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V2 Cigs Electronic Cigarettes Blog

Symptoms you may experience when you start using electronic cigarettes

Date Posted: January 30, 2012

When you begin using electronic cigarettes as a tobacco alternative, it’s common to experience symptoms as your body reacts, adapts to the changes and rids itself of the chemicals present in tobacco smoke. Some symptoms will come and go over a period of a few days. Most are gone within a few weeks and everyone’s experience is different.

It is important to know about and properly attribute symptoms to tobacco withdrawal as these symptoms are widely known, reported and studied. Symptoms experienced by e-cigarette use are most commonly the result of this process and experienced by anyone  ridding their system of tobacco.

Some people do experience symptoms from e-cigarettes most commonly due to allergies of ingredient compounds and throat irritation. Those will be covered in a separate article.

The effects of nicotine withdrawal are mitigated if you are using nicotine-containing cartridges for your electronic cigarette, but due all of the tar, carcinogens and other chemicals in tobacco smoke and the years of buildup, some of these symptoms may still occur.

It is important to remember that your body is undergoing a change. Usually, symptoms that result from the switch to e-cigarettes are a response to that change and go away eventually, usually within a week or so. If you experience severe or prolonged symptoms, consult your doctor.

Coughing , congestion, phlegm, sputum and throat clearing

These are the most common symptoms you may experience as you transition away from tobacco smoking. The amount of time you will experience them depends on how heavy a smoker you were.

Coughing is most commonly caused by the cilia that line your lungs cleaning out the tar and mucus. Your body is in the process of cleaning out all of the junk coating the surface of your tissues and will cough it up in the form of phlegm. It’s not pretty, but think of it as a makeover on the inside. This is a good thing.

Studies have shown that this process begins within a few days. You will most likely experience a morning cough for about a week, and clearing for up to a month. Recommendation: Consume lots of water to help this process along. For sinus congestion, take an over-the-counter medication until it dissipates.

Hoarseness

Related to the coughing and throat clearing process above, all of that tissue regeneration can give you a froggy-sounding voice.  Recommendation: Suck on throat lozenges and drink lots of water to sooth your throat.

Increased instances of the common cold

Studies have shown that colds are more prevalent during this period (see reference). As your body is ridding itself of toxins and adapting to change, your immune system is working overtime. Recommendation: Take it easy, drink lots of water and take vitamins to help your body along.

Acne

Also known as the “quit zits”, mild breakouts are a common occurrence. They are the result of the body releasing toxins and more prevalent with those who experienced breakouts at a young age. This will pass as your body adjusts.

Mouth Ulcers

A scientifically studied symptom that can occur when you quit tobacco, mouth ulcers are small legions on the roof of your mouth, gums and the inside of your cheeks (see reference). Smoke is an irritant and your gums and mouth tissues build up a “crust” over time. As your body sloughs off and replaces damaged tissue with new, healthy tissue, these small lesions may develop.

Recommendation: Rinse your mouth often with water to help control irritation and promote healing.

Hiccups

This annoying symptom has been documented in the use of cessation aids like nicotine gums as people swallow nicotine into their stomach. While not damaging, it can be very annoying.

This may also occur with e-cigarettes if you hold the vapor in your mouth and the nicotine finds its way into your saliva. Recommendation: To prevent this, avoid holding the vapor in your mouth and breathe it in instead.

Heartburn

Heartburn or acid reflux symptoms can be attributed to quitting smoking, but it can also be caused by too much nicotine. Recommendation: Try lowering your nicotine strength. If the problem persists for over a week, consult your doctor.

Headaches, Nausea, Shaking

When switching to e-cigs, you are most likely experiencing some change in your nicotine consumption. It may be more or less than your body is accustomed to. This fluctuation can cause these symptoms which shouldn’t last more than a few days. Recommendation: Try different nicotine strengths until you settle into one that suits your needs and make adjustments slowly.

Insomnia and dreams

Your body is going through changes and this life change also can affect you psychologically. Many people find an increased sensitivity to caffeine during this time. Recommendation: Try drinking less coffee and tea or make them weaker until the sleeplessness subsides.

Dizziness

Switching away from tobacco can cause dizziness as your circulation increases. Your brain is getting more oxygen! This should only last for a brief period of time until you adjust.

