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What Is Throat Hit? Vaping 101

November 08, 2020 6 min read

Throat hit. It’s something of a holy grail for serious vaping aficionados – especially those who have recently made the switch to vaping and are still transitioning away from tobacco cigarettes. Throat hit is the slightly tickly, scratchy sensation that you get in your throat when you inhale nicotine, and although it’s technically a form of irritation, people are extremely used to feeling that irritation when they smoke cigarettes.

What Is Throat Hit

If that throat hit isn’t there when you try vaping for the first time, you’re likely to feel pretty underwhelmed and unsatisfied. You might even have difficulty sticking with vaping at all.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. If you’re new to vaping and find that you never feel completely satisfied because you can’t quite get the cigarette-like throat hit you want, let this article be your guide. We’re going to explain how throat hit is created when you vape and tell you a bit about what you can do to customize that sensation and make vaping as satisfying for you as it can be.

What’s the Right E-Liquid for Throat Hit?

Best E-Liquid for Throat Hit

If you want to experience the best possible throat hit when vaping, you need a high-nicotine e-juice – and that usually means you need to grab some nicotine salt e-liquid. Nicotine salt e-juice usually comes in nicotine strengths of 20 mg/ml and up, which is what you want for throat hit – but if you’re not using the right vaping hardware for a high-nicotine e-liquid, you’ll have a pretty unpleasant and overwhelming experience.

We’ll discuss vaping hardware next. For now, though, let’s discuss the e-liquid.

High Nicotine Is the “Secret” Ingredient for the Best Throat Hit

Throat hit is primarily a function of an e-liquid’s nicotine strength because it is the nicotine – irritating the throat slightly as it passes through – that causes the familiar sensation of throat hit when you smoke or vape.

When you smoke, you do get a bit of added sensation from the smoke itself, so the throat hit doesn’t feel quite the same when you vape. Most people find, though, that the throat hit from a great e-liquid feels close enough to smoking that it’s still entirely satisfying.

An E-Liquid’s Other Ingredients Can Also Contribute to Throat Hit

Once you’ve tried several different e-liquids, you may notice that some vape juices feel different in the throat than others – even when their nicotine strengths are the same. That’s because nicotine isn’t the only e-liquid ingredient that creates a sensation in your throat.

These are some of the other ingredients that can enhance an e-liquid’s throat hit or change the way the e-liquid feels when you vape it.

  • An e-liquid’s VG/PG ratio can affect its throat hit. A high-PG e-liquid creates a slightly scratchy sensation in the throat, which can enhance throat hit. VG, on the other hand, feels very smooth in the throat and doesn’t really contribute to throat hit at all. If you want an e-liquid that’s going to give you a nice, assertive throat hit, you’re going to want to buy something that contains 50 percent PG or more.
  • Individual flavors can contribute to an e-liquid’s throat hit. Cinnamon and coffee are two flavors that are good for throat hit. Menthol can also heighten the sensation in your throat when you vape. Some e-liquid flavors are set in grain alcohol rather than PG or VG. If an e-liquid uses any alcohol-based flavors in its products, the resulting e-liquids may give you a stronger throat hit. Some people even add a few drops of grain alcohol to e-liquids that they buy; it functions as a throat hit enhancer. In the past, a few e-liquid makers added capsaicin to their products to enhance throat hit. That practice, however, never became common.

Menthol Can Enhance Throat Hit in Lower-Nicotine E-Liquids

Are you interested in throat hit because you’re trying to lower your nicotine consumption and are finding it difficult to do so because the lower-nicotine e-liquids that you’re trying to use aren’t giving you the throat hit that you want? Try switching to a plainly flavored e-liquid with an extremely high amount of menthol. While menthol doesn’t create the same sensation in the throat as nicotine, it does work very well to help lower-nicotine e-liquids simulate the sensation of throat hit.

