Vaping side effects: the dangers & risks of vaping

A comprehensive guide on the side effects of vaping, including common and long-term effects

What’s quitting you?

Not sure if you’re ready to quit vaping? Worried about finding it difficult?

Start quiz
Share this article


Vaping is becoming more and more popular due to e-cigarettes being seen as an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking as well as the marketing and product range that attracts non-smokers including young people to try vaping.

Proponents of vaping often highlight its potential benefits, such as reduced harm compared to smoking. However, these are not harm free products and further research is required to understand their full impact.

However, this comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the potential side effects of vaping, both in the short and long term, as well as to examine the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping.

Does vaping have side effects?

While e-cigarettes are generally considered less harmful than traditional cigarettes they do have side effects many of which are still being researched.

Vaping involves inhaling an aerosolized liquid, usually containing nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals that is heated. These can all have side effects as explained below.

Short term side effects of vaping

  1. Dry mouth and thirst

Vaping can cause dehydration and lead to a dry mouth, which may be attributed to the hygroscopic properties of propylene glycol, a commonly used ingredient in e-liquids.

  1. Irritation of the throat and airways

The inhalation of the heated e-liquid vapor can cause irritation of the throat and airways, resulting in coughing, sore throat, and shortness of breath.

  1. Nicotine addiction / dependence

Nicotine is highly addictive. Even vaping juices that are “nicotine free” have been found to contain nicotine.

Vaping leads to nicotine addiction, with users experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.

  1. Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Nicotine in e-cigarettes can elevate heart rate and blood pressure, which may pose risks, especially for individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.

Long-term side effects of vaping

While the long-term effects of vaping are still being researched, emerging evidence suggests potential risks associated with prolonged use:

  1. Respiratory issues

Once heated the vapor contains ultrafine particles which can be inhaled deep into the lungs and may exacerbate conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The inhalation of harmful substances in e-cigarette aerosols, such as formaldehyde and acrolein, may damage lung tissue over time.

  1. Lung inflammation and damage

The American Lung Association has stated that the inhalation of harmful chemicals [from vaping] can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease such as lipoid pneumonia and vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI).

  1. Impaired lung development in young people

The use of e-cigarettes among adolescents and young adults has raised concerns regarding potential negative effects on lung development, which could have lasting consequences on respiratory health. Read more about teen vaping – a guide to spotting vaping & helping them quit

  1. Cardiovascular diseases

Certain studies have found an association between vaping and increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.

  1. Flavourings & Popcorn lung

There are thousands of flavours all with different additives and chemicals. One that was used until recently was diacetyl. High levels of exposure to diacetyl can lead to the serious lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans also known as “popcorn lung”. It is banned in the UK & EU but is still available in flavours in the rest of the world.

  1. Toxic metal and cancer causing chemicals

Vaping liquid contains over 80 chemicals including nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals and toxic heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead all of which are associated with developing lung disease.

Read more about the side effects of nicotine vaping

What’s holding you back?

Not sure if you really want to quit vaping?

Want to quit, but concerned that you’ll find it tough?

Worried that you’ll be deprived for the rest of your life without vapes?

We know that taking the first step can be difficult, but we’re here to answer your questions in complete confidence – with no pressure and no judgment.

Start free quiz

What are the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping

For individuals struggling to quit smoking, switching to vaping may offer certain advantages compared to smoking:

  1. Harm Reduction

Vaping eliminates the harmful combustion process associated with smoking, reducing exposure to toxins and carcinogens present in tobacco smoke and so is likely to be less harmful than smoking but is far from harm free.

  1. Smoking cessation aid

Some smokers have successfully used vaping as a tool to quit. E-cigarettes provide a nicotine alternative while allowing users to gradually decrease nicotine levels.

The issue is that they remain addicted to nicotine and still have the costs involved in feeding their addiction. The best way is to be nicotine free using a drug free method Allen Carr’s Easyway to quit smoking.

  1. Reduced odour and social stigma

Vaping produces vapor with less offensive odour compared to traditional cigarettes.

However, it does still produce odour which many people do not like and which is why it is still prohibited in many locations.

  1. Variety of flavours

E-liquids come in a wide range of flavours which can make it appealing as an alternative to smoking but also, as seen, to young people who have never smoked.

Final thoughts

Vaping continues to gain popularity worldwide although some countries are now limiting it to prescription only because although vaping is seen as less harmful than smoking it is not harm free.

The short-term effects of vaping include dry mouth, throat irritation, and nicotine dependence, while the long-term effects may involve respiratory issues and lung damage.

Vaping is not risk free and more research needs to be done to determine the full extent of the issues and so it is important to be aware of the risks known to date.

