Why is My Vape So Harsh?

Woman Experiencing a Harsh Throat Hit When Vaping

Why Is My Vape So Harsh?

If you’re new to vaping and yet to hone your ideal equipment and liquid combination, you may experience what is known as a ‘harsh vape’ experience. This is better described as the feeling of your vapour causing a sore throat when you hit the fire button or auto-draw.

It is a common problem when you start vaping, so we’ve listed the most frequent issues that can cause a sore or burning throat when you vape, and how to stop it from happening again.

Reasons Why a Harsh Vape May Be Causing a Sore Throat


There is not one deciding factor that contributes to a sore throat when vaping. Instead, there are a few reasons, which although fixable, can lessen the experience when picking up and using an e-cigarette. Below we’ve listed the key reasons why your vape may be too harsh, whether it’s come on all of a sudden or gradually getting worse over time.


Dry Hit

A dry hit can happen to the best of us at any time. This occurs when you go to inhale your e-liquid but the coil is burning through the vape juice at too fast of a pace. Alternatively, it could be because the e-liquid is not saturating correctly on the wick. This in turn leads to a dry hit that can burn the throat and create an unsatisfactory vape. It can come on at any moment and tends to happen first thing in the morning when there is leftover juice from the night before. To avoid this issue, simply pulse the vape a couple of times to create a better wicking situation and then inhale.


Struggling to Adjust From Smoking to Vaping


It’s not directly involved with the vape that you select but your device may feel harsh due to that initial changeover period from smoking. Your body needs to adjust itself to a different level of nicotine or face sore throat issues which can happen due to nicotine withdrawal. If you intake too much nicotine it can cause a prickly sensation while not enough nicotine initially can cause withdrawal symptoms. Other side effects of withdrawal from tobacco include:

  • A chesty cough
  • Fatigue or general tiredness
  • Problems digesting food and liquids


What you need to remember is selecting the right wattage device to match your chosen e-liquid and to stay hydrated between hits. In addition, it’s important to remember your goals and why you picked up a vape in the first place. Once you make the right adjustments and get used to the switch, all will feel right and the intensity of your inhale and exhale motion will not feel as harsh on the throat.


Nicotine Strength is Too High


E-liquids come in a variety of strengths with different nicotine content. You should consider which strength you need based on the number of normal cigarettes you would typically smoke in a day.

  • 0mg: suitable for casual smokers.
  • 3mg: suitable for light smokers who would smoke 1 or 2 cigarettes each day.
  • 6mg: suitable for light smokers who would normally smoke a 20-pack a week.
  • 12mg: suitable for average smokers who would normally smoke a 20-pack a day.
  • 18mg: suitable for heavy smokers who would normally smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.


You’ll find these strengths sometimes displayed as percentages, such as 0.0%, 0.3%, 1.2% or 1.8%.

What is also important here is that the stronger the nicotine levels, the more of the throat hit you’re going to get every time you vape. If you’re finding your vape too harsh on your throat, try lowering the strength of your e-liquid and you should notice considerable improvement. Eventually, the aim is to become nicotine-free with the hope of giving up these habits altogether. Vaping can help you on that journey by dropping your nicotine levels at a slower pace that suits your requirements.



Tips to Resolve Harsh Throat Hit


Now even though a sore throat from vaping can feel bad, it’s also manageable and even avoidable by following the following steps and altering your setup accordingly to give yourself the best chance of a significantly reduced harsh vape. If caught early, you can stop the sensation in its tracks before it even becomes a sudden disappointment from heating your e-liquid.


Frequently Change the Coils

Some situations can arise if you don’t change your coils regularly. Keeping them clean and residue-free is important because the buildup of gunk can quickly lead to your coil drying out.
High VG e-liquids in particular have a thicker viscosity so are more prone to buildup.
What you can do instead is switch to a coil that’s compatible with a nic salt vape juice if you’re not concerned about large cloud production.
The e-liquids are not only thinner to reduce the chances of coil gunk but smoother on the throat due to the nic salt process.
You can get a more gentle throat hit but more nicotine when required, which works in tandem with high resistance coils.


Adjust the Airflow

Many e-cigarettes now allow you to adjust the airflow in the device to help control how much vapour the device produces. Whilst a useful feature, having the airflow closed too much will mean you’re inhaling a more concentrated vapour at a warmer temperature, which could cause a harsh hit. Try opening your airflow more to keep the coils cool and see if this helps.
It’s all about creating the experience you’re looking for when vaping and working out which liquid and vaping devices work best for your needs.


Find the Right PG/VG Ratios

E-liquids come in a variety of different mixes too, and some are only designed to be used with certain types of vaping devices. Simply explained, the PG gives you the throat hit, and the VG produces the vapour. What’s important to note is the level of PG in your e-liquid. Too much can be harsh on the throat, with some vapers even experiencing allergies to Propylene Glycol, which is used in a range of products outside of vaping too.

Normal starter kits will work well with a 50/50 mix, producing ample vapour but also giving you that hit you crave when you have a cigarette. It can then scale either way, but typically more advanced devices with higher wattages work better with higher VG and 100% VG liquid. This is because they are designed to help produce more vapour, but with that comes more nicotine in each draw because the volume of vapour increases.

If you’re using a more powerful e-cigarette, you should be toning down your nicotine strength to 6mg, or ideally 3mg, whichever you are more comfortable with. The higher the strength, the harsher the hit. You can also try higher VG liquids in more basic e-cigarettes but just make sure that it’s compatible to prevent dry hits.


Sample Different Flavours

Whether you like traditional flavours like tobacco and menthol or fruit-infused options, sometimes the taste alone is not enough. Allergies or reactions to specific ingredients from certain e-liquid choices can happen at any time. Should that occur, not to worry. With thousands of options out there, compared to smoking, it’s great to play trial and error till you find a formula that works for you.


Change Your Device and Alter the Wattage

Looking now specifically at equipment, if you are using a device that has variable wattage on it, you may have this set too high. The higher the wattage, the more vapour produced, and much like the nicotine strength, the harsher the hit you’re going to get. For some vapers, it might be better to go with a low powered device that’s better vaped using the mouth to lung technique, to reduce the chances of a harsh throat hit.

If you’re new to vaping and yet to hone your ideal equipment and liquid combination, you may experience what is known as a ‘harsh vape’ experience.


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