A second cause of dizziness can be attributed to too much nicotine from your e-cigarette. If you find yourself puffing on it all day, you may need to alternate between high and low nicotine strengths. Or you may be using a nicotine strength that is too high for you. If the problem persists, consult your doctor.

Itching, tingling, prickling

Have patience. These symptoms (if mild) are only due to increased circulation. They should disappear in a few weeks.

Changing sense of taste

As your body rids itself of tar, chemicals and tissue buildup, you will notice an increased ability to taste and smell. Things that were good before may taste too salty or too strong and foods your previously found bland may all the sudden taste delicious. This holds true to your cartridges flavors. You may suddenly dislike your favorite flavor and enjoy flavors you found awful the first time around! This is an ongoing process.

Another change in taste can occur if you use menthol cartridges heavily. The properties in menthol can dull your sense of taste temporarily; giving you something called “menthol mouth”.  This can make your carts seem tasteless. Recommendation: If your experience this, stop using menthol for a little while until your taste buds recover. Cough drops have also been reported to help.

Muscle cramps, spasms and aches

As more oxygen enters your system and circulation improves, you may experience some aches and pains. This is a normal part of flushing out your system and regeneration after you stop smoking tobacco.

It can also be a symptom of dehydration. E-cig ingredients can have a drying effect on your mouth and body. Drink lots of water to counteract any dehydration.

Gas

This may last a few weeks. Recommended: Stay away from gassy foods like beans, cabbage and broccoli.

Diarrhea

You may experience this when you stop using tobacco, but it could also be intolerance to PG (propylene glycol). Try switching to a VG (vegetable glycerin) based

References:

48 thoughts on “Symptoms you may experience when you start using electronic cigarettes”

  1. Wendy says:

    This article was most helpful. Both of us that have switched to V2 have been experiencing some of these side effects, and it is reassuring to know that they are normal and not something to be concerned with. Thank you, V2, for helping us make the change so easily.

  2. Kim says:

    This was a very informative story. Thank you.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Great article! Now I have somewhere to direct my newly converted friends when they complain that they are hacking up BECAUSE of the E CIG. Which is just not true! Its a great thing that means you’re healing and quite honestly in my opinion proves that electronic cigarettes have to be less damaging on your lungs than a traditional “analog” cigarette.

  4. cheryl hasson says:

    Thank you V2 for running this article, it might keep someone from returning back to analogs.

    As I have read on a couple of forums, some new users to ecigs are thinking that the symptoms they are experiencing are due to ecigs and not the fact that their bodies are changing because they are no longer putting tons of toxins into their bodies.

    This article will help show new people that they should keep vaping and not return to smoking because the symptoms aren’t due to vaping they are experiencing a cleansing from not smoking!

  5. Kim says:

    I quit smoking the day i got my V2 in Oct 2011. I started feeling horrible about 60 days after I quit. I was scared that I was going to have to give up vaping! But, after having several different docs say they couldn’t find anything, I started looking online. I found that many people who have quit smoking began suffering the same “pains” a few months after quitting. (Mine is mainly a Lump in the Throat feeling). I am certain that my pain is due to the fact that I quit smoking…not due to the fact that I started vaping! It was such a relief to finally figure that out! I am confident this “Lump” feeling will go away with time…

  6. Cindy Richardson says:

    I too had that lump feeling in my throat, about 60 days after quitting traditional cigarettes. After about 2 weeks, it was gone. No other problems, I really love my V2!!

  7. joy stanley says:

    I have quit smoking for 8 weeks with the V2. the only con is I have been tasting metal in my mouth.. Please advise on what this might be. i don’t like it..

    1. pnutdabbs@gmail.com says:

      ive had a bad tar taste it would remind me of liquid tar or something even wakes me up with the taste is that how urs is

    2. ella t says:

      if you were on antibiotics, some of them can cause this taste in your mouth.

  8. Angie Shannon says:

    Thanks V2 for this info! I’ve been having a sore throat and thought it was the PG. I was seriously gonna switch, but I’ll hang in a while longer

  9. Andrew says:

    I have yet to get my V2 in the mail but I can’t wait until it gets here. V2 seems to be a very high quality company with all of the information they publishing including this article. I feel that with my soon to be here e-cig I will finally be able to kick regular cigs.

