Side Effects of Transitioning From Tobacco to Electronic Cigarettes
If you’ve successfully made the switch from traditional tobacco to an electronic cigarette you may have noticed a few symptoms that come about after the initial transition; you may experience increased coughing, gastrointestinal discomfort, and odd taste of food.
These and a few other symptoms are all temporary changes you may or may not experience during the transitional period. However, there should be no cause for alarm as these symptoms usually subside in a matter of a week or two, often times just days. Simply put your body is starting to adjust to an alternative form of smoking that lacks the deadly chemical additives and carcinogens found in traditional tobacco.
During the initial process, some smokers will experience slightly elevated symptoms depending on how recent the switch was. Again, all of these temporary symptoms are temporary and may very well not be common to you or another electronic cigarette user. Additionally, some of the effects caused by using electronic cigarettes may be affected by changes in nicotine levels throughout your body depending in large part on what your previous nicotine intake level was and how it will be now.
Minor ailments such as throat irritation and allergic reaction to the electric cigarettes themselves also exist but are usually not as widespread a phenomenon as some suggest. Below, we’ve comprised a list of common effects to the body when switching to electronic cigarettes. Bear in mind that some may or may not experience these temporary side effects. While they may initially seem unpleasant, these effects typically pass after your body adjusts.
Read on to find out what kind of potential side effects come about through the transitional period, details on why they come about, and how best to manage your body during the this period. If you continue to experience any side effects listed below after extensive use of an electronic cigarette we recommend you cease using your device and consult a medical professional immediately.
Persistent Coughing With Increased Phlegm and Congestion
Many smokers jump at the chance to use electronic cigarettes because it’s healthier, cleaner, and safer than continuously exposing their bodies to dangerous carcinogens. However, some experience the same or significantly increased coughing fits. Throat clearing and increased phlegm production are the result of your body adjusting to pure vapor instead of tobacco smoke.
Typically, many smokers experience some mild form of sinus congestion during the initial usage period that while persistent, vanishes in a matter of days.
Coughing is one of the many inconveniences that come about with electronic cigarette use for the first day or two but quickly vanishes after extended use. This largely depends on what kind of smoker you are. A more experienced smoker will get through the coughing fits rather quickly whereas a novice smoker may have to compensate for time to adjust to the product.
Your lungs are lined with organelles called Cilia. Coughing is caused when cilia comes in contact with excess mucus and tar (in a smoker’s lungs) trying to keep the lungs clean. Coughing continues until the organelles can clear the lungs of any or all forms of phlegm and excess build up. Again, this is to be expected when transitioning so expect minor coughing fits in the first few days. Based on current studies from former tobacco smokers, a morning cough can be expected for up to a week and in some rare cases up to a month. As your lungs adjust to the lack of tobacco smoke, you’ll begin to see notice less phlegm build up and the persistent cough nonexistent.
Recommendation: During this time, we recommend drinking a reasonable amount of water. Without water, repeated coughing can lead to a sore throat. For any form of sinus congestion experienced during this time, try over the counter medications.
Throughout the process of your lungs being cleared out your throat may be affected temporarily. With water use, a sore throat can be kept at bay however your voice may initially become hoarse through the transitional period. However, just like coughing, this side effect will pass.
Recommendation: Again, water helps to ease the throat during this particular time and will ease your throat. If water isn’t enough, we recommend using throat lozenges our cough drops to help soothe your throat.
The Common Cold Is Still Common
According to recent studies, smokers have experienced more prevalent symptoms of the common cold thanks in part to quitting tobacco cigarettes. When quitting, the immune system works overtime by increasing white blood cells thereby shifting priority away from protecting against a virus like the common cold.
Recommendation: Plenty of fluids like water will help to minimize the effects of the cold as well vitamins and proper rest. Give your body ample time to recover without over-exertion.
One of the more rare side effects that can come about is a resurgence of acne. Acne is caused when the body releases toxins that are expelled during the cleansing process in which electronic cigarettes are substituted for traditional tobacco. These temporary breakouts will subside once your body adjusts to the change.
Recommendation: We recommend keeping your face clean of any excess build up. Soap and water does the trick but many products that clear away acne are also recommended such as Proactiv and over the counter acne cream and pad treatments. After a short time, acne will soon disappear.
Mouth Ulcers and Canker Sores
Through repeated use of tobacco cigarettes, each puff resulted in the body absorbing chemicals and irritants. These irritants forced the gums of the mouth to slowly create a barrier to protect itself from the deadly chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Now, while using an electronic cigarette, smokers will notice a temporary increase of uclers and canker sores in the mouth. As the mouth begins to lose the barrier it used to protect itself, the crust around damaged tissue is slowly replaced with healthy tissue. This in turn leads to lesions forming around the gums, inside cheeks, and on the roof of your mouth.
Recommendation: Keep your mouth clean and brush regularly to stop bacteria from infecting the sites. Also consider using mouthwash to eliminate most if not all of the bacteria in your mouth. This will help speed up the process of recovery.
Hiccups are more a mild nuisance than a symptom but anyone who’s tried either nicotine gum or lozenges will have firsthand experience. Hiccups typically occur with electronic cigarette usage when vapor is absorbed into the mouth that soon mixes with saliva. This nicotine laced saliva, once swallowed, tends to cause hiccupping fits.
