Buying Your First Vape Device Online - We Ask One New Vaper to Share Their Experience

To help people quit smoking, we want to guide customers so they can understand the different e-cigarette options available. But with so many amazing devices to pick from and tons of accessories to mix and match from a whole host of brands, recognising what you need the most is a challenge. Especially in an industry packed full of innovative ideas and technical features, providing plenty of follow-up questions. Thinking about why you want to quit and what you’ll need to do is key, during a time when vaping is on the incline and smoking is on the decline.

So we’ve pooled together our resources and in-depth knowledge of the latest products to help a new vaper put down the cigarettes and not remain in the dark about what to do next. All of this has been communicated in the easy modern way to shop - online and remotely through web chat and emails - to advise and assist where we can, as this individual tries a healthier and cheaper alternative.

Vaping is not only backed by organisations like the NHS with medical evidence but evidently because of the price of cigarettes too, which continues to rise, with more than four million vapers in the UK to date. As we love to help many different levels of vapers, we’ve asked important questions to Adam, a daily smoker with a motivation to quit but hesitant to change because of all the technical differences between a cigarette and vaping.

Therefore, considering all the varied factors that cross the mind of a new vaper - such as how much it will all cost annually, the equipment needed and which e-liquid is best, getting these things right can ease the transition and reduce the chances of a smoking relapse. The question and answer section below with our recommendations should help narrow down the options to find the best device from the right advice, for not just Adam but countless others planning to use vaping as a cessation tool for cigarettes.

New vaper Adam answers some questions so we could offer the right advice and get the right device

Q: So, what is your reason for quitting smoking?
Adam: To achieve a better healthier lifestyle and to reduce my nicotine levels. Improving my health to be more active with the kids is the main goal for me. Vaping seems like the best way to do that as I want to go lower in strength but still enough to keep me away from cigarettes. In the mornings I cough quite a bit from smoking roughly 15 cigarettes a day, struggling to breath and have enough lung power to do simple things I used to do, so I need something to take my mind off it and feel better in the process.

Customer Service: Yes, it’s super important to quit to improve your overall health and there are plenty of other reasons to quit; including to boost your finances with vaping a cheaper alternative, to stop the lingering smell of cigarettes on your clothes and furniture, and just to give up a bad habit that’s packed with thousands of unknown dangerous toxins.

Q: Would you vape like you smoke by inhaling it into the mouth first and then into the lungs? Because with vaping you can inhale directly into the lungs too with some devices.
Adam: Yes, as that’s what I’m used to, directly into my lungs doesn’t feel right. To be honest, I was worried and apprehensive about starting vaping, particularly straight into the lungs about seeing all the stories about ‘popcorn lung’. When I initially heard about it I thought it was aout vaping in general. But after reading into it a bit more, I realised it was a minor case in the USA to do with an illegal substance added to one specific manufacturers e-liquids.

Customer Service:That’s completely understandable, many vapers want to keep that familiar mouth-to-lung (MTL) habit going that they’re used to as it’s what they know and may feel odd trying something completely new, at least initially. Meanwhile, some vapers jump straight into direct lung vaping because they want the bigger clouds but are not aware of how odd the sensation can be if the setup isn’t right. A bad first experience by picking too high a nicotine strength or high PG e-liquid for example can lead new vapers straight back to cigarettes.

Q: Have you ever tried vaping before? If so, how did you find it?
Adam: I have found it ok but didn't get on very well, as there are so many variations of liquids and nic salts are very confusing. It wasn’t explained to me in a clear way when I picked one up in a shop as the assistant didn’t recommend what to use. The throat hit seemed too strong in the past, I was coughing up too much, was losing my voice and the taste wasn’t good enough.

There is not much clarity out there as to what products replace cigarettes the best. I'm currently using a 50/50 e-liquid and a vape pen I picked up at a petrol station but it doesn’t give me the sensation I’m looking for compared to cigarettes. It’s inconvenient to carry in the pocket. I am constantly topping it up and it doesn’t give barely any cloud, so it feels like i’m not classed as a mouth to lung or direct lung vaper yet.

Customer Service:Vaping can be hit and miss initially but it’s all about perseverance plus using trial and error to find the right experience. For instance, if vaping didn’t succeed for you on the first try Adam, it might be you were vaping too much nicotine in comparison to the number of cigarettes you had during the day previously. It sounds like you would like a device that’s still mouth to lung but with the potential to try DTL. Something easy to hold and with adjustable airflow to get the right throat hit would help.

Q: How many cigarettes do you currently smoke a day?
Adam: 15

Customer Service:It’s important that you don’t go higher than your current level of nicotine inhaled with cigarettes. The aim of vaping is to help reduce that amount, not increase it. So we would suggest a 12mg e-liquid as an equivalent to roughly 15 cigarettes a day and see how you get on with that initially.

Q: How much were you hoping to spend on e-cigarettes including all the accessories weekly? How much do you currently spend on cigarettes or did you in the past at your most vulnerable point?
Adam: At my highest spending point, it would be close to £70 a week.

