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November 15, 2015

There are some things I wish I knew before I started vaping

I first started vaping this year after a friend let me test out his mechanical mod. Having casually smoked Sampoerna cigarettes, as well as self-rolled cigarettes for some years, it was interesting to be able to get a nicotine hit that tasted fruity (red apple… yum!) and left no after-smell on my clothes.

Three more inhales and at least five questions later, I was hooked. Although I’d asked questions, they were more of the what mod should I get, how much is it, and where can I get it variety.

Since then, I’ve read a lot more vaping resources – news, forums, feature articles, research papers – and there are things that I wish I’d known when I first started vaping.

#1: How it works

All I knew before I started vaping was that there’s a mod and a tank. Liquid goes into the tank, but press a button on the mod and vapour magically appears. The truth is, there’s no magic at all.

A personal vaporizer has three main parts – a mod (which usually contains batteries for power), a tank (to hold the liquid) and an atomizer (aka the heating element). Push the button on the mod and it supplies the power required to heat the atomizer. The heat from the atomizer vaporizes the liquid in the tank resulting in the delicious vapor.

If interested, read more about Ohm’s law and learn about how increasing resistance (Ohm) increases temperature of the heating element.

#2: There are heaps of different mods

And I’m not even going to think about cig-a-likes and ego style batteries. When I first started, I bought a Subox Mini Starter Kit (based on a friend’s recommendation) and didn’t even know how to fit the parts together.

Less than a month later, after I had scoured the Internet for vape resources, I discovered that there was a whole world of mods that I had yet to discover. There are mechanical mods and digital mods, mods that allow you to switch batteries, or mods that come with a batteries built in. Even within the categories of mechanical or digital, there are heaps of different brands, different designs, and when it comes to digital mods, trying to keep up with the latest model – just like trying to get the latest phone model – can be futile.

For new vapers, or vapers who just want functionality and don’t want to worry about too much maintenance, I’d still recommend a starter kit. You get everything you need to start vaping in one box that’s usually priced very reasonably.

However, some vapers later choose to “upgrade” their mods to pieces that are more powerful or are better able to bring out e-liquid flavours. It all depends on one’s intentions — there are mods that function better for cloud chasers, and others that work amazingly for vape juice connoisseurs who want to be able to taste all the different notes in an e-liquid.

What makes one mod different from another are the materials used, as well as how the mod is built. Of course, aesthetics also do come into play. These include craftsmanship, build, colours etc. To say that any one mod is “the best” would be inaccurate as each vaper has different wants and needs.

Besides my Subox, I also have a Snow Wolf 200W that is great for producing clouds and is also powerful enough to steadily fire my Hellboy RDA (dual coil) that I use for dripping and tasting.

I use Reddit a lot and they have a good guide that is revised regularly: “What Mod Should I Get?” – A Buyers Guide

#3: Like mods, there is a huge variety of tanks

Is it an atomizer, cartomizer or clearomizer? Is it an RBA or an RDA? And what the hell is an OCC?

When I first started out, listening to these things was like trying to understand a foreign language. While I’m still trying to figure out a lot of things, I now know that my Kangertech subtank is a rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA) and that the Hellboy is a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA). (I usually call these drippers.)

Again, like when choosing mods, the “best” device to use depends on a vaper’s personal preference.


(source: www.vapour.co.uk)

Instead of having a tank to store liquid, drippers have a drip well, which is a shallow space below the coils in which the wicks (usually cotton) sit and absorb the liquid. To vape, all you have to do is drip some juice onto the coils.

If you’ve already started vaping, you probably already know what a tank is. But did you know that the build of a tank also affects the flavours of e-liquids? It’s due to a combination of atomizer build (eg. material and number of coils), air movement through the tank and so on.

I normally use tanks for all day vapes, but because I like switching flavours and tasting different ones, I also carry my dripper around with me.

Tip: One way to extract the most flavour from whatever tank you have is to build it the right way. Think about how the air is moving from outside, through the airholes, into your tank to your drip tip. Make sure your coils get in that path.

#4: What vape juices contain

E-liquids typically contain propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), water, (food grade) flavorings and nicotine. Toxicity of PG and VG is low. And nicotine, while regulated under the Poisons Act, is as much a poison as caffeine is.

#5: How to taste and choose juices

Oh, what a noob I was. Like most newbies, I started with very simple fruity flavours – mango, sour apple, grape. I later discovered that I enjoyed mixing these flavours together. And even later on, when I first started tasting US juices, I learned that vape juice flavours can be deliciously complex. Just like eating, tasting new juices can be immensely pleasurable.

Flavours can usually be categorized into a few types – fruity, creamy, drinks, desserts and tobacco. When I first started vaping, I disliked creamy flavours. These days, I love them and I realize that it’s because I’ve found the right ones.

With really good juices, the flavours are truly complex and even the vapour that’s produced is extremely flavourful.

But again, it’s impossible to name any one “best” flavour. There are flavours that are extremely popular but even the ones with a smaller fan base can be quite tasty. Everyone has different taste buds and have different preferences.

How I found my favourite juices was by testing and tasting a larger variety. You can do this by visiting lots of stores and trying out their testers. 

My favourite flavours these days is Milk by Glas and Hermes by Olympus Liquids. If you haven’t found yours yet, don’t give up!


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