It has become a common part of everyday life in the UK since its introduction in 2007 and vaping, a frequently misunderstood phenomenon in nicotine delivery has risen rapidly in recent years.
Vaping shares many similarities with smoking, not the least of which is how it can satisfy both nicotine cravings and oral fixations through hand-to-mouth action (having to lift something to your mouth and inhale). When choosing a vaping device to use as an alternative to smoking, there are several factors to consider. In this guide, we give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether vaping is right for you, and more importantly, we provide all the information you need to learn how to vape properly and most importantly, how to do it safely if you decide vaping is the right choice for you.
Consider your lifestyle
The best device for your needs depends on your lifestyle. It may be preferable to use a smaller, more compact pod-style device over a bulkier alternative for those with an active routine involving regular travel for example. By combining these defining factors, you can instantly narrow your options and refine your decision, as well as increase the possibility of it being a successful one.
The right choice of vaping device can determine your success in vaping.
Common vaping devices
There are simply too many different models to break it down concisely by device. Most vaping devices, regardless of their variety, fall into one of the following categories, which you can find at many of your local retailers and outlets:
- AIO devices, also known as “pen style” devices, combine a battery and tank into one unit rather than as separate components.
- Most AIO devices are compact and pocket-friendly, even though they are not the smallest available.
- Kits can vary greatly in features but usually won’t include variable wattage as a standard feature.
- Advanced kits may offer various coils with differing resistance ratings, but AIO kits typically have only one compatible variety, so they appeal to those who are new to vaping.
- In recent years, pod devices have become very popular due to their discreet design and compact size.
- With disposable or refillable pods instead of tanks, they are specifically designed to reduce user interaction and make vaping as smooth and efficient as possible.
- In some devices, the user can simply inhale using the device, which activates the battery and heats the coil without the use of a button.
- At the core of a pod device’s design are convenience, portability, simplicity, and discretion.
- Ideal for those who are new to vaping, those with busy lifestyles, and even those looking for a low-maintenance alternative to their current device.
- Tank mods are large, high-powered devices that can be combined with different tanks.
- Often they feature internal or externally-charged batteries, as well as a range of customizable features, such as variable wattage.
- In some devices, the user can customise the settings at a granular level, so they can achieve the best results for their preferences.
- Mods are commonly preferred by experienced/hobbyist vapers over beginners due to their more involved and complex user interfaces.
- Mods that combine aspects of pods and mods have become extremely popular in recent years.
- A refillable pod and a variety of coils are also features of pod-mods in addition to being larger in size and offering increased power output.
- In addition, they offer the same level of customisation as a traditional mod device, allowing far greater user interaction and refinement than is possible with pods, while adding the convenience and simplicity of pods over tanks.
- In “cigalike” devices, the battery is very small, and the e-liquid is prefilled and in a disposable cartridge with an intrinsic coil.
- Their glowing LED tips simulate the appearance of a lit cigarette when inhaled, often taking on the appearance of an actual cigarette.
- Despite their recent decline in popularity, Cartomisers continue to be a popular choice, due to their uber-compact design and discreet appearance.
The substance we vapourize in e-cigarettes to deliver nicotine-containing vapour that we inhale to satisfy our cravings is known as e-liquid or vape juice. A range of different formats are available, with different properties suited to different vaping styles. In order to ensure you are starting your journey in the right way, you must match the right liquid with the right device.
E-liquid typically contains four primary ingredients: PG, VG, nicotine & flavouring:
Propylene Glycol (PG)
- PG is a clear, tasteless, and colourless base material used in many common products such as inhalers.
- To provide flavourings and nicotine to e-liquids, PG is used as a carrier.
- The consistency of PG is thinner than VG, and it produces less vapour.
- By using a higher amount of PG in 50/50 vape liquids, higher nicotine strengths can be accommodated.
Vegetable Glycerol (VG)
- There are numerous products made of VG, from hand sanitiser to food. It is clear, slightly sweet, and colourless.
- With VG, you can create bigger and bolder flavours in e-liquids.
- VG is very thick in its consistency and can produce massive vape clouds.
- VG is not an effective carrier agent, so most e-liquids use a balance of VG and PG.
- In e-liquids, this is the most common type of nicotine. It is called “freebase” because nicotine is suspended freely in a carrier such as PG or VG, although PG is much more popular because of its superior properties as a carrier.
- Manufacturers can accurately blend freebase nicotine into e-liquids by suspending it in PG at 7.2%, which provides the range of strengths.
- The vaping industry has only recently added nicotine salts. These salts work similarly to freebase nicotine, however they are formulated by combining the nicotine with salt acids. These salt acids neutralise the naturally alkaline pH of the nicotine. The result is an e-liquid that is smooth on the throat and less harsh in taste, even at very high strengths like 18mg & 20mg.
- Nic salts deliver deep, lasting satisfaction faster and longer than freebase does.
- There are different forms of nic salts. Nicotine salicylates, nicotine benzoates, nicotine ditartrates, and nicotine levulinates are some of the most common types of nicotine salts.
- e-liquids come in a virtually endless variety of flavours, with desserts like strawberry cheesecake and cherry bakewell, as well as sweet ones like pear drops and lemon sherbet.
- In general, they are suspended in a PG base, which allows the flavourings to be properly blended with VG in order to produce the final product.
- As such, they are classified as “food-grade” and are very similar, if not identical, to those used in catering. This does not mean you can add vanilla essence for baking to your e-liquid!
Common types of E-Liquid
- Typically, 50/50 e-liquids are the most commonly used. As a result, most of these e-liquids will contain an equal ratio of PG to VG, resulting in a stable mixture capable of supporting nicotine strengths up to 20mg (the maximum permitted by law).
- Suitable for smaller devices that are designed to support mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping.
- In most pre-filled pod devices, 50/50 recipes are used in a variety of flavors and strengths.
- As with 50/50 e-liquids, nicotine salt e-liquids are blended in the exact same manner. Their main difference is that they use salts instead of freebase nicotine. While vaping at higher strengths, this offers benefits such as a smooth taste and deep satisfaction.
- In response to their rising popularity, some manufacturers are now producing vaping devices that are specifically designed for Nic Salt e-liquids – this, however, does not mean that you need specialized hardware. The majority of Mouth-To-Lung (MTL) devices are compatible with Nicotine Salts.
HVG (AKA – 80/20 or 70/30)
- The High Vegetable Glycerol (HVG) e-liquid, along with the 50/50 e-liquid, is one of the longest standing liquid varieties. VG is used much more heavily in this formulation. HVG e-liquids are usually not available in concentrations beyond 3mg or 6mg due to the lower volume of PG, a more efficient carrier agent.
- For HVG juices, higher nicotine strengths are less desirable, as containments higher than 12mg are generally preferred an unpleasant experience due to the large amount of vapour that is typically inhaled.
- All HVG e-liquids are compatible with sub-ohm vaping devices with coil ratings less than 1.0 ohm. Due to their large size, often outlandish designs, and comprehensive user interface, these devices are instantly recognizable in most cases, especially by experienced vapers.
- As opposed to the traditional 10ml bottle size, Short Fills are a very popular type of High VG e-liquid that allows the user to purchase a much larger bottle size.
- Because short fills are always sold as nicotine-free, they get around the regulations that limit nicotine-containing e-liquids to a maximum of 10ml.
- Often, larger bottles are filled just short of their maximum volume, allowing the user to add separate Nic Shots to create a large amount of their favourite flavour with a customised nicotine strength.