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Do you look forward to the slight scratch in your throat when you puff on a cigarette -- especially when you haven't smoked in a while? That feeling is throat hit, and you can't get it from any form of nicotine replacement. If throat hit is one of the aspects of smoking that makes you feel satisfied, you need to try e-cigarettes. The ability to feel throat hit -- the sensation in your throat that tells you the nicotine is working -- is something that you can't get any other way except from e-cigarettes.

Why Does an E-Cigarette Produce Throat Hit?

Although smokers condition themselves to enjoy the feeling of it, throat hit is actually the irritation that nicotine causes when it touches the sensitive inner cells of your throat. You might identify throat hit as feeling:

  • Scratchy
  • Dry
  • Warm
  • Forceful
  • Tingling

Regardless of how throat hit feels to you, it's a sure sign that your e-cigarette is working and that you're getting your nicotine.

What Factors Increase Throat Hit?

Nicotine Strength

Nicotine is the primary factor that influences throat hit. The more nicotine an e-liquid contains, the stronger throat hit it'll produce. If you need that feeling in your throat to derive satisfaction from the vaping experience -- and you aren't happy because you're not feeling it -- you should try buying an e-liquid with a slightly higher nicotine strength. Remember that you can always mix a stronger e-liquid with a weaker one to create an e-liquid with an in-between strength.

PG/VG Ratio

E-liquid contains two base liquids -- propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin -- in addition to the nicotine and flavours. PG and VG are the carriers in an e-liquid. When you exhale the vapour from an e-cigarette, they're responsible for creating the clouds that you see. Most e-liquid makers use both PG and VG in their e-liquids. PG promotes clear flavour definition, and VG promotes large vapour clouds and a full mouth feel. If you'd like an e-liquid with the strongest possible throat hit, though, you should choose an e-liquid with a higher percentage of PG. If everything else is the same, an e-liquid with more PG will have a stronger throat hit.

Read more: What Are PG and VG?

E-Liquid Additives

A few e-liquids contain additives designed to enhance flavour or throat hit. The most common additive for throat hit is grain alcohol, although a few e-liquid makers have experimented with other additives such as lactic acid, capsaicin and cinnamon. If you find that an e-liquid has an unusually powerful throat hit in relation to its nicotine strength, it may contain one of those additives.

Flavour Base

An e-liquid's taste comes from the flavouring compounds that the manufacturer uses, and nearly all flavour concentrates are liquid. Many flavour makers suspend their concentrates in VG and PG, which works well for e-liquid since those are the same base liquids that are in e-liquid. Some flavour makers, though, suspend their concentrates in grain alcohol. If an e-liquid uses alcohol-based flavours, it'll produce a stronger throat hit. If you try many different e-liquids, you'll learn to recognize the presence of grain alcohol. An e-liquid maker will never tell you the types and proportions of flavours that it uses, though -- that's a trade secret.

What if I Want Less Throat Hit?

Not everyone wants to experience a strong throat hit every time they vape. Some people find throat hit harsh and unpleasant. Other people, after vaping for some time, find that they no longer crave cigarettes and don't need to feel throat hit to derive satisfaction from vaping. If you'd like less throat hit when vaping, these tips can help.

Reduce Your Nicotine Strength

If you want to reduce throat hit, the first thing that you should do is try an e-liquid with a slightly lower nicotine strength. Step down as slowly as possible, mixing e-liquids if necessary. If you step down too quickly, you'll use your e-cigarette more often and consume your e-liquid quickly.

Try an E-Liquid With Menthol

Do you want to reduce throat hit without lowering the nicotine strength of your e-liquid? Try an e-liquid with menthol. If you've ever smoked a cigarette with menthol, you know that menthol numbs the throat slightly and reduces the harshness of tobacco smoke. Menthol performs the same functions in an e-liquid. It allows you to experience less throat hit without changing your nicotine intake.

Want to learn more about e-cigarettes? Look at our E-Liquid Buyer's Guide or read our E-Cigarette Beginner's Guide.