A Beginner’s Guide To Vaping: The Easy Way To Make The Switch
If you’ve got many questions about vaping and don’t know how to start, you are in the right place and we are here to help. After reading our guide you will have a great understanding of what vaping means, and you’ll feel comfortable to choose the right vaping style and products for yourself. We want you to be confident in understanding everything about the purpose of vaping and how each product and specific vaping style functions.
If you ever found yourself in a dedicated vaping store or other events targeting vapers, you will have noticed is very easy to get caught up in the vaping terminology and the variety of products displayed. Vaping world has its own jargon, but worry not, we are here to explain everything to you from A to Z.
What is vaping?
Is vaping harmful?
How is vaping different?
Is nicotine harmful?
What’s the difference between a vape and e-cigarette?
What are the benefits of vaping?
Vape kits explained
What is MTL & DTL?
What vape kit do I need?
What is E-liquid?
What are vape coils?
How Do Vape Coils Work?
What’s the best combination of e-liquid and vape kit?
How do you store e-liquid and vape kits?
What is salt nicotine?
What is Sub OHM vaping?
What is the TPD?
In simple terms, vaping is a safer alternative to smoking products containing tobacco, such as cigarettes, or cigars. Vaping was developed to offer the taste and sensations associated with smoking. However, as opposed to cigarette smoke inhaled through burning, inhaling an e-liquid of different nicotine strengths (or no nicotine at all) in the form of vapour is not only less harmful, but presents fewer or no long-term health risks at all.
E-cigarettes are commonly used by many as an attempt to stop smoking. Infact E-cigarettes are in many cases also reported to be more effective for smoking cessations than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioural support.
No! Vaping, is not a health threat.
We have discussed that vaping does not have the same effect on your health as smoking. There are studies and research conducted in the past few years aiming to investigate and show how e-liquids contain harmful ingredients which alter our health, and just as many studies that demonstrate vaping is 100% safe for your organism.
The truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of manufacturers of e-liquids globally meaning that the composition and ingredients used in their products is expected to vary. However, a good or premium e-liquid will only contain propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, and flavours – substances used very often within the food, medicine, and cosmetic industries. With vaping products containing only these ingredients, the health risks involved are minimal. Vaping cannot lead to the death of the consumer, like smoking does through the thousands of carcinogenic substances obtained through burning. This is supported by Public Health England saying in a published analysis that “Vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, because vaping products contain only a fraction of the more than 7,000 (many harmful) thousand chemicals that are contained in cigarettes.”
When you smoke normal cigarettes, apart from nicotine you are also inhaling other thousands of harmful substances. These substances trap the nicotine inside your system for longer and impede the organism to eliminate it faster. This means, that if you usually smoke one pack of cigarettes per day, this will likely stay the same, or even increase up until you make the decision to quit smoking.
When vaping an e-cigarette, you don’t deal with the other harmful substances anymore, meaning you introduce only nicotine into your system. Lack of those harmful substances allows your body to eliminate nicotine from your body faster. For instance, if you start vaping an e-liquid with a concentration of nicotine of 20 mg and your body disposes of nicotine faster, you will quickly be able to work your way down to 0 mg nicotine.
The fact that nicotine is a highly addictive substance is no novelty. However, when vaping nicotine dosages can be contained and controlled until being able to vape only flavour: “Nicotine doesn’t cause smoking related diseases, such as cancers and heart disease, but it is addictive. However, there’s a common misconception that you can overdose on nicotine using e-cigarettes. But you are in no danger of poisoning yourself, nor the nicotine-containing fluid that an e-cigarette vaporises, known as e-liquid. So you can use your e-cigarette as often as you need to help manage nicotine withdrawal and urges to smoke”, states Dr Andy McEwen, executive director of the National Centre For Smoking Cessation and Training.
An e-cigarette or a vape, is a device used to vape. To clear any confusion, there is no difference at all between a vape and an e-cigarette, it’s just a matter of word preference for different individuals. The variety of vaping styles, kits, and e-liquids can sometimes be overwhelming in terms of terminology and could potentially bring confusion to those new to vaping.
It is important to note that vaping should only be a considered if you are over 18, and already a smoker. No one is or should be encouraged to start vaping, unless you’re someone who wants to quit smoking. If that’s the case than there are a lot of convincing advantages associated with vaping.
Is less detrimental to your health
We’ve already discussed how the main benefit of vaping is it being considerably less detrimental to your health than smoking. It is not lethal and there is not enough evidence to link vaping to lung or heart diseases. It is a real safer alternative to smoking where individuals are able to contain and control nicotine dosage until they eventually overcome their addiction. It is possible to go from vaping a high level of nicotine substance (12mg, 18mg, 20mg) to vaping a flavoured only liquid, without any nicotine (0mg).
