What is vaping?
So, as you are here, I’m sure you have heard of vaping but what exactly is it? Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. E-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, instead they produce an aerosol (similar to water vapor) created by a heating element within the device that “vaporises” the e-liquid.
Vaping has grown in popularity, mainly with smokers who have struggled to give up smoking and see vaping as a cleaner, healthier alternative to smoking tobacco as a nicotine replacement. Most e-liquids are also flavoured to enhance the experience.
It is believed the first “smokeless none tabacco cigarette”, was invented by Herbert A. Gilbert in 1963 but it was never commercialized. Modern vaping became popular in China where more than 60% of men are smokers. The modern e-cigarette was patented by a Chinese inventor by the name of Hin Lik in 2003.
Is vaping safe?
E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging constituents in cigarette smoke. In addition, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality in the UK. However, while vaping is considered to be much healthier than smoking, there is still uncertainty about possible long-term effects as vaping is still a fairly new concept.
However, if you are looking to switch from smoking, vaping is probably one of the most successful methods as the act if inhaling the vapour is very similar to inhaling smoke. In addition, vape liquid or e-liquids come in a wide variety of nicotine strengths, enabling the user to customise and slowly reduce the level of nicotine produced and inhaled if your ultimate goal is to slowly wean yourself from nicotine altogether.
If you are under 18 or not a smoker, then starting to vape would not be recommended. E-cigarettes were designed to be a less harmful alternative to smoking.
(Please click HERE to read our full article on “Is Vaping Safe?)
How does Vaping work?
Vaping kits and e-cigarettes Come in a variety of styles shapes and sizes but all consist of the same basic components. A vaping device will generally consist of the following components. A mouthpiece (or drip tip), a tank (or clearomizer), a coil (or atomizer) and a battery.
Drip tip: The part of the device that you inhale the vapour from. These can be replaced and come in a variety of sizes.
Tank: This is where your e-liquid will be placed. A regular or advanced user may replace the tank on their kits to customise the experience or increase the amount of liquid that can be held.
Coil: The heating element user to turn the liquid into vapour. A “replaceable” element that will burn out over time and made from a metal coil surrounded by a wick which is usually made of cotton.
Battery/regulator mod: Provides power to the coil. Batteries come in a variety of sizes (capacity) and power outputs. Battery capacity is denoted as milliamp-hour (mAh) and the higher the value, the longer the battery lasts. Powe output is shown as Watts (W) or Volts (V).
Atomizer: This is the heart of a vaping, a metal coil surrounded by a soft wick that absorbs the liquid and regulates how much is allowed near the coil. On activation, the coil heats up the e-liquid and at around 100 to 250c, the liquid reaches vaporization point and turns into vapour.
The different Types of Vape kits and e-cigarettes.
Although most vape kits have the same basic components, there are different types of vape kit that your electronic cigarette will fall into.
Cigalike or e-cigarette and Disposable Vape kits
A traditional cigalike often looks similar to a traditional cigarette and the term ”e-cigarette” is most commonly used for this type of vaping equipment. Disposable have developed and are now available in a wide range of designs and be available in many different flavours. They will come in either a one piece disposable design which will have no upkeep as you simply throw away once empty or a two-piece or prefilled design where you replace the cartridge once empty. Cartridges are available in different flavours and nicotine strengths.
They are smaller in design and a little more discreet than the more complex kits now available which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A cigalike or disposable may be the ideal first choice if you wish to try out vaping for the first time. They are also often kept as backups or used when the user does not wish to carry around a bulkier vape kit.
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Vape pens are the natural progression from cigalikes and disposables, slightly larger but also providing better performance. Generally, these are still quite compact these will fit comfortably in the hand. As well as being refillable, vape pens will have a longer battery life than a “cigalike” (although the capacity will still be restricted due to the small size of the device) and will have replaceable coils or cartridges.
Vape pens will have a larger coil than a cigalike with lower ”ohms” which enables them to produce more flavour and a larger hit. E-liquids with a higher VG rating can be used in vape pens.
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Pod Vape Kit
Considered to be more practical, a pod vape is a two-piece device consisting of the battery and a replaceable or refillable pod. Affordable and easy to use, pods are perfect for nicotine salt e-liquid which produce a smoother nicotine hit with higher nicotine content which may normally come across as harsh.
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Box mod kit
Larger than pens or pods, Box mod kits are not as practical or as easy to use but do offer better battery life and generally improved performance. Box mod kits will also have customisable controls to allow the user to alter various settings such as temperature control and variable wattage. Box mods are available with mouth to lung clearomizers or direct to lung sub-ohm tanks.
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High Wattage box Mod kits
Basically, a high wattage kit is a box mod kit with extra power available through a multiple battery set up. Commonly having two or three batteries however, there are now kits available with four batteries to provide the maximum amount of power. More batteries will mean more power but this is offset by the bulkier size of the unit.
