Welcome to Vapers Pantry Tutorial Beginner's Guide to Vaping. It is safe to assume if you are reading this you are either new to vaping, want to learn how to vape, or curious about vaping. Vapers Pantry expert staff is comprised of avid vapers with over 15 years of combined experience. Our goal for this guide is to explain vaping and its various aspects in order to give you an accurate and factual understanding of this rapidly growing alternative to smoking.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is the term given to using an electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer. Someone who uses traditional tobacco cigarettes is a “smoker” and they “smoke” cigarettes, someone who uses an e-cigarette is a “vaper” and they “vape” their e-cigarette or personal vaporiser. Let us dive deeper and learn how to vape.
What Is an E-Cigarette and Where Did They Come From?
E-Cigarettes or Personal Vaporisers are a device that gives us an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes by vaporising “e-liquid” - a mixture of polypropylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, food flavourings and sometimes nicotine. The first e-cigarettes as we know them were created by a Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003 but did not enter the market until 2006. Since then the industry has expanded exponentially. Today, there is a massive selection of vape devices available ranging from the humble e-cigarettes to high wattage advanced personal vaporisers. All the early devices were manufactured in China but are now manufactured by companies large and small worldwide. While almost all the early devices resembled traditional cigarettes, early e-cigarette users often modified or created their own devices because of the lack of variety and features. This has had a lasting two-part effect. One being that a large portion of vape devices are now most commonly referred to as “Mods” which is short for modified or modifiable and two, if e-cigarette companies wanted to remain relevant and continue to sell products they would have to create a variety of devices as diverse and intuitive as the community that uses them.
Anatomy of an E-Cigarette
Despite the large selection available today there are a few things in common with all vapor devices. At their simplest all vapor devices use a lithium battery to heat a wire coil. A wick is used to draw e-liquid to the coil. When the e-liquid is heated by the coil is vaporises and can then be inhaled in a similar fashion to smoking. That however is usually where the similarities end. Below we will look at the general components of a vape device.
Device – Vaping devices can come in a large variety of colours and shapes often dependent on their specific uses. Some might look like a traditional cigarette while others might resemble a pen, a tube, a box, or other forms but they all serve the same purpose ultimately. To take the power supplied by the battery and deliver it to the atomiser.
Battery – This is the most crucial part of the device. It supplies power. While some devices use a non-replaceable internal battery a large portion use one or more replaceable rechargeable high drain batteries. If you are selecting a device that requires replaceable batteries and would like more information on selecting the right battery for your device, please see our BATTERY SAFETY GUIDE.
Atomizer (TANK) - This heat resistant part houses one or more resistance wire coils and its wick(s) often with some form of reservoir to hold e-liquid. There are many different styles, Conventional Glass or Plastic tanks, POD’s, Rebuildable Tank Atomisers(RTA), Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers(RDA), Hybrid Atomisers rebuildable dripping tank atomisers (RDTA) and Genesis Atomisers. Each with their own unique sets of advantages and disadvantages.
Coil(s) – These are small pieces of resistance wire that is made into a coil shape resembling a spring. The type of wire used, the diameter of the coil and the number of wraps will all effect the coil's resistance. Its resistance is what determines the amount of electricity it will need to power it and the amount of heat it will produce. Coils are commonly made from Kanthal or NiCrome and are considered to be the safest to use for vaping.
E-liquid – Also known as e-juice, this is a solution consisting of polypropylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, food flavourings, and sometimes nicotine. This liquid can come in a variety of PG/VG ratios and nicotine strengths. Typically, most cigarette smokers switching to e-cigarettes will start using high nicotine juices and move towards lower strength juices over time. It is common for most people to start out using strengths as high as 18mg/ml but often will soon switch to 12mg/ml e-liquids for their improved flavor (as nicotine content drops flavour increases) We do not recommend use of e-liquid with a nicotine strength above 18mg/ml. In fact, we recommend using the minimum nicotine strength needed to sate your nicotine cravings because as nicotine content is decreased flavour is improved. It is important to note advanced users using devices that produce more vapour will typically use lower strength nicotine because when more vapour is produced and inhaled, the overall nicotine concentration stays the same. The need for higher nicotine concentrations is exclusive to devices producing smaller amounts of vapour. Those using advanced devices will typically favour liquids in 3mg/ml.