Generates a pleasant smell
Vaping does not generate any unpleasant smell as traditional cigarettes do. It is the case that very often smokers themselves are annoyed and upset by the smell of classic cigarettes. This stays on the clothes, on hands and fingers, and of course can cause a repellent breath. In the case of e-cigarettes, the smell if in fact very enjoyable, thanks to the varied flavours available.
Here vapers have thousands of possibilities from fruity flavours, to dessert lines, or menthol options (tobacco, or different menthol flavours), and of course the classic ones such as pure tobacco.
Apart from being responsible for millions of deaths and diseases, classic cigarettes addiction is also a costly habit and every smoker will confirm this. Making the switch to vaping will also save you a lot of money as you will find vaping e-liquids and kits are fairly priced and will last you a good amount of time until you have to purchase again.
Cigalike – it is a type of e-cigarette that has a small cubic battery, and it looks and tastes similar to a classic cigarette. You will find there are disposable versions as well as prefilled models and come in a variety of flavours and nicotine strength
Pod kits – are small discreet devices with disposable or refillable cartridges. They have a small battery and are amongst the simplest vape kits out there being very easy to carry around. Just like the cigalike, disposable pods come in different flavours and nicotine strengths, while refillable pod kits offer more freedom in terms of flavour and strength, consumers being free to experiment with their own choice of e-liquid.
Open tank kits – these were the preferred kits before the launch of pod kits on the market. Open tank kits consist of a battery, tank, and coil. They do require more general maintenance than the other kits, as the tank needs to be refilled, coil regularly replaced, and battery charged accordingly. This type of kit is still very popular as users are given more choice over flavour and nicotine strength.
Vapers use different terms for different styles of vaping. Two of the most popular are MTL and DTL. MTL is an acronym for Mouth to Lung. With this style the vapour is firstly gathered inside the mouth and the inhaled into the lungs. DTL is an acronym for Direct to Lung. This differs from MTL because the vapour does not stop inside the mouth, instead it is inhaled straight into the lungs.
These two styles are completely different and it is up to each user’s expectations from vaping to decide which style suits them best. If you are after getting more out of a flavour and ‘hit’ then you should choose MTL, while if you want to create big clouds of vapour than you should choose DTL. It is not just the process of inhaling the vapour that makes the difference here – you will also need special kits and e-liquids to realise MTL or DTL.
Vaping is all about personal taste and preferences. The variety of devices and e-liquids give you a lot of good options, and this is the beauty in experimenting with vaping technologies. It is important to understand that not everything for the same for everyone, but with vaping you get to control and personalise your experience each step of the way.
The e-liquid (often called liquid, vape liquid, juice, vape juice) is the liquid you choose to use with your device, and which your device then transforms into vapour afterwards. Normally, all e-liquids contain the same ingredients: nicotine, flavour, vegetable glycerine and/or propylene glycol.
The quantity of nicotine varies for each e-liquid. You can choose the nicotine strength as per your own preferences and requirements. This is measured in milligrams (mg) or percentage (%). For instance, if a 10 ml bottle of liquid has 12mg nicotine, means that the percentage of nicotine is 1,2%.
Propylene glycol and glycerine are food additives. If on the packaging of an e-liquid says 50-50, it means it has into its composition 50% VG (vegetable glycerine) and 50% PG (propylene glycol). As a general rule if the PG is higher the flavour and hit are expected to be more intense, while a higher VG produces more vapour.
E-liquids should normally have a concentration of 70/30 VG/PG or an optimal concentration of 50/50. E-liquids with a higher concentration of VG are not recommended for the devices of more than 1.0 OHM.
When purchasing an e-liquid it is very important to consider the amount of nicotine it contains, as like discussed, it is a highly addictive substance. As a general rule, and based on the number of cigarettes smoked a day, it is advised to start with a higher concentrate then work your way down. This way you ensure your nicotine cravings are satisfied and you are not tempted to go back to smoking.
An essential component of the e-cigarette is the coil. Its role is to heat up the e-liquid and transform it into the vapour you will inhale. Understanding how coils function is very important and can help you have a better vaping experience.
The earlier models of e-cigarettes used to incorporate the coil and the tank together, the downside of it being, having to replace both or even having to get a new device if the coil fails. In time, e-cigarettes evolved, meaning that today all you need to do if your coil stops working is getting a new one and simply replace it.
It is important to point out that coils come in different electric resistances. The electric resistance refers to the quantity of heat the battery needs to produce in order to transform the liquid into vapour. This resistance in turn is measured in OHMs. In the case of e-cigarettes, there are two types of electrical resistances: LR (Low-resistance) or commonly known as SUB Ohm – between 0,3 -1,8 Ohm, as well as the HR (High-resistance) – between 1,8 -3,5 Ohm. Depending on your device and on the type of resistance your coil has your vaping experience will differ. Generally, a LR or SUB Ohm generates more heat, therefore more vapour, whereas a HR absorbs more heat.
