Vaping 101: How to Buy Your First E-Cigarette

This article is a comprehensive guide to understanding what you should look for in your first vaping device so you make the right purchase first time.

Out of all the vaping devices that you’ll buy in your life, it’s likely that the buying decision you’ll agonise over most of all will be the very first one. There’s such a wide array of different vaping devices on the market today, and each one has its own features, user experience and flavour selection. It’s very difficult to know exactly what you want until you’ve experimented with a variety of different products, and it’s impossible to do that without spending a lot of money. Your first purchase is much more likely to go well for you if you have at least a general idea of what you want before you make your buying decision – and that’s where our Vaping 101 guide is going to help.

This article is a comprehensive guide to understanding what you should look for in your first vaping device. We’ll begin by answering some of the questions that are likely to be on your mind if you’ve never vaped before, and we’ll finish by describing a few of the e-cigarettes that are most likely to appeal to you as a new vaper. When you’re done reading, you’ll know the answers to these questions:

·What is nicotine strength in e-liquid, and what’s the right nicotine strength for you?
·What are the differences between pre-filled and refillable vaping devices?
·What are the two inhaling styles that you might use when vaping?
·What are the differences between automatic and manual firing?

Let’s begin!

What Does E-Liquid Nicotine Strength Mean?
The reason why vaping exists is because it provides a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes. Although nicotine-free e-liquid is available – and is more popular than you might assume – most people buy vape juice with nicotine because that’s what makes the switch from smoking to vaping as easy and trouble-free as it can be.

E-liquid is available in many different nicotine strengths, though, and choosing the right nicotine strength for your needs is the key to ensuring that your switch to vaping will be successful. Ideally, your vaping device should deliver enough nicotine that you can change right over to vaping without feeling much of a difference.

The nicotine strength of e-liquid is measured by weight (milligrams per millilitre) or volume (as a percentage of the overall solution). The two measures are roughly equivalent. A nicotine strength of 5%, for example, equates to 59 mg/ml.

What Is Nicotine Salt E-Liquid?
When you shop for vaping devices and e-liquid, you’ll see the term “nicotine salt” fairly often. The two types of nicotine that can be used in e-liquid are nicotine salt and freebase nicotine. It isn’t important to understand the differences between the two types of nicotine when you’re new to vaping. All you really need to know is that nicotine salt e-liquid has a lower pH and provides a smoother vaping experience at higher nicotine strengths. Virtually every e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 20 mg/ml and higher uses nicotine salt.

What Nicotine Strength Is Best for a New Vaper?
You can find e-liquid in nicotine strengths ranging from no nicotine all the way up to 50 mg/ml and higher. However, the vast majority of the e-liquid that you’ll find at mainstream vape shops breaks down into two categories.

·Nicotine salt e-liquid with a high strength of 40-50 mg/ml and a low strength of 20-25 mg/ml
·Freebase nicotine e-liquid with a high strength of 6 mg/ml and a low strength of 3 mg/ml

As a new vaper, the type of vaping device that’s most likely to be best for you is a small vaping device designed for mouth-to-lung inhaling and an e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 40-50 mg/ml. We’ll explain the two different inhaling styles shortly. With a nicotine strength of 40-50 mg/ml, though, you can expect your vaping device to deliver about the same nicotine per puff as a tobacco cigarette.

How to Know if You’re Using the Wrong Nicotine Strength
Suppose that you try vaping for the first time and find that you don’t enjoy it at all. If that’s the case, there’s a strong possibility that the nicotine strength you’re using isn’t right for your needs. Here’s how to tell.

·If the nicotine strength that you’re using is too high, you may experience a “buzzed” sensation similar to what you might feel if you smoked too many cigarettes in a short time span. You may also find the act of vaping unpleasant because of throat irritation. Vaping should be an enjoyable experience. If it’s not, your nicotine strength is probably too high.

·If the nicotine strength that you’re using is too low, you’ll find it difficult to derive any satisfaction from vaping because your nicotine intake will be so low compared to what you get from smoking that you’ll feel unsatisfied even if you vape almost constantly. You’ll also find that your supply of e-liquid doesn’t last as long as it should. With the pod-based vaping devices that most beginning vapers use, you should generally find that one pod has enough e-liquid to last through about a day of vaping. If you use two or more pods per day, it’s likely that the nicotine strength is too low.

