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Allergies to e liquid - The symptoms and how to overcome them

  • 4 min read

Identifying the symptoms and learning how to overcome them without damaging your health in the long run

We have had many customers over the years contact us about allergies they experience when vaping. What follows should not be taken as medical advice, but as a general guide to what we have researched and experienced. If you are suffering from serious reactions to vaping, the GP is the is the only qualified person to diagnose the problem. 
From our experience, there is a learning curve associated with the pastime and it pays to learn how it can affect the body. New vapers may find their enjoyment hampered by symptoms associated with allergies to e liquid or intolerance to smoke after usage. This sensitivity may not have been caught before they started vaping as it can be caused by an allergy to propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG). These reactions are fortunately relatively uncommon but they can be debilitating if not identified and resolved.

Allergies to E liquid

Is vaping really the cause?

Before you decide to give up something you enjoy it’s worth doing some research or seeking medical advice. It’s important to point out that some of the symptoms associated with VG or PG allergy are the same as the symptoms associated with nicotine dependency, or more specifically the symptoms that set in when someone is giving up smoking. For example phlegm, headaches or the general feeling of nausea. Not all vapes contain tobacco or nicotine and some smokers wean themselves off cigarettes by using vaping as a replacement. Here they are at risk of withdrawal and the above symptoms could be exactly that.

Other possibilities

It’s possible then that the symptoms are simply the toxins being expelling from the body and will pass in time. Again we would also suggest consulting a doctor to me sure but this is something worth considering before you put the vape down. It’s a pleasurable experience after all and considered safe to those who don’t have an allergy to VG or PG. Also it’s possible that the user isn’t using the vape correctly. Other things, such as the e-juice containing too much nicotine, or the liquid not being vaporized properly while smoked can bring on symptoms of intolerance. This could be caused by a faulty machine or inexperience on the part of the user. As above explore all options before deciding to quit.

How do I really tell if I’m allergic?

Let’s investigate the symptoms in more details in an effort to determine which ones represent genuine allergy or which ones may simply be one of the suggestions above such as the body detoxifying itself from nicotine or tobacco dependency. Those who have given up smoking often describe the symptoms of illness that they experienced afterwards. Here is a list of those symptoms in no particular order; this is also not an exhaustive list either but a general selection of common allergies to ejuice symptoms:
  • Sneezing and nose irritation
  • Feeling sick/nausea
  • Coughing a lot and the need to expel phlegm
  • irritated or sore throat
  • Sore or upset stomach
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Feeling of dizziness, vertigo or lightheadedness
  • General fatigue
  • Shortness of temper, easily irritated by minor things
  • Ulcers on the mouth, tongue or throat
  • Mild breathing difficulties or chest pains


The above symptoms may be signs of “Smokers Flu” and as unpleasant as they all are, may hopefully pass in time once the body has completed the detoxifying process. Vaping itself may have nothing to do with any of them if truth be told. It may be more of a case of what you’re not doing now then what you are doing. Now lets explore some of the symptoms associated with a legitimate allergy and see if they correspond with your own. Bare in mind that some of these will be the same as the symptoms listed above, but will be much more pronounced and extreme: -Incredibly dry/sore throat – Although a dry throat is common with new vapers soreness isn’t, if this continues then seek medical advice. This shouldn’t last long but if it does then it may be cause for concern. -Swollen Gums – Any inflammation of any kind is a worry and a sign of an allergy. This doesn’t happen with “Smokers Flu” and sadly is a sign you may be allergic. -Skin irritation or a rash – Anything that irritates the skin is a sign of an allergy and can usually be traced to something. -Sinus Irritation – It’s rare that those suffering from “Smokers Flu” have trouble with their sinuses. This is more often than not an infection brought on ether by an allergy or something more serious.

What if you are really allergic?

Due to vaping containing ingredients like VG and PG, allergies to such common substances are likely to have already been discovered before you started vaping. This is good news as it means you’re unlikely to be diagnosed now and that the issue is probably one of the things we have already listed. Allergies to VG or PG are very rare, it’s estimated that 1 in 1000 people suffer from some kind of intolerance to either and even if they are, the symptoms can be so miniscule that they don’t even notice. But if you have exhausted all options above and received medical advice and it just so happens you are allergic and you’ve only just found out, the question is where do you go from here? Well luckily there are some options. The first thing to tell you is vaping is something you can continue to do, however there are some changes you will need to make from now on. Identify which substance it is you are allergic to with help from your doctor and target products that do not contain this. The good news is there are plenty of vaping products out there that are free of substances like PG. PG is often the main culprit in allergies to e liquid so consider switching to a VG only vape. Products not containing either are less common but do exist. New advancements in vaping are also being made all the time, so even if it happens that you currently can’t enjoy certain products, you may be able to in time. Speak to you local supplier and see what products they recommend for you.