Besides, you need to always ensure you are choosing the right coil wattage compatible with the battery of the device. So, a LR or SUB Ohm coils connected to a high wattage battery will produce thick, dense vapour, while a HR coil connected to a low wattage battery will produce less vapour. Generally, it is recommended you use HR coils with high wattage batteries and LR or SUB Ohm coils with low wattage batteries.
Coils are placed inside your vape tank / pod / cartridge, the view is restricted and you can’t perfectly observe how they work. Below you can see step-by-step how coils heat up and create vapour. While there may be different styles of coils, in different resistances, they all function almost identically.
Vape Kits use a metal heating element called a coil, that’s made up of a wrapped wire with a cotton wick. The cotton wick soaks up the e-liquid that is held in your tank, pod or cartridge.
The metal coil converts power from the battery device and turns it into heat. This heat is used to turn the e-liquid held in the cotton wick into vapour
The vapour travels up through the chimney of the coil and is then inhaled by the user.
Always store your vape kit and e-liquid in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, preferably in a dark, dry cupboard and always away from children and pets. It is important to keep in mind that every bottle of e-liquid has its own expiry date, so please ensure you use your liquid by/before the date stated on the packaging.
Where possible, open tank devices should always be stored in an upright position to avoid liquid leaking and spilling. Always remember to turn your device off when not in use or before placing it in your pockets, to avoid accidental activation. If you are using a pod kit, simply remove the tank/pod and this will have the same effect as turning it off.
You will rarely find removable batteries in starter kits or devices, but should you come across such device it is important to always store your batteries in a protective case when removed. The risk of an unwanted explosion is high if batteries come in contact with spare change, or keys creating a short circuit. Battery safety should never be neglected by vapers no matter the level of experience.
Salt nicotine or nicotine salt is a different form of the nicotine used in the composition of e-liquids. Many vapers regard that vaping a nicotine salt liquid satisfies their nicotine cravings more. That is due to its biocompatibility, meaning the salt nicotine is absorbed faster into the blood system. The smooth throat hit felt upon inhalation, even for higher concentrations of nicotine is relatively minimal, and allows vapers to use stronger e-liquids. The ability to inhale a higher amount of nicotine per puff is what makes salt nicotine more satisfying. For example, salt nicotine (or nic salts), are perfect for the pod devices (prefilled and refillable), or low-wattage MTL devices.
When smoking cigarettes, the nicotine hit is felt after 6-7 seconds on average. The benefit of vaping a salt nicotine e-liquid is that it creates an experience similar to that of smoking classic cigarettes, because these salts, as stated before, are absorbed faster than freebase nicotine into the blood system, meaning the effect of nicotine hits vapers almost instantly.
PROS OF SALT NICOTINE
- High nicotine content means you’ll feel the need to vape less often.
- Satisfies cravings for longer
- Helps conserve e-liquid and battery life
- Less effect on flavour
- Ideal for low wattage MTL devices and pod kits.
- Longer shelf life than freebase
CONS OF SALT NICOTINE
- High nicotine strength may not be right for you
- Not available in high VG concentrations therefore not ideal for those who prefer large clouds.
- Not as widely available as freebase nicotine
Sub OHM vaping means you are using a lower electrical resistance coil, which makes using a higher wattage power possible, responsible for creating dense and thick vapour. When vaping in Sub OHM you will make use of more powerful settings than those of standard vaping. The purpose of Sub OHM vaping is to increase the quantity of vapour produced.
You will need to consider the e-liquid you are using with your device too. For this type of vaping you will be require to use liquids with a higher percentage of VG, of at least 60%. The quantity of nicotine for Sub OHM vaping varies between 0mg and 6mg. Generally, when having a high quantity of vapour nicotine can be omitted or lowered to a smaller quantity.
TPD stands for Tobacco Production Directive. This legislation was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2014, and its implementation is still ongoing within the member countries of the EU.
The TPD regulates the conditions for manufacturing, advertising, and selling tobacco and tobacco related products. Article 20 of the directive strictly refers to e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
TPD is responsible for imposing strict measures for manufacturing and selling products containing nicotine. Such measures imposed by this legislation restrict the device tank to be no more than 2 ml, e-liquid bottles no bigger than 10 ml, and the level of nicotine is capped at 20 mg/ml.
Manufacturers of e-cigarettes and e-liquids are now obliged to test their products at least 6 months before officially commercialising them, and are asked to report the results to the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).
If you decided to switch to vaping, you already learned a lot about what vaping is and how to carefully choose the right vaping products. You know by now how benefits that follow are huge and impact your health positively. It’s very easy to get used to vaping and once you experience it yourself, chances of not wanting a cigarette again and quitting smoking for good are extremely high. We encourage you to give vaping a go and we are certain you will recognise it is a more interesting, unique, and of course healthier way to smoke.