Vaping can be described as a process of inhaling the smoke-like vapor from an e-cigarette, or a vape device. While vaping looks like smoking a traditional cigarette, it is touted as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco-based cigarettes.
The vape has a flavored nicotine liquid called vape juice or e-juice in it; however, all vapes do not necessarily contain nicotine. The user can decide which flavor he/she wants to vape, along with the amount of nicotine he/she wants to use.
Designed to create inhalable vapor, these handheld electronic devices can be deemed as a technological solution to nicotine and tobacco smoke dependency. It enables the user to minimize or control the amount of nicotine he/she consumes. While this is similar to using a patch or gum, vaping provides familiar sensation with hand-to-mouth action of smoking.
Bearing a striking resemblance to a traditional cigarette, the first retail vape was an e-cigarette. It was designed by Hon Lik and released by a Chinese company called Ruyan in the early 2000s, and in Europe and America back in 2007. While the basic function and usage remain the same as the aboriginal vape, newfangled vape devices come in a wide range of design, power, and vapor making ability.
How does vape work?
All vapes adopt the same process wherein a battery source (vape mod) powers the coil (heating element) that vaporizes the liquid or e-juice in a small chamber called atomizer. The user then inhales the vapor via a small mouthpiece.
A vape is a complete system. In other words, it does not allude to just a single component. It is worth noting that some advanced users fancy buying vape parts separately to mix and match, beginners should refrain from trying this and should go for pre-packaged kits that come with compatible components.
The power source
Available in different forms and sizes, vape mods draw their juices from lithium-ion batteries. They derive their names accordingly, such as box mods, vape pens, tube mods, to smaller models called pod vapes and electronic cigarettes. The term “mod” comes from initial days of vaping when users modified devices to generate more power.
Newfangled vape mods boast an impressive array of electronic features and power limits. While some advanced variants can be adjusted in watts (variable wattage mods), some can be controlled in temperature (temperature control mods). There are a few models offer no adjustability at all.
The ease-of-use of a vape generally depends on the levels of power in a vape mod. This also dictates the level of experience required to safely operate them.
Low power: pod vapes, vape pens, e-cigarettes, AIOs (all-in-ones)
- No handling experience required
- Small rechargeable battery
- Usually comes with adjustable power
- Ultra-portable, concealable
Medium power: AIOs (all-in-ones), tube mods, box mods
- Some level of experience required
- Battery safety knowledge advisable
- Medium-sized rechargeable battery that is either built-in or replaceable
- Usually with adjustable power (up to 100 watts)
- Pocketable (not necessarily concealable)
High power: box mods, mechanical mods
- Experience required
- Multiple replaceable batteries (rarely built-in)
- Battery safety knowledge recommended
- Heavy and bulky but pocketable
- Usually with adjustable power (up to 200+ watts)
The replaceable batteries used in vape mods are 1865020700, 21700 sizes. Given that these batteries are relatively more powerful than those used in an average remote controller, a thorough understanding of battery safety is highly recommended. New users are advised to go for devices that come with built-in or non-removable batteries that can be charged directly in the device through a USB port.
The vapor source
Vapor is created inside a vaping atomizer, which is also referred to as a vape tank. It is a self-contained chamber, which is connected electrically to the vape mod. It includes a resistance heating element, a metal coil, an absorbent wick soaked with e-juice. When the user pulls, the coil heats the liquid from the wick and generates smoke-like vapor instantly.
All types of atomizers can hold e-juice (mL), though some have a larger holding capacity than others. Most of these atomizers adopt the simplistic design, while others sporting more complex designs are ideally suitable for hobbyists. In terms of ease-of-use, there are four main categories including:
Prefilled – single-use, non-replaceable coils, disposable
- Examples: Pods, cartridges, cartomizers
Refillable: several use, non-replacable coild, disposable
- Examples: pods, cartridges, cartomizers
Refillable with replaceable coils: can be used indefinitely
- Examples: Sub-ohm tanks, clearomizers
Rebuildable: Can be indefinite, user-installed wicks and coils
- Examples: Any atomizer that is written as an acronym beginning with the letter “R”, such as RDA, RTA, RDTA, etc.
Atomizers, just like vape mods, have a lot of variations. It is imperative for the user to bear in mind that it needs to be compatible with the vape mod. Not all atomizers will fit on all vape mods, while some aren’t appropriate due to their power requirement and the coil resistance.
