Are Disposable Vapes Causing Coughs Among Holidaymakers?

Are Disposable Vapes Causing Coughs Among Holidaymakers?

There are also worries that disposables are causing more coughs from festivalgoers

1 August 2022 | Hannah Rubery

Are Disposable Vapes Causing Coughs Among Holidaymakers? (Image)

With summer in full swing and most of normality returning, many Brits have finally been able to get away for some well-deserved R&R. But there have been talks that those returning home are coughing more than expected and for some reason, disposable vapes appear to be getting the blame.

Many people choose to travel with disposable vapes due to their ease of use and lack of preparation needed for taking them anywhere especially overseas. Likewise, disposables have become a popular option for those at festivals. They don’t need recharging or refilling and are relatively cheap making them less of a worry to lose.

So perhaps it’s not too much of a stretch for people to start thinking that disposables are causing the influx of coughing cases? Let’s take a look into this...

Why do we get coughs after being on holiday?

There are actually a lot of reasons why you always get sick after a vacation away. It’s so common in fact that the CDC has a page dedicated to it! It doesn’t matter what you did during your holiday, if you were walking around cities or reclining by the pool most days, its’ highly likely you’ll feel rundown afterwards. Why? Because it’s such a change from life back home that our bodies have trouble adjusting.

Besides this, there are several reasons why you could have picked up a cough abroad. Planes are a common cause but not for what you think. The low humidity during flights is likely the real culprit as the dryness naturally can irritate your nose and throat. This also makes it tougher for your body to fight bacteria.

This leads to another culprit; new allergens and germs. It’s a big world out there and each country has its own germs and bacteria so when we meet them overseas, our bodies don’t appreciate it. Not to mention when on holiday you are often in high population areas like airports, train stations, tourist sites etc. Of course, we can’t discount the potential for covid infections!

Why do we get coughs from festivals?

It’s certainly festival season at the minute, and anyone who’s been to an outdoor festival you know what it’s like. Between people, dirt, pollen, mud, grass, mould and even potentially second-hand smoke, there’s a lot to take in. And of course, the likelihood of washing your hands as frequently as you should is probably quite low at an outdoor festival. In 2003, a film festival in Utah handed out 5,000 bottles of hand sanitiser due to the high rates of seasonal influenza going around, and festivals are well-known ‘petri dishes’ for bacteria. So, the chance of picking up a bug whilst out at a festival is naturally quite high.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should outright avoid festivals. Instead, party-smart; stay hydrated, don’t smoke, and stay away from those who are smoking, use allergy medication and eat well.

Why can vaping cause a cough?

Now it is important to say that coughing is a common side effect of vaping but the reasons behind it are not so clear-cut. In fact, there are many vapers who never cough when first making the switch to vaping from smoking. A study by E-cigarette Direct noted that out of 600 vapers, just over half coughed when they first started vaping. But it was noted to be predominantly a temporary effect as 93% went on to say they no longer coughed while vaping.

Vaping can also cause a cough depending on the method of vaping and the E-Liquid used. Many smokers who swap to vaping don’t realise that the method is slightly different to smoking. A longer, slower inhaler is the proper way to vape, as is not inhaling air with their vapour but this can take some time to get used to. E-Liquids that are high in PG are also more likely to make someone cough as PG is used to help simulate the cigarette hit on your throat.

Similarly, E-Liquids with strong nicotine (especially freebase nicotine) contain a stronger throat hit which can make users cough. For this reason, Nic Salts were developed as a method of vaping high-strength nicotine without irritating your throat. A dry throat and dehydration are also quite common when you first begin vaping, but it is easily remedied by remembering to drink plenty of water.

But these alone don’t create a persistent cough. There have been notions that vaping itself can create as much lung harm as smoking does, which is why you could cough while vaping. However, there are studies that have shown that vaping actually helps repair lung function in those who have smoked. The cilia in our lungs that get damaged by cigarette smoke, are what help keep our lungs clear of mucus. Some have speculated that the regrowth of cilia could be why new vapers cough as they work to clear existing mucus from their smoking days.

In conclusion, the likelihood of disposable vapes causing coughing illnesses amongst holidaymakers and festivalgoers is quite unlikely. When we take into consideration all of the factors that are most likely to cause coughs, it’s much more likely you’ve caught a bug, are feeling rundown or a case of allergies than vaping. If you have a persistent cough for more than 3 weeks or is very bad/getting worse, then you should see a GP. They may take a sample of your mucus or send you for a chest X-ray to discover the cause.