A Beginners Guide To Vaping
Vaping is becoming extremely popular, and there are lots of reasons why. Perhaps you want to quit smoking but enjoy the experience and social aspect of it? Perhaps you simply find vaping relaxing and a harmless alternative to smoking. Whatever your reason for vaping, it's likely you're in need of a lot of information if you're new to it. Never vaped before? You're in the right place, we've got lots of information here to help you in our guide.
Why Choose Vaping?
If you've not yet invested in some vaping kit, you're probably still wondering why you should choose it instead of continuing smoking, or simply slapping on a million nicotine patches and trying to quit smoking again for the millionth time.
People seem to think vaping is just as good as smoking, but isn't as harmful - sounds too good to be true right? Wrong. E cigarettes are just as enjoyable to experience as smoking a cigarette and they are a million times better for your health and your wallet. You must politely ignore all of the hate you've heard about them, telling you they haven't been tested and contain harmful chemicals - these are uneducated attacks on something just because its new and people are always afraid of new things, even if they have the ability to transform peoples lives.
If you really do want to get deep on understanding them yourself, and really get into the science bit, take a look at this huge list of e cigarette studies which is sure to educate you fully if you're still unsure.
Vapour is safer than cigarette smoke and whilst generally it probably is better to avoid inhaling anything, e cigarettes are still extremely safe to use. They won't harden your arteries, prevent oxygen getting to your heart or blacken your lungs. Plus, most e liquids contain completely safe ingredients like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.
What You'll Need
To get vaping you'll need a bit of kit to set yourself up with. Although you might have to put out a bit of cash to set yourself up vaping, we can guarantee you over time it is phenomenally cheaper than smoking cigarettes.
When you're new to e liquid it can be so difficult to know what's in it, what's good and what should be avoided. Your e liquid is important because it's how you get your nicotine hit and how you will eventually kick the nicotine habit if that's the path you choose to take.
The first thing you should know is that e liquids from reputable vendors are not harmful and do not (despite uneducated reports) contain scary chemicals. You're likely to see two main ingredients in e liquids - Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). Both are 'Generally Recognised As Safe' by the FDA in America, taste of nothing and are safe to use. You'll see most e liquid blends that are exclusively one chemical or the other, and some that combine the two. Generally speaking:
- PG carries better flavour than VG, produces less vapour and extends the shelf life of your e liquid - some people can be allergic to PG.
- VG produces more vapour than PG, is not a preservative (like PG) and is hypoallergenic.
Most flavourings used in e liquid are completely safe, however there are some oil based e liquids on the market which should be avoided.
E liquid bottles commonly contain; 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 24mg and 32mg of nicotine. These measurements indicate how many milligrams of nicotine are present in every milliliter of your e liquid. The measurements you need depends on how many normal cigarettes you smoke or smoked. Generally most people who smoke between 15 and 20 a day will opt for 12-24 mg and then smokers who smoke more opt for higher nicotine doses. The beauty of these measurements is you can gradually reduce your nicotine amounts, or buy e liquids with different nicotine amounts and combine them using a double barrel cartomizer to achieve your perfect nicotine amount.
What To Avoid
Avoid Diacetyl, Acetyl Propionyl and Acetoin.
Batteries - Battery, Egos And Mods
When you choose a battery for your e cigarette you might find it doesn't suit you. This is normal and happens to a lot of people, but reading this guide may help you avoid making that mistake.
A cig-a-like is an e cigarette battery that looks just like a normal cigarette. If you don't want your e cigarette to stand out, then this could be a good option for you. Although different cig-a-likes will share a similar appearance they will all have a different spec. These are:
Automatic Draw - means you can simply inhale without pushing a button and will have to keep using disposable cartomizers.
Manual Draw - means you have to press a button to draw from the cig-a-like and may be able to use different atomizer options.
Disposable - means you keep using it until it runs out, then you throw it away and buy a new one which can be expensive if done regularly
Rechargeable - means you can keep using it which is more economical than a disposable and you can potentially customise it
Other Things You Need To Know
Rechargeable cig-a-likes can use different threading sizes for the cartomizer screw section of the battery. Some will use 510, others will be uniquely sized in relation to the manufacturer. To charge your cig-a-like you can buy portable chargers or USB chargers. It is advisable you always carry a spare battery around with you in case you can't charge up on the go.
Ego batteries are a style of battery that can be bought in a number of forms from a number of different manufacturers. Ego batteries tend to be slightly chunkier than cig-a-likes and vary greatly in length. They have a good level of battery life and contain 510 or ego threading which gives you a wide range of atomizer options. A few things to know:
- Variable voltage - you don't need to have this but it does enable you to have more control over your vaping experience.
- Brand names - you will find both brand and non-brand name ego batteries. Although you may well get a good non-brand ego battery, generally the branded types are more reliable and do what they say on the tin.
- Size - how long your battery lasts will depend on its mAh which means milliamps per hour. The higher the mAh, the larger the battery and the longer it lasts.
When you get into the world of mods you will realise it's a huge category which cannot be completely covered (nowhere near) here. Here is a rough overview of the main mod types;
- Mechanical - simple, durable and free from any sensitive circuitry.
- Digital - Easy to use, variable usage and usually restricted by strict safety instructions.
