Vaping 101

Vaper’s Tongue: What Is It, and What Can You Do About It?

Hemok Wang
Hemok Wang
Oct 28, 2021
Vaper’s Tongue: What Is It, and What Can You Do About It?

When you suddenly can’t taste your e-liquid, it can be frustrating and a little scary – especially if you’re never experienced olfactory fatigue before. At one moment, you’re enjoying the flavor of your favorite vape juice, and the next – nothing!

If you’re having trouble tasting your e-liquid, you might have vaper’s tongue. People refer to this condition by a variety of other names such as vape tongue and vapor tongue, but either way, it describes the same thing: a sudden inability to taste your vape juice.

We’ll start with the good news. Vaper’s tongue is a fairly common condition, and it has become even more common as e-liquids have become sweeter and sweeter over the years. So, the fact that you’re experiencing it isn’t unusual – and the best part is that it’ll eventually go away on its own.

While you wait for your vaper’s tongue to go away, though, you might like to learn a bit more about what causes it. More importantly, we’re going to share some tips that might help you cure your vaper’s tongue more quickly. Let’s begin!

 

What Is Vaper’s Tongue?

Vaper’s tongue is a form of olfactory fatigue. Essentially, your brain has stopped processing the sensory information from your e-liquid, and that’s happening either because you’re constantly flooding your palate with a single extremely flavorful e-liquid or because you’re changing e-liquid flavors so often that your brain has become overloaded and has given up trying to separate all of the different flavor notes that are coming in.

Have you ever gone to a department store to buy perfume for yourself or a loved one? If you have, you’ve probably experienced olfactory fatigue before. After you smell a few perfumes in succession – or sometimes just one or two perfumes if they’re strongly scented enough – you’re no longer able to detect the differences between the different scents because they all smell the same.

Some perfume counter attendants will actually offer you coffee beans to smell between scents as a sort of “palate cleanser” for your nose. People’s opinions vary as to how well the coffee-sniffing technique actually works, but the point is essentially to reset your brain and help you regain your sense of smell. The best cure for this form of olfactory fatigue is to walk away from the perfume counter for a while, but coffee may help in a pinch. In this article, we’ll discuss some similar techniques that may help you cure your case of vaper’s tongue more quickly.

 

E-Liquid Residue Isn’t the Same Thing as Vaper’s Tongue

Before we begin discussing various possibilities for curing your case of vaper’s tongue, we’d like to discuss one of the most common vaping annoyances that isn’t vaper’s tongue. Are you using an e-liquid that’s heavily sweetened? If you’ve been vaping heavily for a few days without replacing the atomizer coil in your vape tank, the fact that you’re having trouble tasting your e-liquid probably has nothing to do with olfactory fatigue. It’s more likely that your coil is simply covered with residual sucralose from your vape juice.

Is sucralose residue the thing that’s making it difficult for you to taste your e-liquid? You can confirm that by examining your coil when you remove it from your tank. Hold the coil under a bright light and look through the top of the coil to see its heating surface. If the vape juice that you’re using is heavily sweetened, there’s a good chance that the coil’s heating surface will look fairly dark and grimy.

When your vape coil has a thick layer of sucralose residue, the fact that you can’t taste your e-liquid is because the burnt flavor of the residue is overpowering the other flavor notes. Replacing the coil will resolve the issue immediately. If you replace your coil and find that you still can’t taste your e-liquid, it’s possible that you do have a case of vaper’s tongue. Read on for some suggested solutions.

 

Vaper’s Tongue Resolves Itself with Time

Vaper’s tongue is definitely unpleasant, and it certainly takes away from your vaping experience. The most important thing to remember about it, though, is that will go away on its own. As bothersome as the situation may be, you might find that the best solution is to simply reduce your vaping frequency for a while. Put your vape kit down and walk away from it for a bit between vaping sessions. You may find that, if you can avoid chain vaping and flooding your palate with intense flavors all day, you won’t experience the olfactory fatigue that’s making it difficult for you to taste your vape juice.

 

What Causes Vaper’s Tongue?

