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A Beginners Guide to Vaping

A beginners guide to vaping

Getting Started With E-Cigarettes

Making the Switch

So, you want to make the switch from smoking to vaping? That’s great news! If you’re completely new to vaping this guide will walk you through three simple steps to buying your first e-cigarette or vape kit.

Along the way you’ll learn about the different styles of vaping, the various types of e-cigarette devices, and what you’ll need for your first kit.

First, here’s a little bit of background before we get started.

How do E-Cigarettes Work?

There are many different devices available, but most e-cigarettes consist of essentially the same parts:

  • A battery contained in an outer casing
  • An atomizer
  • A refill cartridge or tank with mouthpiece

The battery can either be activated by a button or automatically when you inhale through the mouthpiece. Activating the battery will in turn, activate the atomizer.

The atomizer contains a heating coil and a wicking material, usually cotton, which is soaked in e-liquid. The coil rapidly heats the e-liquid in the cotton and turns it into vapour. This vapour can then be inhaled via the mouthpiece.

Why Switch to Vaping?

Here’s three great reasons to consider switching from smoking to vaping:


Vaping is Less Harmful Than Smoking

Public Health England declare vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking. In 2017, vaping helped over 50,000 smokers quit cigarettes and between April 2019 and March 2020, quit smoking rates for those using a vaping product were higher than any other method.

Vaping Doesn’t Make You Smell

Granted, the odd person doesn’t like the smell of strawberries or candy floss wafting across a beer garden. However, it’s far more pleasant than the noxious smell of cigarette smoke. Additionally, vapour dissipates much faster than smoke and the smell won’t stick to your clothes or hair.

Vaping is Cheaper Than Smoking

Vaping is considerably cheaper than smoking, especially considering the increasing cost of cigarettes and tobacco. It can be difficult to compare the cost of cigarettes versus e-cigarettes as we often have different behaviours with vaping and a large variety of devices.

Getting Started Guide

3 Steps To Buying Your First E-Cigarette

The world of vaping can seem a little intimidating at first, but once you understand the basics it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Some people call them e-cigarettes or e-cigs, others call them ‘vapes’. No matter what you call them, as you can see from the diagram above, e-cigarettes essentially consist of the same components. There are, however, a few things you should know before you buy your first e-cigarette, so we’re here to fill you in with this handy 3 step guide.

Step 01. Choose a Vaping Style

Types of Vaping: ‘Classic’ & ‘Sub Ohm’

There are essentially two types of vaping ‘style’. The style that you choose to go with will impact which type of kit you need to buy. However, classic or ‘mouth-to-lung (MTL)’ is usually the best place to start for beginners. 

What is Classic Vaping?

Otherwise known as ‘mouth to lung’ or MTL, classic vaping is where you inhale the vapour into your mouth first, then into your lungs. Inhaling the vapour in this way tends to feel more natural as it replicates the way you would smoke a cigarette. Because of this, the classic style of vaping, and kits suitable for this style, are often well suited to beginners.

What is Sub Ohm Vaping?

Otherwise known as ‘direct to lung’ or DTL, sub ohm vaping is where you inhale the vapour directly from the mouthpiece into your lungs. This is usually a style adopted by more experienced vapers and involves higher powered kits with lower resistance coils. These vapourise e-liquid at higher temperatures, creating bigger, denser clouds of vapour.

Step 02. Choose a Vape Kit

Choose an E-Cigarette Starter Kit

Once you’ve decided whether you would like to try classic or sub ohm vaping, you can then take a look at the different devices shown below.

