Vaping is a worldwide phenomenon that’s caught on like wildfire. It’s fun, engaging, sounds like it’s safer than smoking, and one of those things people love doing (check out our favorite vaporizers here). For some, it’s a consistent activity while others are occasional users based on their mood or preference.
However, one issue that continues to pop up is the “vaping headache,” which seems to be plaguing certain people. It’s a prevalent issue that has been noted among vaping enthusiasts but is this a serious side effect or something reserved for a select group of individuals?
Here’s a peek into the intricacies of this topic.
What the Research Says
In 2015, a study showed e-cigarettes were much safer in comparison to generic combustible cigarettes. The research dove headfirst into a large study on how the body reacted, what the main side effects were, and how the various components had an impact on the person’s long-term health. In the end, it said the difference was substantial with a 95% gap between e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes.
Continued studies on the same subject have reiterated this idea by claiming e-cigarettes are much safer for a person’s health. They are less aggressive and don’t damage the body in the same manner.
With this in mind, both studies stated it was clear vaping was a good alternative to regular cigarettes. However, the same studies did point to a subset of side effects, which were prominent in vaping such as the occurrence of headaches. It wasn’t a major problem and most individuals got better in a few hours or days but it was noted as a potential concern in some cases.
A good amount of their subjects were cleared but a smaller number did have some type of headache due to vaping.
Over time, more and more research has been done on this specific symptom with researchers looking into the headaches and their source. Each researcher has come to the same conclusion stating it is not a major issue nor should it be something to worry about in the long-term. It is similar to getting a headache after drinking alcohol.
Defining a Vaping Headache
To better understand a subject such as this, it’s important to start by defining the symptom.
A “vaping headache” refers to the onset of head-related pain after vaping for a set period of time. It is noted as one of the most common side effects among vaping users worldwide.
In fact, a research study looked into this particular symptom and asked thousands of people with the same answers coming back. Headaches were a problem with vaping and something they had to treat with painkillers.
Please note, the vaping headache was on par with another side effect (a sore throat).
A vaping headache is not the same for everyone with varying intensities and qualities. For example, the average vaper mentions a low-grade headache (i.e. mild ache that lasts for a few hours) while others have reported a stronger pain that lasts for a week (i.e. a migraine). However, a larger chunk of these users states most of their issues disappeared as they continued to use e-cigarettes with their bodies adapting.
Possible Causes for the Headaches
The causes can vary because vaping alone doesn’t have to be the catalyst.
In some cases, a person may already be showing signs of an upcoming headache (dehydration, migraine history). However, in some cases, the trigger did have to do with the e-cigarette because of its nicotine levels or specific e-liquid ingredients that were present.
Once again, this varies from person to person and there’s no steadfast rule as to what the main cause is. It’s best for a person to ask a specialist in severe cases!
If you’re vaping something like CBD or medical marijuana, then the cause would obviously be different.
With dehydration, the vaping can worsen your situation because it dries out the mouth. Propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin begin interacting with your body leading to lightheadedness, dizziness, and of course headaches.
This is why it is often recommended to drink a good amount of water before vaping to ensure this is not a problem you have to deal with.
In the same vein, a person can also develop a sore throat for the same reason.
Even if you are not able to drink a large bottle of water, it’s never a bad idea to sip on something throughout the day to stay hydrated. For some, this is more than enough to keep the bad headaches at bay.
As for the ingredients, they can be the cause of your headaches.
Based on modern research, the actual ingredient that causes this type of pain can vary. It’s never a particular ingredient that does the damage. In some cases, it can be the propylene glycol, while others might cite the vegetable glycerin as their main cause. I
t’s all about understanding your body and making adjustments. These adjustments can include buying e-liquids without those specific ingredients in them.
There are multiple high-VG e-liquids or high-PG e-liquids on the open market.
There have also been vapers that believe it has to do with the actual flavoring. Since brands are heavy on the flavoring, it can have a bad effect on the human body depending on your biology. If you’re noticing an uptick in headaches, it’s never a bad idea to try other brands to see whether or not it has to do with a particular flavor.
Just like PG or VG, there aren’t particular flavors that cause the most headaches. To overcome this problem, you are always welcome to try unflavored products.
The best piece of advice is to keep trying different e-liquids until there’s one that doesn’t cause pain.
Nicotine is also cited as a cause and it has been noted by some to cause issues. If you noticed headaches after regular cigarettes then it’s going to be the same with e-cigarettes. The chemical doesn’t change if you’re finding something with a good amount of nicotine in it. This can have an effect on the blood flow and lead to a headache.
In the end, vaping can give you headaches and it’s a legitimate side effect for some individuals. Please stay safe and make sure to understand what your body needs whether it’s a different brand, flavor, or ingredient.