Can Vaping Cause Headaches?

By Dr. Annie Macpherson
Updated: 2019-09-15


E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, giving the user a cleaner way of inhaling nicotine, in a vaporised solution rather than in toxic smoke.

Vaping has become a life-changing phenomenon across the globe. Many people that couldn’t quit smoking with conventional nicotine replacement therapies are finding new hope with e-cigarettes.

Experts believe vaping is far less harmful to your lungs and body than smoking, but users can still experience some short-term side effects. One common side effect that tends to occur for new vapers is headaches. Headaches caused by vaping are not dangerous, and should not persist in the long term if you make a small changes to the way you vape.

  1. In this article,

    We’ll discuss why vaping can cause headaches, and what you can do to prevent
    heading from vaping.

Why Does Vaping Cause Headaches?


There are a several reasons why vaping might give you a headache. We’ve listed how to avoid the common causes of headache from vaping :


Smokers and ex-smokers will be familiar with the effects of nicotine. Nicotine enters your bloodstream more slowly when you vape compared to when you smoke, meaning you may need to vape more to get the same hit. Many new vapers overcompensate for this, vaping with high nicotine e-juices or having extended vaping sessions, over time resulting in too much nicotine.

Nicotine overdose will cause a headache that lasts until your blood nicotine levels return to what you are used to. If you feel sick or nauseous at the same time as your headache, you might be vaping too much nicotine. Try lowering the nicotine level in your e-juice.

Molecular structure of nicotine. Too much nicotine will make you feel sick and give you a headache.

Staying hydrated

Propylene glycol (PG), the base of many e-liquids, has a dehydrating effect on your lungs and throat. Over time, vaping with PG-based e-liquids dries you out, resulting in mild dehydration, and dehydration-induced headaches. 

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches amongst vapers and is very easy to avoid. Drink more water before, during and after you vape, and you will be able to avoid these headaches. You should drink more water particularly if you are drinking coffee or alcohol, as these substances will dehydrate you further.

Adjust your propylene glycol

If you feel you are drinking enough water and your headaches persist, you can also choose an e-liquid that is at least 40% vegetable glycerin (VG) or more.

By decreasing the PG content of your e-liquid, you should experience less dehydrating effects. Changing the VG/PG ratio of your e-liquid to around 40:60 should help reduce headaches, with minimal effect on your general vaping experience and PG-based throat hit.

Take breaks

Vaping too much will dehydrate you and likely lead to too much nicotine in your bloodstream, which can lead to headaches. The best way to prevent this is have shorter vape sessions with lower nicotine content.

Modify your vaping style

How you vape could be giving you headaches. Your power settings and inhalation technique could increase your chances of getting a headache. If you vape on a high power setting, the vapor is hot and dense, increasing it’s potential to dehydrate you and give you high doses of nicotine.

Try lowering the power a bit. Taking large drags can have a similar effect – try taking smaller drags.



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Dr. Annie Macpherson
Dr. Annie Macpherson

Annie has a PhD in Genome Stability from the University of Sussex. She has first-hand experience in cancer and human disease research. This allows her to provide us with new and unbiased insights into the ongoing research of the public and health effects of vaping. She loves an adventure, and has travelled through South East Asia and Australia working for Vaping Insider.