  10. marge says:

    I have been “vaping” for over a week. I love that I can do this almost anywhere. A couple things that I don’t like are that my respiratory cavity feels sore due to all the coughing. It keeps changing spots. The phlem I’ve been clearing from my lungs is gross, but I know it is getting better. No matter what I love that can be around people that smoke and it doesn’t bug me at all. I’m guessing that because I know that I can use my ecig I don’t feel deprived. I love it and my son hasn’t been having asthma flare ups due to my smoking. I don’t have to feel guilty any more.

  11. Tanschwancter says:

    I am very happy to have found this article. I have been cigarette-free for 11 days, and I have been experiencing a lot of symptoms I thought were allergy-related. I have had some mild allergy symptoms in the past, but this feels much worse. Reading this article has shown me that much of how I’m feeling is most likely associated with my body flushing out all of the stuff I’ve been putting into it for the past 13 years.

  12. Cinny Stearns says:

    Thanks so much for the article. Have been using an ecig for a little over a week and haven’t touched a regular tobacco cig since. Hurray! I did however get all over aches and pains. Stretching has seemed to help a bit. Glad to confirm that what I thought was indeed correct. No hacking or coughing yet. My sense of taste and smell started to return within the first 3 days as well. Here’s to truly enjoying my coffee again!

  13. potpot says:

    Thank you for the article, I actually experience most of the symptoms mentioned above except for the diarrhea and the heartburn.

  14. Charlie 105 says:

    I have experienced some side effects , but if any, just massive amounts of diarrhea…..almost like a faucet has been turned on. I’m hoping it goes away

    1. Jackie says:

      Been having the same problem for 2 weeks. Guess I’ll try the VG only and cross my fingers. At least now I have an idea of what is causing this!

  15. carl says:

    i started smoking at 16, i’m now 60 and have stopped buying ciggeretts and i am well into the vapour,its been 2 weeks now and i’m feeling a lot better health wise, no weasing at bed time, not coughing as much as i used to, but i still havent regained taste and smell yet,but heres fingers crossed to soon be tasting and smelling all those lovely things i could before. thanks e/cigs

  16. Walt says:

    Had that “throat lump” for the entire first day. Felt like there was something in my throat I just couldnt swallow. Had a little gas but the worst (which is much better after a week) is the dry mouth and throat. I have to force myself to drink water even though I’m not thirsty which makes it taste bad and makes me feel bloated + getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I’m only 32.

    However….these symptoms which will probably go away outweigh smoking tobacco by far. I’ll take a little cottonmouth over cancer anyday. Thanks V2 and Mr. Hon Lik.

  17. Gina says:

    I just started vaping 3 days ago. This article was very helpful to me and my boyfriend. We both started coughing. I have experienced dry mouth and throat irritation. But I can smell everything now. I have also been experiencing headaches. Does anyone know how it feels if your getting to much nicotine?

  18. Dave says:

    I smoked my last cigarette this past Thanksgiving and started the e-cig about 4 days prior. I have noticed my smell is coming back and after reading this article , I now at least know why I am having some of the symptoms that were listed. I was beginning to be a little worried but attributed to my quitting that nasty habit. I still feel like I need to have a bowel movement at times when I actually don’t. I also had a small lesion on my upper gum and it has healed after about 4 days. Thanks for the article.

  19. Lydia says:

    I have been e-smoking for over a month now. I have read that many of the flavours on the market contain some chemicals which are not really good for you. I came up with the idea of putting just plain water in the cigarette instead of bought liquids. Has anyone tried this and if so, is it OK?? It tastes OK up to now. Need a second opinion SOS.

  20. Kim says:

    I started vaping 6 weeks ago with light carts. I immediately fell in love! Unfortunately, though, I’ve experienced several of these symptoms. My initial heartburn experience was so severe, I actually smoke a traditional cig and it went away immediately. Once I realized it was a withdrawal symptom, I was able to just power through, though I still get it a few times a week. The thing that really bothers me is that I got a bad sinus infection two weeks ago, then as soon as I was better, I got a terrible cold! I’m just getting over that so here’s hoping these are temporary, I don’t want to go back! :) Keep on truckin’!

