| Andy Staples
If you’re a beginner to vaping, it can be difficult to get to grips with everything involved in the vape world. There are so many different e-liquids and e-cigarettes to choose from and so much niche terminology that we all struggle to understand in the beginning.
Fortunately, vaping is far simpler than it seems. Read this ultimate guide to vaping for everything you need to know.
What is Vaping?
First and foremost, let’s talk about exactly what vaping is. This seems like a logical place to start!
In short, vaping was invented to provide a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. In fact, it’s estimated to be at least 95% less harmful than traditional smoking.
When you smoke a cigarette, the tobacco leaf is being burned and turned into smoke which is then inhaled. When you vape, however, the e-liquid is being heated up and turned into vapour - hence the name ‘vaping’!
Both of these methods deliver nicotine into the lungs, but vaping is far less harmful. This is because it’s not the nicotine that causes smokers harm - it’s actually the other chemicals, toxins, and heavy metals that come along with burning tobacco. We can avoid these toxins by inhaling a nicotine vapour instead.
What E-Cigarette Should I Use?
The vast range of vape devices on the market can be overwhelming. How can you know which one to choose? First, let’s break down the components of an e-cigarette…
The components of an e-cigarette
This is the mouthpiece at the top of the device that you inhale from.
The second component is the tank. This is where the e-liquid goes.
A coil is a metal object with a wicking material - usually cotton. This is usually located in the middle of the tank. The coil’s job is to absorb and heat the e-liquid to turn it into vapour.
You will need to replace your coil somewhere between every few days to every couple of weeks. You will begin to taste it when the coil has burnt out - this indicates that it needs replacing. Please note: different devices will need different coils, so always ensure the coil is compatible with your e-cigarette before buying.
Battery / Mod
This is the chunky section at the bottom of the device. This part contains the electronics and battery needed to power the device. You will either need to plug in and recharge your device or recharge the actual battery with a battery charger (depending on what e-cigarette you choose).
Now we understand the different components of an e-cigarette, let’s cover the different types of vape device you can buy…
Different types of e-cigarette
Vape pens tend to be small and inexpensive. They are fairly simple and basic but will provide a beginner with everything they need. You will need to refill the tank and change the coils yourself on a regular basis. Vape pens will usually work best with low VG e-liquids, but can often be used with high VG e-liquids too (we will cover this in more detail later).
Mod and Tank
These devices will be comprised of a separate mod (the lower battery section) and tank (the upper section containing the e-liquid). You may be able to pair different mods and tanks together as long as they are compatible. These are usually bigger and more expensive than vape pens. They tend to have a longer battery life, more power, and will work with both high VG and low VG e-liquids.
A pod system vape contains a replaceable pod rather than a tank. The pod section contains e-liquid, a coil, and a mouthpiece. These pods can either be replaced entirely each time the e-liquid runs out or can be refilled and put back depending on the device. Pod systems are designed to make the vaping process much easier and more straightforward.
What E-Liquid Should I Use?
Once you’ve chosen the perfect e-cigarette for you, it’s time to choose an e-liquid! Once again, there are so many on the market that it can be overwhelming trying to pin down the right one. The beauty of vaping is that you can try new e-liquid types and flavours every week if you choose to!
The components of an e-liquid
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) & Propylene Glycol (PG)
VG and PG are 2 vital ingredients of an e-cigarette. A higher amount of VG will cause the e-liquid to have a more prominent flavour, whilst a lower VG will cause the e-liquid to have a stronger throat hit.
You’ll find that most e-liquids have a VG/PG ratio of either 70/30 or 50/50. Those with a higher VG (like 70/30) are best for devices with more power, as a higher wattage is required to bring the flavour through. These e-liquids will also create larger vape clouds and a stronger throat hit.
E-liquids with a lower VG (like 50/50) are good for less powerful devices, but they can be used in any device.
When it comes to flavour, the best thing is to try a variety of different flavours until you find out what you do/ don’t like. E-liquid flavours will be categorised as fruit, dessert, tobacco, menthol, sweet, and more. You’ll probably find that 1 or 2 of these categories are your personal favourites, and then you can choose vape liquids from these categories in the future.
What nicotine strength should I use?
E-juices that are 10ml or smaller may contain nicotine - it’s illegal in the UK for larger bottles to contain nicotine due to safety concerns (e.g. children getting a hold of the bottle…)
You will find either freebase nicotine or nicotine salts in e-liquids. Freebase nicotine is more common - it works best in lower strengths (3mg - 12mg), otherwise, it can become too harsh on the throat.
Nicotine salts, on the other hand, work great in higher strengths (10mg to 30mg). This is because they are created to give a soft, smooth throat hit and a strong flavour.
If you choose an e-liquid larger than 10ml (namely a shortfill e-liquid), then you can add your own choice of nicotine shots to the bottle. Shortfills will have a designated amount of space in the bottle so that you can add your choice of 10ml nicotine shots. These are available in both nicotine types and various strengths.
Follow this guide to determine what strength your e-liquid should be:
Less than 5 cigarettes per day - 3mg
5-10 cigarettes per day - 6mg
10-15 cigarettes per day - 9mg
15-20 cigarettes per day - 12mg
20-25 cigarettes per day - 18mg
25+ cigarettes per day - 24mg
If you are using nicotine shots, then view this article to find out how many shots you should add to your e-liquid in order to achieve the desired strength.
How Can I Make the Switch From Smoking to Vaping?
Making the switch from smoking to vaping is an incredible thing to do. It will improve your own health and the health of those around you massively.
First of all, you must ensure you are vaping an e-liquid that has high enough nicotine content. If your e-liquid isn’t strong enough, you will be left feeling unsatisfied and may be tempted to return to smoking.
If you are a heavy smoker, I would recommend using the 20mg nicotine salts from Solt. Technically, the strength is 36mg of nicotine salts, but this is equivalent to a 20mg freebase e-liquid.
Plus, the feeling of nicotine salts replicates that of a traditional cigarette more closely. This makes the transition much easier for all smokers. You could even choose a tobacco flavour e-liquid to mimic the experience even more!
For more tips on how to successfully quit smoking, check out this article.