It may surprise you to know this, but vaping is not side-effect free, even when using e-liquid is without nicotine. Whilst e-cigs are a great alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes and don’t contain a lot of the most harmful ingredients that can be found in your average cigarette, they still have the potential to do harm.
Because e-cigs are relatively new to the market, the short and long term impacts on health aren’t yet fully understood, but there are a few things we do know.
Things to keep in mind
Whether you’re e-liquid contains nicotine or not, you can expect to experience a few of the side effects of vaping from time to time. The severity of the side effects that you experienced will be impacted by the type of e-juice and even the e-cig device that you use. Factors like the flavouring, ingredients, nicotine content and the efficiency of your vapourising device can result in different outcomes.
So what are some of the side effects you might experience when using an e-cig?
Irritation and inflammation
This is one of the more common side effects that you might come across. Heating e-juice and inhale warm vapour can irritate your mouth and airways. The ingredients and flavouring inside the base liquids of e-juice contain glycol and glycerol, which can cause irritation in the mouth. The likelihood of experiencing this side effect increases for regular vapers. If you’re overdoing the vaping a little bit, you’re more likely to notice irritation.
For some people, vaping can trigger a bit of an immune system response, so some people might find that they experience pain or irritation when their lungs or throat become inflammed. Smokers commonly experience similar side effects. Unfortunately, inhaling foreign substances can sometimes have unexpected effects on the body.
Toxicity and poisoning
This is one of the nastier side effects of nicotine contain e-cig juice that some people have been unlucky enough to experience. Nicotine is an addictive substance, and a drug that does affect the chemistry of your body, so like most drugs it’s possible to overdose and the consequences of that can be quite scary! Nicotine overdoses most commonly present with symptoms like vomiting, headaches, tremors, anxiety, confusion, sweating and increased heart rate – overdosing can be fatal although that’s rare.
It’s less common to overdose on tobacco cigarettes. E-juice can be highly concentrated and the nicotine ‘hit’ when vaping is slightly delayed in comparison to tobacco smoking, resulting in some people taking too many pulls of their e-cig device, without realising they’re overdosing.
Nicotine tolerance is determined by a number of factors including body weight. It’s important to be careful when vaping to avoid an overdose, start with a lower concentration of nicotine to learn your limits.
For non-nicotine containing e-juice it’s been reported that flavour additives can sometime impact on heart health – e-cig users should consider their health and be aware that too much of anything is never good for health!
One of the milder side effects that e-cig users might experience is the dreaded ‘vape tongue’. Vape tongue usually results in users not being able to taste anything. It can be unpleasant and a little scary when experiencing it for the first time. It usually occurs when an e-cig user has been vaping too much, the taste buds may burn out or the brain may start to ignore a chosen flavour if it’s been in high rotation. Switching flavours or taking a break for a few days will usually resolve the issue.
Vaping is an alternative to smoking, but not side effect free, careful use and knowledge are important for the safety of users.