Start Vaping: The Ultimate Beginners’ Guide September 26, 2018 13:16
Vaping is a growing trend both for people who are trying to quit traditional smoking and for those who are taking it on for recreational purposes. Vaping or smoking an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette for short) comes with its own rules and tools. If you are thinking about trying vaping for pleasure or switching to it for health reasons, you need to familiarize yourself with how it works and what you need to get started. In this article, I am going to be covering all those topics and more to give you the ultimate beginners’ guide to vaping. I am going to touch on the following specific topics:
- The differences between vaping and smoking and the benefits of making the switch.
- How to pick your device and the different options available.
- How to choose the best e-liquid for you, and
- Device accessories you should know about.
Vaping Versus Smoking
Vaping involves using an e-cigarette to heat an e-liquid to generate a vapor, which is then inhaled to simulate the traditional cigarettes. The e-liquid can also be referred to as an e-juice or vape juice, and it contains three ingredients—namely nicotine, flavor, and a mix of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). More on these different substances is covered in the sections that follow. For now, let us look at the difference between vaping and smoking regular cigarettes.
There are many reasons people smoke, and although both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes contain nicotine, there are some fundamental differences in how they work and what you can get out of them. It is important to note these especially if you are someone who is considering vaping as a way to give up smoking.
Nicotine is a chemical which is highly addictive and very similar to caffeine, so there are health concerns that you should be aware of with both smoking and vaping. One of the most significant aspects of vaping is the ability to choose your nicotine strength and regulate your intake, which gives you more control.
Concerning other chemicals, tobacco cigarettes contain more than 5000 harmful chemicals; around 20 of which are known carcinogens. These are either already present in the tobacco or come about as products of combustion and include hydrogen cyanide, lead, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. Besides cancer, many of these substances are linked to other health conditions such as heart disease.
In vaping, nothing is burnt, and there are considerably fewer chemicals present to talk about. This handful of chemicals includes flavors, propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, tiny amounts of toxicants, carcinogens, heavy metals, and metal nanoparticles. There are therefore reduced cancer concerns.
It should be mentioned, however, that there is a lot less research done about vaping than smoking, Nevertheless, based on the process and chemicals involved in both, it is clear that switching from smoking to vaping cuts down the health risks massively.
There are other notable benefits of vaping compared with smoking cigarettes focused around safety, cost, health, and convenience:
- Safety: According to extensive studies and statistics, smoking-related fires resulting in loss of life and property damage continue to be a significant cause for concern, but this is not an issue with vaping. Battery safety remains the most significant safety focus for e-cigarette manufacturers.
- Cost: Vaping saves you money. After buying an initial starter kit that can last you a year, you just need to purchase a weekly bottle of e-juice. For the smoker, it could be around five packets of cigarettes a week. Based on calculations for the average smoker, you can save around 75% of your costs when you vape instead!
- Choice and flexibility: With vaping, you can choose your nicotine strength as already mentioned. There are different methods and devices available which are looked at later. There is also the flavoring option.
- Convenience: Because vaping does not produce smoke, there is more flexibility in where you can vape. It is less harmful to others around you, does not produce the masty smell of cigarettes, and does less harm to the environment regarding air pollution and cigarette stubs.
These are the significant benefits of vaping. It is also very user-friendly and you don’t have to worry about getting an ashtray, having a lighter with you, having a nasty tobacco breath, and making others uncomfortable. Now we shall look at the mechanics of vaping. You need an e-cigarette and an e-liquid to get started. There are a lot of options available depending on your preferences and goals.
A Guide to Picking the Ideal E-cigarette
The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that you use to vape. This comes in different shapes and sizes according to the type of vaping you want to do.
The basic structure of the device is as follows.
Three parts make up the electronic cigarette - the battery that powers the device, the atomizer/tank that holds the e-liquid and produces the vapor with the help of the coil (metal wire and cotton) and the mod which regulates the power of the battery that will be transferred to the atomizer.
When you start out vaping, it does not have to be overly complicated. As you learn about different methods and e-cigarettes, you can try more involved methods and tools. In all this, it is essential to pay attention to the individual e-cigarette instructions as these differ by device and manufacturer.
The most comfortable and most basic form of vaping is known as standard vaping, and this involves vaping from the mouth to the lungs (MTL). Another type of vaping is direct to the lung (DL) where the vapor is drawn directly into the lungs.
Different devices and kits allow for different vaping experiences in how much vapor cloud is produced and in how much throat hit you get. You can also choose between large impressive devices and small obscure ones.
Here is a brief overview of some of the main device types to help you select the best one for you.
- Cigalike: For those who like a slim e-cigarette that looks and feels like a regular tobacco cigarette, the cigalike is the best option for MTL vaping. It is the most comfortable to use. The device contains a small battery that may be manual (you need to press a button to heat the e-liquid) or automatic (activates with the air as you intake the vapor) depending on the make.