- Built-in Batteries - this is where you charge your entire vaping unit without having to remove anything.
- Separate Batteries - these enable you to charge a battery while you place a new one in your device.
Clearomizers, Cartomizers and Carto Tanks
The cool kids call them clearos, and you can too, but first you need to know what one is.
A clearomizer is made up of a tank made from glass or plastic, a coil (heating element) and a wick (the bit that sucks the liquid into the coil). Some clearomizers are top coil, some are bottom coil.
Disposable And Replaceable Coils
Generally speaking, financially clearomizers with replacement coil options are the better option because they save you money. You simply clean the pieces when necessary and when the coil eventually needs replacing, it won't cost you much at all.
Glass And Plastic Clearomizers
Plastic clearomizers will cost you less, but glass clearomizers will last you longer. Plus, certain e liquid flavours are known to badly affect plastic tanks. Generally if you can, opt for a glass clearomizer for more durability and greater choice of e liquids.
Refill And Maintenance
To change e liquid flavours you simply have to clean the clearomizer out and then top it up with your e liquid of choice.
Cartomizers are cylinders made of metal that contain a thick material which surrounds the heating element. Cartomizers are most well known for producing a powerful, flavourful vape.
Cartomizers aren't very easy to clean and can often flood (where e liquid gets into the air hole) or burn up. Once a cartomizer has burned up you have to get a replacement, but they are really cheap to replace.
Cartomizers don't tend to hold much liquid, usually 2ml maximum. Their burnout tendency combined with their low liquid capacity means they need regularly topping up throughout the day.
Cartomizers need to be primed before they can be used. Type 'How to prime a cartomizer' into Google and you'll get loads of instructional videos to follow.
Carto tanks are just as great as cartomizers, only they don't need refilling all the time (even better). Carto tanks surround your cartomizer with liquid so it doesn't burn out. You can get them in plastic and glass options. Glass is the recommended choice as it is more durable and it means you won't have to test e liquids in it before vaping just in case the tank cracks.
Investing in a tank means investing in a bit of time researching the type of carto tank compatible with your cartomizer.
Avoid Coloured Carto's
Coloured cartos will be in direct contact with your e liquid which means they should be avoided. Naked metal cartomizers are always the best option.
Cartomizers with carto tanks need side holes so the e liquid can easily flow. You can punch them yourself using a special tool, but it's easiest just to buy a pre-punched type.
When selecting an atomizer you'll get to choose from various electrical resistance options. The lower the ohm, the lower the amount of volts needed for heat. If you opt for a variable voltage atomizer it is best to avoid low resistance atomizers.
Double coils are best suited to powerful e cigarette mods. Single coils produce great tasting vape, lots of vapour and they need less power to run, so are usually the best option, especially for beginners.
Vaping Tips For Beginners
Now you know what you need to get started, and you have lots of super cool decisions to make about your kit and e liquids, you'll want some basic tips to get you started;
Before You Vape
- Know how to turn your e cigarette on and off, you won't get any vapour if it's not turned on.
- Know how to use the e cigarette - do you need to press a button to inhale? Or is it an automatic inhale?
- Adjust your volts or watts - depending on your e cigarette you'll be able to adjust your voltage. Opt for the lowest setting for your first time to ensure you can get used to how using it feels.
- Make sure your e liquid is topped up.
Enjoying Your First Vape
Before you do anything, check you're actually allowed to vape in your current location. If you're at someone else's house check they don't mind you vaping, and if you're in a shop, pub or other public indoor area check the rules - a lot of places don't allow vaping now.
As soon as you know you're safe to enjoy yourself, you'll want to press the button (or not depending on your type of e cigarette) and inhale. Remember you don't need to suck as hard as you do when you smoke a normal cigarette. Some people put more emphasis on the mouth hit, others like to take a long deep inhale for a lung hit - which you prefer is completely up to you.
After you've inhaled you will of course need to exhale - enjoy this bit, the plumes of vapour are exciting.
Now you've started really enjoying yourself, you'll start to really see the different between vaping and smoking normal cigarettes.
One noticeable difference is having an 'end point' to your vape. When you smoke a cigarette you finish it and extinguish it and know when you're done. With vaping, it doesn't work like that, which is why you will often see people with e cigarettes take a few inhales, put it away, take a few inhales, put it away which is called 'chain vaping'. There's nothing wrong with vaping however you want to, however, when you're inhaling nicotine it's a good idea to regulate your intake so you don't get a constant nicotine rush. If you're 'chain vaping' opt for a lower nicotine concentration. Or if you're opting to vape when you used to smoke in short bursts, like outside with a friend, or after food, opt for a higher nicotine concentration.
Another good thing to remember, especially if you were a seasoned smoker, is to always carry a spare battery around with you. When your e cigarette battery is dead, there's no reviving it until it's charged, and if you want to avoid hot footing it to the nearest shop to buy an emergency 'normal cigarette' you'll want to carry a spare e cigarette battery around with you so you don't get caught out.
The final tip is to enjoy yourself! You've done an amazing thing and switched from a proven harmful habit to a much safer, cheaper, nicer smelling one! Enjoy choosing your kit, e liquids and trying out different flavours and devices to suit you - it's all part of the fun!