Customer Service:The good news is you should be able to spend considerably less than you did previously on cigarettes when switching to vaping. After the initial cost of the device, depending on what kind of vape kit you pick, packs of coils come in packs of between four or five for £10-£15 with each one lasting roughly one week, if vaping less frequently as and when you need it. For high amounts of vaping with nic salts or shortfills, it could cost you more to change coils more often.

Meanwhile, e-liquids can range from anywhere between a few pounds up to £15 depending on the size of the bottle and nicotine strength you want and the brand you select. Then the only other thing you need to think about is batteries. You can buy an internal-battery device which you can charge with a USB or opt for external batteries which cost between £5-£15.

Q: What kind of flavours would you like to try first? Are you wanting to remain with tobacco flavours, get back to menthol after the ban on cigs or want to try something fruity? There are many dessert options too.
Adam: I have tried fruit flavours there not too bad but feels more novelty based. I would try menthol flavours this time round or cherry-based products but I am open to anything. Pineapple or any sweet flavours are interesting too.

Q: Are you looking for a discreet and compact device to hold in the hand, something that looks similar to a cigarette in design, a long thin ‘vape pen’ or a bulky device with more power?
Adam: I’ve tried the pens. They’re not too bad, I got on ok with the blu pro but am open to trying something with more kick. I also like the look of the big Sub-Ohm tanks that puff big clouds and low nicotine to get off them pretty quickly. In terms of design, I like the wider circular ones and am willing to give those a go after using a thin vape pen for a while. Maybe a change from the cigarette shape is needed. But one that’s not massive, preferably compact enough to carry and hold.

Q: Would you like to vape a small amount of cloud similar to smoking or those big puffs of cloud you have probably seen with Sub-Ohm vapers?
Adam: Either really, not overly fussed. Vaping larger clouds is intriguing and seems like an easier way to get off the nicotine. But I don’t want to end up vaping more nicotine than I do when I smoke.

Q: Would you like a smooth experience or a harsher throat hit?
Adam: Something in between really as too smooth will not feel like I’ve done anything. And too harsh would make me turn back to cigarettes. I would prefer a smooth hit to vape and not cough my lungs up. When you smoke too many cigarettes the throat feels gravely. Higher nicotine cigarettes tend to give me a burning throat so I’ve been smoking lighter ones recently.

Q: Are you interested in filling up the e-liquid yourself? If not would you try prefilled pods with the e-liquid already inside?
Adam: I’m ok with filling the liquids up myself so long as I know it’s the right type. Knowing what was the right device, understanding what e-liquid to fill and matching it all together correctly was the most worrying. I like variety and considered whether to use Nic Salt, but I don’t mind filling up with e-liquids.

Customer Service: Because you smoke up to 15 cigarettes but looking for a bit more cloud, we wouldn’t recommend a high wattage device or something with nic salts initially because most nic salts are 20mg. You can get 10mg nic salts that are easier on the throat but they won’t produce a lot of cloud. It’s best to stick with a 50VG/50PG initially made from freebase nicotine for a mixture of mild cloud and throat hit. Prefilled pods are great for minimum fuss but gives you less control over what’s in the tank.

Q: Another important aspect is the coil which heats the e-liquid and turns it into vapour. They are available in different resistances which impact the power, flavour and cloud. Would you like to manually change these yourself or prefer preinstalled pods which are in the pods?
Adam: If there are instructions on how to change correctly and advice on what is the best type for the job I would be ok changing these myself.

Customer Service:You can buy coils that are preinstalled in pods but that sometimes limits your options. Fitting coils is predominantly an easy task that takes a couple of minutes, with instructions usually in the user guides with the kits. We suggest priming new coils beforehand by adding a couple of drops of e-liquid to the visible wicking material (usually cotton) then leaving the e-liquid to soak for 10 minutes in the tank before vaping.

Q: Would you like to try disposables initially? These are strong in throat hit, have nicotine strength and last a couple of days with great flavour. But the more expensive long term and you need to throw away the battery each time.
Adam: No, as I see this as a waste of money.

Customer Service:Yes, they can be as a long-term option but it’s a great choice for initial testing if you’re a heavy smoker that needs the highest strength of 20mg. They typically store around 500-600 puffs and cost anywhere between £3-10. Also makes a handy backup option when you’re out and about and don’t want to refill or change coils.

Q: Would you prefer a device with a small or large battery? And also would you like it if it's an internal battery you charge with a USB or external ones you manually change?
Adam: I would prefer a bigger battery for a longer charge and an internal USB charge if available. However, I don’t mind using external batteries as I often have 18650s lying around the house from other devices and have heard they’re often used in vape kits I’ve seen my friends use. They’re easy to buy and it at least means I don’t need to look for a USB port while out and about.

Which Device Should He Use?
After speaking with Adam based on the answers to our questions, we have recommended that he starts with a hybrid device like the Voopoo Drag X. Crossover devices with small pods and changeable coils, adjustable settings and airflow creates the best tailored experience for an experimental beginner, who is determined to quit smoking. A vape kit like the Drag X for instance is one that offers a generous amount of power, a single 18650 battery and would go well with a balanced 50VG/50PG e-liquid. A beginner vaper can try different settings and pair with MTL high resistance coils or low resistance Sub-Ohm coils to find the right throat hit and cloud vapour.