How to Stop Vaper’s Cough

Last updated on October 14th, 2018

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How to stop vaper's cough title image on best e-cigarette-guide showing man coughing

Does Vaping Make You Cough?

Vaper’s cough (not to be confused with Vaper’s Tongue), is a condition not uncommon for those new to e-cigarettes. Inhaling the vapor causes a nasty coughing fit. How can that be?

Isn’t vapor supposed to be more benign than toxic cigarette smoke?

The answer is “yes” – e-cigarette vapor is more benign than tobacco smoke because it does not contain carbon monoxide or other ingredients found in cigarettes known to be toxic to humans; but that doesn’t mean it won’t cause some vapers to cough!

So Why Am I Coughing?

The most common reasons for coughing when you vape are:

  • You’re sensitive to some of the ingredients in your e-liquid.
  • You’re affected by the unadulterated nicotine in e-cigarettes.
  • You’re inhaling too deeply, or too quickly.
  • Your vaporizer’s advanced settings are not fine-tuned to your needs. 

 

Take heart! Vaper’s cough can be controlled if you follow these methods:

Inhalation Method to Prevent Vaper’s Cough

First, you should know that vaping is different from smoking. Inhaling vapor for the first time is like smoking your first cigarette. I bet you started coughing too! It may take a bit of practice to adjust to an e-cigarette, but don’t give up. 

Changing your method of inhalation is the first step. Rather than inhaling the vapor directly into your lungs, hold it in your mouth and savor the flavor for a second or two before inhaling it. This method, known as Mouth-to-Lung can be used for any type of electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer, although Vaporfi makes a vape pen called the Pro 3 that makes it easy and has been known to control coughing.

If that doesn’t help,…

To Stop Coughing Reduce the Nicotine Level of Your E-Liquid or Cartridge

Nicotine Strength can affect vaper's cough

 Is Your Nicotine Too Strong?

According to experts, tobacco smoke contains an anesthetic ingredient which stops smokers from coughing.

“Essentially, this is why you can breathe in tobacco smoke when you can’t breathe in bonfire smoke too well, when they are basically the same thing: burning plant matter…. Some of the 9,600 ingredients identified to date are in there to make the smoke smoother, less irritating, and to prevent coughing.”

ECigarette Politics 

The nicotine added to e-liquid formulas does not contain an anesthetic. What’s more, higher levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes can add to the harshness of your vape.

adjust ohm resistance

Atomizers Come In Different Resistances

If you are using a personal vaporizer, choose an atomizer with a higher Ohm resistance. Lower Ohm’s (below 2.0) may produce bigger clouds, but it can mean a hotter, harsher vape.

Learn more about choosing the right ohm level for your vaporizer’s atomizer.

Fine Tune Your Vapor

Some popular box-style Vaporizers let you adjust the wattage as well as the air flow. Some, called TC MODS let you lock in the perfect temperature for the perfect vape – not too full, not too hot. They’re more expensive, and more complicated that most vape pens, but if you want more control over the heat, cloud volume and flavor of your ecig, this may be the way to go.

Check out the SMOK Alien TC MOD from DirectVapor

Choose An E-liquid With a Lower Percentage of Propylene Glycol (PG)

Absolute Virgin Vapor Organic E-Liquid is Max VG

Absolute Virgin Vapor Organic E-Liquid is Max VG

Go for a max or 100% vegetable glycerin (VG) ratio. The popularity of max VG e-liquids is growing and the best ejuice companies offer this option. I’m sensitive to PG because it is a drying agent, so I buy e-liquids from Virgin Vapor, or Kind Juice eliquids’ max VG selections.

Is it Simply the Flavor?

Sometimes you just have to experiment with e-liquid flavors, as some may cause you to cough more frequently than others.

Are You a Smoker/Vaper?

Transitioning from smoking to vaping?  Thanks to Hank for sharing his experience in our comments by reminding us that smoking and vaping can perpetuate that cough if you’re not mindful to inhale differently. 

Whatever method you choose, the rewards of vaping over smoking are worth the effort.

Have you conquered Vaper’s Cough? Our readers want to know your methods of success so please share your experience by commenting below.

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29 comments

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    • SundayDriver on July 20, 2018 at 10:35 am
    • Reply

    PG was my problem. Switched to Kind Juice, their organic ingredients and PG free flavors fixed me right up!

    1. Hi SD,

      We love Kind Juice too! Sometimes going all VG can make a difference. Glad you were able to stop your vaper’s cough.

