It’s great that you want to start vaping, but before you get going, there are a few important things to know – thankfully, we have it all covered!
Webster, is inhaling and exhaling vapor with a device such an e-cigarette, in the same way that you would smoke a normal cigarette. The beauty of vaping is it still delivers the same nicotine hit without any of the bad side effects that come from normal smoking.
Vaping is rapidly becoming the old smoker’s weapon of choice simply because it’s much healthier than smoking, as well as being more pleasant to those around you. Since there’s no smelly smoke produced, neither your clothes nor breath will smell, and your teeth won’t turn that typical smoker’s yellow. Moreover, vaping is more versatile. You don’t have to find anywhere to dismiss the ash as there’s none created, and the lack of smoke means there are many more places where you are allowed to use your e-cigarette or portable vaporizer.
From a health perspective, smoking means that all sorts of toxic smokes, carcinogens and chemicals, as well as tar, end up in your lungs, potentially causing problems later in life. The scientific research conducted has concluded that vaping with e-cigarettes is 95% less risky and also 70% cheaper – a win-win. Once you’ve made the initial spend on an e-cigarette, it works out to be much more cost-effective, with e-liquids being much more inexpensive than cigarettes, which seem to be rising in price all the time.
Being the first viable alternative to cigarettes, e-cigarettes saw a wealth of attention when they first came on the market and we continue to see the effects of this. Many companies have gotten in on the act with their own products – such as flavored e-liquids. For a newbie vaper, this could be a bit overwhelming, so let’s take an in-depth look at each part of an e-cigarette.
Atomizers, Wicks and Coils
The atomizer is what heats up the e-liquid and makes it ready for vaping – in the atomizer you’ll also find the wick and the coil. More basic vaporizers will have a built-in atomizer although experienced vapers may wish to purchase their own, since the vaping experience directly correlates to the quality of the atomizer. Inside the atomizer, the e-liquid is vaporized into the vapor.
Wicks transport the e-liquid to the coil from the tank and come in a few different materials including cotton, steel mesh and ceramic. Coils are resistance wires which vary in effectiveness depending on how many wraps there are on it. The stronger the resistance, the more power is needed to heat up the e-liquid. New coils tend to be made of nickel.
Unsurprisingly batteries are what make e-cigarettes work – but not all e-cigarette batteries are made equal. They come in various sizes, with the bigger ones allowing for more vaping without needing a recharge. E-cigarette batteries are both rechargeable and replaceable and some of the newer models also come with USB charging, so you can boost up anywhere. Fail that and you can charge them from a mains power socket. Rechargeable batteries tend to be made of lithium-ion.
Cartomizers and Clearomizers
All three of cartomizers, clearomizers and tanks hold e-liquids, but they are given separate distinctions since tanks are more intricate containers with a few unique features.
Cartomizers and clearomizers are pretty much the same – you unscrew them from your e-cigarette and fill them with e-liquid. However, handily, clearomizers are transparent giving you a better idea of when you need a refill. The silica wicks used in clearomizers are also much easier to clean, making them generally more efficient than cartomizers.
E-liquids are the life source of an e-cigarette or vaporizer - without them, there would be nothing to vape. They are available in many flavors and strengths and are sold in little bottles. They are available with both nicotine and without it, and usually have a base consisting of propylene glycol (PG) or both PG and vegetable glycerine (VG).
PG is popular with vapers who are looking for a strong hit when they vape from their e-liquids. The substance is typically of a thin consistency and produces relatively less vapor than a VG-based e-liquid does. As well as being present in e-liquids, PG is commonly found in foods, plastics and medicines, serving as an additive.
Some people are allergic to PG, however, hence they use VG instead. This isn’t as hard-hitting as a PG-based liquid, but it does taste sweeter, although this is substituted for increased thickness. It’s also regularly mixed in with PG to create various experiences.
E-liquids vary in nicotine strength, but to help find the right amount for everybody, there are a number of products out there. Firstly you can get a zero-nicotine e-liquid, before moving up to a light 6mg choice. Next up is a middle-of-the road 12mg nicotine e-liquid, followed by a high 18mg pick, which is topped off by an extreme 24mg nicotine, reserved only for those who need big blasts of e-liquids. There are many flavorings available, including in sour, savory and sweet varieties.
The Various E-Cigarettes
The e-cigarette you are probably most familiar with the cig-a-like, which looks just like a normal cigarette. The advantage of one of these is that it’s small and portable and easy to work. However, if you’re using it a lot you’ll find that it is one of the pricier methods of vaping.
Vape pens are more powerful units than cig-a-likes, although they are a bit bigger so not quite as transportable. They are made up of a battery, atomizer, clearomizer and mouthpiece. These tend to be more popular than cig-a-likes with experienced vapers as they are cheaper since you can keep reusing them. Pretty much all e-liquids are compatible with any vape pen and the flavor and taste is also considered to be superb.
Box mods are even bigger than vape pens, but deliver an even better vaping experience, thanks to the larger coils and batteries. As a result, you’re getting more vapor for longer, extracting the most out of your e-liquid, making it a cost-effective pick. However, these are a bit more complicated to work so perhaps wouldn’t be the best choice for a beginner vaper.
Stay Safe While Vaping
Obviously as you aren’t creating smoke there are far fewer risks with e-cigarettes, but with that in mind, there are still a couple of measures that you need to take. Don’t leave your battery charging once it reaches 100% and ensure that the batteries aren’t touching each other or you could end up short-circuiting the device. Moreover, if the e-cigarette is hot, don’t put it in a confined space until it cools down.
To keep your e-liquids in good condition, keep them in dark, cool areas (such as a cupboard). Ensure that you never drink the e-liquid and keep it away from your body – especially if you have a PG allergy. Beyond that, if you think you may not be able to vape for whatever reason, consult your concerns with your doctor.
Other Terms worth Knowing
That’s pretty much all bases covered, but here are a few more terms that you should remember:
- RBAs: these are known as rebuildable atomizers and are best for expert vapers, as you can take them apart and reassemble according to your specifications
- RDAs: rebuildable dripping atomizers. Like an RBA, they can be rebuilt and are not connected to the device’s tank. These are preferred by some because they consider the taste to be stronger and more fulfilling, and they work by dripping e-liquid onto the atomizer.
- Variable voltage: a feature on premium vaping models, variable voltage is a system which allows you to adjust the temperature of the device to get a different flavor from it. However, a variable voltage vape pen will use far more of your battery than one without it
- Drip tip: drip tips are the alternative to having a tank in your vape pen. You simply drip the e-liquid onto the atomizer and vape. This is a delicate process so you may need to practice first.
- Cloud chasing: this is a term for exhaling as big a cloud as possible. There are certain e-liquids which are specially designed to produce huge clouds, so look out for these and learn to perfect the art.