The Dreaded Vaper’s Tongue: Dealing with Olfactory Fatigue

vapors-tongue

How to not freak out when you have vaper’s tongue and can’t taste your e juices!

There’s nothing more satisfying in a vaper’s day than meticulously setting up your rig, hitting the fire button on your mod, then inhaling that sweet sweet – hey wait a second, WHERE’S THE FLAVOR? After cleaning your tank, and switching out countless cartos/coils, the flavor still isn’t there. So you go all David after the dentist by balling up your fists and yelling towards the heavens “Is this real life?!? Is this going to last forever?!?”

What’s happening? What’s going on?

The problem isn’t with your rig – you probably have vaper’s tongue (okay fine, if you want to be a stickler I know it’s really olfactory fatigue – hold your horses we’ll get to that later)! Before all the hypochondriacs hop into their cars and floor it to the E.R., you should know that vaper’s tongue isn’t fatal, nor is it an eternal condition. It will eventually go away on it’s own after a few days or weeks (yup, I said weeks), but I’ll explain the things you can do to help it go away more quickly and to help prevent it from happening to you again.

Your tongue isn’t really the problem.

Most people refer to this as vaper’s tongue because it seems like you’re tasting the juices with your tongue. The truth of the matter is that it’s actually olfactory fatigue – simply put, your smeller’s got issues that can’t be solved with tissues. Sure, you taste a bit of the vapor with your tongue, but your sense of smell is the primary way you experience the “flavor” of your e juice.

Your nose also does a lot for your sense of taste as well. You know how when you have a stuffy nose, and the food you’re eating tastes muted? The same thing happens with vaper’s tongue, except your nose does a lot more work than your tongue when you’re vaping, so it’s even worse.

Why is this happening to me?

Well, it could be a number of reasons. Almost all new vapers, who recently made the switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping, will get vaper’s tongue. When you smoke cigarettes, your sense of taste and smell aren’t nearly as strong compared to non-smokers. After you quit smoking for a week or two, you might have discovered just how bad cigarettes really smell or noticed just how awesome the foods you normally eat actually taste. When you quit smoking, your brain isn’t used to the huge upgrade to your senses, so it freaks out a bit and over compensates – by turning them way down (or even off).

Vaper’s tongue also happens if you don’t switch juices often enough, so you develop a (temporary) tolerance to the flavor. It’s kind of like when you’re in a really smelly room. At first, the smell hits you like a ton of bricks, but after a minute or so you don’t even notice it. The same thing happens if you chain-vape the same flavor over and over without switching it up.

How do I fix this, and how can I keep it from happening again?!?

1. Take that tampon out of your mouth. The internet is a mean place filled with trolls. There are countless threads where the victims of vaper’s tongue are told to put tampons in their mouths because it’ll “help cleanse your pallet” (it won’t). This is a lie, do not listen to the nasty people.

2. Drink more water. When you vape, most of what you exhale is your own moisture. Sure, there are elements of the components of your e juice in the clouds you’re exhaling, but most of it is water from your body. Vaping probably won’t cause deathly levels of dehydration, but there’s no doubt that vaping locally dehydrates your mouth, throat, sinuses, and lungs. If your mouth and sinuses are dry, they won’t be able to taste/smell the vapor from your e cig very well. Plus, most people are chronically dehydrated anyway. Water is good for you, so drink it up, and kill two birds with one stone!

3. Use good oral hygene. This should go without saying, but it’s true. Beyond brushing your teeth, gargling with a minty mouthwash and chewing on minty gum will help cleanse your pallet, and keep your mouth nice and moist (or if you hate that word, damp) throughout the day.

4. Switch it up, and expand your e juice rotation. Remember how we talked about not having enough e juice variety in your life can cause vaper’s tongue? Make sure that you have a selection of different juices to vape through out the day. It’s best if you have different flavor types in your rotation, like: sweet flavors, sour flavors, and fruity flavors, etc. If you have a variety of different flavors, you won’t develop a tolerance to them as easily.

5. Vape on some menthol e juice. Vaper’s tongue might be strong, but menthol is even stronger! Even if you didn’t like menthol cigarettes, you might actually like some of the menthol flavored e juices out there. Personally, I hated menthol cigs, but I LOVE Vape Dojo’s Black Menthol e juice (black is for blackberry) – I can’t get enough of it. Even with vaper’s tongue, you’ll be able to taste the menthol and get some enjoyment from vaping. It’ll also “wake-up” your senses and reduce the duration, and symptoms, of vaper’s tongue.