- Starter Kit: In the package, you will find the atomizer/tank, replacement coils and the MOD which regulates the voltage and watts (the power - how fast and hard will heat up the coil), - a battery may be needed, if it is not included in the package. This is the best option and what I recommend to someone who is looking to start vaping now.
- High-End Mod: This is for more advanced users and people with experience in vaping, it can be more expensive without providing any real advantages comparing to regular mods coming with the starter kits. High-End Mods can be regulated or mechanical. I don't recommend a mechanical mod to any newcomer due to battery safety issues.
- Atomizer/tank: the atomizer has a coil made from metal wire and cotton. The atomizer holds the e-liquid in a container and wicks the cotton. Once the coil is heated - vapor is produced.
- Pod mods: In this type of e-cigarette, the e-liquid and atomizer cartridges are disposable.
- RDA: This is the rebuildable drip atomizer. This is a good option for those who want to build their own coils. The e-liquid is not stored in a tank in this case; instead, the user manually drips it into the atomizer.
- RTA: This is the rebuildable tank atomizer. This device also allows you to build your own coils, but unlike the RDA, there is a small reservoir to store your e-liquid on the device.
As you can see, there are many device options. It is best to understand how a device works and what you are going to need to use it for vaping before you buy it.
Selecting the E-liquid
I have already covered the function and ingredients of the e-liquid. As a refresher, the e-liquid (vape juice or e-juice) is stored in the cartridge or tank of the atomizer.
The atomizer heats it up using power from the battery, creating the vapor to be inhaled. E-liquid contains nicotine, flavor, and a mix of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.
There are many different varieties of e-liquid available for different kinds of vaping preferences.
You get to pick the nicotine content and the flavor. You can vary the nicotine content according to the kind of hit or sensation you want. If you decide to use a large device which produces big clouds, I recommend you use an e-liquid with a lower nicotine content to balance out the amount of vapor and throat hit you are taking in.
If you use something like a cigalike which is small and low-powered, you can take an e-juice with a higher nicotine concentration. So, the deciding factors should be how intense a nicotine experience you want and the size of the vapor cloud produced with your device.
To give you an excellent place to start, I recommend nicotine concentrations of 1.5-3mg/ml if you have a large, high-powered device. For smaller, low-powered devices, you can go higher and use up to12mg/ml (1.2%).
The majority of e-liquids have some ratio of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) in them. In a 50/50 blend, these are in equal proportions. Higher PG e-liquids tend to be ideal for those wanting to experience stronger throat hit and lots of flavors. For those who are all about producing lots of vapor but with a milder hit, a higher VG liquid tends to be better.
You can also select from many different flavors for a unique vaping experience. Here at Paragon Juice we produce a wide range of e-liquids. Some of our flavors include fruity notes like Cherry Lemonade, dessert flavors such as Strawberry Cheesecake, and tobacco flavors such as Aromatic Pipe Tobacco.
As an additional special note, there is a new type of e-liquid available known as nicotine salts. These were created especially for those who were regular traditional smokers and tried to switch to vaping. They may have found that it was not entirely giving them the nicotine hit and satisfaction they needed and was therefore hard to keep up. This kind of vape juice contains a different type of nicotine. The benefit of using such a vape juice is, firstly, you get a higher hit and satisfaction similar to what you get with a cigarette, and secondly, you can use higher nicotine concentrations in the range of 30-50 mg/ml because these liquids are not as harsh on your throat.
Know Your Vaping Accessories
A good brand vaping kit can last you for a long time, and you only have to think about replacing the e-juice (and having an extra battery). As with everything, however, devices do get old and need to be replaced. There are a few e-cigarette accessories you should know about (and you will need to have most of them in your arsenal) and these are described below.
- Batteries: By now you know that some devices have small batteries and others have large batteries. E-cigarettes are powered devices and need this energy for the vaporization process to take place. More about the batteries you can read here. The batteries for all the devices are rechargeable, although some models they don't have disposable batteries. So make sure you keep some replacement batteries on hand.
- Cotton: This acts as the wicking material in the cartridge and absorbs the e-liquid which is then vaporized. - Have some with you all the times.
- Coils: The metal coils are the essential heating elements that make up the atomizer. They are usually made of Kanthal, stainless steel, nickel, or titanium. These draw power from the battery to vaporize the e-liquid. Because they are in constant use while you are vaping, heating up and cooling down regularly, they do wear out and require replacement here and there. If you notice that the vapor is becoming bitter, it is probably time to change the coil.
- Backup device: It is a good idea to get a backup device mainly if your current device works with a built-in battery.
I believe the guide above has given you an excellent overview of the most critical vaping topics such as picking a device, choosing your e-juice, and understanding how vaping works and the benefits of it. It might seem a little intimidating to get started, but if you start out with an easy to use device, you can learn the basics of vaping.
After some time, you can start trying out different devices and e-juices until you find what works best for you and gives you the hit, cloud size, and overall experience you are looking for.
As a final word of advice, I highly recommend that you pay attention to all the instructions that come with the device and all the add-ons. This way you avoid mishaps and get a great vaping experience.