Can e-cigarettes cause a deepening of the voice?

Can e-cigarettes cause a deepening of the voice?

Published on: 11/03/2024


E-cigarettes now represent a subject of considerable debate and investigation. These devices, which appeared on the market as a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, have attracted growing interest due to their long-term effects on health, particularly on voice quality. With a growing population of users, understanding the implications of e-cigarettes on the vocal cords becomes a topic of significant importance.

Recent studies have begun to explore the effect of vaping on the voice , seeking to determine whether this modern substitute for traditional smoking shares the same negative effects on vocal quality. An example is a study published in 2018 in The Journal of Voice which we will talk about in more detail later, which compared the vocal parameters between smokers, vapers and non-smokers, revealing that, unlike traditional smoking, the use of electronic cigarettes would seem do not significantly damage the vocal cords. However, opinions and experiences on the matter remain varied.

This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the impact of e-cigarettes on the voice by reviewing the latest research . Through a critical and informed examination, it aims to outline a clear picture of the consequences of the use of vaping devices, offering readers a complete and up-to-date vision on this topic of growing interest.

How do the vocal cords work?

The vocal cords, key elements for verbal communication, serve as essential tools in the production of sound and speech.

Located within the larynx, these thin, flexible muscular structures basically remain open to allow air to pass through the larynx to the lungs. During phonation, however, these strings come closer together, creating a narrow opening through which the exhaled air passes, making them vibrate and generating sound .

The frequency of the vibrations determines the pitch of the sound produced: if they are very rapid they result in high-pitched sounds, while if they are slower they produce lower sounds. Additionally, the tension, length, and thickness of the vocal folds influence the vibrations themselves, helping to create a wide range of vocal tones.

These organs do not work alone; their functioning is finely coordinated with other components of the vocal system , such as the oral cavity, nose and throat, which modify and amplify the sound produced, contributing to the formation of words and different vocal timbres.

This sophisticated mechanism is also extremely sensitive and delicate: factors such as infections, irritation, excessive or improper use of the voice and environmental conditions can influence the health and functioning of the vocal cords, altering the quality of the sound produced.

Read also: Smoking and sport: this is how cigarettes compromise physical activity in the short and long term

Smoking traditional cigarettes damages the vocal cords

Smoking traditional cigarettes damages the vocal cords

The impact of traditional smoking on the voice is a well-documented phenomenon in the fields of medicine and health . Smoking, which has long been associated with a myriad of health problems, has a particularly harmful effect on the vocal cords and the quality of the sound emitted by them as cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that can cause irritation and inflammation of the respiratory tract, influencing these organs directly.

As is known, the vocal cords, delicate structures within the larynx, are essential for the production of sound. When exposed to smoke, they may become irritated and swollen , resulting in a hoarse or tired voice. Furthermore, in the long term smoking can also lead to more serious changes, such as nodules or polyps, further compromising the quality of the sound emitted.

It is worth noting that these effects are not just limited to active smokers ; even exposure to secondhand smoke can have a significant impact on vocal health, much more than you might think.

A key aspect to consider is that the damage caused by traditional smoking to the voice is not immediately reversible. Even after you stop consuming cigarettes, healing of the vocal cords can take time, and in some cases, the damage can be permanent , requiring medical or surgical interventions to fully recover function. This reality highlights the importance of smoking prevention and cessation for long-term vocal health.

According to scientific research, electronic cigarettes have a decidedly lower impact on the voice than traditional ones

Unlike traditional smoking, which as already stated is notoriously harmful to numerous human organs including the vocal cords, e-cig represent relatively unexplored territory. Their growing popularity, especially as an alternative to smoking cessation, has raised questions about the effect these devices can have on voice quality.

The key study cited at the beginning , published in 2018 in The Journal of Voice and conducted by Prof. Birgül Tuhanioglu of Adana University, provided some of the first concrete answers to this question .

Involving 81 volunteers divided into three groups (smokers, vapers and non-smokers), the research examined specific vocal parameters, including the Voice Handicap index. The results highlighted that, unlike traditional smoking, vaping does not appear to significantly damage voice quality , with the parameters measured among vapers being little different from those of non-smokers.

However, it is important to note that these findings are still in their early stages and require further research to be fully understood. While initial data suggests that e-cigarettes may not have the same harmful effects on the voice as traditional smoking, users should still pay attention to the quality and composition of the liquids used , as well as the frequency of vaping.

Other possible causes of lowering of the voice

Aside from the impact of cigarette use, deepening of the voice can be attributed to a variety of causes , ranging from temporary health problems to more serious conditions. Understanding these causes is critical to an informed and targeted approach to vocal health care.

A common cause of this disorder is respiratory infections , such as colds, laryngitis, pharyngitis, and sinusitis. These pathological conditions can irritate the vocal cords, causing inflammation and consequent alteration of the voice which, as a rule, is temporary and resolves with the healing of the infection itself.

