Consumer Defense


The Vicks VapoInhaler product is a popular remedy used for nasal congestion.

In recent years it’s become difficult to find the original product, with no explanation from Vicks as to why they changed the product packaging. Based on the information below, it seems that a problem may have been identified with the old product, so it was updated.

Imitations of the old product available on Amazon have numerous 1-star reviews indicating that the products are fake or refilled used units.

Poison Control Center – Removed

As of 4 Nov 2012, if you visited the Vicks product page for their Vapoinhaler, you’d find that product warnings are conspicuously absent other than the advice to call a poison control center if the contents are swallowed.

As of 31 Jan 2017, Vicks has removed the advice to call poison control if the contents are swallowed. So, consumers are now unaware of how serious it is if the product contents are ingested.

Pharmacist Warning – Removed

If you consult other medical authorities such as the WebMD page on this product, you’ll find a product warning is missing from there as well. The only information provided is, “Consult your pharmacist.”

As of 4 Nov 2012, the Walgreens Pharmacy product page for the Vicks VapoInhaler contained the following essential product warnings that consumers should be informed about:

Do not exceed recommended dosage. This product may cause temporary discomfort such as burning, stinging, sneezing, or an increase in nasal discharge. The use of this container by more than one person may spread infection. Do not use this product for more than 3 days. Frequent or prolonged use may cause nasal congestion to recur or worsen. If symptoms persist, ask a doctor. Do not use this product if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland unless directed by a doctor.

So, in other words, frequent use of the product can make the problem worse.

As of 31 January 2017, that warning has been removed and indeed the entire product page was removed from the Walgreens website. The old Vick’s page has been replaced with a new one that appears to be identical.

New Packaging

Sometimes when a product is discovered to have problems, the manufacturer will rename it and repackage it, but not change the actual product itself. This may have been what happened with the Vicks VapoInhaler. Vicks hasn’t issued a formal statement on this, so one can only speculate about what the previous product formula was, how that was changed for the new product, and why.

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