Free Online Quiz

Not sure if you really want to quit smoking or vaping?

Need help to quit smoking?

Want to quit, but concerned that you’ll find it tough?

Worried that you’ll be deprived for the rest of your life without cigarettes or vaping?

We can help you to understand and remove those fears and in so doing, make it quitting easy.

FREE Videos & Information!

Please confirm that you would like us to provide you with free of charge support, advice, and guidance as well as information about free books and special offers for Allen Carr’s Easyway self-help programs.(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  1. Hartmann-Boyce, J., McRobbie, H., Lindson, N., et al. (2020). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (10), CD010216.
  2. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  3. Gotts, J. E., Jordt, S. E., McConnell, R., et al. (2019). What are the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes? BMJ, 366, l5275.
  4. American Cancer society
  5. Henderson, TR; Clark, CR; Marshall, TC; Hanson, RL; & Hobbs, CH. “Heat degradation studies of solar heat transfer fluids,” Solar Energy, 27, 121-128. 1981.
  6. Williams, M.; Villarreal, A.; Bozhilov, K.; Lin, S.; Talbot, P., “Metal and silicate particles including nanoparticles are present in electronic cigarette cartomizer fluid and aerosol,” PLoS ONE 8(3): e57987, March 20, 2013.
  7. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes Report –
  8. Vitamin E Acetate as a Plausible Cause of Acute Vaping-related Illness E Bouid, S Patel, A Boudi, C Chan Cureus. 2019 Dec; 11(12): e6350.
  9. Jensen, R.P.; Luo, W.; Pankow, J.F.; Strongin, R.M.; Peyton, D.H., “Hidden formaldehyde in e-cigarette aerosols,” New England Journal of Medicine 372: 392-394, January 22, 2015.
  10. Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, KE; Kistler, KA; Gilman, G; Voudris, V., “Evaluation of electronic cigarette liquids and aerosol for the presence of selected inhalation toxins,” Nicotine and Tobacco Research 17(2): 168-174, February 2015.
  11. Grana, R; Benowitz, N; Glantz, S. “Background Paper on E-cigarettes,” Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco and WHO Collaborating Center on Tobacco Control. December 2013.
  12. Goniewicz, M.L.; Knysak, J.; Gawron, M.; Kosmider, L.; Sobczak, A.; Kurek, J.; Prokopowicz, A.; Jablonska-Czapla, M.; Rosik-Dulewska, C.; Havel, C.; Jacob, P.; Benowitz, N., “Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapour from electronic cigarettes,” Tobacco Control [Epub ahead of print], March 6, 2013.
  13. Williams, M.; Villarreal, A.; Bozhilov, K.; Lin, S.; Talbot, P., “Metal and silicate particles including nanoparticles are present in electronic cigarette cartomizer fluid and aerosol,” PLoS ONE 8(3): e57987, March 20, 2013.
  14. Wieslander, G; Norbäck, D; Lindgren, T. “Experimental exposure to propylene glycol mist in aviation emergency training: acute ocular and respiratory effects.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 58:10 649-655, 2001.
  15. Choi, H; Schmidbauer,N; Spengler,J; Bornehag, C., “Sources of Propylene Glycol and Glycol Ethers in Air at Home,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 7(12): 4213–4237, December 2010.
  16. American Lung Association: The Inhalation of Harmful Chemicals Can Cause Irreversible Lung Damage and Lung Disease
  17. American Cancer society
  18. Centres for Disease Control & Prevention – electronic cigarettes
  19. Pulmonary illness related to e-cigarette use in Illinois and Wisconsin – preliminary report. Layden JE, Ghinai I, Pray I, et al. N Engl J Med. 2019
  20. CDC clinician outreach and communication activity. [Nov;2019 ];CDC Clinician outreach and communication activity, August 2019.
  21. Giant cell interstitial pneumonia secondary to cobalt exposure from e-cigarette use. [Dec;2019 ];Elliott DR, Shah R, Hess CA, et al. Eur Respir J. 2019 54:1901922
  22. Centres for Disease Control & Prevention – Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products
  23. Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI): An Explosive United States Epidemic G Salzman, M Alqawasma, H Asad Mo Med. 2019 Nov-Dec; 116(6): 492–496.,deadly%20in%20the%20United%20States.
  24. What Does Vaping Do to Your Lungs Johns Hopkins
  25. Bals, R., Boyd, J., Esposito, S., et al. (2019). Electronic cigarettes: a task force report from the European Respiratory Society. European Respiratory Journal, 53(2), 1801151.
  26. McNeill, A., Brose, L. S., Calder, R., et al. (2018). E-cigarettes: an evidence update. A report commissioned by Public Health England. Public Health England.