Overcoming E-Liquid Flavor Fatigue – AKA Vaper’s Tongue
No matter what level vaping you've achieved, if you've been using an electronic cigarette for any length of time you've undoubtedly experienced “flavor fatigue” – also known as VAPER'S TONGUE. Vapers tongue is a frustrating condition that occurs when your favorite e-liquid suddenly loses it's flavor. It's a common occurrence for new and experienced vapers alike, although former smokers are more likely to experience it because of the sudden (and shocking) return of their senses. It's not a life threatening condition by any means, but it can be a bit unexpected and very annoying. Luckily… there are a few different ways to overcome it.
It's Not a Problem With Your Tongue…
The first thing I should point out is that “vaper's tongue” isn't actually a problem with your taste buds or your tongue at all. As Katrina Schuster at Mt. Baker Vapor points out, your tongue only has the ability to pickup five different sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory – it's the olfactory sensors at the top of your nasal passage that allow your brain to decipher different flavors.
When you are not able to taste your e-juice it's related to your olfactory senses not your tongue
I agree with Katrina's assertion that we should quit calling this condition “vapers tongue.” To me, flavor fatigue or vapor exhaustion seem like the more appropriate terms. With that being said, there are a few different things that can cause this loss of flavor and several ways you can recover from it.
Causes of Flavor Exhaustion
It only took a couple of weeks of vaping for me to experience my first bout with vapor's tongue, and like many people I had no idea what was wrong or why I couldn't taste my favorite e-juice anymore. Before we get into the solutions, let's go over some of the most common causes of vapor exhaustion.
- Giving Up Smoking
As you're probably already aware, smoking dulls your sense of taste and smell. This will undoubtedly affect your first experience with an electronic cigarette, but after a few weeks your senses should improve – and so should the taste of your e-juice. But be aware, as your senses return it's not uncommon for your olfactory system to become overloaded, causing it to get confused or completely shut down, leading to an annoying case of vapers tongue. This can happen several times during your transition from smoking, and it can last a few hours, or at worst two or three days.
Vaping dehydrates you by removing moisture from your mouth and respiratory tract. If too much moisture is removed it results in dry mouth and a thin film can form on your tongue and your nasal passages. Not only is this annoying, but it can affect your sense of taste and cause flavor fatigue.
- Lack of Variety
If you're vaping the same flavor for days or weeks on end, it's not uncommon for your olfactory sensors to become desensitized. For example, if you're a fan of cherry e-liquid and you don't switch it up, the taste may slowly get weaker – until it completely disappears. More than likely it's not a problem with the e-liquid or your device, you could be suffering from vapers tongue.
- Cold or Allergies
Obviously, if you're having problems with your sinuses and your nasal passages are clogged, your sense of smell will be severely impacted. When your olfactory sensors can't do their job, it goes without saying that you're probably not going to be able to sense any flavor.
- No Reason at All!
I know it's hard to believe, but sometimes vapers tongue just happens. It may not have anything to do with these factors, so just skip to the resolutions.
Flavor Loss Remedies & Cures
Now that you know the different causes of vapers tongue, a few of the most obvious solutions are clear. First of all, make sure you DRINK LOTS OF WATER! If you've been vaping for a while and you haven't recently quit smoking, dehydration is the most common reason for loosing sense of flavor. Secondly, consider more variety. Some vapers have a regular rotation of different flavors, but personally, I just switch it up every once in a while when I feel like things are getting bland.
Besides the obvious stuff, here are a few other tips worth trying:
- Shock your senses. Sometimes you can revive your taste buds and cleanse your flavor pallet by vaping on super strong, flavorful varieties such as mint, menthol or cinnamon. Give it a day and see what happens…
- Brush your teeth dirtball! For one thing, if you don't brush your teeth it's kind of gross! Plus, it will help to remove build up from your tongue. Throw in the minty aroma, and it may be all that you need.
- Rinse out your mouth. Since vapor fatigue is caused by your olfactory senses, this is another case where minty aromas may be the key. Try some Listerine or another strong mouth wash. I've also heard that vinegar and pickle juice can do the trick, but don't quote me on that.
- Take a whiff of some coffee grounds. A trick commonly employed by perfume and wine experts, coffee interacts with the chemicals in your olfactory sensors – causing them to reset themselves.
- Get rid of flavors you've been despising. Since your sense of taste is already diminished, why waste anymore of your favorite e-liquid? You could use a flavorless product, or use some of that less-than-favorable stuff that's been hiding in your closet. It may bring back your senses quicker, and you may even develop an attachment to another, unappreciated flavor.
- Always be sure to STEEP! Most e-juice takes 2 to 4 weeks to steep. Steeping allows it to fully blend, deepening and enriching the flavor. Although some companies allow e-juice to steep in the warehouse, other companies send it freshly mixed. If you just received your e-juice and it doesn't have any flavor, it's probably not vapors tongue – it probably needs steeping.
Don't Worry… Just Give It Time…
If you get a case of vapers tongue, don't worry – it's bound to happen at some point. If you recently quit smoking you can expect a few occurrences early on during your transition, but it's frequency should diminish over time. Experienced vapers will undoubtedly experience flavor exhaustion from time-to-time, but in most cases it's short-lived and only lasts a few hours. If you have a spell that lasts longer, drink lots of water, switch up flavors and try a few of the tips mentioned above. With a little time and some minor adjustments, your favorite flavors should eventually come back vibrant and strong – just like before.