Vapor’s Tongue or Vapor’s Fatigue?

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Let us be frank and talk about “vapor’s tongue.”

First and foremost let me rant for just a moment. *Grabs a soapbox and takes a long vape of Butterscotch.* We the vaping community need to stop referring to this condition as vapor’s tongue: the tongue has absolutely nothing to do with this condition. Your tongue has the ability to taste five sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory. For example, it allows to feel the sensation that blueberries are sweet, green apples are sour, tobaccos are bitter, bacon is salty and oregano is savory. But it is the olfactory sensors at the top of your nasal passage that allow you to taste blueberry as blueberry, green apple as green apple, tobacco as tobacco, bacon as bacon and oregano as oregano. Thus, when you are not able to taste your e juice it related to your olfactory senses not your tongue. I propose that we change the terminology to something more appropriate such as vapor’s fatigue. *Hops off soapbox.*

For, the remainder of this post I will refer to “vapor’s tongue” as vapor’s fatigue. If anyone has a better idea for the terminology comment below and explain why! Let’s get this phenomenon renamed and stop this cycle of misunderstanding.

So what is vapor’s fatigue (vapor’s tongue)? Well, this when you are no longer able to “taste” the flavor of the e juice you’re vaping. This is due to olfactory fatigue, also known as odor fatigue or olfactory adaptation. It is inability to distinguish or “taste” a particular odor or “flavor” after prolonged exposure.

Now that we know what vapor’s fatigue is let’s talk some reasons why it may happen, how you can overcome it and prevent it.

It is well amongst analog smokers that smoking dulls your sense of taste. As you make the switch from analog cigarettes to electronic cigarettes your ability to taste will improve over time. For some this takes as little as a week and for others up to 6 weeks. Unfortunately, sometimes with this increased sensation your olfactory senses will be overloaded and shut down causing the accursed vapor’s fatigue. Do not panic this is completely normal and simply your olfactory senses’ way of recuperating. This may happen several times as your sense of taste returns and should only last for a few hours or in some cases a few days. Eventually, your body will adjust and this should no longer keep happening. In this case of vapor’s fatigue just wait it out.

*If your sense of taste is not returning after quitting smoking analog cigarettes after 4 to 6 weeks please see your licensed medical professional.

Vaporizing will dehydrate you no matter what. Vapor absorbs any moisture in surrounding air. Your mouth contains a lot of moisture. Hence, when you vape the vapor absorbs the moisture in your mouth. If too much moisture is absorbed it will result in dry mouth: a condition where a thin film forms on the inside of your mouth isolating your tongue and olfactory senses. Hence, you experience vapor’s fatigue. To remedy this case and/or to prevent it from happening simply increase your water intake. Personally, this is type of vapor’s fatigue I used to suffer from the most. I am a heavy diet soda drinker and at one point was getting dry mouth then vapor’s fatigue after any vape session that lasted more than 5 minutes. I switched to only drinking water while vaping and have had no problems since!

If you vape the same flavor all day every day your olfactory senses can become desensitized to that particular flavor. For example say your all day everyday vape was blueberry. You loved blueberries as a kid and MBV’s blueberry is sweet, juicy and right on par. Then you notice after vaping blueberry daily for 6 months that the flavor is getting weaker and weaker. Then one day you can’t taste the blueberry at all, you’ve become desensitized to the flavor. Fear not, to remedy this case of vapor’s fatigue you can take two approaches: switch to a new flavor or have a flavor rotation. I personally think that having a vaping rotation is the best method. When I first started vaping all I vaped was Cinnamon Roll. Eventually, I couldn’t taste the flavor anymore. My olfactory senses had adapted. I then started rotating between 4 flavors and now I have no problems tasting Cinnamon Roll. You can also to take the approach of just switching flavors: i.e. switching from Cinnamon Roll to Butterscotch. I would recommend changing your flavors up significantly if choose this method. For example if you usually vape Cinnamon Roll and can’t taste the flavor anymore I would recommended trying to vape one of our other desert flavors like Butterscotch or Strawberry Shortcake instead of trying to vape something similar to Cinnamon Roll like Sticky Bun.

Still having issues with vapor’s fatigue? Well, a trick commonly employed by wine tasters and perfume mixologists is to inhale fresh coffee grounds. Coffee interacts with specific chemicals in the olfaction sensors and will in turn cause your olfactory senses to reset. So put down that e-cig, smell some coffee grounds and/or have a cup of coffee.

Fellow vapers have also reported that vaping flavors like mint, menthol and cinnamon work well as olfactory cleansers. You can also keep a bottle of unflavored e juice to vape when experiencing fatigue. This will give your olfaction sensors time to reboot and you won’t be wasting flavored e juice.

