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New Users’ Guides: Vaping FAQ

This is a constantly evolving document, and we’d appreciate any suggestion you have via the form below. We will be hyperlinking to other articles where some of the issues are explained in more depth. 

What is vaping?

Vaping means the use of a vaping device (aka e-cigarette/personal vaporizer/mod/APV)! There are numerous such devices available, from the cigalikes to the 3rd generation APVs, but vaping is the term that unites them all.

How do vaping devices work?

All vaping products operate using the same principals. A battery powers a coil which heats a liquid solution known as e-liquid. This produces a vapor which is then inhaled.

However, these fundamentals can be applied in a large number of ways, and many products have been developed to meet the demands vapers have from their vape.

Why should I vape?

Vaping is an alternative to smoking. It provides a vaper with the sensations, rituals and nicotine that smoking provides, but without smoke and the vast number of dangerous chemicals found in smoke.

Vapers choose to use the products for a number of reasons; some because they want to save money, some for health reasons, and some for convenience. It is our belief that vapers should, as soon as they are able, transition fully away from smoking into vaping.

Is vaping safe?

Vaping is used as tobacco harm reduction. It has been estimated to be between two and three orders of magnitude safer than smoking, and this is the standard by which is should be judged. It is then, not risk free, but far preferable to smoking.

It is also possible that some forms of vaping are safer than others. Our mission is to provide vapers with the best information available so they can make an informed choice on which products are appropriate for them. 

Read more on our 'are they safe?' page!

What device do I need to buy?

This is a very tricky question, but our advice is that at the minimum, you should purchase a 2nd generation device (eg, ego).

The reason we suggest this is because our belief is that the principal goal for a vaper to use these products is to become completely smoke-free in as short a space as possible. Our research has shown that 2nd generation devices offer the best balance between satisfaction and price, and should be the entry point for any smoker wishing to try vaping.

Can I vape anywhere?

The short answer here is no. Sadly, many Cities and Counties have chosen to prohibit vaping in public places, shoehorning vaping into smokefree legislation. Thankfully, vaping is still permitted in public places in the majority of the US, but this is continuously under threat.

Nevertheless, it’s wise not to assume that you can vape anywhere just because it’s not illegal. Premises owners are entitled to prohibit vaping on their property, and many do.

Is vaping right for me?

If you're an adult smoker who does not intend to quit right now, then the answer is yes. Vaping is undoubtedly preferable to smoking tobacco, although vapers should be aware that cutting down on tobacco smoking does not reduce the health risks from smoking to an acceptable level. There is no safe level when it comes to smoking. 

Non-smokers should not take up nicotine in any form. The addictiveness of nicotine as provided by vaping devices is as yet not fully understood, but it should be assumed that it does have the potential to cause dependence.

What are PG or VG liquids?

PG (propylene glycol) and VG (vegetable glyerine, or glycerol) are ingredients in e-liquid which create the vapor. Both are widely used in a variety of products for human consumption. PG is associated with a stronger “throat hit” but with less visible vapor, whereas VG has a sweetish taste and produces a much more visible vapor. Some vapers find PG irritates their throat and lungs and choose to use VG based e-liquids instead. Some e-liquids contain a blend of both ingredients to balance out the characteristics of each.

What e-liquids should I get?

Again, there is no one-size fits all answer here, so the best thing you can do is to try out a few e-liquids and see which one suits you. Interestingly, don’t assume that you need an authentic tobacco flavor. There are some good ones out there, but we find that the vast majority of vapers end up choosing a flavor other than tobacco, and this happens very quickly if they try a few different ones to begin with. In terms of PG/VG, you’ll have to try for yourself and decide what you like.

What strength e-liquid should I buy?

The heavier a smoker you are, the stronger the e-liquid you should start with. But do remember that nicotine strength isn't the whole story.  For example, some vapers vape more than others and choose to use lower strength e-liquid. Stronger liquids cause a more intense “throat hit”, so do bear that in mind when making your first purchase.

Another issue is that some devices kick out more of the vapor per puff. As a rule of thumb, choose lower nicotine concentration e-liquid for more powerful devices.  

Finally, vapers self-titrate their nicotine intake. In other words, it’s as if there’s a thermostat which nicotine users have. As soon as they have enough, it switches off. So, if you want to vape less, use a stronger e-liquid, if you find you’re getting too much nicotine from the amount you like to vape, move to a less strong liquid.

Can I save money over smoking?

Yes, absolutely. Although how much you will save depends on several factors:

How much cigarettes or tobacco costs where you live
The amount you spend on devices (this becomes a hobby for many!)

That said, with a good setup you should be able to save considerable amounts of money, and the more focused on saving money by vaping you are, the more you will save.

What should I look for when choosing a vaping device?

There is a huge range of vaping devices available, and they come in all shapes and sizes. When choosing your first device you will be making your choice based on aesthetics and price/performance, and it’s hard to give generic advise on this.

However, do make sure you consider this: You will always want to have a device charged up and to hand. So, for example, if you’re buying a second-generation device (e.g. an Ego) you will want to think about having two or three spare batteries you can keep charged up. Also, make sure you have enough of the consumables (e.g. atomizer heads and e-liquid) so you don’t run out. Lastly, you’ll need a way of carrying all of these around – many vapers have a small bag they keep their bits in, so you’ll want to think about this too.

How can I get the best tobacco-like flavor?

There are some very good tobacco flavors out there, but none of them are identical to smoking. Remember that vaping is fundamentally not smoking, and much of the flavor and sensation from smoking comes from the very fact that it is smoke which is being inhaled.

Most vapers find that the absence of smoke is actually a big plus point, and that they transition quickly away from wanting a smoke-like flavor.  Also, after being smoke-free for a while, the sense of smell becomes far more sensitive, and many vapers find the world of non-tobacco flavored e-liquids to be a real pleasure in and of itself.

Are there any companies I should avoid?

Many vapers also take the view that they would rather buy their e-cigs from non-tobacco companies, even if the tobacco companies were to develop 2nd/3rd generation devices that they use. That is, of course, your own personal imperative.

There is a giant and growing community of vapers who are more than willing to help you find a supplier that is right for you.

Can I quit smoking by vaping?

It is impossible to say whether YOU can quit smoking by vaping. The only thing we can say with certainty is that there are many people who are known to have quit smoking by substituting with vaping.

Whether you will be one of those people depends on a few factors, such as how motivated you are, how much effort you make finding a device that works for you, and how much you find you enjoy vaping to being with. The only way to find out is to try!

We believe that vaping offers a unique opportunity for smokers to transition away from smoking, and that the products are improving all the time, and more smokers are finding the right devices for them. 

Got a question about vaping we haven't addressed? Please write to us in the contact form below and we'll add it to the FAQ....

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