    • David Liversidge on July 18, 2018 at 2:23 am
    • Reply

    I’ve been a Hand-rolling smoker for nearly 40 years and decided to try vaping. I first bought a Mister Smoke machine, about 5 years ago, with the strongest nicotine content liquid but I was having to suck on it like a very hungry baby on a bottle to get anything out of it. It was hopeless. 2 days ago I bought a better machine (Innokin) and its power (if that is the right word) is massive when compared with the Mister Smoke. This has led to me having to suck like the briefest of kisses else I go into a paroxysm of coughing. I will try a smaller nicotine liquid in the hope that this does solve the problem but old smokers have got to realize it can never be the same as cigs.

    1. Hi David,
      Sorry you are having so much difficulty overcoming vaper’s cough, but it’s great that you keep experimenting. You mentioned that you are now using an Innokin vaporizer. I’m wondering if it’s a model where you can fine tune your vapor by adjusting the air flow, and/or the wattage/power. Many vapes (even some of the intermediate models) now have those features. If so, lower wattage and more airflow is less harsh. Keep us posted!

    • tressa on June 21, 2018 at 7:14 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks to you, I can do it!!! I’ve been trying to vape for weeks. I’m a long-term smoker and smoke about a pack a day. I could not vape! It sounds so dumb. I tried to avoid drawing it straight to the lungs, but I couldn’t help it. Even when I thought I was doing it right, I was wrong and the coughing was painful. I’d give up and smoke, and cough less, but I’d try to vape again and instant failure. It was this phrase — “hold it in your mouth and savor the flavor for a second or two before inhaling it” — that did it finally for me. Now I can vape! Thanks 😊

    1. Hi Tressa,

      That’s great news! So happy to help and thanks for visiting best-e-cigarette-guide!

    • Harry on April 16, 2018 at 10:49 am
    • Reply

    For me, when I first started Vaping I began to cough, but this went away after about 2 weeks. I noticed that its not the Vaping that causes me to cough, it’s smoking cigarettes then Vaping that causes the cough. To me it’s the cigarettes that trigger the Vaping. Once you smoke a cigarette it’s like starting all over. Then your body has to get used to the Vaping all over again. It doesn’t matter how many real cigarettes you smoke while you are Vaping. It can be 10, a whole pack or just one.

    1. Very useful information Harry. Thank you for posting it here and for visiting best-e-cigarette-guide!

    • Ethan Moroney on January 12, 2018 at 4:53 am
    • Reply

    Hi my names ethan,
    I recently acquired a VAIO 75w TC modded vape from Vaporfit, and I’m a complete vaping vergen. (I’ve never vaped at all before this) The vaporiser itself can be controlled via temperature, wattage, bypass (not sure what this is), TCR 120 (has M1,2,3)(not sure was it is), it also has a titanium, nikcel and whatever a ss316 coil is. I got some e-juice that is 30 ml nicotine and the vape is kind of harsh, I can’t really do anything with it without coughing. Is this because of the nicotine level? Or is there a setting somewhere that i need to change? And also does anyone know what settings (temp/vape) will get me the best cloud, I don’t really care about taste but do I put it higher or lower?

    P.S I also got the tobacco flavour to simulate a real cigarette if it makes any difference

    • Michelle Bradley on December 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm
    • Reply

    I was smoking Green Smoke for years and they were nice and smooth and I never had a cough. Then, they changed their packaging supposedly and I started coughing like crazy. I still had some of the old cartridges and smoke those and no cough. So what’s up with that Green Smoke?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      You are not alone; in fact, I used to vape Green Smoke back before they were take over by big tobacco (Altria). I haven’t been following them since I became convinced they were not interested in improving their product. We can only assume they have another agenda. Whatever you do don’t go back to smoking! If you like cigalikes, try V2 or even JUUL. We have reviewed them all on BECG.

      Best of luck and Happy Holidays!

    • Michael on September 18, 2017 at 5:11 pm
    • Reply

    I’m new to vaping and I still smoke, but less. The mouth to lung technique didn’t work for me. I use both a Smok Vape Pen Plus and an ELeaf iCare Solo. I was coughing like crazy when vaping but never with cigs. However, I’ve found — in my case — a sure fire way to beat the vape cough. Take a big hit of air with the vape. Start your hit vape-free and as you breath in, hit the button but be sure to let go of it before you complete the inhale. It’s an air-vape-air technique. Then exhale briskly. However… I also had slight success with the tongue-to-roof-of-the-mouth technique mentioned. Combining my air-vape-air PLUS the contributor’s up-tongue technique can cycle a really big blast! But here’s something else along the lines of the mouth-to-lung vape. Try a mouth-to-nose-to-lung “French puff”. It’s a mellower vape lung hit but a real pleaser in terms of savoring your juice. Thank you to the other contributors.

    • Liam on July 25, 2017 at 7:43 pm
    • Reply

    To stop cough place tip of tong to to roof of mouth.inhale as normal, worked for me. (Any ecig juice )

      • Rich on August 25, 2017 at 9:51 pm
      • Reply

      Good grief…. it worked! THANK YOU!!

