ve now got all the info you need. If you came here because you were one of the people scouring the internet asking “who does vaping make me cough?” or “why do vapes make me cough more than smoking?” then hopefully you now have all the info you need to help fix the issue!

If you’re a new vaper then you might be curious about disposables. If so, why not check out our ‘Are Disposable Vapes Safe’ blog post where you can read all about throw-away devices and whether they’re safe to use?


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