Short answer — yes, you can vape caffeine. But that doesn’t mean that all caffeine vapes are created equal. The fact that so many different brands exist in the first place is testament to just how popular caffeine is.
Millions swear they couldn't get through a day without it. It's the most widely consumed "drug" in the world. And if you're here reading this, you're probably looking for alternative caffeine sources because coffee, tea or energy drinks aren't cutting it, aren't convenient, or are just unpalatable for any number of reasons.
If that's the case, you've probably wondered if you can get caffeine's effects from other products. Can you get an effective caffeine hit from gum? Or pills? Or gummies? What’s it like to vape caffeine?
All legitimate questions, because there's certainly no shortage of products containing caffeine to choose from. To figure out which is best for you, let's take a look at how caffeine works in the body. Then we'll dive a bit deeper to see if vaping caffeine is truly safe and effective.
At a glance:
How Does Caffeine Affect Your Mind and Body?
Caffeine affects both your brain and your body, making you simultaneously feel more alert mentally, and better able to perform physically. Of course, this assumes you haven't overdone it. That's because in high enough doses, caffeine can have some seriously negative effects.
Caffeine’s effects come from its ability to bind with your body's adenosine receptors. These receptors are responsible for many reactions in your body related to energy and arousal, including drowsiness and sleep. In simple terms, when adenosine binds to those receptors, you start to feel sleepy.
Caffeine works by binding to those receptors instead, which leaves no room for the adenosine. With no adenosine, your body simply doesn't feel drowsy. So far that sounds great for someone who needs or wants more energy, right?
But there’s a catch. When caffeine consumption is extremely high, that mental alertness can turn into mania or restlessness, leaving you unable to focus. And that physical boost can veer into the extreme, causing things like shakiness or arrhythmias.
That being said, you probably have a good sense of your tolerance and when you've had enough caffeine. But when you start to supplement your daily coffee, cola or energy drinks with something like a caffeine vape, you might be more prone to unintentionally overdoing it. So if you choose to vape, make sure you read labels, and don't take more than the recommended dose until you know how you'll react.
How Caffeine Vapes Work
The most common way to consume caffeine is via the stomach, in the form of coffee, tea, energy drinks and the like. But whenever something needs to work its way through your digestive system, it will take longer to produce the desired effect.
This is part of the reason why you don't get the same feeling from a slow-dissolving nicotine lozenge as you do from a drag off a cigarette. One is delivering a slow release, the other an instant jolt.
The concept behind caffeine vapes is similar. Caffeine will take a longer time to have an effect when it comes from things like coffee, tea, energy drinks, or any of the other forms mentioned below, because it has to take the long way, so to speak, through your digestive system. When you're inhaling caffeine, as you would in a caffeine vape, you'll feel the effects much faster — within minutes or even seconds.
The vape mechanism itself works like any other vape — a heating element turns the ingredients into vapor, which you then inhale. A caffeine vape like HELO Plus (one of our Top Caffeine Vapes of 2023) offers a great-tasting and efficient method of caffeine delivery that's also a tremendous bang for your buck, because they last for a looonnnng time (see How Long Does a Disposable Vape Last for more info).
Available in flavors like Strawberry Ice, Pink Slush, Aloe Grape and Baja Berry, each HELO Plus vape is good for 800 puffs at just 22 cents per serving. Far better than even the cheapest cup of gas station coffee. Check out HELO here.
How Vaping Caffeine Compares to Other Sources of Caffeine
Caffeine has an almost primal effect on human beings. A 2019 study even found that just smelling coffee led to "enhanced cognitive parameters, including continuity of attention, quality of memory, and speed of memory, and also increased the mood score of alertness." So if you've asked, "Can you inhale caffeine?," the answer is yes!
That also probably explains why there are so many different ways to get your daily fix. Let's see how other forms of caffeine stack up to caffeine vapes.
Caffeine From Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks and Soft Drinks
This is the form of caffeine nearly everyone is used to. But even among common caffeinated drinks, there's wide variation in the amount of caffeine you're consuming.
For example, the way coffee is brewed or roasted can have an effect on the caffeine content. Antioxidant compounds found in tea, studies have found, can slow the absorption of caffeine providing a sustained and level release over a longer period with less of a crash.
Meanwhile, energy drinks can absolutely pack tremendous amounts of caffeine into a can (along with tons of sugar!) as can soft drinks like Coke or Pepsi.
Caffeine from Tablets, Pills, Gummies, Gum and "Candy"
These have been around for decades. No Doz and Vivarin were two of the originals, but they've been joined by dozens of other brands (and generics) offering a variety of formulas for getting your caffeine fix. Some, for example, will contain amino acids like L-theanine, vitamins like B12, or other herbs or compounds designed to enhance or complement the energizing effects of caffeine.
Popping a caffeine pill or chewing a gummy are certainly more convenient than brewing a fresh cup of coffee every time you need a pick-me-up. But they suffer from the same problem as any digestible form — they take longer to work and lose some of their effectiveness along the way. (See our articles on 2023's Best Caffeine Gummies, Best Caffeine Pills and Best Caffeine Gum for more info.)
Caffeine Vapes FAQ
Is vaping caffeine safe?
While there's no definitive word on whether vaping caffeine is completely safe, most people operate under the assumption that it carries about the same risks as vaping other non-nicotine substances (like melatonin, Vitamin B12, L-theanine, etc.), and substantially less risk than vapes that contain nicotine or smoking.
Do caffeine vapes give you a buzz?
Caffeine vapes might give you a slightly more energized "buzz" than other forms of caffeine. That’s because, compared to drinking a cup of coffee or an energy drink, or popping a caffeine pill, the vapor hits your central nervous system faster than other methods of caffeine consumption.
Are caffeine vapes addictive?
Caffeine itself, in whatever form it's consumed, can be addictive. It's possible that you could become addicted to the act of vaping in the same way you might become addicted to the act of smoking independent of, or in addition to, a dependence on nicotine. That’s why it’s important to use caffeine vapes responsibly.
Caffeine Vapes Can Be a Great Caffeine Alternative
If you're looking for an efficient, cost-effective and great-tasting caffeine alternative, caffeine vapes could be right up your alley. However, when choosing a vape, be sure it doesn't contain any ingredients known to be harmful — like Vitamin E acetate or diacetyl.
HELO caffeine diffusers are made from 100% natural ingredients — just organic fruit flavor and caffeine — with none of the bad stuff you can sometimes find in other vapes. Ensuring you enjoy them responsibly, just as you would any other vape, will help minimize the risks and keep you as safe as possible.
For more, check out our article on where to buy caffeine vapes to see some of our recommended sources for the best caffeine vapes available.