Most people get coughing fits the first time they inhale a vape. But once your system gets used to it, the experience is smoother and much more pleasant. So if you’ve been vaping for a while and you’re still feeling an unpleasant throat tickle, you may wonder … why is my vape so harsh? Let’s look at some potential reasons for this messiness, plus ideas on how to fix it.
Why is My Vape So Harsh?
1. The Flavor May be Too Strong
If you’ve chewed minty gum, soaked in eucalyptus bath salts, or applied a menthol balm on your stuffy nose, you know those flavors can feel quite sharp. In a vape, citrusy scents can be harsh on your tongue and throat as well. So if they’re bugging you, try something else.
Pick a flavor that’s sweet and smooth like coffee, tobacco, or Pineapple Mango Ice. The sugary notes offer a pleasant rush that can counter the rough acid tone and soften the throat hit. And the icy element has a cooling effect that soothes any irritation from a heavy inhale.
2. The Resistance Setting May Be Too High
The earliest vapes had resistance levels of 1.5 Ohms to 3 Ohms. That was considered normal at the time, and it would give you a nice warm hit. They also had a high wattage and voltage to maximize the amount of vapor you’d absorb with every hit. It made vapes finish quicker.
These days, some people prefer to sub-ohm at 1 Ohm or less. These vapes have bigger clouds and last longer. The vape feels cool and chilly on your tongue and throat so that’s something you could try. But sub-ohm devices need their coils replaced more regularly, so plan for that.
3. The Wattage May Also Be Too High
If you’re using a high-wattage vape, your e-liquid burns faster and at higher temperatures. This makes the nicotine buzz quite intense, but it can also explain why your vape is so harsh. A disposable vape typically has a wattage of 5W to 20W but some vape mods reach 230W.
If you’d like a gentler throat hit, play around with the wattage and voltage. Adjustable vape pens will let you reduce the power levels, but you could also just buy a vape pen that’s set to a lower level. Try various combinations of wattage, voltage, and resistance to find the right fit.
4. Your Hit Might Be Dry
Disposable vapes and pens have standard settings, so you may have to experiment with different types, brands, and flavors to get the exact hit you like. But with advanced vape mods, you might get high resistance with low wattage or vice versa. They may be adjustable.
But in all these cases, you can get a dry hit if the e-liquid is running out, the wick is out of whack, or the coil is burning too fast. Avoid this by warming up the vape with a few quick inhales or pulses. Keep the fumes in your mouth, expelling them before they hit your throat.
5. The Nicotine Buzz is Too Strong
When you’ve been vaping or smoking for months or even years, you might lose your nicotine buzz because your system has developed tolerance. You might decide to stop vaping for a bit to recalibrate your body and neuro-receptors. And vapes may feel harsher when you resume.
But whether you’ve been vaping for a while or you’re recently refreshed, your tongue and throat may be more sensitive. Consider using a vape that has a lower nicotine concentration. They usually come in 5% and 2% (or 50mg/ml and 20mg/ml). You can even try 0% nicotine.
6. You Might Not Be Properly Hydrated
Many people use vapes to break a smoking habit. And since vapes deliver more nicotine per puff, the sensation is quite different from cigarettes, cigars, or tobacco pipes. You may notice a sore throat or a prickly burn on your tongue, lips, or the roof of your mouth when you vape.
This can also happen if you’re used to chain-smoking, so when you switch to vaping, the level is lower since you won’t vape the same way. Drink lots of water to balance the effect of varied nicotine, and pause between puffs. You can’t chain-vape in the same way you chain-smoke.
7. You’re Not Matching Your Cigarettes with Your Vapes
As we just explained, you can smoke one or more packs of cigarettes a day if you’re a chain smoker. But if you’re going through three or four disposable vapes a day – or if you’re using up multiple vials of e-juice – you’re probably in excess and it can cause harsher throat hits.
