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A Quick Guide to Vaping for Beginners [UPDATED 2021]


Looking to make the switch from smoking to vaping but don’t know where to begin? This quick guide will take you through everything a beginner vaper needs to know, including what e-cigarette device in 2021 is best for you, the types of e-liquid available and a brief touch on some of the vaping terminology you may hear.

1. The fundamentals of vaping (MTL vs. DTL)

MTL-vs-DTL-Vaping-Visual

There are two basic types of vaping styles – mouth-to-lung (MTL) and direct-to-lung (DTL). 

Mouth-to-lung is where you draw the vapour into your mouth first before inhaling into your lungs, and direct-to-lung, as the name suggests, is where you draw the vapour straight to the lungs.

The majority of people switching to vaping from smoking will probably find the mouth-to-lung style more comfortable, as this will ‘feel’ closer to smoking a cigarette. 

Why does this matter? Well, it will determine which e-cigarette device you are best suited to. 

Generally speaking, a mouth-to-lung device will feel less airy and have a tighter draw (harder to pull on); which again, provides a similar sensation to smoking. 

A direct-to-lung set-up will have more airflow and produce more vapour. Typically, these devices are sub-ohm, meaning the coil inside them has a resistance of less than 1 ohm. 

If you are new to vaping, we would recommend avoiding sub-ohm vaping until you become more experienced. You inhale far more vapour with them and need to use lower strength nicotine to counteract this.

Check out our blog post on MTL & DTL Vaping for more detailed information.

2. How does an e-cigarette work?

E-Cigarettes and vaping devices have evolved over the last 10 years from your basic disposables and pen-style to more advanced box mods and innovative pod kits, but fundamentally they work the same way:

  • A battery heats up a coil, which heats up the e-liquid in the pod/tank to form a vapour which is delivered through the mouthpiece.

Below you can learn about the different components that make up an e-cig. These components may look different depending on the type of vape kit you have.

Pod system and tank system components

Battery

Provides the power needed to heat the coil. Batteries are available in different capacities, typically the higher the Milliamps Hour (mAh) the longer the battery life. A battery can either produce a fixed-wattage or a variable-wattage output and can be built-in or removable.  

Coils

Coils are responsible for heating up the e-liquid in your tank/pod and vaporizing it. A coil has a metal housing containing a wire wrapped around wicking material such as cotton. Coils come in different resistances, depending on if you want to vape MTL or DTL. Coils wear out over time and need to be replaced, typically between a few days and a couple of weeks. 

Tank/Pod

A tank/pod holds your e-liquid and houses the coil. Traditionally, e-cigarettes had tanks that screw onto the battery, but in the last few years pods have emerged which provide the same function but clip onto the battery for a more flush appearance. Typically, tanks are connected by a 510 connector pin meaning they can be used with a range of batteries across multiple brands, but pods usually only fit the device they were made for.

Drip-Tip/Mouthpiece

Where the vapour comes out and where you inhale from. Tank devices usually have a removable drip-tip, whereas in pod devices the mouthpiece is built-in.

Tip: You’ll know when the coil needs replacing when it begins to loose flavour or tastes burnt.

3. Which vaping device should you choose?

With so many different devices on the market, it can be confusing to know which to choose. Here we will quickly breakdown the different types of e-cigarette so you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your first kit. 

Types of Devices

Type of DeviceExampleVaping StyleTank/Pod Used
Cig-a-like (AKA Mini)cig-a-likeMTLDisposable cartridge
Closed Pod Systemnzo-closed-pod-system-kitMTLDisposable pods
Vape PensPen style deviceMTL but increasingly seeing DTL devicesRefillable tanks
Pod Modpod-mod-deviceMTL & DTL devices/coils availableRefillable pods
Box Modbox-mod-deviceMTL & DTL devices/coils availableRefillable tanks
Mechanical/Mech ModmodDTL (NOT FOR BEGINNERS)Rebuildable Tank Atomisers (RTA’s) (NOT FOR BEGINNERS)
Types of vaping devices 2021

Pros and Cons of Each Device

Type of DeviceProsCons
Cig-a-like (AKA Mini)
  • Very easy to set up

  • Very easy to use

  • Very small

  • Looks like a cigarette

  • Reputable brands have built-in safety features
  • Very small battery capacity (won’t last the whole day)

  • Performance can be hit-or-miss

  • Extremely limited in flavour choice

  • No option to customise the vaping experience
  • Closed Pod System
    • Very easy to set up

    • Very easy to use

    • Small/pocket-sized

    • Better battery life than a cig-a-like

    • Reputable brands have built-in safety features
  • Typically have longer battery life than a cig-a-like, but not amazing

  • Limited flavour choice as you can only vape flavours that come in that brand of pod

  • Coil can not be changed, you throw the pod away once the coil has reached the end of its life

  • Disposable pods not eco-friendly or as cost-effective

  • No option to customise the vaping experience
  • Vape Pens
    • Easy to set up

