I've been running SmokShop for over 5 years and in that time I've seen vaping grow from strength to strength. Despite all the horror and scare stories surrounding e cigarettes, smokers are still deciding for themselves that they would rather vape an e cig than smoke a tobacco cigarette. So with that in mind I've decided to go right back to basics and write this post for the absolute beginner. If you are a smoker and you're wondering what this vaping thing is all about, then read on as I've tried my best to explain it all.
A Brief History on the E-Cigarette
Since their introduction to the market in 2004, the usage of e-cigarettes has risen and continues to rise exponentially. By 2015, there were 2.6 million users in the UK, and international sales exceeded $6 billion.
Awareness and use of e-cigarettes has greatly increased in a relatively short period of time, and if you’re one of the millions of people trying to stop smoking or if you’re curious to find out what all the hype is about, this guide is what you’ve been looking for.
I will be looking at the breakdown of what makes an e-cigarette an e-cigarette, who they are for, the benefits of vaping and an insight into the modifications on offer.
What is Vaping?
‘Vaping is the act of inhaling water vapour through a personal vaporiser.’
Vaping is essentially an alternative to smoking. It’s like smoking, but removes many of the typically negative attributes that follow smoking. Bad breath, smoke-smelling clothes, no cigarette burns and no need for ashtrays are some of the positive advantages of vaping. Though most importantly, there is less chance of getting cancer and other smoking affiliated illnesses.
Who is Vaping For?
Many say vaping helps smokers cut down or even quit smoking. Most e-cigarette users are middle-aged men who also smoke traditional cigarettes. Either to help them quit smoking, or simply for recreational use. There is a wide concern that vaping may be a “gateway” to smoking. Some young people who have tried an e-cigarette have never smoked tobacco, so ECs can be a starting point for nicotine use.
On the other hand, Public Health England found no evidence e-cigarettes increases teen tobacco smoking. They noted tentative evidence that e-cigarettes divert youth away from cigarettes. A 2014 review raised ethical concerns about minors’ e-cigarette use and the potential to weaken cigarette smoking reduction efforts.
If you’re thinking about vaping, then this beginner’s guide highlights the fundamentals of the e-cigarette, breakdown of the costs and what mods and specifications you can purchase.
Breaking Down the E-Cigarette - The Components
There are the same two components in every single e-cigarette, you have your battery and your atomiser. Think of these items as the brain and body of the e-cigarette.
How does an E-Cigarette Work?
The battery provides power to the coil; it heats up the coil and produces the vapour. The coil is found in the atomiser and in that, you have a wicking material (like cotton wool). So, when the coil heats up, it heats up the e-liquid that’s brought through the wicking material to the coil. It then vaporises it and you inhale it. Simple!
There are different atomisers you can purchase. There are models that are more geared towards beginners, that already have the coil pre-installed, and ones that you cannot replace.
Then there are atomisers, where the coil is pre-installed, but you can also uninstall and swap-out your coils. Finally, there are atomisers you can construct yourself, though these are aimed at more experienced or 'advanced' vapers. T
How do you know which atomiser/tank is right for you?
If you’re switching from smoking to vaping, you probably want an experience that is similar to smoking. This means a tight draw and a mouth-to-lung inhale. When you’re searching through your coils, you want to look for one ohm higher if you’re just switching from smoking to vaping. A tank with smaller air flow and with higher resistance. For smokers, the SUBOhms tanks are your best bet, though they require specialised equipment.
If you’re a new vaper I’d recommend finding a tank that has replacement coils with different ranges of Ohm resistance.
Wait, wait, stop.
What is Ohm?
Ohm is a measure of resistance and as a basic rule, any Ohm rating between 2.4-2.8 is considered standard. It is the default in almost every e-cigarette. The actual differences are as follows:
Lower Ohm coils:
- Creates more heat at the coil, which will create more vapour
- Provides warmer vapour
- Will drain the battery faster
- May cause dry hits (burning)
- May cause premature battery failure
- Uses more liquid
Standard or ‘higher’ Ohm coils:
- Creates less heat at the coil which can create ‘less’ vapour
- Provides cooler vapour
- Will drain the battery slower
- Uses less liquid
*very much for the experienced vaper*
- SUBOhms is an ohms rating bellow 1.0.
- They create high head and loads of vapour.
- You will need specialised equipment due to the heat, draw and voltage of the ohm setting.
The next component of an e-cigarette is the battery. Most of your beginner batteries are going to look like this:
Shorter signifies shorter battery life, the longer signifies longer battery life, simple. There are also batteries like this:
This is a beginner battery as well. It gives you a screen where you can adjust your voltage and wattage. Both devices work pretty much the same way. Selecting a better is based on your budget and based on how long a battery life you’ll need to sustain you for the entire day (or charge it at work!). The CoolFire, MVP3 PRO or something similar is perfect for the beginner. They have much longer battery life and variable voltage and wattage settings allowing you to adjust your e-cigarette to whatever suits your preference. This is good for experimenting!
From here we go up to the higher power batteries. This means you can have higher wattage, higher voltage, devices such as Sigelei 150, IPV3, and Smith boxes are all powerful devices with many customising options.
Mods – For Experienced Vape Users
There are also mechanical mods you can buy. They are basically tubes cell mods where you put in your 18 650w battery and you use the button to make a connection with the battery and atomiser and that’s what fires the device. These should only be used by experienced vape users.
E liquid is what you are vaporising to get the nicotine into your body. The liquid is made up of PG (propyl glycol) vegetable glycerine (VG) artificial flavours and your nicotine strength. You can choose any flavours, there are literally thousands. You can choose flavours with multiple different nicotine strengths – you can choose 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and that just based on how much you smoke and how much nicotine you need.
12mg is a good rough area to start with, again if you are/were a heavy smoker then you can always go up to 18 or 24. For the smokers, it’s good to start at a high enough level that you still get your desired nicotine intake. For beginners, a lower setting is advised. The e-liquid bottles look like this: They come in both glass and plastic bottles, the flavours – as mentioned previously – are almost endless.
There are thousands of e-liquid brands to choose from, so get tasting!
So, I've covered the basics about what vaping is, what an e cigarette is and how it works. But if you take a look online you'll see there's a huge range of products available, and many different setups. In the next instalment I'll delve a little deeper into how you can find the perfect vaping kit to suit the way you want to vape.