Apart from long-term health risks (which we’ve covered in more detail here) there are some common side effects associated with nicotine vapes. Some of these are mild, others are more severe. You may experience some of them, or none at all. It really comes down to the individual user. That’s why it’s so important to source your vaping products from a reputable supplier, and get qualified medical advice before beginning any treatment plan.
If you experience some of these side effects while vaping, chat to your GP. It may be that NVPs aren’t suitable for you, or they may be able to recommend a different dose or delivery system.
Dry Mouth and Throat Irritation
Some studies have found that vapers often experience dry mouth and throat irritation, which they attributed to the hygroscopic nature of propylene glycol, a common ingredient in e-liquids. The study suggested that increased hydration could help alleviate these symptoms, so make sure to drink plenty of water if you’re going to vape.
Coughing and Sore Throat
Coughing and throat irritation are among the most commonly reported adverse respiratory effects associated with e-cigarette use. The irritants and volatile compounds present in e-liquids, along with the inhalation of aerosolized particles, are usually identified as potential causes. These symptoms can sometimes be alleviated with lozenges and water.
Headaches and Dizziness
Several studies have found that vaping sometimes causes an increase in self-reported headache intensity and dizziness (compared to control groups). Nicotine is thought to be the culprit, and there’s no real workaround for this one. Some people simply don’t cope well with nicotine, although if you’re already a smoker, these side effects might be milder.
Nausea and Vomiting
A few studies have noted a link between vaping use and nausea and diarrhoea. Not all vapers experience these symptoms, but it’s something to be aware of. The long-term effects of vaping on the gastrointestinal tract are not yet fully understood, although recent studies have shown that vaping doesn’t significantly change your oral or gut microbiota (at least in the short term).
In rare cases, vaping may trigger an allergic reaction. If you experience any swelling, tightness of breath, skin irritation or other allergy symptoms, stop vaping immediately and contact your GP. It’s likely your immune system is battling one of the common ingredients in e-liquid.
Nicotine Dependence and Withdrawal
While vaping can help as a cigarette cessation aid, nicotine vapes don’t really do much to address nicotine dependency. In fact, for people with no smoking history, they can act as a gateway product, causing nicotine dependency and increasing the likelihood of smoking cigarettes. Depending on the strength and frequency of your vapes, you may also experience some nicotine withdrawal symptoms when you stop vaping.
Remember, research in this field is ongoing, and new findings are emerging all the time. It's good to stay updated with the latest scientific literature and consult healthcare professionals for personalised advice. What’s right for others may not necessarily be right for you.