According to reports from members of the vaping community, there are two usage patterns that seem especially likely to cause vaper’s tongue.

  • You’re using an e-liquid that either has an extremely strong flavor or is heavily sweetened. This scenario seems particularly likely to cause vaper’s tongue among very heavy vapers who use their devices almost constantly. You’re constantly bombarding your mouth with a single strong flavor, and you eventually lose the ability to taste the subtle nuances of your e-liquid.
  • You’re switching e-liquid flavors constantly throughout the day. Maybe you own several different vape tanks, and each one is filled with a different flavor. Every time you get bored of the flavor you’re currently using, you switch to a different tank.

In either of the above scenarios, the olfactory fatigue happens because you’re overwhelming your palate with flavor – either a single very strong flavor or a constant string of different flavors. If you experience vaper’s tongue when using a single e-liquid flavor, try vaping less often – and if you lose your sense of taste when switching e-liquid flavors frequently, try sticking with just one flavor per day.

 

Using a Palate Cleanser Can Cure Vaper’s Tongue More Quickly

As we mentioned above, curing your case of vaper’s tongue can be as simple as waiting for the condition to go away on its own. That might be easier said than done, though, if you’re not enjoying your vaping experience. You’re going to want something like the bag of coffee grounds at the perfume counter – something that can restore your sense of taste immediately.

Professional tasters rely on their senses of taste in order to detect the subtle differences between coffees, chocolates, wines and other foods and beverages – and just like vapers, they can occasionally experience olfactory fatigue. To keep their palates sharp and prevent fatigue from setting in, they use palate cleansers.

Most members of the vaping community agree that the best palate cleanser for curing vaper’s tongue is plain water; either still water or carbonated water will work fine. It’s possible that water is good for curing vaper’s tongue because vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol – the two ingredients that any e-liquid has in the highest concentrations – both absorb and trap moisture. The fact that PG and VG are both humectants can make you feel as though you have a film on your tongue during heavy vaping. Making a special effort to keep yourself hydrated when vaping may help to resolve that. You may also find it helpful to brush your teeth when you have difficulty tasting your e-liquid. Don’t forget to brush your tongue.

If you have no luck drinking more water to cure your vaper’s tongue, it’s possible that you might have success with a more strongly flavored palate cleanser. Here are a few of the popular options that you should consider trying.

  • Black coffee, either hot or iced
  • Lemon wedges or lemon juice
  • Pickled ginger, such as the type served at sushi restaurants
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Milk

There are many different foods and drinks that you can use as palate cleansers. The point here is to select either a neutral-tasting liquid that physically washes the e-liquid residue from your palate or to choose something that’s very strongly flavored and helps to reset your sense of taste – just like the coffee beans at the perfume counter. Choose a palate cleanser that doesn’t taste anything like your e-liquid.

 

If You Can’t Taste Your E-Liquid, Try Switching to Unflavored Vape Juice

Have you ever considered the possibility that an e-liquid can actually function as a palate cleanser? If you can’t taste your usual e-liquid anyway, why waste it? Try switching to an unflavored e-liquid until your sense of taste returns. Plain menthol e-liquids are also popular among vapers who experience occasional bouts of olfactory fatigue. Using an e-liquid with a very plain and neutral flavor can allow you to continue vaping – without the frustration of being unable to taste your vape juice – until your full sense of taste returns.

You may even find that you actually enjoy using a plainly flavored or unflavored e-liquid because vape juices that aren’t strongly flavored don’t cause vaper’s tongue. Many people use nothing but unflavored e-liquid because they’ve actually grown to enjoy the vaguely sweet flavor of vegetable glycerin. The best part is that unflavored e-liquid will probably cost substantially less than the flavored vape juice you’re currently using.

Hemok Wang
Hemok Wang

Hey! Hemok here, a vaping enthusiast with a passion for helping people quit smoking. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago after smoking for more than 40 years. I do understand that quitting smoking isn't only a physical issue but also a mental one. It's just hard to go "cold turkey". I believe that vaping is one of the best solutions to make the switch only if you do it in the right way, and that's why I am here to share :)