Recommendation: We recommend simply breathing in the vapor without having to hold the vapor in your mouth as this will decrease any or all hiccups currently experienced.
Classically known as acid reflux, heartburn is a problem many Americans face, smoker or not. So too do electronic cigarette smokers after switching from traditional tobacco. Heartburn is a significantly rare phenomenon among electronic cigarette users, though cases have been reported. This can happen with repeated exposure to high strength nicotine cartridges.
Recommendation: Seasoned smokers will be able to handle higher nicotine strengths than novice smokers so it’s best to find an option that will not cause increased heartburn. Pay close attention to the nicotine strengths of the cartridges you use and monitor any sign of discomfort you feel during use. If heartburn persists, stop using your electronic cigarette and consult a medical professional.
Headaches, Nausea, Shaking
Transitioning from traditional tobacco cigarettes can be a big one depending on what your current and adjusted nicotine use is. Some electronic cigarettes will offer lower strengths when compared to their conventional counterparts and this can cause temporary headaches and nausea. Some users even reported shaking of the hands. This is all, in large part, the effects of changes in nicotine strength.
Recommendation: For this, we recommend not using a high strength nicotine cartridge, such as the 18mg cartridges, and find a level that’s more suitable for you until you’re better able to adjust.
Restlessness and Bizarre Dreams
This transition from tobacco to electronic smoking is a big life change, it’s psychological effects should never be underestimated. Quitting tobacco has been known to cause more elaborate dreams (some people enjoy this), insomnia and is perhaps most noted for causing nightmares at first. The insomnia is also influenced by an increased sensitivity to the stimulant Caffeine during the transition.
The switch between two forms of smoking can have psychological effects on a person and should never be underestimated. Some reports have suggested that quitting tobacco can lead to elaborate dream sequences, restlessness, and even insomnia.
Recommendation: To better manage the transition, try to get an adequate amount of sleep every night until your body full adjusts. Furthermore, stimulants such as coffee are known to increase the effects of insomnia and restlessness so use caution during the first few days and or weeks and limit your intake during the day as well as before bedtime.
Now that you’ve begun smoking a cleaner, healthier form of cigarette, your body may not be used to such pure vapor entering your body. As a result, your lungs and your body will increase blood circulation and oxygen. The end result can lead to lightheadedness or dizziness.
Recommendation: We recommend that you analyze your usage habits. Often times, nicotine levels are too high for smokers that some experience dizziness after extended use. If lowering your strength isn’t enough, consider your habits by adjusting the amount of puffs you take on your electronic cigarette throughout the day. Your body needs time to adjust from conventional tobacco and will eventually be prepared enough to accept higher nicotine strengths. However, id lightheadedness continues during use, we recommend you stop electronic cigarette use and consult a medical professional immediately.
Skin Irritation can be a problem for some smokers but not of too much concern. Itchiness around the body is only temporary and will fade after your body gets used to the idea of smoking a tobacco free cigarette.
Altered Taste and Smell
One of the more widespread concerns in quitting tobacco for an electronic cigarette is that taste is affected. As your mouth begins to replace tissue damaged by tobacco smoke and tar, your taste and even smell will greatly improve. Food will have a more robust taste and a richer aroma that is slightly overpowering. Because you’re not being inundated by chemicals and additives, you’ll approach an electronic cigarette fully aware of how it tastes and smells. A myriad of flavors and smells are available through many different electronic cigarette brands and find one that’s right for you. As your taste buds recover from the transition, you’ll begin to take note of tastes or smells you never realized.
Many smokers, however, have experienced the phenomenon known as “menthol mouth”. Repeated use of menthol cartridges have been proven to cause dulled taste and smell.
Recommendation: For smokers, who smoke anything but menthol, enjoy yourselves! For those using menthol and experiencing “menthol mouth” consider temporarily suspending use of your menthol cartridge until your taste has fully recovered from your exposure to tobacco cigarettes.
Cramps, Spasms and Aches
As more oxygen is used in your body and there’s better blood flow, this will result in temporary aches and pains throughout your body. This is one of the most common side effects of initial electronic cigarette use as many who use one for the first time only recently switched from a tobacco-filled lifestyle.
Recommendation: Muscle problems such as cramps, spasms, and aches can also be caused by dehydration particularly during the summer months. We recommend drinking a reasonable amount of water to safeguard yourself from these issues. Take care of your body and try not to participate in strenuous activity until your muscles have recovered.
One of the more embarrassing aspects of making the switch that many know all too well. That being said, smokers are expected to experience increased gas production during the initial switch.
Recommendation: While this may be unavoidable for many, we recommend minimizing your chances of reoccurrence by limiting your intake of foods known to cause increased gas such as beans, broccoli, or even cabbage.
This may be a side-effect of quitting smoking, but it may also be caused by an intolerance to the propylene glycol base in your nicotine cartridges. If this is the case, try switching to vegetable glycerin based cartridges and see if the symptoms subside.
Recommendation: Experiment with propylene glycol. If discomfort occurs, consider purchasing vegetable glycerin based nicotine cartridges instead.