Disposables have built-in e-liquid and a pre-set number of puffs. But for mods and refillables you have to choose the right e-juice. As a general guide, 3mg/ml is good if you’re used to a cigarette or two per day. 12mg/ml is better if you’re a pack-a-day person. 5% is for the pros.
8. You Might Be Using Sub-Par Vape Juice
These days, you can buy a vape almost anywhere. Some are in the premium range and can cost quite a lot. Others are home-made variants that are a lot more flexible. The problem is that e-liquids aren’t always regulated so you might use a black market product by mistake.
These vapes and e-juices might have additives and flavors that produce thicker plumes but are harsher on your throat. It’s safer to stick with trusted brands and buy them from reliable suppliers. That way, you get top-shelf products and are less likely to buy counterfeit flavors.
9. The Airflow May Be Unsuitable
On certain vapes, the side, bottom, or mouthpiece has adjustable airflow options. They might have multiple holes that you can cover to decrease the amount of vapor you inhale. Or the mouthpiece might have a slider to make it larger or smaller to suit your mood and appetite.
Heightened airflow means you take in more vapor per hit, and that can feel harsh on your tongue and throat. But it can also make the vapor cooler by spreading coil concentration. Check whether you can tweak the intake amount. If not, look for an adjustable airflow pen.
10. Your Vape Might Be Poorly Maintained
Disposable vapes are easy to use because you can just dump them when their e-juice runs out. Some are rechargeable and refillable too. Be sure to toss them in the trash or recycling bin though, since their batteries can leak or explode and you don’t want to be irresponsible.
On the other hand, if you have a proper vape mod or vape kit, you’ll need to replace the wicks and coils from time to time. E-liquid and soot can sometimes clog coils and wicks, resulting in burnt fumes that can irritate your throat. Dismantle your vape mod and clean its internals.
11. Your PG May Be Too Much
E-liquids have two basic components – PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (Vegetable Glycerine). The PG contains the flavor, nicotine, and other additives while the VG is responsible for the pretty puffs of cloud. VG has a thicker consistency while the PG is lighter and a lot less dense.
If you like heavy plumes, you might buy an e-juice that has a higher VG ratio. But since it’s a heavier oil, it’s more likely to clog your coil and contaminate the vapor. That said, more VG gives you a smoother hit since PG carries the nicotine that tickles your throat like cigarettes.
12. You Might Be Using Unsuitable Nicotine
The main reason vaping is healthier than cigarettes is the tobacco. Raw tobacco has other components like tar and formaldehyde. But vapes have synthetic nicotine processed in a lab. This comes in two forms – nicotine salts and freebase nicotine. And their effects are varied.
Nic salts absorb faster so you’ll feel the hit sooner and can work with low wattage. Freebase nicotine gives you a slower buzz but bigger clouds and stronger flavors. But freebase can get harsh in higher concentrations, so check which type your vape has and adjust accordingly.
13. Your Vape Kit May Be Unsuitable
One of the best ways to enjoy your vaping experience is to build your own mod. Veteran vapers have vape kits with various atomizers, clearomizers, coil sizes, and more so they can mix and match their sessions. But before you get the hang of it, you might make mistakes.
For example, nicotine salts are better suited for low wattage and high resistance. Freebase nicotine is the opposite. Sub-ohm vapes work well with low-resistance coils but that can depend on your nicotine variant. Also, stainless steel and glass parts produce a softer hit.
How to Get a Gentler Throat Hit
Various factors affect the way vapes hit your throat. The most common are overheated coils and overly warm vapor. These can be caused by high wattage, low resistance, thick e-fluid, low airflow (which puts extra pressure on the coil), dry wicks, or a depleted power source.
So if you wonder, ‘Why is my vape so harsh?’ troubleshoot until you find the issue. Check wattage, voltage, resistance, temperature, e-juice flavor, wick saturation, coil hygiene, PG to VG ratios, and vape mod components. And always warm up your vape before a deep inhale.