Headaches vaping and e-cigs
Headaches caused by vaping?
Headaches from vape pens/e-cigs is something that I have noticed happening to myself during my 7 years vaping. I started vaping in 2012 using an e-cig, I did not experience the headaches when using this device even though I was smoking like 24 mg nicotine juice. From over use though I did get sore patches on my lips that would almost be like a cold sore type lesion, but when I switched to a vape pen the headaches started!
Why do you get headaches from vaping?
This is a good question and I am still not sure I know the answer, although I have an idea but I am not a scientist, so I can’t be certain. All the information I have is from my own experiences and experimentation’s using different vaping devices and e-liquids with different nicotine levels.
So why do some people get headaches from vaping? As my headaches became more and more frequent and more and more unbearable I decided to try and change the way I vaped to see if I could eliminate the headaches. So I tried to use my vape pen less frequently, I tried using a lower strength e-liquid and I tried using different vaping devices, I also tried varying amount of polypropylene glycol and vegetable glycol mixes.
I found two ways I could get a break from the headaches, one is if I used the my vapes less! Which can be very difficult for someone trying to quit tobacco and the second was to use a smaller device like an e-cig.
The e-cigs allow a much smaller hit before over heating, if you try and puff too frequently or take a really big puff the device won’t work and the warning light will flash on and off.
This led me to question, was it the nicotine or was it the propylene or vegetable glycol causing the headaches?
Is it the nicotine?
Was it the nicotine that I was inhaling making my head pound? Seems obvious right, nicotine being a toxic poison. I thought it was bound to be the cause so I tried lowering the nicotine in my vape juice. I started off going from 18 mg down to 11 mg, I noticed little to no difference in the intensity or frequency of my migraines. So I tried again down to 6 mg, still no change. Although dropping down to 6 mg I was using my vape a lot! And I mean I was puffing around 10 ml of juice from a small EGO II 2200 mAh battery a day. This caused some of the other symptoms that I have talked about to happen i.e the sores on my mouth and on my lips as well as a rancid taste in my mouth as well as the headaches!
So after trying the above I went down to 0 mg nicotine, nicotine free vaping for a whole week. It was hard I was angry and irritable most of the time, my lips got really sore both sides of them and the headaches still persisted and if anything got worse.
Propylene or vegetable glycol causing migraines whilst vaping?
After experimenting with the amount of nicotine that I was vaping to see if it was responsible for the headaches, I was actually shocked to find out that it did not seem to make a difference. This led me to think that the headaches must be being caused by vaping either too much propylene glycol or too much vegetable glycol. Again I want to reiterate I am not a scientist! I am only going on my own findings through my own experimenting with vaping devices and e-liquid. So I tried changing the levels of propylene and vegetable glycol I was inhaling.
First off I moved to a full vegetable glycol mix, I found this was a but too claggy and thick for my vape pen to handle It was hard to get a decent draw but I did not get any headaches.
Secondly I tried a full propylene mix This was the opposite and atomized too quickly I would get one big hit the the coil would run dry. This caused me to get a bit of a sore throat and mouth, I also went through my burners pretty quickly. I did find that this full propylene mix gave me the headaches just the same as before. So is it the propylene glycol in the e-liquid that is causing the headaches? I mean it should be food grade and has been deemed safe by the FDA. I found this very worrying as previous research that I have done led me to believe that food grade propylene glycol was safe-well safe to eat anyway. But is it really safe to be vaped continuously into our lungs and is it responsible for the headaches? And should I just start back up smoking tobacco.
We were all told that vaping was much better for our health compared to smoking tobacco is this true and are we only just finding out what impact vaping has on our long term health? So many question and I don’t know the answers.
Advice on how to avoid headaches when vaping
Here I am going to outline some points that I have found help reducing headaches when vaping.
- Try to take significant breaks between vaping, allow a good 30 seconds between each puff.
- Vape e-liquid that has a higher concentration of vegetable glycol rather than propylene, I recommend a 70-30% mix. This seemed to reduce the intensity of the headaches.
- Try using e-cigarettes instead of a vape, e-cigs give a much smaller hit of vapor, therefore you inhale less of what ever it is that is causing the headaches.
- If you are using a vape then get a smaller battery or use a low power mode, you really don’t need to get such a big hit! Doing this will save you money as you will vape less juice. If you do this and find you are not getting a big enough throat hit then move up to a higher nicotine juice. The nicotine is the most expensive ingredient in e-juice, most shops encourage you to buy a low nicotine juice (as this maximizes their profits), then sell you a device that burns the juice quick. The cost of the propylene/vegetable glycol is about 1 tenth of the cost of the nicotine. You can make your e-liquid at a fraction of the cost you pay in the shops.