Another thing to touch on briefly is allowing your e juices to fully steep. Most e-juices will taste best after 3 to 4 weeks of steeping. This allows the flavor to fully develop and mix with the nicotine. Sometimes fresh juice will have little to no taste, so it may not be you it may actually be your e juice!

If you have tried all the above the remedies and you are still suffering from vapor’s fatigue it may not hurt to think about either adding extra flavor shots and/or changing your blend. Remember that PG carries the flavor and VG dampens it. Sometimes a small change like adding an extra flavor shot or changing from 50% PG/50 % VG blend to a 65% PG/35% VG blend can make quite a difference.

Do you have any cures you have discovered for vapor’s fatigue? Any flavors that are amazing palate cleansers? Thought of a better term then “vapor’s fatigue.” Comment and share below.

Live, long and vape!


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20 Responses to “Vapor’s Tongue or Vapor’s Fatigue?”

  1. Drewsky September 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    When I get vaper’s tongue/fatigue, I gargle/swish with grapefruit juice, then have a small glass of it. My taste returns within an hour.

    • Katrina Schuster September 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Great tip. Citrus of any kind is a great palate cleanser. I like to vape ecto cooler occasionally when I get in a funk.

  2. Joe Nance September 11, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    I submit that rather than vaper’s fatigue the term should be “vapor satiation” as it seems to be a close match to “semantic satiation” (the condition where after hearing a word many times over it seems to become meaningless).

  3. VapinVicki September 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Evidential my dear, I do believe you are on to something, I am a newbie vapor but have never been to keen on the vapors tongue theory. But in all actuality, taste and smell are very closely related. Smells engage the olfactory nerves in noses while your taste buds react on the tongue, and the two combine together to make up the experience. I use to laugh at my sister, who is a nurse, who said if you could smell a fart then you were actually tasting it too. Not nice to think about but anyways, I have noticed if I can smell a juice then normally means I can taste it, and If I get one that I can’t smell I usually can’t taste it either. So I believe both play a part in it. Also it goes along with peoples preference theory, peoples taste and smell sensory are different some have high taste buds and others are low. also big surprise here, not, smoking can wreak havoc on both your smell and taste senses. I also have learned that I have to rotate my juices or I will start loosing the flavor I love, I just get desensitized to it.

  4. Charles September 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Dill Pickle Juice!!!!
    If things take a break on you, take a mouthful of dill pickle juice and swish it around, then swallow.
    If that does not wake things up, you need to see a Dr.

    • Katrina Schuster September 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      Interesting! Pickles are a great palate cleanser. I never thought of it as a remedy for vapor’s fatigue. Thank you for the suggestion.

  5. Michael Russo September 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Vapot Fatigue sounds great and really practical but usually “dirtier” words or phrases like “crap!” Or “what the hell?” Catch on the fastest….so I think the vaping community should take some risks and go with something like “dry olfactory” or “desensitized taste” to explain this. It will really shock the world and get the point across in a way that is still socially acceptable.

  6. rbeckys8 October 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    I like desensitized taste too! You know what it means right away..

  7. Dusty December 10, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Thank you for the good ideas? Water, brushing teeth and a good mouth cleansing as well as nose and sinus are all good! I have found a fantastic e juice that works every time as a fantastic palate cleanse is mimosa! I love my black licorice! My #1

    • Katrina Schuster December 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      So glad to hear! I like use Whiteout as a palate cleanser it tastes like White Tic Tacs with a hint of Black Licorice.

  8. TexanStorm December 11, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    Just like pickles, green olives work. I noticed I was getting cravings for green olives when I was having vapor fatigue symptoms. I ate a handful of green olives before I went to bed one night and the next morning I had a strong sense of taste. I’ve had this happen twice with the same results when in the past I would have had to make a drastic change in juice to get taste back.

    • Katrina Schuster December 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Oh! Great advice on the green olives! It wonder if it’s because they are acidic?

  9. GypsyJen February 20, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    I am newbie to vaping, and had my first experience with vapor tongue/fatigue this evening. I have been using a watermelon e-juice which I love, but is a very mild flavor to begin with. Tonight, I realized I was tasting NOTHING. so I called a friend who is a old pro and asked him if there was such a thing as my e-juice losing its flavor. That is when he told me about vapor tongue/fatigue. He gave me a few suggestions, most of which are in this article. I didn’t have any coffee :( or pickle juice :( …BUT I did have some big red gum….chewed a piece of it and wouldnt you know, I can taste my watermelon again! thanks for this article, btw…VERY informative :)

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