Top Reasons Why Your Vape is Hitting Harsh

‘Why is my vape pen hitting harsh?’ is one of the most common questions that we get. New and experienced vapers alike struggle with harsh vape hits at one point or another, which means that no one is exempt from the bitter aftertaste or sore throat that comes with a harsh hit. Tiny bits of tech, poor device maintenance, and high nicotine strengths can all catch up with you. 

On the lower end of the scale, a harsh throat hit will make your eyes water. In extreme cases, you might even vomit. The good news is that we know what is causing your harsh throat hit. Put down your vape pen, sit tight, and read through our top six reasons for nauseating vape hits. 

6 Reasons Why Your Vape Pen Tastes Burnt 

When vapers ask us about harsh throat hits, they often mean that their vape pen tastes burnt. No one ever expects a burning sensation, so it can be very unpleasant. If you don’t solve the problem, you could experience harsher and harsher hits. 

The following six factors could be the cause of your burnt vape hit. We’d be very surprised if at least one of these answers doesn’t solve your problem. 

Nicotine Strength 

When the question ‘why is my vape pen hitting harsh’ comes up, we look towards nicotine content. This is one of the most common culprits of unpleasant throat hits. 

Nicotine strengths vary, so it can be difficult for new vapers to gauge how much is too much. It can be tempting to jump right into the higher nicotine strengths, but beware. Too much nicotine can have a catastrophic effect, and we’re not just talking about throat hits. Nicotine poisoning (also known as nic sickness) is not as uncommon as you might think. 

To protect yourself from the ill effects of too much nicotine, experiment with lower strengths. Start from the lowest possible strength and increase your nicotine consumption in increments to find your sweet spot.

You could even make the switch from freebase nicotine to nicotine salts. Nicotine salts (or nic salts) are specifically designed to create smooth throat hits. They are also far more concentrated than freebase nicotine, meaning they strike a perfect balance between nicotine strength and harshness. 

VG/PG Ratio

VG (vegetable glycerin) and PG (propylene glycol) form the basis for most vape juice. Finding the right ratio of VG to PG could be one of the most important decisions that you make. Not all e-liquids are suitable for all devices. VG and PG each have a set of qualities that make them uniquely compatible with different vape kits. 

VG is a tasteless liquid that promises immense, dense clouds of vapor. It is perfect for sub-ohm vapers who want smooth throat hits and big clouds. 

On the other hand, PG is a colorless, viscous liquid. It carries flavor far better than VG, and it also acts as an emulsifier that mixes all the ingredients together. 

If you experience a harsh irritating sensation with a 50VG:50PG vape juice, you should experiment with higher VG ratios. VG is known for delivering smooth, satisfying throat hits, so it could be the answer to your problems! 

Burnt Coils

Now, onto the more techy factors. If you have lowered your nicotine consumption and still experience harsh hits, you need to examine your coils. 

Coils are an essential yet often overlooked part of vape maintenance. All coils have a shelf life, and if your coil is past it you will experience much more than just a burnt taste. Drawing on a device that contains an old coil can make you cough and can even burn your lips.

Your device may also make a bubbling noise to signal that it needs a new coil. Bubbling noises can be a sign of other tech-related problems, so you should never ignore them. 

High Wattage

Staying on the technical side of things, next we’re looking at wattage. 

If you appreciate customization options, the chances are that your device has a variable wattage function. When you increase the wattage, you are increasing the current that runs throughout the device. As a result, your device will produce more vapor and flavor, as well as hotter vapor and stronger throat hit. 

Hitting your vape when it is set too high can make your eyes water. Luckily, the solution is simple. Just turn the wattage down and take a drag on your device again. Still experiencing a harsh throat hit? Keep reading! 

Wicking Material

When vapers are faced with a harsh hitting vape, they often forget to check their wicking material. This is one of the more niche aspects of your vape device, but it is no less important. 

The wicking material sits inside your coil. It absorbs as much liquid as possible. When you fire the device, the coil heats the liquid in the wick and produces vapor. 

Cotton is the most common wicking material. It is so common that a lot of vapers are unaware that their coil contains silica or hemp. These materials produce far stronger throat hits. Disassemble your device or visit the manufacturer’s website to find out which wicking material is in your vape pen. 

Restricted Airflow

Last but not least, you need to consider the adjustable airflow feature on your device. This is one of the simpler solutions, but it tends to trip new vapers up. 

The more restricted your airflow, the harsher the throat hit. Open up the airflow on your device and see if that makes a difference to your vape experience. 

Wrapping Up 

You never have to wonder why your vape is hitting harsh again. Just browse through our list of the top six reasons and eliminate each option until you find the answer. 

Some of these factors might seem irrelevant, but we promise that they can have a big impact on your vape experience. What are you waiting for? Start experimenting with different e-liquid compositions, flavors, and bits of tech.


Viki H
Viki H
Vicki is our quintessential flavor chaser. She is always testing new tanks and juices to find the perfect flavor setup. Vicki says ‘there’s no better feeling in the world than a fresh wick and new juice to vape on.’

Related Articles

Best Vapes

Learn More About Vaping