Electronic cigarettes are all the rage these days, as millions of former smokers have set aside their tobacco products and launched themselves headlong into the exciting world of vaping. Many other people are likely contemplating that same plunge, and in many instance the only thing holding them back from a break with traditional cigarettes is the perceived learning curve. If you’re one of the innumerable smokers out there who want to escape tobacco but are confused by the seemingly complex nature of electronic cigarette use, this beginner’s guide to e-cigarettes is for you.
The Essential Facts
Let’s start by dispelling misinformation about these products. If you’re intrigued by the idea of switching from tobacco to e-cigs, but put off by official-sounding media narratives that paint these devices as being just as harmful as traditional burner cigarettes, rest assured that such is not the case. The only scientific evidence available thus far indicates that electronic cigarette usage is up to 95% safer than tobacco products. If you want to decrease your health risks, the research suggests that these devices are the safer choice, check out our electronic cigarette safety guide. Of course, you’ll also save money in the long run – as much as several thousand dollars a year.
Contrary to official pronouncements from some in government, a number of studies have confirmed that people can use these products to end their smoking habits. Moreover, studies also indicate that e-cig users have an easier time leaving vaping behind as well, which supports the assertion that smokers can benefit from using the best electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation tools.
One question that regularly pops up is the question about becoming addicted to e cigarettes and vaping. To answer this, we have written about vaping addiction that you should read if this is a concern:
How Do They Work?
In one way or another, every type of electronic cigarette basically operates using the same principles. They all have some sort of atomizer, which is used to heat the e-juice contained within the device. That heating process creates the vapor that users inhale when they use an e-cigarette, and it is this vapor that delivers nicotine to the body where it is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose and by the lungs.
How Do You Inhale?
There are really only two ways to vape: the mouth hit and the lung hit. The first involves holding vapor in your mouth for a few seconds before inhaling it into your lungs. Most smokers are very comfortable with this approach, as it mimics the inhalation used with filtered tobacco products. This is the option that tends to maximize flavor, while minimizing the amount of vapor that enters the lungs. The second option is the lung hit, which involves drawing the vapor directly into the lungs, instead of holding it in the mouth. This vaping style enables larger clouds of vapor, and used mostly with sub ohm vaping.
Identifying the Different Types of E-Cigs
One of the most confusing aspects of the vaping experience – and particularly for newcomers – is the differing types of vaping devices on the market today. Each has its place, but the very fact that there are so many options from which to choose can present a clear challenge to new vapers. Here are the different options available to every vaping enthusiast:
- Disposable E-Cigs. The disposable electronic cigarette is probably already familiar to you if you’re a tobacco user. You no doubt see them at many of the locations where you purchase your cigarettes. These devices are one-piece units with a limited battery life and limited taste and nicotine strength options. They are roughly the size of a cigarette, which makes them a great way for smokers to transition away from their tobacco habit. When you’re done with one, you simply throw it away and use another.
- Rechargeable Two-Piece Units. These are similar to the disposables, and many have disposable cartridges that you throw away when you have exhausted their nicotine supply. Unlike the one-piece units, however, the rechargeable device has a battery that you reuse as often as you like. Kits for these devices typically come with the battery, sample nicotine cartridges, and the USB charging equipment to keep it powered.
Both the 2 piece and 3 piece units are known better in the industry as Cig-alike e cigarettes.
- Rechargeable Three-Piece E-Cigs. The three-piece devices are a step up from those other devices, and offer even better vapor production and flavor enhancement. They consist of a clearomizer and tank, a more powerful battery, and a drip tip. Your e-liquid either comes in a prefilled cartridge that you insert into the tank, or you simply fill the tank from a bottle of e-juice. This is the option many vapers choose once they are ready to move beyond the beginning stages of vaping. You can check out cig-a-like electronic cigarettes that come in both 2 piece and 3 piece configurations on our guide to the best cig-a-like e cigarettes!
- Advanced Personal Vaporizers (APV). These advanced devices offer the best possible results, and often come at a more premium price. They are customizable from a component standpoint, and offer maximum flexibility and personalization options in areas like power usage, temperature and airflow control, and other critical aspects of the vaping experience. You can use different coils, wicks, batteries, and other components to achieve just the right amount of vapor and taste with every draw. The most popular type of personal vaporizers comes in a pen format, you can check out the best vape pens here. Alternatively, if your after a little more power and bigger clouds then you need to check out the best box mods!
- E Cigars. These devices look very similar to regular cigars, but obviously they are packed with electronics and slightly different to regular electronic cigarettes. We have a separate page dedicated to the E Cigar that you may find useful if your thinking that this type is right for you or if you were previously a cigar smoker.
Naturally, you need to know how to refill your reusable e-cigarettes. The method and products used depend on the type of device you own. Standard one-piece e-cigs never need to be refilled; you just use them and throw them away. Other devices either come with prefilled cartridges that you simply replace when they run out of juice, or open tanks that you have to fill with your own e-juice. Clearomizers and advanced personal vaporizers are examples of that more advanced option.
E-juice is a topic worthy of its own guide, but the important thing to remember here is that it is safe. These juices contain nicotine, food flavorings, and either propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (PG) as a base – or some combination thereof. All are safe from a health standpoint, though some users are sensitive to PG. If you share that sensitivity, simply find an e-liquid that uses VG as a base.
Using Your Device Safely
As with any device powered by a battery, there is always some level of risk associated with electronic cigarette use. To prevent accidents, always treat your e-cig batteries – and the rest of the device, for that matter – with the same level of care you would give to any electronic equipment. Keep your battery and e-cig away from extreme heat and water, and avoid both undercharging and overcharging. The best option for preserving your battery is, of course, to remove it from its charging station as soon as it is completely charged.
E-liquid should also be treated with respect, and kept away from children and pets. Liquid nicotine is a danger when ingested, and can cause a negative reaction even when making contact with the skin. If you accidentally ingest it, or spill it on yourself, contact medical services to seek treatment.
Finally, we come to what may be the most important bit of information for most newcomers to vaping: getting started. Even after reviewing this and other pieces of information you research online, you may still feel like you’re not sure what you need to buy to get started. The manufacturers have already thought of that dilemma, and offer a variety of starter kits to ensure that you have everything you need to begin vaping right away. Just buy a kit, choose your favorite e-juice flavor and strength, and say goodbye to that tobacco habit once and for all.