6. Huff some coffee grounds. You don’t have to make lines of coffee grounds with a credit card on a mirror, and snort them with a rolled-up dollar bill – simply smelling them should suffice. It’s a fact, coffee helps cleanse the olfactory pallet, that’s why some perfumers keep ground coffee on-hand when smelling different scents in succession.

7. Chew/drink something ginger flavored, or something sour, like a lemon or vinegar. While I haven’t personally had any success taking shots of vinegar or by drinking lemon water, there are a lot of people who have claimed that this is works best for them – so who am I to argue?

But most of all…

Do NOT go back to smoking cigarettes. I know that it’s probably tempting, but if you follow the steps outlined above, you’ll get through this bout of vaper’s tongue in no time, and help prevent it from happening again in the future. You’ve come so far. Why go back to those dead-beat cancer-sticks that’ll only do more harm than good in the long run? Vaper’s tongue will eventually go away, so just be patient. You’ll be able to taste that sweet sweet flavor soon – just give it some time.

Do you have any tips for preventing/getting over the dreaded vaper’s tongue?

If so, we’d love to read about your own remedies in the comments below – as long as there are no tampons (or any other women’s hygiene products) involved.

Disclaimer: No kittehs were harmed or forced to vape PG or nicotine based e juice for the purposes of this article. This is a professional stunt-cat, don’t let your cats do this at home. 

38 thoughts on “The Dreaded Vaper’s Tongue: Dealing with Olfactory Fatigue

  1. I love Bree’s writing style, and as a member of Reddit she is helping me to set up a tobacco to vape transition program. Huzzah and kudos to the site’s best editor!

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  2. Pretty much anything citrusy will get rid of capers tongue also for the people above 21 try taking a shot of vodka

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    • Yes, That is the trick! I drink vodka CONSTANTLY (my fav is citrus vodkas) and have never had a bout of vaper’s tongue. MORE VODKA! BETTER VAPING EXPERIENCE! PROMISE!

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      • Normally vaping a minty ejuice (just a few hits) cures my vapers tongue but it’s stopped working. I believe I get it from my allergies. Anywho thanks for the vodka suggestion guys, i’ll try that one. Because water, smelling coffee grounds etc all the others have never seemed to work. And I don’t think I could stand to drink vinegar. If the vodka doesn’t work though that’s what I’ll do. Thanks again for the vodka suggestion. I wonder if flavored vodka, like the citric Smirnoff kinds, work better than just straight?

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  3. I find that Ruby Red Grapefruit juice helps me.

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  4. I have only ever got’en vapor tongue when I first started and all I used were cartomizer coils.

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    • I mostly got vaper’s tongue when I first started…but I still use cartomizers in tanks. Drinking water, chewing gum, and huffing coffee has kept me vapoer’s tongue free so far 🙂

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  5. biotene moisturizing mouth spray helped me taste my juices again.

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  6. Breanna, absolutely. I’ve spent 13 years without the ability to go to a Dental Office and Biotene helps substantially with my dry mouth/gingivitis pains.

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  7. Great read! This site rocks. I almost never “LOL” but the tampon had me rolling!

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  8. Wake up those taste buds with a few drops of tabasco sauce right on your tongue.

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  9. I’ve got a problem worse than most I think. I’ve been vaping MBV Peanut Butter (tastes more like roasted peanuts after a while) but after I vape it enough to get vapers fatigue, I’ll switch to a completely different flavor like Ectocooler but after 1 or 2 puffs, I can’t taste that either so I switch to Black Menthol (I like that one too) and the same thing, after around 1 or 2 puffs, I can only get some menthol taste and inbetween all of them, I’ll sniff some fresh coffee grounds (I tried Folgers and that didn’t really help so I went to Giant and got some Bold Columbian grounds and that still only helped me get 1 or 2 puffs of flavor) I’m not sure what to do, I’ve tried the water thing and the coffee grounds method but they don’t really help me. I’ve been vaping for over 8 months, no cigs, and this comes at least once a week for a whole day.

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  10. I was born with no sense of smell, so my taste is limited anyhow. But, after smoking only menthol for over a year I got vaper’s tongue and can no longer taste any e-cig flavor. I have tried everything: Keep a clean mouth, hydrate, switch flavors, sniff coffee, suck a lemon, etc. Is my only option to quit for two weeks? That hardly seems like an easy task for a smoker.

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  11. Breanna,found onvaping today
    spent allday reading review’s.4
    yrs vaping & coil building thoughi i knew what i was doing.Thanks to you and others i am beginning vaping all over, with a new and exited view, thanks again to all of you that share info.I did start smoking again after today SMOKING IS DEAD VAPING IS “MY” FUTURE JOHN WOLFE TXS.