    • Easy to use

    • Replaceable coils

    • A wider range of coil resistances

    • Refillable tanks which you can fill with any flavour e-liquid

    • Reputable brands have built-in safety features

  • Quality can vary, some prone to leaking. Make sure to get a reputable brand

  • More fiddly to do maintenance on (such as cleaning the tank)

  • Maybe a bit too tall in height for some people’s tastes

  • Pod Mod
    • Fairly easy to use with more advanced features available

    • More advanced devices come with variable wattage and level of customisation

    • Larger battery capacities available for longer battery life

    • Refillable pods which you can fill with any flavour e-liquid

    • Can have built-in or removable batteries

    • Reputable brands have built-in safety features
  • Not as simple as the previously listed devices

  • Usually larger than your cig-a-likes and closed pod systems

  • Pods not interchangeable; only takes the pod made for the device
  • Box Mod
    • Depending on the device, ease-of-use can vary

    • More advanced devices come with variable wattage and level of customisation

    • Larger battery capacities available for longer battery life

    • Refillable tanks which you can fill with any flavour e-liquid

    • The majority of tanks and mods are cross-compatible

    • Can have built-in or removable batteries

    • Reputable brands have built-in safety features
  • Certain devices may be too complicated for a beginner

  • Usually larger than your cig-a-likes and closed pod systems
  • Mechanical/Mech Mod
    • Used by sub-ohm enthusiasts to blow huge clouds

    • Instant firing

    • Extremely high power output

    • Able to power extremely low resistance coils

    • Removable battery
  • Usually unregulated and dangerous for a beginner or advanced vaper

  • For DIY enthusiasts who are expert vapers

  • Requires full understanding of Ohms Law

  • No safety features
  • Pros and cons of different vaping devices 2021

    Tip: The larger the milliampere hours (mAh) the longer the battery life.

    4. What e-liquid should you choose?

    E-Liquid has three basic ingredients; PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerin) and flavourings. Nicotine is optional, as you can get e-liquid without nicotine, but 3mg, 6mg, 9mg, 12mg and 18mg strengths are available.

    Nicotine

    Beginner vapers are likely to use nicotine to help curb cigarette cravings, but the nicotine level can be reduced over time should they wish. Typically, the strength you will need depends on previous smoking habits and the device used.

    The below table is a handy guide, but be aware that higher-powered box-mods with lower resistance coils (<1ohm AKA sub-ohm)  are best paired with lower nicotine e-liquids, such as a 3mg strength, as you inhale far more vapour and this can be harsh with higher nicotine strengths. 

    E-Liquid StrengthCigarettes Per Day
    3mg1-5 cigarettes daily
    6mgUp to 10 cigarettes daily
    12mgUp to 20 cigarettes daily
    18mg20+ cigarettes daily
    E-Liquid Strength Based Off How Many Cigarettes Smoked

    PG/VG Ratio

    The ratio of PG/VG varies between e-liquids. PG is thought of as a ‘flavour carrier, whereas VG produces clouds and is smoother to vape. You can read more on this in our dedicated PG vs. VG blog post.

    In short:

    • The higher the VG content, the thicker the juice will be. High VG e-liquids typically clog-up MTL coils with a resistance of more than 1ohm but work well for sub-ohm coils with larger holes.
    • The higher the PG content, the thinner the juice will be and more flavourful, but can be harsh to vape at higher levels, especially with a <1ohm (sub-ohm) coil

    Types of E-Liquid

     

    Virginia-E-Liquid-Juice

    Premixed e-liquids contain nicotine (optionally) at the point of sale and only come in 10ml due to TPD regulations. They are ready to use and all you have to do is open it, fill your device and vape!

    DV-Froot-Bomb-E-Liquid-Shortfill

    Shortfills are a newer product that took off after the TPD restricted the sale of e-liquids containing nicotine to 10ml. Shortfills are nicotine-free e-liquid which are usually filled to around 80% of the bottle’s capacity so that it has room for a nic shot which will make it 3mg.
    All our shortfills come with a free optional nic shot. Just add the nic shot to the shortfill to result in a 3mg strength e-liquid!

    Shake-and-vape-kit

    Shake & Vape is a beginner mixing kit for when you get a bit more knowledgeable about the PG/VG ratio and flavours you like. The kit comes with everything you need to make 30ml of juice, and there are over 100 flavours to choose from!

    Type of E-LiquidSizeStrengthVG/PG Ratio
    Premixed
    • 10ml
    • 0mg
    • 3mg
    • 6mg
    • 12mg
    • 18mg
    DV – 50VG/50PG
    Djinni – 60VG/40PG
    Shortfills
    • 50ml
    • or 60ml with nic shot added.
    • 0mg
    • 3mg (with optional free nic shot)
    70VG/30PG
    Shake & Vape
    • 30ml
    • 0mg
    • 3mg
    • 6mg
    • 12mg
    You choose!