      1. Thanks for your help 🙂

      • sncobb on September 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm
      • Reply

      Ey the tongue trick worked. no cough. cheers liam 😀

      • Deborah Kearney on November 4, 2017 at 10:05 pm
      • Reply

      Damn if it didn’t work!! Thank you thank you! After vaping for a couple of years, suddenly I just couldn’t vape. Actually went back to smoking (ugh! roll-your-own, too!) Been trying and trying to no avail. Tried the ‘tongue trick’ and am vaping easily – no discomfort. Problem was, vaping ruined me for smoking – just can’t enjoy smoking anymore, but still addicted to nicotine. Now maybe I can continue my downward movement – currently down to 3 mg and hoping to get to -0- by year end.

      • Alix M on July 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm
      • Reply

      Thanks for the tip. The tongue to the roof of my mouth worked great for me. No more coughing when I vape.

      1. You’re welcome! Glad we were helpful 🙂

    • Susan on July 17, 2017 at 10:10 pm
    • Reply

    I’m baffled. I’ve been vaping for 4 years, starting with a high level of nicotine, reducing the level to 11mg after the first year. I recently dropped it to 3mg and all was well through the first 30ml bottle when I developed a cough I can’t seem to shake. With all the suggestions I’ve read, nothing has worked. Curious why a flavor change would create a cough a month after the change was made? This was my only change, but the occurrence of the cough didn’t arise until long after the first bottle and month. Everything else has remained identical – same company, same ohm, etc.
    I understand it may be common with new vapers, but a 4 yr user…

    1. Hi Susan,
      Sorry to learn of your problem. There’s always a possibility of an allergic reaction to a flavor ingredient. I know your coughing didn’t begin right away, but sometimes allergies take time to manifest, or it’s just seasonal. My husband can only eat certain foods in winter as he has an allergic reaction to the same food in Spring and Summer! If your cough persists; however, even going back to your “safer” flavors and nic level you’ll know it’s the new flavor. Good luck!

    • Denise Reid on June 12, 2017 at 11:49 pm
    • Reply

    ok, i been a bad bad girl… i stoped smoking for 3 years with the vape, and loved it,,
    i recently moved to quebec, had some life trauma and picked up cmoking again, after all here its cheaper to smoke at 8 dollars a full carton of smokes,,, so after a month of smoking ciggarettes, i am annoyed with them, and am trying to start vaping again,
    now i have never had vapers cough, EXEPT now,,,,, i am going to assume its because i am now used to them damn smokes again,,,

    any suggestions i am on the nautilus 2

    1. Hi Denise,
      Thanks for stopping by to comment. I think the vaping inhalation style can be different than smoking a cigarette. I’m assuming you’re still vaping the same ejuice and using the same nautilus as before. Try to take in less vapor and don’t inhale the vapor directly into your lungs…hold it in you mouth for a second. Many have found that adjusting the inhalation is the key to conquering vaper’s cough. Good luck!

    • Pam Villwock on April 26, 2017 at 3:32 pm
    • Reply

    I have same issue that Paul does. I have vaped for the last 1 1/2 years with no problem, then about 5 weeks ago I started coughing every time I vaped. Nothing has changed, same juice, same pg/vg, & same nicotine level. I have been smoking a regular cig about 2 or 3 times a week, and I don’t cough after the cig. When to doctor who said my lungs sounded great, and looked at my throat and said it looked ok too, probably something with juice, etc. I told her I was using the same stuff that I was using before the cough started. She just said maybe I should try a different brand, which I did and still have the problem !

    • Paul on March 3, 2017 at 2:54 pm
    • Reply

    I successfully vaped for four months without coughing then over night I would cough severely whenever I tried to vape….even a year later I couldn’t even take in a small amount without the dreaded choking cough….any ideas?

    1. Hi Paul,
      I’m sorry you are having so much trouble with vaper’s cough. Did you try to lower the nicotine and PG content? That can help. Using a tank with airflow control; setting it on a higher setting may be the answer. It may be your ejuice or your vaporizer is just too powerful. If you don’t need huge clouds, I do know people who conquered the vaper’s cough syndrome with ecigs like Vaporfi‘s Express or V2’s ExSeries e-liquid kit.

      Others succeed by holding the vapor in their mouths for a second or two before inhaling. Good luck!

  1. Thanks for article ,I have hiccough sometimes in the morning when I start to vaping, how resolve that problem?

    • Linda on September 2, 2016 at 4:27 am
    • Reply

    Thanks for the info did the same hold it in my mouth then took it back no cough so buzzing now

    • Bryon on April 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm
    • Reply

    Reduced amount of vapor I “pull” in,
    & held in mouth for a sec instead of drawing directly into lungs. Cough gone!

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