Wicks – Made from various materials including cotton, twisted silica cord, eko-wool, ceramic, and stainless-steel mesh the wick(s) carry e-liquid to the coils. Wicking material acts as delivery method e-juice from tank directly on to a coil itself, where it is vaporised.
What Device Is Best For Beginners?
This is a common question we are asked, and it is also one of the most complex and difficult questions we are faced with. With vaping many things like taste for instance are subjective and what works best for one person might not work as well with the next. This is further complicated by the large variety of devices available today. Instead of saying one or two specific devices are best we feel it more appropriate to break down the different styles of devices by experience and skill level needed and let you make the decision yourself and know what direction to move in if you are ready to move to a more advanced device.
Beginner – We define a beginner as someone with little or no experience vaping. Someone unfamiliar with electrical concepts like Ohms Law and Joules Law. For this category we suggest low output regulated devices that use integrated internal batteries. Paired with easily replaceable coils with a resistance over 1.0 ohms. Usually referred to as MOUTH TO LUNG (MTL)This maximises safety and ease of use. Although more complex devices will outperform these devices, they are often more than suitable for most users if for nothing else than determining if vaping is right for them and justifies the expense of a more advanced device. We have a large selection of Starter Kits and Pod Devices.
Intermediate – We define an intermediate vaper as someone who is familiar with e-cigarettes, has some experience using them. Understands how their devices work. How to perform basic maintenance and troubleshoot basic issues with their devices. Someone who is looking for either greater vapour or flavour production. For beginners looking to step up to intermediate users we recommend mid powered regulated devices (80w or less) and Tanks with replaceable coils with a resistance at or above .5 ohms. These devices will deliver increased flavour and vapour production while maintaining ease of use and safety. These are usually referred to as SUB-OHM (DIRECT LUNG) devices.
Advanced – We define an advanced user as a vaper who understands how vape devices function. Someone who understands and has a working knowledge of Ohms Law and Joules Law, and the risks involved with rebuildable devices. Someone who is knowledgeable and respectful of vaping and battery safety. Intermediate users wanting to make a step forward will have to decide if they want to enter the world of rebuildable devices or not. If tinkering with gadgets is something you enjoy this is likely for you. But if not that is OK too. For those who do not have an interest in rebuilding but want to take another step forward into the world of vaping we suggest a high-power regulated mod and a high wattage sub-ohm Tank.
While the high power regulated devices suggested above are suitable but for rebuildable devices you also can use Mechanical Mods. These devices are very rugged and simple making them difficult to damage but also lack any form of protection circuitry. For reason one might say a regulated device is more like a car while a mechanical device is more like a motorcycle. In that sense there is an inherent risk with these devices and if you do not treat these devices with the respect it deserves you can injure yourself. Also there is a massive selection of rebuildable tanks and dripping atomisers available for use. You just need to decide whether to use a tank or a dripper which we will discuss in another guide.
Expert – An expert vaper is just that, an expert. They are essentially an advanced vaper with significant experience and knowledge under their belts. Someone who fully understand the workings of all vapor devices at least in concept and is also knowledgeable and comfortable rebuilding and troubleshooting vape devices. The only devices we consider exclusive to this group of vapers are Hybrid devices which combine both rebuildable atomiser and mechanical mod in a single device with a direct to battery connection. A mechanical mod with a Hybrid Top Cap, the direct to battery connection puts your atomizer in direct connection with the battery. To prevent injury or property damage with these devices your atomisers positive pin must protrude substantially beyond the threads of the atomisers 510 connector to prevent a hard-short resulting in battery failure. Battery failure from a hard short can cause the device to explode or catch fire. There is an inherent risk involved with Hybrid mods.
Hopefully, you now know how e-cigarette's, personal vaporisers, and other vape devices work in theory. Understand the e-liquids they use and have an idea of what devices are best suited to your level of skill and experience. Congratulations you are now ready to start vaping. If you are still unclear or unsure about what to do or what to equipment to purchase or use, fret not. Our expert staff is always more than happy to answer your questions and help guide you to the products you need.