Have you ever vaped your favourite flavour, and suddenly noticed you can’t identify it any longer?
Or, even worse, found you can’t taste anything or that your tongue is so numb to the sensation of taste – that anything with flavour is just bland?
Then you’ve likely experienced vaper’s tongue. No need to panic, you’ve got this!
In this article you’ll find out what causes vaper’s tongue and what to do about it if you get it.
What Is Vaper’s Tongue?
The term vaper’s tongue - also known as Vaper’s Fatigue Syndrome (Yes, we just made that up!) is used to cover a range of taste related ailments in reference to vaping - more specifically a proclaimed inability to identify flavour in vapourized e-juice.
While we don’t want to alarm anyone - as causes of vaper's tongue include dehydration, vitamin deficiency or illness, in most cases, the condition is temporary and soon resolves itself. There are a number of solutions for this common annoyance, so no need to panic!
A Little on Taste…
Your tongue will be covered with anything from 2000 to 10000 taste buds. If you are at the upper end of the scale 10,000 taste buds you would be considered as a super taster, and can confidently consider a career in tea, wine tasting – or e-juice reviews!
The difference in people’s taste buds might also explain why some people have a preferred e- liquid and other people find it hard to tell the difference.
These cells in your taste buds are on a constant cycle, dying away and then re-growing. This cycle can take anything from 10 days to 2 weeks.
Your taste buds are primed to test five different tastes:
- umami (savoury)
Your Nose Knows!
Despite the thousands of taste buds that coat our tongue, smell plays an important part in our taste buds.
Messages from your nose combine with taste to create the flavour you enjoy when you eat, drink or vape.
In fact, researchers in one study asked tea tasters to block their noses. The tea tasters, renowned for their sense of taste, were shocked to discover that when they couldn’t smell, they were unable to distinguish between different teas.
You can find the effects of this yourself. Take a drink of tea or juice, and then repeat the action while holding your nose. You should find that you taste less when you hold your nose.
(You can do this with vaping too, but be careful as it can make you cough. Try not to do it while anyone is watching either or you’ll look like you’re short a full deck if you know what we mean).
10 Possible Causes of Vaper’s Tongue
- Vaping the same flavour consistently
Be it an “all day vape” or your “go to juice”, there is currently no evidence or study to back this but it would seem vapers frequently claim to get vaper’s tongue after using the same flavour consistently.
- Damaged taste buds
Unfortunately, taste buds can get damaged and could lead to vaper’s tongue. Causes include smoking, infections, alcohol, extremely sour or spicy foods, and some medications. Fortunately, taste buds heal themselves, although they do get weaker as you get older (which is one reason your tastes change so much from your childhood to adulthood.)
As we’ve noticed, it can take up to two weeks for taste buds to regenerate, so it could take some time before you fully regain your sense of taste.
- Recently quitting smoking
Yes, quitting smoking may temporarily distort taste and smell. Fortunately it’s not permanent – though many report an enhanced sense of taste as opposed to the strange tastes others may experience.
Dehydration may likely be another possible cause of vaper’s tongue. Symptoms to watch out for are headaches, sore and dry mouth, tiredness and darker urine.
While drinking plenty of water should help you, remember dehydration also means that you are losing salts.
- Mouth dryness
Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, and you’re likely to experience it from time to time (especially as you get older). Unfortunately, it can also lead to a loss of taste. Regular cannabis use can also cause dry mouth – as well as certain medications. PG vapour in e-liquid is also a contributing factor.
- Blocked nose
As we know, your sense of smell works to determine flavour in a big way. If your nose is blocked, it will affect how you perceive taste, particularly with more complex flavours.
- Other illnesses
While blocked noses (and associated illnesses such as flu and cold), are an obvious cause of loss of taste, they are not the only illness that can mess up your vaping experience!
Other illnesses include:Injury to the mouth, nose, or head
Swollen or inflamed gums (gingivitis)
Vitamin B12 or zinc deficiency
Remember, most vapers experience vaper’s tongue at some point, and it usually just passes.
So unless the issue persists there should be no reason to worry – although if it does persist, it might just be worth checking with a doctor just in case.
A number of medicines can also lead to a loss of taste. These include:
some cancer drugs
Taking one of these medications may lead to a loss of taste as a side effect.
- Stress and anxiety
Anxiety can also cause tastes to change. And, strangely, you can experience changes in taste even when you do not think you are suffering from anxiety at the moment.
While we don’t know all the reasons why taste buds change when you are stressed, some causes include:
Breathing shallow or through the mouth – which can affect salivary glands and increase bacteria in the mouth. Acid reflux can affect taste as well as having an overall general sensitivity to certain flavours when stressed.
- Aging E-liquid
As e-liquids age, flavours can degrade over time, sometimes leading to a bland or muted taste when vaped. In which case, you might not have a case of vaper’s tongue at all, but simply need to blend some fresh e-juice!
- Dirty Coils / Clearomizer
Vaper’s Tongue can also result from dirty coils. So if you are suffering, it may be worth cleaning or replacing your Dirty Coils or Clearomizer.
9 Ways to Cure Vapers Tongue
For obvious reasons we are not about to address the more medical issues we’ve mentioned. Naturally, if you are worried about anxiety, vitamin deficiencies or illness, your first priority should be to contact your doctor.
The following solutions should help you fix vaper’s tongue - or we would at least hope they help a little.
- Change your flavour
This simple solution has worked for us! Simply change the flavour you are vaping, and return to it after a couple of weeks. Hopefully, it will taste just as good as it used to!
- Use a stronger flavour
It may also be an idea to change your flavour profile – like using mints or citrus instead of sweet or desert type flavours. Changing these throughout the course of a week can keep your taste buds on their toes!
- Drink plenty of water
Drinking water addresses two potential problems of vaping – well, maybe three: it clears the palate, it helps to rehydrate... and you won’t die!
- Inhaling the smell of fresh coffee beans
Using fresh ground coffee is a technique used by professional wine tasters and perfume samplers alike. Experts believe that inhaling the scent of fresh coffee beans “resets” your sense of taste.
We use this technique in between sampling flavours, and it works to clear the palate!
- Go suck a lemon!
Yes, that’s right! Like coffee beans, sucking on a lemon can reset your taste buds pronto. If lemons are a bit too sour for your taste, try a lemon sorbet!
- Mouth wash
There are mixed thoughts on this. Some think mouth wash helps to resolve vaper’s tongue, others think that it causes it! If you use it regularly, try taking a break, or use it less frequently. If you never use it – give it a try! It may resolve more than just your vaper’s tongue if you catch our drift!
- Steep your e-juice
Our own experience is that steeping e-liquid leads to a fuller, more refined taste. Though we always recommend steeped e-juice, the prominent fresh flavour in your blend may just be a cause.
- Give it time
As we’ve discussed, damaged taste buds can take up to two weeks to recover. So give it a little time and you may find your tongue is back to normal!
- End dual using (smoking & vaping):
If you’re a dual user (you both smoke and vape) then it might be a good idea to try just vaping for a couple of weeks to see if that makes a difference. If it doesn’t work – you’re welcome! You’ve then officially quit smoking altogether!
10. Vape Unflavoured Juice
Try vaping an unflavoured base e-liquid for up to two weeks. None of us here have tried this personally, so let us know how that works out for you!
- Brush your teeth and use a tongue scraper
If you don’t brush your teeth – then it’s probably a good time to start! You can also brush your tongue or even use a tongue scraper. However, if you are consistently brushing or scraping your tongue – perhaps it’s time to go easy on the incessant hygiene protocol.
- Call your grandmother