Deciding to quit smoking is a monumental step in the right direction. But if you're looking to try it with a vape, keep in mind that there are plenty of way to step in the wrong direction.
Although manufacturers have done everything in their power to make e-cigs simpler and more effective in recent years, the sheer choice alone makes it easy for new users to take a wrong turn.
Unfortunately, this often leads to frustration, eventually causing would-be vapers to give up and crawl back to regular cigarettes.
But this doesn't have to happen. If you're looking to drop cigarettes in favor vaping, it's important to be aware of the following common mistakes for beginner vapers.
Choosing the Wrong Device
If you're still on the fence about getting a vape, then this mistake is the first one to avoid. Like a lot of devices, vapes range in difficulty from mind-numbingly easy to incredibly complicated.
Many new vapers can comfortably manage somewhere in the middle ground, but there's a learning curve. Since starter vapes are dirt cheap, it's best to ease yourself into it with a basic device.
Even though beginner devices might look and feel simple, the great thing is that they pack a lot of complicated functions under their hoods. However, thanks to their ease of use, you get to experience the features without have to worry about actually controlling them.
That being said, there are a lot of vapes that suit different tastes. Let's take a look.
Starter vapes are both simple and effective. Most can operate with the push of a single button. Some models, like the super-famous JUUL device, fire up when you inhale – no button needed. More importantly, they can carry the heaviest nicotine content by a long shot thanks to the new nicotine salt e-liquids.
Unlike more advanced e-cigarettes, these new starter devices use pre-filled or (in more advanced cases) refillable pods. When your juice empties, just toss the pod or refill it and snap it back in place. The coils are built right into the pods, so messy, annoying priming isn't an issue. The pod setup is what gained them the label of "pod mods".
Another thing to consider is that these vapes are very small and discreet. Their cloud production is minimal and they charge in no time.
If you're over the starter phase or think you can handle a bit more challenge, then there are lots of great vapes out there.
These e-cigarettes are basically pen-style vapes on steroids. Also known as "tube mods," they're thicker and more powerful than beginner devices. In many (if not most) cases, intermediate devices are sub-ohm capable.
Without getting too technical, sub-ohm devices are known for their low electrical resistance. This means more power to the coil, leading to better flavor and bigger clouds. While this can be a lot of fun, it'll make it difficult to vape discreetly.
Another thing to consider is that, unlike pod mods, pen style/tube mods use tanks. This means you'll have to contend with refilling the tank, cleaning it and changing the coils more frequently than with a pod mod.
The batteries last longer, but charge time also takes a while – from two to four hours, depending on the battery.
Nicotine content is also quite limited. Forget about nicotine salts, unless you want your lungs to burn with the heat of a thousand suns. In fact, if you use regular e-juice with a nicotine content above 6mg, there's a good chance it'll be equally harsh.
This leads us to another consideration. The limited nicotine content of intermediate devices makes them inappropriate for heavy smokers. If you happen to be a heavy smoker, stick with a beginner vape and graduate to a nicer device when you've reduced your nicotine level.
Box mods are the most advanced devices. Within them are several different categories – conventional box mods, dripping, squonking, the list goes on. In the interest of simplicity, we'll stick with the easiest option, which is factory-built box mods.
What sets these vapes apart from the rest is the level of complexity and control. These are awesome features if you're an advanced vaper. But if you've never touched a device, odds are you'll spend hours Googling in search of help. If you've never vaped, stay away from these devices. Eventually, you'll get the hang of vaping and be ready to upgrade – if you choose.
Failing to Prime
Learning to replace coils is a crucial skill. Some pod mods do require you to replace coils, rather than the pods. However, this is not usually the case – especially with simple devices.
If you're using a regular tank, then coils will be a key part of the vaping experience.
Coils are great. They vary in subtle way, but those differences can mean more vapor, better flavor, a smoother/harsher hit, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of beginner vapers make a crucial mistake that can result in additional strain or burning to the coil.
This is where priming comes in. Priming is easy. Just place a few drops of e-juice directly onto the exposed cotton on the coil. Give it a second to absorb, then install the coil, fill the tank and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This will ensure that your coil is totally soaked when you fire up the vape. Mixing Flavors
A lot of people think it's fun to mix flavors – and we're not saying it isn't. But this can go south really fast. Mixing two flavors might sound good in theory, but it could create an unvapeable monstrosity that you'll never want to touch again.
Another problem is an issue called "flavor ghosting". This happens when you change flavors without switching to a fresh coil or rinsing your tank. Some flavors aren't that intense, but heavier ones can really linger.
If you plan to switch flavors, it's best to wait until you spend your coil and give your tank a quick rinse. Alternately, you can always purchase more than one tank and devote each to a certain flavor.
Choosing the Wrong Nicotine Level
When you're new to vaping, it's easy to miss the mark on nicotine. While there are guidelines, nothing is set in stone. You may find the need to experiment a bit, but also use common sense.
If you only smoke a handful of cigarettes a day, then three to six milligrams will do just fine. Anything above that, and you're venturing into higher territory.
The point is, don't be discouraged if your juice doesn't cut it or is too intense. Just increase or decrease as needed until you find the right balance.
Forgetting to Charge
There's a common myth going around that it's best to let a battery drain all the way before charging. This simply isn't true. In fact, it'll strain your battery more.
Even if preserving your battery isn't a huge concern, it's also inconvenient to wait until your vape cuts out on you mid-session. Do yourself a favor and charge the device regularly.
Being a "Vape Snob"
While this certainly doesn't apply to most vapers, a few bad apples ruin things for the rest of us.
It's no secret that vaping is safer than smoking, and there's no evidence that second hand vapor is harmful. But that doesn't change the fact that it's annoying. If you plan to vape, always get the all-clear from those around you, and keep your distance.
Another thing some of us fall for is good old-fashioned preaching. While it's great that you quit smoking and found something better, that doesn't mean everyone else is as interested as you. Some people let the accomplishment of vaping get to their heads, and start lecturing smokers. Alternately, they might also brag about it to non-smokers and anyone who will listen.
Nobody likes this kind of condescension. Don't discuss vaping unless someone asks about it. But even then, this isn't an open invitation to give a speech. A quick rundown of what vaping is and why you like it shouldn't take forever to explain.