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Problems While Vaping: Is it an Allergic Reaction or a Cessation Symptom?

Learn some of the common, initial side effects of using smokeless cigarettes, and learn how to identify the reasons for your symptoms

If you've just started vaping and you feel that you're experiencing allergy-like symptoms, you need to research to ensure that you are in fact experiencing symptoms caused by vaping. The most common allergic reactions to e-liquid come from the propylene glycol (PG), which is a key ingredient in a majority of e-liquids. However, it is not unheard of to be allergic to vegetable glycol (VG).

Like any other possible allergen, your first step is to determine if you're actually experiencing an allergic reaction—you could also be experiencing side effects from beginning a new product or tobacco cessation symptoms. The most common side effects new vapers can experience include:

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Coughing
  • A skin eruption known as "quit zits"
  • Sputum and phlegm

Luckily, these symptoms will likely disappear after a few weeks, but they can last up to a month.

The problem is that allergic reactions to vaping and smoking cessation can be the same, so it can be hard to differentiate the two. The best way to find out is to stop vaping for a couple of days. If your symptoms clear up, chances are you're experiencing a reaction to something in your e-liquid. If they don't, then you're likely experiencing tobacco cessation issues that will eventually go away too.

Since humans can develop allergies at any time—especially with prolonged exposure—allergy-like symptoms don't just happen to new vapers.

Commonly, the culprit is propylene glycol. This organic compound makes up the base of most e-liquids and is responsible for holding the nicotine and flavor and causing plumes of smoke-like vapor.

In mild cases, propylene glycol irritant symptoms can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Sinus problems
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • In extreme cases, numbness of the face and tongue and itchy hives on the upper body

Another important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Many people are also experiencing the same symptoms as you are. As you're trying to figure out what you are reacting to in your e-liquid, one resource you have is to connect with other vapers online to seek advice. One of the most popular vaping communities is e-cigarette forum.

Switching e-liquids

If you've experienced a reaction (allergic or adverse) when vaping—especially if it is a new e-liquid—the smartest thing for you to do is to switch e-liquids. This will allow you to discern whether you are allergic to propylene glycol or some other additive in the e-liquid. Your two choices for switching include using e-liquid with a lower concentration of PG or you could try to eliminate PG.

The easiest way to see if propylene glycol is the reason for your symptoms is to switch to a 100% vegetable glycerin e-liquid. Another option is to choose an e-liquid that has a lower concentration of propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin. If choosing a lower concentration blend does not solve your problem, then the best course of action is to eliminate PG.

One problem is that it is much easier to find flavored e-liquids with propylene glycol bases than vegetable glycerin. Moreover, there is also a slight chance that 100% vegetable glycerin can contain just enough PG to cause a reaction. Therefore, the safest route for allergy sufferers to take is to make sure to purchase their e-liquid from reputable vendors.

If you switch e-liquids and are still reacting when vaping, you may be using too high a concentration of nicotine and could be actually experiencing a nicotine overdose. In the event of a nicotine overdose, please seek medical attention as nicotine overdoses are health threatening. Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Sweating

Read "What E-Cigarette Nicotine Strength Do I Require?" to learn how you can determine the right level of nicotine for you.

Eversmoke has worked hard to develop an e-liquid blend that works best for most consumers. It is a 70/30 (PG and VG respectively) blend. If you are unfortunate enough to be one of the few that experience an adverse reaction to your e-liquid, don't simply give up vaping and return to tobacco cigarettes. It is much better to switch products until you discover the one(s) that work best for you.

(Learn more about PG vs. VG and perfecting throat hit and consistency by reading our article at

If you're interested in vaping and finding the best alternative, smokeless cigarette, we invite you to continue browsing our blog and knowledge center, or click on over to our main site to see our selection of starter kits, accessories and more.

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