What Is Vaping? A Beginners Guideby Mike Cameron
If you are thinking about moving from cigarettes to vaping, then congratulations, you have taken the first step to living your life smoke free! Vaping can be a great way to finally stop smoking. NHS Smoke Free has said that it can be more effective than patches and gum and according to Public Health England “e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than cigarettes”.
But with the huge variety of devices, e-liquids and strengths it can seem complicated to start.
Today then we are going to explain what all the different terms mean, how to find your perfect solution and our best tips and tricks to get you on the right track.
WHAT IS A E-CIGARETTE?
Over the last few years e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular as a way to get off cigarettes. They come in many shapes and sizes, but they all follow the same basic premise. An electronic device containing a flavoured liquid with nicotine is heated up until it becomes vapour. You then inhale the vapour like you would smoke a normal cigarette.
This nicotine infused vapour will give you the same nicotine as a cigarette, and perhaps more importantly will give you the same throat hit and satisfaction of a cigarette without having to smoke.
For something that seems so new, the idea of a healthier alternative to smoking has been floating around since the 1920’s, but what we know as the modern e-cigarette was created in 2003 by the inventor Hon Lik. He wanted to develop an alternative to cigarettes as his father died of smoking, and as a 3 pack a day smoker he did not want the same to happen to him.
THE BENEFITS OF E-CIGARETTES
The ambitious inventor Hon Lik succeeded! The e-cigarettes he created have huge health benefits primarily due to what they do not contain.
DO E-CIGARETTES CONTAIN HARMFUL CHEMICALS?
The short answer is that e-cigarettes contain 99% less harmful ingredients compared to traditional cigarettes. Normal cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals (Arsenic, Formaldehyde and Carbon Monoxide to name a few) and over 50 known carcinogens (chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer).
E-Cigarettes are truly extraordinary as they only contain 4 ingredients – Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerine (used in sweets, candy, chewing gum, soft drinks, fat-free ice cream and cake mixes), Food Flavouring (found in most of our food) and Nicotine (which is the only reason why we smoke). So by eliminating the vast majority of chemicals, e-cigarettes are certainly a less harmful way to consume nicotine.
DO E-CIGARETTES CONTAIN OR PRODUCE 2ND HAND SMOKE?
Countless studies have proven that e-cigarettes do not produce any 2nd hand smoke. Passive smoking as it's otherwise known is the extremely harmful side effect that traditional tobacco products produce and leads to over 41,000 deaths in the US every year.
The vapour that is produced by an e-cigarettes do not contain any of the harmful chemicals associated with 2nd hand smoke. That means the people around you won’t be affected by your habit anymore. Another big benefit of vaping!
For more information on the health benefits of making the switch visit the Smoko blog.
IS VAPING MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SMOKING?
Aside from the health reasons mentioned, the cost of using an e-cigarette can be substantially less than using traditional tobacco products. A big contributing factor is that most governments do not tax e-liquids or e-cigarettes at the same rate as they do cigarettes. This is amazing news for someone looking to kick the habit.
If you smoke a pack a day in the UK, you could be spending upwards of £10 every day. Over a year that is £3650 spent on cigarettes! Switching to SMOKO for example, one of our refills holds over 35 cigarettes worth of nicotine and costs at most £2.00. So even it you use 1 refill a day, you could expect to spend £730 a year.
In your first year switching to e-cigarettes, you could be saving over £2,900. So when people suggest that vaping is more expensive than smoking, maths mustn’t have been one of their strong subjects.
CAN USING AN E-CIGARETTE HELP ME TO QUIT SMOKING?
Studies conducted by Cancer Research UK have shown that due to e-cigarettes tasting, feeling and delivering nicotine in a similar way to cigarettes, smokers have almost double the chance to quit smoking with e-cigarettes compared to both nicotine patches and gum.
And with over 41 million ex-smokers now using e-cigarettes, the proof is in the numbers. In the UK alone over 3.7 million ex-smokers now use e-cigarettes or vape instead of smoking. If you like big numbers, then vaping in the UK has:
- Helped over 3,700,000 to quit smoking
- Prevented over 13.6 BILLION cigarettes from being consumed this year alone
- Vapers have saved between £3B and £4.5B of their hard-earned money from literally going up in smoke.
There is no “magic pill” when it comes to quitting. Some people quit Cold Turkey, others with hypnotherapy and others using an e-cigarette. The key factor is that anyone who wants to quit needs to apply a bit of will power to make the change! But will power + e-cigarettes seems to be a winning combination.
