I get quite a few customers who come to Virgin Vapor because they are experiencing allergic reactions when vaping. The most common culprit is propylene glycol (PG), a commonly used base in e-liquids. PG can cause allergic symptoms ranging from a scratchy throat to sinus problems, headaches, and even feelings of nausea. In extreme cases, PG can even cause numbness in the face and tongue as well as swelling and redness in these areas. Be certain to first assess if your symptoms are being caused by nicotine overdose. Symptoms of nicotine overdose can include nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat and a general feeling of being unwell. Nicotine overdose can be a very serious medical emergency, so be alert for signs and symptoms that may be coming from nicotine poisoning rather than a reaction to PG.
If your symptoms are coming from a PG sensitivity however, you can easily avoid exposure by choosing only 100% vegetable glycerin (VG) based e-liquids. At Virgin Vapor, I offer all of my organic e-liquid flavors in 100% VG, so you can easily chose this option rather than a VG/PG mix. Many other vendors also offer VG-based e-liquids, but be certain they are truly PG-free. The majority of flavorings come in a base of PG, so even if the e-liquid is VG based, it may still contain PG added with the flavorings. Ask your e-liquid vendor to be certain.
Allergic symptoms can also be caused by the flavorings themselves or other added chemicals. While flavorings used in e-liquids are approved for human consumption, they have not yet been specifically tested for safety when vaporized and inhaled. Regular e-liquids may contain a wide variety of chemicals which can cause irritation or allergic symptoms when vaped. Artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners and other additives are all often present in regular e-liquids. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, "the flavorings industry has estimated that over a thousand flavoring ingredients have the potential to be respiratory hazards due to possible volatility and irritant properties (alpha, beta-unsaturated aldehydes and ketones, aliphatic aldehydes, aliphatic carboxylic acids, aliphatic amines, and aliphatic aromatic thiols and sulfides)."
At Virgin Vapor, I use only USDA certified organic flavorings. My flavors do not contain any nuts, gluten, sugar or other added sweeteners. They are also vegan. Because my flavors are steam extracted and/or extracted in organic ethyl alcohol, there is no chemical residue left behind from the extraction process. These methods produce a superior organic flavor that can, because of its purity, significantly reduce potential irritation and allergy.
CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flavorings/exposure.html