A non-menthol e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 3 mg/ml, for instance, creates almost no throat hit at all when you vape it. An e-liquid with the same nicotine strength and a very high amount of menthol, on the other hand, will create a very strong sensation in the throat. Strong menthol e-liquids have helped many people switch to lower-nicotine e-liquids without compromising their satisfaction.

What’s the Right Vaping Hardware for Throat Hit?

Best Vaping Hardware for Throat Hit

If you want to experience that perfectly assertive cigarette-like throat hit when you vape, you’ve got to couple the right e-liquid with the right hardware. You’re going to be using a high-nicotine e-liquid, and that means you’ve got to use a vaping device that operates at a low wattage and produces relatively small vapor clouds.

Why Smaller Vaping Devices Are Ideal for Throat Hit

Why is it so important to use a device that produces smaller vapor clouds when you’re going for maximum throat hit? One reason is because smaller vaping devices are optimized for the mouth-to-lung inhaling style, which is the same inhaling style that you use as a smoker. The sensation of throat hit should be brief – something that you experience only in the instant when you transfer the vapor from your mouth to your lungs. Larger vaping devices are designed for the direct-to-lung inhaling style. If you try to inhale a high-nicotine e-liquid directly into your lungs, it’ll prolong the throat hit to the point where it becomes unpleasant.

If you’ve ever tried inhaling cigarette smoke directly into your lungs, there’s a good chance that it made you cough. If you experience throat hit for anything longer than a brief instant, it becomes overwhelming and unpleasant.

The other reason why larger vaping devices don’t work well when you’re trying to optimize your vaping setup for throat hit is because you simply can’t use a high-nicotine e-liquid with a vaping device that produces large clouds. You’ll consume way too much nicotine and will end up making yourself sick.

If you’re using a nicotine salt vape juice in your quest to achieve the best possible throat hit, the ideal vaping device for you is a pod system.

How to Optimize a Direct-to-Lung Vaping Device for Better Throat Hit

What if you’ve already gone to a vape shop and bought your first vaping device, and you didn’t read a helpful article like this one beforehand? There’s a good chance that you went to a vape shop and walked out with a fancy looking vape mod, and it’s almost certain that your device is designed for low-nicotine e-liquids and is optimized for direct-to-lung inhaling.

If this is your first vaping device, you’re probably not in a hurry to rush out and buy another one – and no matter what you do, you’re not going to make a high-end box mod give you a good experience with high-strength salt nicotine e-liquids unless you replace the mod’s tank with something designed for much lower output.

What can you do, then, to optimize the vaping equipment you have to deliver a better throat hit? Try these tips.

  • Increase the nicotine strength of your e-liquid slightly. Most modern freebase nicotine e-liquids are available in strengths of 3 mg/ml and 6 mg/ml. Try the 6 mg strength. That’ll be a significant increase if you’re currently using a 3 mg/ml e-liquid, but you’ll be compensating for that by adjusting your device to produce a little less vapor.
  • Adjust your tank’s airflow collar to let in as little air as possible without closing the airflow vents completely. To have a good-mouth-to-lung vaping experience, your tank’s airflow should be relatively tight. If the airflow still doesn’t feel right after you adjust your tank’s vents, you may need to replace the tank’s mouthpiece with a narrower one. Since most vape tanks use very wide mouthpieces, you may need to install an adapter in order to use a narrow mouthpiece. A well-stocked vape shop will have a good selection of mouthpieces and adapters, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding what you need. The parts should cost significantly less than what you would pay for a new tank.
  • When you restrict the air flowing through your tank, you’re also restricting the tank’s ability to cool itself. Manufacturers of vaping products don’t design their tanks with the expectation that users will cut off most of the airflow. If you close your tank’s airflow vent and install a narrower mouthpiece, the end result will be that your tank’s coil will run much hotter than it normally would. You’ll need to compensate for that by lowering your device’s wattage. Lower the wattage by a significant amount before ramping it back up gradually until you’re happy with the temperature of the vapor.

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