Once someone understands these 4 main benefits of e-cigarette compared to smoking traditional cigarettes, most people never pick up a cigarette again!
DIFFERENT TERMS AROUND VAPING
E-cigarettes are fairly simple and effective tools. But if you’ve had a look around the internet or walked into a vape shop it can seem daunting with all the different styles, terminology and names. Let us break down the most common terms and phrases for you.
This is the liquid that contains nicotine you will be vaporising. It can come in bottles or in pre-filled cartridges or refills. E-Liquid can comes in a wide range of flavours and nicotine strengths. At SMOKO, our e-cigarettes and VAPE refills come in over 12 different flavours and up to 4 different levels of nicotine.
This is the smoke-like mist made from heating up the e-liquid in an e-cigarette. The amount of vapour produced ranges from one device to the next. Some devices pride themselves on the amount of vapour created. But bigger is not always better. Here are SMOKO we pride ourselves on our discreet yet satisfying e-cigarettes which produce a similar amount of vapour as a cigarette – so you can stand out in the cloud!
E-Cigarette/ Vape Pens
This is the entire device that heats up the liquid. There are 2 main types of E-cigarettes – Closed and Open Systems. The closed e-cigarette system uses pre-filled refills and when you finish a refill you just take it off the battery and put a new one on. The simplest of all the designs, these are best for people who are just starting or don’t want any hassle.
Open Systems use a rechargeable battery and a refillable tank which contains an atomizer or coil. These are commonly called vapourisers or Mods. These styles stems tend to have more power and produce larger clouds of vapour, but generally need to use lower nicotine e-liquids due to the sheer volume of vapour produced. Open systems require more maintenance and replacement of many of the parts on a regular basis.
These refer to pre-filled e-cigarette refills and are already filled with e-liquid and a built-in atomiszer which creates the vapour. So all you will need to do is screw the refill onto the battery and puff away. They will be disposable, so once you have finished the refill you can just take it off the battery and throw it away.
Refills will come in a wide variety of flavours and strengths, our selection can be found here
These are what power your device and they normally are built into the device, so you can screw a refill or tank straight onto it. Most batteries are rechargeable either through a special USB charger or a normal USB wire. With some of the bigger vapourisers and Box Mods you will have to buy a battery separately and put it into your device. As you can expect, with increased power, comes at an increased cost.
Our e-cigarette battery is small, discreet and stylish - view batteries
USB Charger/Charging Wire
These can come is variety of shapes and sizes, but their job is to charge your battery. One end can be plugged into any USB port on your laptop, computer or a mains plug adaptor and the other plugs into the battery. Depending on the device you are using, the USB charger might be a simple wire or a specialised item which is designed for that e-cigarette battery.
View the USB charger for our e-cigarette battery
This is another term for an e-cigarette, but commonly refers to devices that you fill yourself, otherwise known as an Open System. They will normally be more customisable than an e-cigarette as they have removable tanks, coils and batteries. These are definitely more fiddly than an e-cigarette and require more upkeep and maintenance, so we recommend these for more experienced Vapers.
Short for modified, these are a type of Vapourisers, but more complex. Not only are these customisable like a vapouriser but they normally have variable voltage as well so you can adjust the power. If you have seen people with big boxes producing a huge amount of vapour, then you have seen a mod.
These are for people who have been vaping for a long time, and we definitely do not recommend them for people just starting due to the complexity and the chance with the variable voltage to overheat your liquid.
These are what turn the liquid into the vapour. Coils and atomisers can be made of many materials from cotton to ceramic. They are at the bottom of the refill or tank and essentially act like a wick from a candle, they absorb the liquid and then heat it up until it turns to vapour. In e-cigarettes and pre-filled refills these are built in, but in vapourisers they are removable and should be changed once a week or so.
Used in Vapourisers and Mods, the tank is what holds the e-liquid, atomizer and mouthpiece. They come in a maximum of 2ml capacity and will normally screw onto a battery. Generally either made of glass or plastic, the tank is a delicate item and may break if dropped.
Choosing Your Device, Flavour And Strength
Now you know what all the terms mean, it’s time to decide what type you want.
Each have their advantages, but if you are new to vaping then we would suggest going for an e-cigarette at first.
E-cigarettes look and feel most like a cigarette, which can make the first couple of weeks much easier. E-cigarettes are also much more discreet than the bigger vapourisers due to their size and weight, but they are designed to produce the same amount of vapour as a cigarette would produce smoke. So there are no huge clouds of vapour every time you take a puff. Lastly e-cigarettes are the simplest of the designs, just puff on it until the refill is empty and then put another refill on. There are no extra parts you need to clean or replace and no buttons you need to press.
