Whether you’re switching from cigarettes or keen to try vaping for personal reasons, there is a lot you need to understand before you get started. The following guide to vaping provides background information and advice to help make your vaping experience enjoyable.
What Is Vaping?
To put it simply, vaping is the use of a technology that allows you to inhale vapour rather than smoke. It was first developed back in the 1960s by a guy called Herbert Gilbert, though vapes didn’t become publicly sold until 2003 when Hong Kong’s Hon Lik patented the first modern version of an e-cigarette.
The first e-cigarette was called a cig-a-like and they were designed to mimic the look and habit of a regular cigarette, being of similar size and shape. Over time the design was enhanced and by the second generation of e-cigs, vapes had become bigger and with added features, such as larger batteries and refillable tanks. These vape pens are still popular today. Finally, the next generation of vapes was introduced – vape mods and pods, which have an even longer battery life, as well as being chargeable, safer to use than predecessors (auto switch-off) and offering temperature control for a fully personalised experience.
There are essentially two types of vape experience – Mouth to Lung (MTL Vape) and Direct to Lung (DTL Vape). We’ll go into these in more detail in the next section.
How To Choose A Vape
If you’re new to vaping, your best bet is to get a starter kit, as this will have everything you need to experience your first vape. A starter kit will normally come with everything you need to get started (hence the name). They will have a battery, a coil, a tank, and a mouthpiece, and depending on the starter kit you purchase, it will either have a number of different flavours of e-liquid included or no e-liquid – which you can then buy separately.
If you prefer, you can head straight for the vape itself, with the following options available:
With everything you need in a single pack, mods are larger and more powerful than the vapes you’ll get in your starter kit. They offer longer usage between charging and have more intense vape clouds. They use sub-ohm technology to give more vapour, and you can modify (mod) the coils and wicks, which allows you to change the mechanics and resistance of power. This can increase the flavour and vapour clouds. Mods have a tank that stores e-liquid. You can buy them with or without batteries, and they’re designed for casual users who have some experience in vaping and want to tailor their use.
- The device itself
- Atomiser to turn liquid into vapour
- The tank where e-liquid is stored
- The battery – Lithium-ion is most efficient
- Coils – which powers and heats up the liquid
- Wick – draws the e-liquid into the coil
- Mouthpiece for drawing the vapour
- USB charging port
- e-Liquid – poured into the tank, in a variety of flavours
- Display screen, showing temperature setting, modes, wattage and Ohm meter
Pods are technologically advanced vapes that are stylish and convenient. They’re more powerful than e-cigs and vape pens, but less hassle to use than vape mods. They have the same sub-ohm technology for high vapour levels, but they use less power and lower temperatures. They are smaller than mods, which also makes them easier to carry around and less obvious when you’re out in public, and they have a leak-proof casing. There are closed pod systems pre-filled with e-liquid or open systems that come with an empty tank that you refill yourself.
- Vape tank
- USB charging port
- Display screen (on some models)
Disposable vapes are easy to use and great for those who are casual vapers. They have a single battery, don’t require any cleaning, and they’re one of the most affordable vaping options. The vapes are disposed of once the battery dies and they come pre-filled with e-liquid, in a variety of flavours and strengths. They’re ideal for beginners and also for casual use, and there are no settings, buttons or controls you need to worry about. Simply put it in your mouth and inhale, and your disposable vape will generally last for around 300 puffs.
- Device/cartridge that holds the e-liquid
- Heating element (atomiser)
Choosing An E-Liquid
Once you’ve chosen the type of vape device, the next decision is what type of e-liquid you’d like to use. There’s no right or wrong answer – it’s really dependant on personal preference. Here’s what you need to know:
e-Liquid is made of four primary ingredients: nicotine, vegetable glycerine (VG), propylene glycol (PG), and flavours. Your VG and PG are what sets the tone for the thickness of the liquid – and as such, the temperature you need to vaporise it, and the personal experience you get on the inhale.
When it comes to the nicotine levels in your e-liquid, there are a few options. Levels between 0mg/ml and 18mg/ml are most popular:
- 0mg/ml is suitable for people who want to vape without nicotine
- 3mg/ml is great for light smokers and is the lowest level of nicotine available in vapes (aside from 0 mg/ml)
- 6mg/ml suits regular smokers who are making the switch to vaping
- 12mg/ml is ideal for heavy smokers
- 18mg/ml is recommended for those who were chain smokers
How To Use Your Vape
Getting started is easy when you are armed with the above information. Remember that the experience is different for everyone, so start small and work your way up. If you aren’t sure whether vaping is for you, a starter kit or disposable option is the best place to begin your journey. When you become accustomed to that experience, you can move up to the next level.
The most important thing in vaping is that you follow the instructions that come with your vape. This will not only ensure your vaping experience is enjoyable, but also safe. Finally, don’t forget to check the laws in your state to see where and when you can use your vape.