    Reply
  12. I encountered this first time yesterday, although I’m been on vape 2 years already. While duckducking this topic from the web I ended up reading this article. Good post and very informative, but I still have some questions.

    I’ve got the same symptoms Dustin told earlier in the comments. If I take one puff of something I’ll get some little flavour, but the next one is dull and without any flavour. If I change the juice I can also get one mild puff of flavour before it goes off totally. Only menthol comes through as told, but I just don’t like it much. The strange thing is that I can smell my juices, I can taste them with tongue… but when vaping them the flavour is gone. Also food tastes just normal.

    I’ve tried every trick I’ve found, but with no luck. Coffee, citric acid, cinnamon, ginger, Listerine (YUCK!)… even Blair’s Ultra Death sauce. I’ve drank lots of water and mineral water too.

    I just started to make my own juice mixes week ago and I’ve been test-vaping several different batches every day, so I think I might suffer overload of different flavours. I’ve been sick and out from work almost 2 weeks, so I’ve also had time to vape MUCH more than I usually do. Maybe this made me get vaper’s tongue?

    So…

    1) Should I vape normally, more or less? Should I vape just one flavour, changing them during a day or vape flavourless / some old crap from the bottom of my stash? Should I take a break?

    2) Does food have some effect? Does spicy stuff prevent or encourage recovering? Should I avoid hot stuff and stick to more flavourless food?

    3) What’s enough water / day? I don’t like to drink too much, but if I have to…

    4) When I recover from this, does it happen suddenly or does the sense of flavour come back slowly?

    Any answers are greatly appreciated.

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  13. i had the vape tongue and tried a few things on here though did not have any tampons 😛 even switching to menthol which normally works did not so when finished reading went to the kitchen and took a few large swigs of my malt vinegar and now can vape again. thanks to this site i have found something that helps and always in my kitchen but the way i might have to drink it might not stay around for long 😛

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  14. Custard, i hate vaping custard but have some around to get rid of VT. Eucalyptus is good too.

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  15. First I like to say thank you for two of the best articles
    I have read about vaping – “the dreaded vaper’s tongue”
    and the “beginners guide to vaping” 🙂

    (and I have crawled and readed the whole internet, really!)

    I had a vapor tongue for 31 (!) days – but the flavour returned!
    Have some patience with yourself while you have vapor tongue…

    Greetings from Germany
    Magnus

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  16. This is some great information on VT and I tried a few suggestions after losing taste of my vapor. I smelled coffee, drank lots of water and vaped a little menthol that I had on hand. I’m not sure what exactly worked but it was within an hour I could taste my Charlie Noble Pistachio RY4 again.
    Sending out a BIG thank you!

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  17. I just woke up this morning with dreaded vaper tounge. Found this article and read it. I have now tried biotene, a mouthful of lemon juice (the kind that comes in the plastic lemon shaped bottle) and sniffed some coffee grinds, in that order.. I can now taste my ejuice again. Thanks for all the advice. I can’t say it enough, drink plenty of water. I hated drinking water before vaping, you do get use to it, now I don’t go anywhere without my refillable water jug.

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  18. Hello, some crappy little vape shop in Arizona has copy/pasted this into their “blog” section as their own without attribution. Just thought you would like to know.

    https://vapeescapes.com/overcoming-flavor-fatigue

    Reply
  19. Very witty and insightful tips! I have heard putting a slice of cucumber on your tongue will “reset” your senses… Haven’t tried it yet (because I don’t have any cucumber laying around ATM 🙂 but I was sampling some flavors today at my local vape shop and I couldn’t taste any flavors!! The guy working told me to try this method or the coffee ground trick you mentioned, and since I have plenty of coffee I went with that and it did help!

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  20. The coffee grinds advice was probably the best advice that I’ve read. Withing a few minutes I started smelling the vapaur in my room and about 45- 1 hour later the taste was back!! Thank you so much

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  21. So….if all I can taste is something terribly chemical-ish while vaping, is this likely vape tongue? I swtiched flavors and brands, tanks, coils, mods, everything and KEEP tasting chemicals and only a slight hint of flavor. I tried a drag off of a friends cigarette and tasted the same chemical taste so I’m assuming that maybe it’s the nicotine??? I guess I’m going to go sniff coffee and hope no coworkers walk in to the breakroom! If it doesn’t help then I’m going straight to the apple cider vinegar when I get home from work.

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  22. This completely sucks, none of the remedies anyone has ever suggested has worked for me. I just get so fraustrating hearing about people doing something and an hour later the flavor is back. It’s been 9 days for me and absolutely no results, yes I drink a ton of water and brush my teeth twice a day and everything else you could possibly suggest. 9 freaking days and still nothing AT ALL

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  23. I gargle with warm salt water.