High wattage kits tend to be used by intermediate or advanced vapours. Although bulkier, they provide the best performance and customisable options. Those who prefer to use an RDA over a tank tend to prefer a high wattage model.
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This is an advanced set up of a box mod kit and provides a more practical method of feeding and atomiser with e-liquid. Advanced users prefer to use an RDA over a tank as its felt tanks can be restrictive to the delivery of e-liquid to the coil. RDAs require the user to manually feed the coil with e-liquid but a squonk kits is fitted with a squeezable squonk bottle that will feed the coil via a bottom fed RDA. Squonk kits are around the same size as duel battery kits but replaces one of the batteries with the squonk bottle. RDAs are highly customisable and are favoured amongst those who wish to fine-tune there vaping experience.
Mouth to Lung Vs Lung Inhale
Mouth to lung is effectively the same method used for smoking traditional cigarettes. The user will take the vapour into the mouth first. As with smoking, the vapour in the mouth should then be inhaled into the lungs which will allow air to be drawn in at the same time, then exhale. This method tends to be preferred by those transitioning from smoking to vaping as it feels more “natural”.
Direct to lung is favoured by experienced vapers. Instead of sucking or puffing, you use the device to breathe through, like taking a deep breath. As soon as the vapour hits your lungs, just exhale as you would with a normal breath. This method feels strange at first to new vapours (who have transitioned from smoking) but those who use this method will experience a bigger rush of nicotine.
Which vape kit should I use?
As with anything in life, your choice will come down to personal preference, budget and what you want to achieve from vaping. If you have never tried vaping, it may be wise to start with a disposable cigalike kit. Small and convenient you wont need to worry about coils, batteries and liquids but the performance, flavour and nicotine hit may not be as desirable as what can be achieved from a pen, pod or box kit.
Pens and Pods are cheaper to run and more cost effective over time. If you have previously tried vaping and have committed to the switch, then it would be recommended to purchase a pen or pod vape starter kit.
Box mod kits, specially RDAs are for the more experienced vapers. Those who have been vaping for a while and are looking to fine tune and customise their experience. In general you will need a good basic understanding of the types of vaping (DTL and MTL for example) and different types of liquid before choosing one of these kits.
Which e-liquid should I use?
Confused by the types of e-liquid that are available and not sure which to buy? Don’t understand what the PG/VG levels mean or how strong you need the nicotine? There are basically three things to consider when selecting your liquid which will be covered in brief below. This is thickness, nicotine strength and flavour.
Once you have read through this guide, click HERE to shop and use our easy to use filtering menus to find your ideal e-liquid.
E-liquids are made from a base of PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (Vegetable Glycerin) substances that are widely found in food, medicine and cosmetics. VG is a natural derivative of plants and servers as a thickening agent. PG is a runnier substance and is used to suspend the nicotine and flavourings. Quite simply then the PG/VG rating tells you the mix used to make up the liquid and which is the higher.
As previously noted, there are two types of styles of vaping which will determine which kit and therefore which liquid you should buy. If you are using a mouth to lung device (pen or pod) these are better suited to higher PG based e-liquids and usually work better with juices of a higher nicotine level. Sub-ohm devices, with larger flow channels, work better with higher VG e-liquids.
A high PG level will provide a “throat hit” more like the hit you get from a cigarette and also produce little vapour. Ideal if you wish to keep your vaping “low key”.
A high VG e-liquid will provide a smoother and more intense flavour as well as more vapour, enabling you to produce big clouds. High VG liquids are thicker and require more power and are therefore more suited to box kits and sub-ohm tanks.
This will depend on how many cigarettes you smoked a day. You will need to select the correct level and if you pick a juice with a low nicotine level, you May not be able to fully satisfy your cravings and may end up switching back to smoking. Go too high and you risk getting headaches and feeling dizzy an a high level will also be harsh on your throat. You can use the number of cigarettes you currently smoke or smoked a day as a basic guide and experiment with higher or lower levels to optimise your experience. If your ultimate goal is to quit nicotine altogether, you can go from your starting level and slowly reduce the nicotine strength over time. Please see the below chart as a guide to which nicotine level you should choose.
Cigarettes per day ideal nicotine strength
1-5 use 6-12mg
5-10 use 12-18mg
10 plus use 18-20mg
Your choice of flavour is almost endless with everything from fruity, chocolate and sweet, herb and spices and even menthol and tobacco. If you are just making the switch, you may want to start with a tobacco flavour as this will seem more familiar to you. As you get more use to vaping and with the added bonus from quitting smoking, you will gradually improve your sense of taste. Try a simple fruit or menthol flavour, sticking to something you already know you like the taste of before switching to one of the more exotic or adventurous flavours.
Where do I start?
There is no “perfect starting point” as vaping will always come down to person choice and preferences, just like no one could recommend your perfect cigarette. However, most experts claim that if you are switching from smoking to vaping, you should start with a mouth to lung device and use a liquid with a 50/50 PG/VG rating.
Click HERE to read our article about buying your first vape kit.