Once you have decided which type of device you want to use, you then need to choose the flavour you want.
We suggest a tobacco flavour similar to what you are smoking at the moment for the same reason as we suggested the e-cigarette, using a similar flavour can make the switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes easier. For example if you smoke a tailor-made cigarette then we would suggest our Original flavour, or if you roll your own cigarettes we would suggest the Virginia Rolling flavour.
Finally it’s time to choose the nicotine strength. When first starting to vape, we highly recommend starting with a higher nicotine strength. A Cancer Research UK study showed that e-cigarette users who have a higher nicotine strength have a better chance to quit and don’t need to constantly puff away to get the nicotine they need.
That’s why we only have 2.0% strength in our starter kits. Once you are used to e-cigarettes you can of course move down the strengths, but at least for the first couple of weeks we advise that you start with a high nicotine.
FIRST TIME MISTAKES AND PITFALLS OF E-CIGARETTES
E-cigarettes are a huge improvement over cigarettes, but like anything new there can be an adjustment period as you get used to vaping. If you can avoid these common mistakes you can start your e-cig experience on a much stronger footing.
OVERUSING YOUR E-CIGARETTE
One of the most common pitfalls new users fall into is using your e-cigarette too much. Unlike cigarettes which have a natural stopping point (when you finish it) e-cigarettes don’t. It can be easy to puff away on your e-cig without thinking about it, and use more of your refill then you need. And as each refill hold about 35 cigarettes worth of nicotine you don’t want to puff away on one until it reaches it end in one sitting!
What we suggest is when you first start vaping is to use it like you would a cigarette. About 5 to 7 big puffs on your e-cig is the equivalent to a cigarette, so whenever you would smoke a cigarette instead use your e-cigarette. This can get you into the habit of using your e-cigarette and stops you overusing your e-cig.
USING CIGARETTES AND E-CIGARETTES AT THE SAME TIME
For some people using both at the same time can be a helpful way to wean yourself off cigarettes, but for most people all this does is add an extra way to get nicotine.
We would suggest trying to make a complete switch to e-cigarettes when you first start, as the longer you continue to use cigarettes, the higher the chance of falling of the wagon completely.
If you find you can’t give up smoking completely at first then replacing at least some of your cigarettes with puffs on an e-cigarette is much better than nothing! Just make sure that the ultimate plan is to get off cigarettes, and every day try and reduce the number of cigarettes you are using. That way even if it takes a while you can still eventually stop smoking.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
Using an e-cigarette requires a bit more planning than smoking, as you have to make sure that your battery is charged and your refill isn’t empty when you leave the house.
Unlike cigarettes where you can pop to the corner shop and get a new pack or lighter, finding your brand of e-cigarettes can be harder to find in the spur of the moment. It’s always a good idea then to have a spare battery and a spare refill just in case. We heard people saying they were smoke free for months before going on a night out… where they discovered they forgot to charge a battery or bring a spare refill.
The other pitfall that new users fall into is not ordering their refills in time. Here at SMOKO all orders placed before 3pm Monday to Friday will be sent out that day, but if you are on your last refill when you order you might have a nicotine free night!
Not Puffing Enough
Many first-time e-cigarettes take short, quick puffs like they would on a cigarette. This won’t give you the nicotine you need and you could either find yourself using a lot more of the refill than you need to, or just not feeling as satisfied as you would from a cigarette.
The vapour from e-cigarettes takes a bit longer to be absorbed by the body than cigarette smoke, so to get the best use from your e-cigarette you should take longer, deeper puffs than you would from a cigarette. For the best results we suggest holding the vapour in your lungs for a second or two longer than with cigarette smoke, this will really give the nicotine in the vapour time to be absorbed by the lungs.
MAKING THE TRANSITION TO VAPING A LONG-TERM SUCCESS
Obviously the benefits of using an e-cigarette far outweigh sticking to normal cigarettes – less harmful, no 2nd hand smoke, more affordable. Ensuring you use the right device, with the right flavours and nicotine strength and ensuring you always have a spare battery and refill will ensure your transition from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is successful!
If you still have some questions about which e-cigarette style to use or which flavour would be most suitable, feel free to call us on 0800 772 0234 or +44 (0)1892 512 529 to speak with one of our helpful staff.
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