  1. The cigalike style of e-cigarette closely resembles a traditional cigarette and is a very affordable option. This makes it one of the most popular devices for beginners. Cigalikes are incredibly easy to use, with disposable refills available in menthol or tobacco flavours and a wide range of nicotine strengths.
  2. Vape pens are pen-shaped vaping devices that feature a refillable tank. The tank is designed to be filled with e-liquid and features replaceable ‘coils’. Vape pens tend to be straightforward to use with limited features, but are favoured by both new and more experienced vapers due to their small profile, affordable prices and ease of use. Both MTL & DTL vape pens are available, and some are even capable of offering both styles.
  3. Pod Vape Kits, otherwise known as ‘pod mods’, are the newest generation of e-cigarette. They are already hugely popular due to their simplicity and small profile. There are disposable versions available but most feature rechargeable batteries. Handy ‘pods’ then slot into the device, with either pre-filled, or refillable versions available. Pre-filled pods offer a wide range of flavour and strength options and avoid any mess or the need to carry around e liquids. Most pod refills contain nicotine salts, which make these devices perfect for those first making the switch the vaping.
  4. Box Kits aka ‘box mods’, feature a box shaped battery section (or ‘mod’) with a refillable tank and replaceable coils. These devices often feature larger batteries than vape pens and, although some simple one-button versions are available, they often have customisable settings. These can range from adjustable wattage and voltage to puff counters and special features. The simpler models are great for beginners, but more experienced vapers may prefer the extra features of a more complex device. Box kits can be suitable for either MTL or DTL vaping, or sometimes even both styles.

Step 03. Choose an e liquid or refill

Choosing Flavours & Nicotine Strengths for Your Refills or E-Liquid

Finally, it’s time to choose which e-liquid or refill flavours and nicotine strength you would like for your new kit.

Which Cigalike Refills Should You Buy?

Cigalike e-cigarettes are different to refillable kits in that they use pre-filled cartridges. We tend to refer to these as ‘refills’.

They are supplied prefilled with e-liquid so you don’t need to fill them up yourself. You simply screw the refill onto the end of the battery and replace it with a new one once the flavour starts diminishing. This makes them cleaner and less fiddly to use than refillable kits.

How to Choose Which Pod Refills to Buy

Pod refills are similar to cigalike refills in that they are pre-filled, therefore you won’t need any e liquid. However, this is where the similarities end as a pod system vape doesn’t look like a traditional cigarette. Pod refills are usually semi-transparent, or feature a viewing window so that you can see how much liquid is left in the pod. They have an integrated mouth-piece and contain a coil to heat the liquid.

What Are Nicotine Salts?

Nicotine salt e liquids, or ‘nic salts’ as they are otherwise known, have become very popular in recent years. This is due to the fact that nicotine salts are much more readily absorbed by the body, and therefore provide faster nicotine satisfaction than the most common form; freebase nicotine. This gives a much closer nicotine effect to that which a smoker gets from a cigarette.

Additionally, nicotine salts allow a vaper to use higher nicotine strengths without a harsh, scratching sensation at the back of the throat. This sensation is often experienced with freebase nicotine e liquids at higher strengths, but nicotine salts produce a really smooth, satisfying vapour.

For these reasons, nicotine salt e liquids and pod refills are an excellent option for new vapers.

How to Choose Which E-Liquid to Buy

When it comes to e-liquid it’s important to know the basics of PG & VG ratios. It might sound a little complicated but it’s actually pretty straightforward. Once you know what PG & VG are, you’ll be able to confidently choose the right e-liquid for your vape kit.

Getting this right will really help you get off on the right foot if you’re committed to switching from smoking to vaping.

What are PG & VG?

PG stands for propylene glycol and VG stands for vegetable glycerine. Along with flavourings, these are the two main ingredients in most vape juices. All e-liquids will have a certain ratio of these two ingredients and you’ll find that most e-liquid packaging will indicate what ratio of PG & VG they contain.

Juices with over 50% PG are only suitable for classic (MTL) devices. Juices with over 50% VG content are only suitable for sub ohm (DTL) devices. It’s important to know this because if you use a high PG juice in a sub ohm kit for example, you’ll most likely get a burnt tasting, harsh vape.

E-Liquids with a balanced 50/50 ratio of PG & VG tend to work well in most vape kits and tanks.

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