  21. Jordan says:

    Thanks v2 i got my v2 e-cig about 4 days ago, and i have been feeling heartburn quite a bit lately, glad to know that its all part of the norm and ill be fine :)

  22. Ben says:

    I keep having to clear my throat. I enjoy vaping and don’t smoke cigs while doing it without any problems EXCEPT the throat clearing. I have quit cigs before with the patch and did really well for a year and went back. I never had such a problem with throat congestion before. So this time when I quit with the V2 I had throat trouble and I went back to cigs. The throat clearing went away. I even tried using spitless tobacco instead and also no throat clearing. So after a bit I went back to v2 (because I do like it) and after a week my throat seems congested ALL the time. It’s interfering with conversation and people keep asking if I’m coming down with something. I am going to try Veg. P. style liquid before I give up on v2, but I am not happy about this. If I can’t use these products I have wasted SO much money on them… Like I said this has never happened before with other methods of quitting, but has come up TWICE when quitting with v2.

  23. kathynap6 says:

    i got my v2 three weeks ago love it have not even had the urge to smoke cigaretts had diahria the first few days but can breath alot better i have copd and bad smokers cough since i started vaping my cough is gone

  24. Kat says:

    I have been using v2 for about a week now and I have had maybe 2 real cigs since then but none in the last 2 days. I have not been coughing buy I have a really bad soar throat has anyone else experienced this.

  25. raymond says:

    I started vaping a month ago, though im a bit hesitant because of the side effects however after tons of researching i found out that vaping has nothing to do with the syndrome i am experiencing. I’ve been smoking for 18 yrs and im so blessed that for a month i never touched a normal cigarette.

  26. debbie boyd says:

    i have been a heavy smoker for about 45 yrs now, and could not even imagime goin half a day with out a cig. there was no way. well both my parents died do to cig smokeing, my sisters on a neblizer allmost constandly, and both my sister and brother have been hoslized, do to not being able to breath. i have tryed several types of e-cigs, and no way did they satisfied me. so i started doin my home work, and found v-2. i haven,t had a cig since feb 8th now. no one can believe it. but i,am still haveing sinus prolems, and its better, but still haveing to spit out mucus. i did have the heart burn, and diarrera for a while. but my main concern is the sinus,s still cloged up, and the mucus prolem. is any one ealse goin thur this? and how long to its gone? thanks.

    1. VixenB says:

      This could be completely normal. It can take over a month for your body to fully rid itself of the toxins. However, the heartburn – if it’s reflux – could send acid into your sinus cavities (this happens to me). Sometimes it’s just really annoying, but it is possible that you have a sinus infection as the acid & mucus could cause bacteria buildup. I’d check with your doctor – and look into mucinex + Neti pot rinses & drinking lots of water. I prefer xylitol packets (vitamin shoppe) for my sinus rinses because of its potent anti bacterial properties. It’s also a natural remedy. You want to get all the unnatural stuff out of your body

    2. Drea says:

      I just wrote about this in response to someone else, its a few comments up from yours.
      I am having the same issues as you and my only relief has been Afrin Severe congestion relief. Aside from rotating off e cigs to nicorette lozenges and SNUS I did take antibiotics due to the sinusitis but issues have come back again. I wash the e cig tip often and change out the coils frequently and recently changed the whole tank and it made no difference but perhaps I already had a new sinus infection brewing prior to the change. Back to the dr again I guess.
      Oh I thought to mention, I had a bad reaction to a certain antibiotic which I never had when I was a smoker. I read there are possible interactions with propolyne glyclol in e cigs and Zithromax etc

  27. Ellen says:

    I started vaping about a year and a half ago. My daughter and her husband got these for me because she was gonna have a baby and didn’t want me to smoke around the baby. I am 50 years old and have been smoking since I was around 11 or 12 years old, and never thought I would stop. When I tried these I liked these my daughter threw away my pack of cigarettes and I have not had one since. I love these things and will never go back to smoking cigarettes. Thank you so much!

  28. Christena Mckaskle says:

    I can across this blog while I was researching whether I can use my e-cig on my flight from the main land to Maui in June. I’m glad I found out beforehand that I can’t….BUT I find it very interesting that the e-cig’s are allowed in the airports! Soooo the airport staff is ok with explaining to anyone that may ask “What is that person smoking or doing ect. at the airport but NOT on the airplane? Hmmm…..strange!!!!