    A note on Flavour Concentrates: If you are a beginner then this is something you shouldn’t worry about for now. Flavour concentrates are used by people who DIY their e-liquid at home; that is, purchase nicotine, diluent and flavour separately and mix it together. It allows for more customisation of the e-liquid.

    Tip: All our vape kits come with an e-liquid best suited to the device and coil it comes with. 

    5. Which e-liquid flavour should you choose?

    Those who are looking to switch from traditional cigarettes to vaping may benefit from vaping a tobacco flavour, to begin with. For a realistic tobacco flavour, try our Virginia or Tobacco e-liquid or for menthol fans, our strong Menthol flavour is for you.

    However, a lot of vapers will move on to tasty flavours like sweet and fruit which further prevents them from wanting to go back to smoking. A study by ASH revealed that more vapers used fruit flavoured e-liquid than tobacco e-liquid in 2019.

    ash-study-e-liquid-flavours

    Some of our most popular flavours include Berry Crush, Froot Bomb, Absinthe and Custard.

    6. Vaping Terminology

    Below you will find some of the most common vaping terminologies used today:

    AG: Aqueous Glycerine. Similar to VG diluent but has distilled water making it thinner. Used by DIY mixing enthusiasts. 

    All-Day-Vape: An e-liquid that is ideal for vaping throughout the day

    Atomiser: Another word for a coil

    Cartomizer: The ‘tip’ of a cig-a-like that holds the e-liquid. 

    Cloud Chasing: Term used to describe vapers who like to use sub-ohm devices to blow big clouds of vapour 

    Coil:  Coils are responsible for heating up the e-liquid in your tank/pod and vaporizing it. 

    Diluent: The liquid used to dilute the flavourings in e-liquid. Can be PG, VG or AG.

    Dry hit: What you experience when the coil burns out or you accidentally forget to top-up the e-liquid. Unpleasant taste. 

    DTL: Direct-to-Lung. A vaping style in which the user inhales the vapour directly into the lungs.

    Flooding: When the e-liquid gets inside the coil and ‘floods’ it, causing gurgling and spitting. 

    mAh: Stands for milliamps Hour which measures the capacity of a battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last.

    Mod: A mod refers to a vaping device that provides options for you to customise your vape. This could include things such as Variable Wattage, Temprature Control and Puff Count.

    MTL: Mouth-to-Lung. A vaping style in which the user takes the vapour into the mouth before inhaling it into the lungs

    Ohms: unit of electrical resistance used to measure the coil resistance. The lower the ohm, the looser the vape draw and the more vapour created. 

    Passthrough: If a device has passthrough technology, it can be charged and used at the same time.

    PG: Propylene Glycol. Referred to as the ‘flavour carrier’, it is a diluent and one of the main ingredients in e-liquid. It has more of a ‘throat hit’ than VG. In some rare cases, people can be allergic to PG and so opt to vape an AG/VG e-liquid.

    Priming: You should prime a coil before using it, meaning you allow it time for the e-liquid to soak into the wicking material inside the coil. This reduces the chance of a ‘Dry Hit’

    RBA: Rebuildable atomiser. Not something you need to know as a beginner.

    RDA: Rebuildable dripping atomiser. Not something you need to know as a beginner.

    Resistance: Refers to the coil resistance. The lower the resistance, the lower the ohm.

    RTA: Rebuildable tank atomiser. Similar to an RDA but has a tank to hold e-liquid. Not something you need to know as a beginner.

    Sub-Ohm: Term used to describe coils that have a resistance of less than one ohm.

    TC (Temperature Control): Some devices have a TC feature that enables you to set a temperature that you want to keep the coil at, rather than adjusting the wattage.

    Throat-hit: The feeling in the throat when you inhale vapour or smoke. Too much of a throat-hit can be deemed ‘harsh’.

    Vape Juice: Another word for e-liquid.

    Vaper: A person who vapes.

    Vaper’s Tongue: A strange phenomenon whereby if you continue to vape the same flavour, it begins to lose taste because you’ve gotten used to it.

    VG: Vegetable Glycerine. A diluent and one of the main ingredients in e-liquid. Has a thick consistency and a slightly sweet taste. 

    VW (Variable Wattage): Some devices have a VW feature that enables you to adjust the wattage and directly control the power output of your device. Different resistance coils need to be vaped at different wattages. 

    Wick: Refers to the cotton/wicking material inside a coil that absorbs the e-liquid.

    7. Conclusion

    The switch to vaping is smooth and uncomplicated – which is largely why it has been so successful.

    “E-cigarettes are now the most popular quitting aid, and have been shown to be to be nearly twice as successful in helping smokers quit as traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapy when used with behavioural support in smoking cessation clinics” – ASH, 2019

    There are so many stories about the difference vaping makes to peoples lives, we are happy and proud to be a small part of it.

    Once you feel confident about vaping why not try mixing your own flavour concoctions – the possibilities are endless!

    For more information, or if you need help with any of our products please do not hesitate to contact us: [email protected]

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