There is some debate about the links between smoking and acne. We cannot count the number of times that we have been asked whether vaping causes pimples, clogged pores, and skin redness. To answer this question, you have to understand the basics of vaping.

What is Vaping?

According to the definition of vaping, vaping is the process of inhaling vapor through the mouth typically from an electronic device (e-cigarette) that heats up a solution (eliquid) and vaporizes that liquid. In order to understand if vaping can cause skin problems, one must understand the ingredients of an electronic cigarette.

Ingredients of an Electronic Cigarette

Electronic cigarettes consist of vapor, which is inhaled and exhaled by vapers. Unlike traditional combustible cigarettes, electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco; however, they do contain nicotine along with PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerin), water, and flavorings. This is important because PG, VG, and Water are commonly used in cosmetics and skin care products. As such, they are unlikely to cause acne.

Is Vaping Safe?

Many studies have proven that vaping is much safer than smoking traditional combustible cigarettes. For example, the American Heart Association states that vaping can help smokers quit smoking, and vaporizers are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Also, The Royal College of Physicians states “E-Cigarettes appears to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking; however, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapor inhalation from e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.” To sum things up, vaping is much safer than smoking. 

Vaping & Acne

Although there is no causal connection between vaping and acne, many researchers claim that acne went away shortly after people quit tobacco smoking and turned to vaping. On the other hand, other claims that acne appeared on their skin after they started using electronic cigarettes. 

Nicotine and its associated compounds are sometimes use to treat ace, so medicines for acne may sometimes include nicotinamide in cream which is applied to the affected skin. Also, nicotinamide is known to improve brain health and skin health. Therefore, vaping nicotine containing eliquids is more likely to reduce skin acne and improve the overall health of ones skin. 

According to an article published by the NCBI, nicotinamide is considered as an effective treatment option for acne and is used as alternative to antibiotics in cases where patients suffer from antibiotic resistance. Due to some similarities between nicotine and nicotinamide, we are led to believe that nicotine, like nicotinamide, results in significant reduction of acne. The study does not note any major adverse side effects of nicotinamide. The study suggests that more data is needed to evaluate the side effects of nicotinamide. 

When making the switch from traditional combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes, many people notice than they start to feel worse and immediately blame electronic cigarettes for their symptoms. The truth is that these are signs of smoking withdrawal and not caused by vaping. The same can be said about acne, when people quit smoking, their body may manifest signs of withdrawal through production of acne.


To conclude, acne is not necessarily caused by vaping, but rather caused by the act of quitting cigarettes. After quitting traditional cigarettes the body begins to clean itself expelling some of the waste and toxins left by traditional cigarettes through perspiration, thereby causing skin inflammation and acne.