What is Vaping? Beginners Guide to Vape Pens, Juice and Mods

As a former smoker of 15 years, I once believed that anything mimicking smoking had to be a gimmick, unworthy of serious consideration. However, my perspective changed dramatically when I discovered the world of vaping. Little did I know that this industry, which is projected to reach $10 billion by the end of 2017, would not only capture my interest but also inspire me to become a go-to resource for friends, family, and even distant relatives seeking answers about this rapidly growing phenomenon.

In this comprehensive beginner’s guide, I will address the most commonly asked questions and concerns that newcomers to vaping often have, drawing from my personal experience and extensive research. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of what vaping is, how it works, and how to get started on your own vaping journey.

what is vaping

What is Vaping?

At its core, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling vapors produced by an electronic device known as a vaporizer. While similar to smoking in terms of the physical action, vaping distinguishes itself by producing vapor instead of smoke, eliminating the need for combustion or burning.

How Does Vaping Work?

Vaping involves the use of a kit consisting of multiple components that work together to vaporize a liquid, commonly referred to as e-liquid or e-juice. The user then inhales and exhales this vapor.

The history of vaping can be traced back to ancient times, with the Greek historian Herodotus mentioning the Scythians’ practice of vaporizing weed using hot stones. The Hookah, invented in India during the Mughal era, can be considered a precursor to modern vaporizers. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that portable vaporizers began to gain popularity, initially resembling cigarettes to appeal to existing smokers.

Understanding Vaporizers, Vape Pens, and Mods

Vaporizers, vape pens, and vape mods are essentially different names for the same type of device. A vaporizer is the device responsible for converting e-liquid or e-juice into vapor, and these devices come in various shapes and sizes, from desktop to portable variants.

Vape pens are portable vaporizers that resemble cigarettes or pens, hence their name, and contain all the necessary components for vaping. On the other hand, vape mods or box mods are more advanced vaporizer components that often feature sophisticated circuitry and the ability to control electric current and temperature. These customizable settings can greatly impact the vaping experience, allowing for smoother vapors and precise temperature control.

When purchasing a mod, you’ll encounter wattage figures ranging from 50W to 160W or higher. These numbers indicate the maximum wattage a mod can deliver to your atomizer, with higher wattages resulting in hotter vapes and faster battery drain.

Vaping Evolution - Who Invented Vape

Exploring Vape Juice

Vape juice, e-juice, or e-liquid refers to the liquid used in a vaporizer, which is transformed into vapor for inhalation. These liquids typically contain one or more of the following four ingredients:

  1. Propylene Glycol (PG)
  2. Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
  3. Flavoring
  4. Nicotine (optional)

PG-based vape juice is the most common, offering a wide array of flavors ranging from fruit varieties to popular cigarette brands. VG-based e-liquids are also popular, particularly among users who prefer plant-based options or those with allergies to PG, which can cause symptoms like stomach pain and headaches. Some vape juices combine both PG and VG in varying ratios, such as 50/50, 60/40, or 70/30.

Nicotine is an optional component in e-liquids, and its inclusion and strength are determined by the user’s preferences and goals. Those transitioning from smoking to vaping often opt for nicotine-containing e-liquids, with the nicotine level tailored to their needs.

The Role of Vape Tanks

A vape tank, also known as an atomizer or clearomizer (due to their transparency), is the chamber that holds the e-liquid. Most modern vape tanks can be disassembled and consist of the liquid chamber and a coil, which is then attached to a vape mod.

Putting it All Together

To summarize, a vaporizer or vape consists of several components, including a mod, a vape tank or atomizer, and a coil. The user fills the tank with e-liquid and attaches it to the mod, which contains one or more batteries that power the chip. This chip provides current to the atomizer, which houses a heating element (coil) that heats the vape juice above its boiling point, converting it into vapor when the user inhales.

Mods feature triggers that are pressed before inhaling, and they require recharging once the battery is depleted. They also allow for wattage adjustments, enabling users to customize their vaping experience with cool or hot vapes, depending on their preferences.

Vaping vs. Smoking: Key Differences

When compared to smoking, vaping stands out in several ways. First and foremost, vaping does not involve smoke, combustion, or tobacco. As a result, vaping lacks the distinctive odor and many of the harmful effects associated with tobacco combustion, such as tar accumulation in the lungs and windpipe.

Moreover, many people choose nicotine-free e-juices, making vaping a potentially safer alternative, as nicotine is known to cause reproductive harm and birth defects. However, it’s essential to note that vaping is not designed as a smoking cessation device, although it can be helpful for those who are genuinely motivated to quit.

For non-smokers, vaping is not recommended, as it may lead to smoking or the use of nicotine-containing vape juices.

vape vs smoking

Is Vaping Safe?

While vaping is generally considered safer than smoking, it is not entirely risk-free. Public Health England estimates that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco, and both the American Heart Association and the Royal College of Physicians acknowledge that vaping can be less harmful and potentially helpful for smokers trying to quit.

However, due to the relatively recent emergence of modern vaping, a definitive statement on its safety cannot be made. While it is clearly less harmful than smoking, there are concerns about the discreet nature of vaping, which may make the habit more accessible and put new users at risk of trying vaping as a gateway to smoking tobacco and other products.

Potential Side Effects of Vaping

Some individuals may experience side effects when vaping, particularly those using PG-based vape juices. Symptoms of PG allergy can include headaches, stomach pain, and cramps, which can often be alleviated by switching to VG-based liquids.

Dehydration is another common side effect of vaping, which can be countered by maintaining regular water intake.

When transitioning from smoking to vaping, some users report severe side effects, which are often a result of confusing withdrawal symptoms with the effects of vaping itself.

The Cost of Vaping

Contrary to popular belief, vaping is not necessarily more expensive than smoking. A decent starter kit, including a box mod, atomizer, battery, and e-liquid, can cost around $130. Refills and coil replacements are relatively inexpensive, and their frequency depends on individual usage patterns.

On average, a moderate vaper may need to replace their coil every 2-3 weeks and refill their e-liquid at a similar interval. When considering all costs, vaping tends to be more economical than smoking in the long run.

Looking for Lite Open Pod Kit?
Ecigator Sticky Open Pod Kit

Ecigator Sticky Open Pod Kit

The Sticky Open Pod Kit is a contemporary vaping device that combines functionality with fashion. This kit is designed with a box-style form factor, offering a compact and stylish appearance that’s ideal for vaping enthusiasts on the move.

At the heart of this kit is a Refillable Open Pod System, with a capacity of 2ml, perfect for accommodating a variety of e-liquids. The pod is equipped with a high-quality Mesh Coil that not only ensures a rich and flavorful vaping experience but also boasts durability for up to 8 Refills.

Important Tips and Information

  • Laws regarding vaping vary by state and country, but generally, individuals must be over 18 to purchase vaping equipment.
  • Vaping carries certain risks, particularly related to the use of batteries in mods. Additionally, e-liquids containing nicotine can be poisonous if ingested directly.
  • Proper hydration is crucial when vaping, especially for extended periods, as vape juice can cause dehydration.
  • Nicotine-based e-liquids may be harsh on the throat, requiring users to experiment with their mod’s wattage and temperature settings to achieve a comfortable vape.

As a beginner to vaping, I hope this guide has provided you with a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, and I will be more than happy to assist you on your vaping journey.

Matthew Ma