Another significant cause is allergies and asthma. Particularly in the spring months, exposure to pollen can cause inflammation of the airways, affecting the voice. These problems can be managed with the use of antihistamine medications or specific asthma treatments.

Gastroesophageal reflux is another factor that can affect the quality of the voice as this condition, characterized by the abnormal rise of the stomach contents along the esophagus, can irritate the vocal cords, leading to a lowering of the voice itself. Managing reflux through dietary changes and, if necessary, specific medications, can help reduce the disorder.

Vocal cord disorders can also be caused by improper use of these . Let’s think about professions such as singers, teachers and anyone else who uses their voice intensely for work on a daily basis: such individuals can easily experience a lowering of their voice due to excessive effort. In these cases the remedies include resting the cords, abundant hydration and the use of vocal techniques suitable for reducing the disorder.

Other possible causes of lowering of the voice

Recommendations and guidelines for safe vaping

Even in the face of partial evidence that suggests that vaping does not negatively affect the voice, it is advisable to always aim for the safe use of electronic cigarettes , which is essential not only to protect the health of the vocal cords, but also to limit the damage as much as possible. which could derive from this habit and which research may still be unaware of.

First of all, it is essential to select certified products that comply with current regulations. Directive 2014/40/EU establishes safety and quality requirements for electronic cigarettes and refill liquids containing nicotine. These standards are designed to ensure that consumers can be assured of purchasing controlled and safe products.

Therefore, vapers should check that the products they purchase comply with these guidelines and are approved by the authorities.

Other very important aspects to consider are labeling and packaging .

A clear and precise label provides crucial information on the composition and recommended doses that users should read carefully to ensure appropriate use.

Furthermore, faced with the spread of a myriad of vaping products from very varied markets and regions, it is important to take into consideration the quality of e-cigarette liquids . In this regard, we advise readers to absolutely avoid purchasing e-liquids of dubious origin or which, in any case, do not have clear and transparent labelling, especially when they are sold at prices much lower than those normally applied by the most highly rated companies. The use of certified and proven quality liquids, available from established shops such as our Terpy , in fact, drastically reduces the risk of exposure to harmful substances.

Also of vital importance is the correct and periodic maintenance of vaping devices: cleaning the atomizer, regularly replacing the resistors and all the other actions necessary for the proper functioning of electronic cigarettes are essential steps for the prevention of malfunctions or damage to the devices. e-cigs which could also affect the health of vapers.

Finally, the importance of responsible and conscious use should not be overlooked . We urge our readers to avoid excessive use of e-cigarettes and pay attention to any signs of health problems, including changes in voice or breathing, and consult a doctor if necessary.

Read also: Are disposable electronic cigarettes really worth it?

In conclusion

The discussion on the impact of e-cigarettes on voice quality takes us into a territory that is still partly unexplored and full of nuances. Although initial research, such as that conducted by Prof. Tuhanioglu, indicates that vaping may not have the same harmful effects on the vocal cords as traditional smoking , it is essential to continue with in-depth investigations in order to better understand the potential risks and benefits associated with vaping. use of these devices.

It is important to reiterate that caution must be the norm when it comes to our health. The responsible and informed use of electronic cigarettes , based on certified and quality products, is crucial to minimize any risks. At the same time, it is essential to monitor any changes in your health and voice, and consult a healthcare professional if any questions or concerns arise .


  • Traditional smoking is known to cause significant damage to the vocal cords, leading to irritation, inflammation, and potentially more serious vocal problems such as nodules or polyps. These effects may be permanent, underscoring the importance of prevention and smoking cessation for long-term vocal health.
  • On the contrary, initial scientific evidence indicates that e-cigarettes appear to have a less harmful impact on the vocal cords than traditional smoking. A 2018 study suggested that e-cigarette use may not significantly affect voice quality.
  • In addition to smoking, there are many other causes of deepening of the voice, including respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux, and excessive or improper use of the voice. Understanding these causes is essential for appropriate management of voice disorders.
  • For those who use e-cigarettes, it is important to follow safe vaping guidelines. This includes purchasing certified products, paying attention to labeling and packaging, regularly maintaining devices and using them responsibly and consciously.
  • The discussion about the impact of e-cigarettes on the voice is still ongoing, and more research is needed to fully understand the potential risks and benefits associated with these devices. Caution and information should guide the use of e-cigarettes to protect vocal and general health.

Questions answers

What is the effect of tobacco smoke on the vocal cords?

Tobacco smoke damages the vocal cords causing irritation, swelling and potentially serious changes such as nodules or polyps, affecting voice quality. This damage can be permanent even after quitting smoking.

What is the effect of vaping on the vocal cords?

Initial studies suggest that vaping may not significantly damage the vocal cords like traditional smoking. However, further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects.

What to do for safe use of electronic cigarettes?

To safely use e-cigarettes, select products that are certified and compliant with regulations, read labeling carefully, keep devices clean, and consult a doctor if there are signs of health problems.