Quit Support
9,794 members16,465 posts

Given up, on ecig, hacking cough!

Hi quitters!

I gave up smoking about 3 weeks ago after doing so for about 20 years (can't believe it's that long!) I'm on an ecig because there's no way I could have done it without. I've been toing and froing between cigarettes and the e cig for about 6 months and then just decided 3 weeks ago that I wasn't buying any more.

For the last week, I have been coughing and coughing. I just assumed it was a normal cough but it has persisted and now there's a little phlegm. I came on the internet to check if this was normal and fell onto your website, and I'm glad I did. How long do you think this will last? I was quite a secret smoker so people are beginning to ask about my dry, tickly cough! Oh yes, seem to be sneezing a lot too!

14 Replies

Hi Justgotta, welcome to this site and like your name, very good. I think it's all very normal and your body is just adjusting after being bombarded with all that smoke for years. I'm sure someone with more experience than me will be along shortly to tell you more. Lots of helpful people here so hang in there and yes I'm also on ecig which is the only way I could give them up. So good luck with your quit journey x


Welcome Justgotta. :) I have noticed a slight cough so far. Been off them 2 weeks and on the ecig. I think it is normal, as Briarwood said before me, it's the body adjusting.

Well done with getting to 3 weeks.. :D And I'm really curious how you can be a secret smoker for 20 years? I remember my Gran giving up, but going back on them and not telling anyone. We all knew - but didn't have the heart to tell her we knew. It lasted for years, until she definitely did give up again.. (we think) :D :D


Hi and welcome to our site, First of all well done on quitting. The first few weeks many of us get a tickly cough and cough up phlegm this is not unusual. This is the way your body reacts to get rid of all the toxins in your lungs. I also noticed sneezing is another way of getting rid of toxins. If you are really worried just have a check with your G.P.

I will put some older posts on breathing exercises on which should help you. Emjay our advisor will probably be on later to help you.


Coughing / phlegm when stopping smoking?

Wondering why you have that awful dry cough? Or why you are couphing up all that horrible 'stuff'?

Here's a reason why it may be;

Smoking paralyses the tiny hairs, or cilia, which line your windpipe and helps to clear dirt and mucus out of your lungs. When you stop smoking, the cilia start to work properly again and so you may experience more coughing and phlegm. If you can imagine all those hairs laying flat for so long and now that you've stopped they kind of say "right lads, let's get back to work again" and as they start to move it causes a dry tickle... This is a positive sign of recovery, showing that your body is getting rid of the tar and toxins which smoking has left in your lungs.

These symptoms may last a while but can be soothed by drinking plenty of water or using sugar-free boiled sweets to help keep your throat moist.

Remembering that you are only coughing up what is not supposed to be there in the first place

However, if you're coughing persists and you become worried, please make an appointment to see your GP.


Breathing Exercises

1 reply

Breathing exercise (1)

Cravings lead to irritation and sometimes panic, causing the quitter’s mind to speed up. When this occurs, concentrating becomes hard. Using a deep breathing exercise is an effective way of calming yourself down.

This exercise can be done anywhere from sitting down in a chair to waiting for a bus. Follow the simple stages described below;

With your mouth closed and shoulders relaxed, inhale deeply and slowly to the count of eight.

As you breathe in, push your stomach out.

Hold your breath for the count of four.

Breathe out slowly to the count of eight.

Repeat the cycle five times



Breathing Exercise (2) How to cough up what's not supposed to be there...

When you first stop smoking, you may feel that you have more phlegm and mucus on your chest. This may cause you to feel a bit rattly and as though you need to 'cough something up'... Doesn't sound very nice, I know but this is a good sign.

At the end of the day, you are only coughing up what is not supposed to be there!

1. Stand up with your legs your shoulder width apart.

2. Put you hands on your hips.

3. Take a long, deep breath in through your nose - Very slowly.

4. When you feel like you have taken your fill of air in, take another little bit more.

5. Keeping your hands on your hips, slowly bend over forward. As you do, blow your breath out slowly through your mouth. Making a blowing noise as you do.

6. When you have pushed out that final bit of breath, stand up and give a gentle cough.

Repeat this 3 times.

Because you are not used to all this good clean oxygen, you may feel slightly dizzy - This is just an oxygen rush. However, if you are not used to it, then please have a comfy chair at the ready.

