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What are the side effects of vaping?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Nov 14, 2022.

Official answer


Vaping involves inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an e-cigarette (EC) or similar device (such as a vape pen or MOD). The most common side effects of vaping include:

  • Addiction to nicotine (unless nicotine-free cartridges are used)
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Dry nose
  • Eye irritation
  • Exacerbation of asthma in people, with pre-existing asthma
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sensitive teeth
  • A sore throat/dry throat/throat irritation
  • Stomach aches
  • Tongue sensitivity/tongue numbness/loss of taste.

Other side effects, such as a fast heartbeat (tachycardia), high blood pressure, and possibly seizures have been linked to high levels of nicotine. All products containing nicotine are toxic to children and pets and vaping supplies, including full and empty refills, should be kept out of reach of children and animals, preferably in a locked cupboard. Drinking, sniffing, or even accidentally touching the liquid in ECs can cause poisoning.

Some flavorings (notably diacetyl) and other additives used in ECs have been linked to a respiratory condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as Popcorn Lung. It has also been reported that during the heating and vaporizing process some EC liquids release formaldehyde, a possible carcinogen.

On the positive side, many smokers who have changed to vaping report beneficial side effects associated with vaping compared with conventional cigarettes, such as not smelling of cigarette smoke, better capacity for exercise, or an increased sex drive. Levels of toxins such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein are 9 to 450 times lower in ECs than tobacco products.

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