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  24. Here’s a suggestion for when you’re vaping in a stationary location, like at home. Especially if you run a subohm setup, the lingering vapor can make your sense of smell get attenuated. So can other normal household smells because you’re used to them so your brain has “turned off” the receptors.

    After airing out your house by opening windows and turning on fans (which is often enough on its own), put about a 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar in a sauce pan and simmer it on the stove until it’s simmered down. Check on it so you don’t burn your pot. At first, the house will smell like vinegar, but in a few minutes, the smell dissipates and the air smells fresh and clean. It erases lingering vapor smell along with any household odors.

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  25. I have recently experienced all the same issues. For me, I was convinced it was due to a medication I was on. However, yesterday when I went to get some new juice the girl that works there was telling me about VT. At first I was thinking there’s no way!! But, she was right!! Her remedy is swishing with lemon juice for 30-60 seconds getting it all around in your mouth (even the way way back… I just swallowed a tiny bit of it) she said make sure to get your gums and roof of mouth as well. The other thing she suggested is “pickle salt”, like the little packets of beer salt from the convienience store. She told me to pour it in my hand and lock it off making sure it’s all on my tongue, then kinda move it all around in your mouth followed by some water!! I haven’t tried that yet just the lemon juice… It seemed to work but only for an hour or so after doing it now I’m back to VT??. Thanks for the ideas everyone! I’m hopeful something will help!!!

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  26. Go to walmart, buy a tongue scraper (usually by toothbrushes), scrape your tongue. Try not to gag. Get all the old tastebuds out of your mouth. (Don’t just bow up on your tongue, dont hurt your tongue) Your tastebuds will grow back normally within a day ad it’s the fastest growing cell in your body. The next day you should taste your ejuice as normal. Works everytime for me. Try it out see what ya think

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  27. Hi all,

    Vapours tongue is really horrible, but even though all above remedies may work but I haven’t tried any apart from drinking plenty of water which seems to work.
    I vape the same juice all the time (decadent vapours absinthe) which I love, but have bouts of VT, even if I do change flavours, I’ve been vaping 3 years now and vapours tongue was worse early on but I just stuck with it and now it doesn’t seem to happen as frequent. Just be patient and the flavour comes back.

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  28. Brand new vaper here, and was getting disheartened but this gives me hope!!

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  29. I have been vaping for 3 months I’ve been cigarette free for 2 months. I’m on .3mg and .6mg juice and the whole flavor thing has been a roller coaster for me.

    I would try flavors at the shop I would love and then when I get home and fill my tank and blah. I got about 13 flavors I rotate out and typically change 2 or 3 times a day. Sometimes they were ok and other times I almost would get sick to my stomach from the flavor tasting bad I liked before.

    Well three weeks ago I started sub ohm vaping at about 55w on a dual clapton coil and the flavor was better but still meh… so my coil I had been using went out on me yesteday so I switched to a backup coil that was a 15-30w mouth to lung smok micro coil and the flavor was amazing. The cloud production wasn’t as good and the draw was tighter and took some getting used to but I didn’t care because the juice was awesome. I thought I had solved my problem and was in heaven and it was the coils then today after about my 4th vaping session I lost sensation of flavor again…. so if I had to guess what my problem is that I vape too much and overloading my senses.

    I drink plenty of water, use mouthwash regularly, I’ve just about tried everything on the list plus some and nothing seems to cure this issue for me except patience and taking a break from vaping. If I step away from it for a few hours or for the rest of the day the flavor comes back the next day for me but it’s not always as good as before.

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  30. After 35+ years of smoking cigarettes, I was SO happy to find vaping! Not a cigarette in 4 months. But, now, I can’t taste ANY flavor in ANY ejuice! I can taste a Jolly Rancher candy in my mouth, but Jolly Rancher Grape ejuice, not at all. I’m spending LOTS of money on mods, tanks & coils trying to “fix” this problem. Not working. I follow YouTube videos on ejuice reviews. One guy says he’s reviewing a Cherry Cheescake, whipped cream, gramcracker crust, cherry on top juice. He’s sucking on that mod like a train whistle! Does an inhale review: Tastes the cheesecake & cherry. Does the exhale review: Whipped cream, gramcracker AND cherry! And I’m looking at my Vaporesso Target Pro, like: WTF!!?? Best I can taste at this point, is CRAP! About to scrape my tongue with a metal file! Like I mentioned, 4 months off cigarettes, and I’m looking at stepped on cigarette butts on the ground thinking: I don’t care if Sally STD had her mouth on it, might be better than my juice! Vapers Fatigue, not good!

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