If your cough lasts longer than 3 weeks, it's better that you make an appointment to speak to your Dr


Breathing Exercise (3) To help slow a busy mind down and help with a good nights rest

Before you try going to sleep, think about your day, and try and clear your mind. Is anything worrying you? If so think about whether or not you can do anything about it. Focus on all the positive things that have gone well for you, how good you feel about them or the things that have happened during your day. Any negative thoughts you may have collect them all together and have them ready to leave your body.

Once you have done this, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

Breathe in and out a few times, in your own time

Next, take in a nice, long, slow, deep breath through your nose

Breathe out a nice long sigh through your mouth

Repeat this 3 -4 times

As you feel yourself ready to relax, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears and then let them drop

Focus again on your breathing, now think of the number 10 as you breathe in

As you breathe out, see the number 10 leave your mind.

Feeling any tension leaving your body as you do this.

Next, breathe in nice and slowly as you think of number 9

As number 9 leaves your mind, breathe out slowly.

As you breathe in, see the number 8

Imagine every bit of worry within you being caught up in your breath and being pushed out

as you see the number 8 leaving your body,

taking everything that concerns you away.

Continue to focus on your breathing

Imagining with each breath in, you are gathering up every bit of tension from every part of your body.

Every breath out takes all this tension away.

As you see the number 7 enter your mind,

feel the activity within your head and thoughts starting to slow right down

breathing in and then out, feeling more and more relaxed each time as the numbers leave your mind.

Your breathing should now be nice and slow, your heart and pulse will be more relaxed and your mind will feel so at eased.

As you slowly count your way down the numbers, you should be feeling ever so relaxed and the days worries and stresses should be as far away from your mind as possible.

The more you practice this breathing exercise, the easier it should become every-time ?


Hi Justgotta, welcome aboard to our happy place :-)

To be honest, everything that I would have advised has already been said :-) The only thing I can add to the above is that if you are using the e-cig, make sure you have more fluids / water as apparently a couple of our members have said that it causes a dry throat.

Please keep on, keeping on and you'll do fab :-)

I'm also keen to know how you have managed to stay a secret smoker for so long, how many a day did you have to hide away to smoke for? Are there many other smokers in the family? If not, I wonder if anybody will comment that they notice something less smelly about you :D


Hey Justgotta, I'm having the same issue as you are with the hacking cough from e-cigarettes

I quit smoking cigarettes 6 years ago then on a whim I started vaping e-cigs a year ago

I've been a heavy vaper and have now developed the same horrible smoker's cough that prompted me to quit cigarettes years ago

Just like you I cough and cough uncontrollably and end up sneezing as a result

It's really no fun and I guess I'm going to have quit the e-cigs now and now I'm addicted to nicotine again so it's gonna be no fun just like when I quit cigarettes

I've been a huge proponent of vaping but I'm here to tell you... don't do it

There's something going on with it

1 like

I agree I have copd and smoked around 30 a day cut down to 4 a day and felt much better but still want to quit completely easier said than done !! Anyway started on a vape very low nicotine but now have horrible dryness in general and thickly awful cough ! Would rather smoke the 4 a day as at least I felt much better and wasn't coughing hardly at all so am going to stop vaping and change to nicotine spray , fingers crossed it will work, I've tried to find out about vaping down side but most say its great like you I think there's something going on , cover up of some sort although I'm sure time will tell.....watch this space


I had the same problem with coughing mainly at night. I switched from PG liquid to VG, gone after a few days.


Hi ya Jfree :) a big warm welcome to our lovely quit support forum :) :)

I see your using the e-cig to help you :) I too have one and very good it is :) does this mean you've quit :o and if so, could I please have your quit date soooooo, I can then award you with a Winners badge :) :)

Please dont be afraid to ask a question, or for help, or if you need a rite good old moan :o or just want a chat, then come on and join in cos it helps :)

Hopefully speak soon Jfree :)


My quit date was May 2014.


I hope you like your new Winners badge J and I hope your very proud of yourself :) :)


Pete :)


Hiya Jfree, congratulations on your 10 month badge, looks great so well done to you 😃😃 x


I have a similar symptoms, but I have been vaping for approx 6 months, cough occurs in 5th month. I will cough occasionally, i suspect its because of PG/VG allergy as I cough badly every time i switch my juice to Mountain Oak Vapor's Red Drop - Raspberry Limeade. It was said to be a 50/50 pg vg, some said 70/30 pg vg.

Was it PG VG or MOV produce juice contains potential harmful substances?


You may also like...