  29. Amy says:

    My friend has never smoked a regular cigg. In his life. A month ago he started smoking an e cigg. And is having all of these symptoms. Hmmmmmm?????

    1. Chue says:

      Really? That’s strange… your friend’s body is probably not use to the E cigg or something.

    2. George says:

      I don’t believe you for one minute. I also think you’re making this up.

    3. Amy's Friend says:

      Amy, tell your friend to try smoking regular cigarettes for awhile and see if the symptoms go away. I had a friend that did the same thing, started using E-Cigs and didn’t smoke prior and when he tried to stop the e-cigg’s he couldn’t and had to start smoking..Strange I know..He’s using the nicotine gum currently, trying to quit altogether….

  30. luke says:

    Has anyone been experiencing Hives as a result of Using liquid or possibly withdrawal from analog? I’ve switched to some less potent forms of Vapor in the past and didn’t have much problem, but i also never quit completely from analog. this time (i don’t Know if it is related) i Developed a severe case of hives lasting for over a month now. I’ve never had them before. i’m also wondering the extent of the symptoms of intolerance to PG. if ANYONE has any info i’d love to hear from you. this is making my life miserable and I’ve had to Quit vaping to see if that’s where the reaction is coming from. i don’t want to smoke but i want even less to have these maddening hives.

    1. Tina says:

      I have just started the whole e-cig cycle. Loving it, gave up the real cigs, for about a month and a half. Got the sinus infection, and now severe itching all over body, palms, soles of feet, everywhere. Makes me want to go back to real cigs, but don’t want too because of the health issues. Itching for about a week, will see if subsides, otherwise, not sure what I may resort to. If you have any answers, let me know.

  31. Kyle says:

    I was smoking a pack a day for about five years and a friend bought me the Ecigg for my birthday. I had no intentions if quitting but after trying out V2 I have no interest in tobacco anymore. #TeamVapor

  32. Paul says:

    Luke I ran into a gal that had the same thing at an e cig shop!
    She said it was an allergy to PG liquid, she would get hives
    On her tummy and back. Switch to VG liquid and be aware
    That most flavors have PG in them but you can find pue VG
    Flavors online. Now if I can just figure out why I still get mouth Sores when I’m using pure VG I’ll be set! Good luck

  33. ad says:

    I’ve been a smoker for 24 years, now vaping for 2-3 weeks.
    it seems my lungs are not really getting better! just road my bike and my heart rate and breathing seemed the same if not worse! I’m thinking I’m vaping a little to much? or its to soon off the analogs to notice??

  34. Cindy Sparks says:

    I had quit with patches before but became allergic to them, why is it then that I never had the coughing, and many of those symptoms as stated coughing badly and burning in my lungs as I have with the vapor cig? If it the lungs clearing up I should have had those symptoms anytime I quit smoking? I have tried 3 brands an still coughing, gassy and lots of throat clearing that I did not have while smoking regular cigs.

  35. Mike says:

    I have used dip for over 40 years. I know it was stupid. I got my new Vape machine yesterday. I got 12% nicotine as recommended at the Vape store. Im new to this so every time I craved a dip I took a vape. Probably over did it. I got the indigestion, sore throat, some coughing and some diarrhea. I think VG only would be better for me and less vape per day. All in all I’ve had one dip in 24 hours when before I had one every hour of every minute. Got the throat lump going on as well. We will see but I think most of these issues will go away. I have to try anyway to off this tobacco.

  36. Pammie says:

    I am using e-cig brand. I have been vaping for almost 3 weeks. I didn’t have any of these symptoms at all. No lump in throat, no sinus infection, no diarrhea. A lot of people in Daytona are using these now. None of these symptoms…. Hmm?

  37. Alfian says:

    I’ve noticed that my gums get weaker. They bleed easier. However, this is when I used blends from my own country. When I switched to USA made blends, no more bleeding gums…

  38. Keith says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one having *ahem*interesting bowel movements*ahem* since I started. Thanks for clearing this side effect up for me. Will definitely be switching to VG.

  39. Ed Hall says:

    When I first started vaping I just experienced a little bit of nausea but I think that was because of the way that I was using it and how often I was using it. Much better now and better alternative to cigarettes!

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