The coils inside atomizers are available in multiple resistance ranges (ohms). Some coils create voluminous clouds that are low resistance (under 1 ohm), others make discreet vapor due to high resistance (near or above 1 ohm). Irrespective of the resistance, and type of atomizers, all coils are scrapped after time. The flavor and vapor start declining after prolonged usage. This can range from two days to seven days or even longer.
How to vape
Keep it as simple as possible with the device you use. Simple vapes are not inferior as compared to advanced vapes, they are just easier to use. The first step involves getting the basic vape starter kit. These devices usually carry price tags from $20 to $60. There are four categories of these vape kits.
Pod vapes: either prefilled or refillable, disposable cartridges
AIOs: refillable, replaceable coil
E-cigarettes: prefilled or refillable, disposable cartridges
Disposable e-cigarettes: prefilled, the entire device is disposable
Some sort of instructions can be found wit all vape kits. Almost all these devices are manufactured in China; the text in the instruction manual may be a bit broken. The instructions show how to use your kit the best way possible, and will also have diagrams for easy understanding.
Aside from prefilled kits, all vapes will have to be filled with vape juice by the user. You can fo a Google search for a review of the kit you bought in case if you need more bits of help or the instruction manual include the information you are looking for.
The second step involves getting the best vape juice for the kit type. First off, choose a flavor and then choose a nicotine level. Note that high nicotine vape juices ideally come in smaller bottles (30mL or less), and bottles with lower nicotine juice will be usually available in larger bottles (30mL or more). Nicotine preference varies from user to user, but there are certain recommendations for a superior experience.
Higher nicotine: 12 mg to 60 mg; best with lower power
Medium nicotine: 6 mg to 12 mg; best with low to medium power
Lower nicotine: 0 mg to 6 mg; best with higher power
Those unable to figure out what specific nicotine level is right for them can determine which bracket they think they will appreciate more. Do you place yourself under the heavy, light recreational smoker category? Extra high levels of nicotine, which is usually sold as nicotine salt vape juice can be felt immediately, and offer a more intense vaping experience. Lower nicotine, on the other hand, takes relatively more time to feel, and it offers less intense experience.
After determining what level you want to try – low, medium or high nicotine, start at the lowest levels in that specific range and assess from there. Ensure that the power of the device is ideal for that level of nicotine.
Inhaling a vape
For the first time vapers, the way they inhale can make or break their experience. Incorrect inhaling can lead to coughing or an unpleasant rush of nicotine. The two types of inhalation techniques include mouth-to-lung and a direct-lung draw.
MTL hits are ideal for smaller vapes with high resistance coils, using high nicotine. Regardless of the size of the device, when you take a drag, it should fee like sucking air through a coffee straw. It should be tight. This kind of draw creates low vapor and feels like you are smoking, offering similar hit to the throat that smokers usually crave. The technique includes:
- Draw vapor into your mouth for a few seconds
- Hold the vapor with your mouth closed for a couple of seconds
- Open mouth and breathe in the vapor to your lungs, but don’t swallow
- Exhale after vapor is in lungs
The DL hit is perfect for larger vapes with low-resistance coils, using low nicotine. Taking a drag on one of these devices can be compared to sucking air through a milkshake straw. It feels like taking a bong hit, however, it is a smooth and easy hit since it is ideally used with low nicotine.
- Quickly draw vapor to the lungs
- Exhale vapor immediately
- Cigar puff
Some users do not prefer inhaling to the lungs and puff on the vape like a cigar instead. The cigar puff can be used with high power, just like DL or low power devices like MTL. This technique is still effective when it comes to consuming nicotine because it gets absorbed in mucus membranes. Some users claim inhaling to the lungs isn’t necessary.
What can you vape?
Cannabis concentrates and cannabis flowers (weed) can be vaped, but they have specific vaporizers to handle vaporizing herbs or thick waxes. Do not purchase a vape crafted for vape juice to use with cannabis products, unless it is sold as multi-use. The only exception for cannabis products is CBD as it is available in non-nicotine vape juice.
Do not vape any other product or chemicals. Do not use materials from your kitchens such as cooking oils or syrups. While vape juices look and feel like oil, it is not. Water-soluble is the base ingredient of vape juice but doesn’t imply you can use soda. Vaping is designed exclusively for vape juice. Even if you have watched a vaper doing something different on his channel, do not try to vaporize a non-vaping product.
Should I start vaping?
Adults usually resort to vaping in a bid to fight their urges to smoke traditional cigarettes. It is important to know that vapes are not any sort of wellness or smoking cessation products, even though they have helped numerous smokers to become smoke-free. Vaping has its pros and cons, but it is touted as a relatively safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.