Welcome to Vape 101
What is vaping, and how do you do it?
Vaping is a way to inhale nicotine without having to inhale the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco, without smelling, and without involving combustion at all. It is simply a flavored liquid with nicotine that you vaporize in a personal vaporizer, or e-cig, short for electronic cigarette. Since the introduction of e-cigs, hundreds of thousands of people have quit smoking in favor of the much more enjoyable and less unhealthy joy of vaping. While vaping isn’t guaranteed to break your addiction to nicotine, it is a superior alternative to cigarettes in every way.
In order to vape, you need an e-cig. E-cigs come in designs far too numerous to cover every aspect of every type here. You could write a book on the myriad styles of e-cigs. However, that being said, there are a few things all of them have in common:
- A battery
- An atomizer
- Eliquid container
So let’s take a look at all four parts, shall we?
Batteries on ecigs run from the small ones you find powering the cheap e-cigs you find at convenience stores and mall kiosks, all the way up to the heavy duty 26650 batteries some advanced e-cigs use. Unless it’s a disposable e-cig, which you probably shouldn’t be bothering with anyway, batteries are rechargeable and measured in mAh (milliamp hours). The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last on a charge.
Some e-cigs, like the common eGo, have the battery built in. Others, like advanced personal vaporizers (APVs), have a special type of batteries you can switch in and out. However, they tend to be for more advanced users, and therefore beyond the scope of a vaping 101 article.
The atomizer is the actual heating element that is powered by the battery and vaporizes the e-liquid. While not all atomizers are the same, they tend to be a wire coil wrapped around some sort of wicking material. Most atomizers are built into whatever is holding the eliquid, and may be replaceable depending on the model.
The Eliquid Container
There are a lot of different ways to get the eliquid to the atomizer. The big ones are tanks, clearomizers, and cartomizers. Tanks are basically just what they sound like: large tanks that hold the eliquid to be vaped. They tend to have a replaceable atomizer with a small wick built right in. Typically they hold around 5ml of eliquid.
Cartomizers are cartridges with some sort of batting material that absorbs and holds the eliquid and then wicks it to the atomizer as you vape. They often have replaceable batting and coils and hold 1-3ml. Clearomizers are basically a cross between tanks and cartomizers, with small tanks and long wicks. Some people also skip the container and drip their juice directly on an atomizer, but that too tends to be a more advanced technique.
Eliquid is the fluid that is vaporized. It is also referred to as e-juice or just juice. It is usually flavored and it usually has nicotine, though not necessarily. Common nicotine strengths are 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg. Almost every eliquid comes in a selection of those amounts, though not every flavor is available in all of them.
Eiquids also contain a base for the nicotine and flavoring. The base is always some ratio of vegetable glycerin(VG) and propylene glycol(PG). Some are all VG, a very few are all PG, but most have a split of VG/PG. VG is what produces clouds of vapor on the exhale, while PG carries flavor better and simulates the throat hit you’re used to from smoking cigarettes. VG is also thicker than PG, and juices made with all VG sometimes won’t flow right in a tank or cartomizer.
As for flavor selection…well, if you can think of it, someone is making that flavor, and half the fun of vaping comes from trying to try them all!
Choosing Your E-cig!
So now that you have a basic understanding of the parts of an e-cig, you’re ready to start vaping. So which ecig is best for you? Well, if you’re just starting out, it’s hard to go wrong with an eGo starter kit. They’re inexpensive, but have everything you need to start vaping. After you’re familiar with the basics though, the sky’s the limit! Remember, smoking is dead, e-cigs are the future, and the future is now!