What Are the Differences Between Pre-Filled and Refillable Vaping Devices?
All vaping devices come in two types. There are devices that use pre-filled pods or cartridges and devices that you can fill yourself with bottled e-liquid. Pre-filled vaping devices are usually best for beginning vapers, but both types of devices have their own sets of benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Pre-Filled Vaping Devices
Vaping devices with pre-filled pods are generally best for beginning vapers because they’re the easiest vaping devices to use. A pre-filled device is extremely user friendly. To use a device with pre-filled pods, all that you need to do is charge the battery, insert a pod and puff. Vape pods are transparent, so you can always see how much e-liquid is left. When a pod is empty, you’ll discard it and start using a new pod.

In addition to being easy to use, a vaping device with pre-filled pods usually has a low up-front cost. The manufacturers of pre-filled devices don’t charge much for their starter kits because they earn most of their money from selling the pods. So, using a vaping device with pre-filled pods tends to cost more over the long term than using a refillable device – although any type of vaping device will cost significantly less than smoking.

Another potential drawback is that a pre-filled vaping device generally doesn’t have a large flavour selection. A pre-filled device typically has around 8-12 different flavours available. Although the makers of pre-filled devices obviously do their best to develop flavours that people will like, the selection still can’t compare to the hundreds of flavours of bottled e-liquid that are available.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Refillable Vaping Devices
Compared to devices with pre-filled pods, refillable vaping devices are a bit more challenging to use because, in addition to the fact that you’ll have to refill the device occasionally, you’ll also need to keep some empty pods on hand and know when it’s time to discard your current pod and start using a new one. When the pod that you’re using begins to produce a burned flavour, it’s time for a new pod.

Another difference between pre-filled and refillable vaping devices is that refillable devices almost always cost more up front. That’s because, unlike the makers of pre-filled devices, the makers of refillable devices don’t earn money from selling e-liquid. Therefore, they need to charge more for their hardware. The benefit of paying a bit more up front for your vaping device, though, is that you’ll have lower long-term costs because bottled e-liquid costs significantly less than packs of pre-filled pods.

The greatest benefit of using a refillable vaping device is that a refillable device gives you the freedom to use any e-liquid on the market. As we just mentioned, there are hundreds of different flavours of bottled e-liquid on the market today. Taste preference is a very individual thing, and it’s possible that you could try every flavour available for a vaping device with pre-filled pods and find that you don’t really care for any of them. If you can use any e-liquid on the market, though, it’s absolutely certain that you’ll eventually find the perfect flavour for your taste.

What Are Mouth-to-Lung and Direct-to-Lung Inhaling?
There are two different inhaling styles that people use when they vape. The first style is the mouth-to-lung or MTL style. That’s the same inhaling style that you use when smoking a cigarette; you draw the vapour into your mouth before inhaling it to the lungs.

The other style is the direct-to-lung or DTL inhaling style. When you use that inhaling style, you inhale the vapour directly into your lungs.

Most small vaping devices – and all of the devices that we will discuss in this article – are designed to support the mouth-to-lung inhaling style. We recommend the MTL inhaling style for anyone new to vaping because that’s the inhaling style that works best with high-nicotine e-liquids and because it’s what feels most like smoking.

You can usually tell whether a vaping device is designed for MTL or DTL inhaling simply by looking at it. If the device is small and has a mouthpiece that’s around the same size as the filter of a cigarette, it’s designed for MTL inhaling and is probably a good choice for a beginning vaper. If the device is large and has a glass tank with a wide mouthpiece, it’s probably designed for the DTL inhaling style and is intended for long-term vapers who use e-liquids with very low nicotine strengths.

What Are Manual and Draw-Based Firing?
A vaping device that’s designed for beginners usually has automatic draw-based firing. That’s true of every device that this article will discuss. Draw-based firing means that the device automatically generates vapour when you puff on it.

Devices with automatic firing are easy to use, and the fact that you can hold a draw-based device between two fingers means that it’ll feel much like a cigarette in the hand.

You can also find vaping devices with manual activation. Manual activation means that you need to hold a button to make the device produce vapour. The reason why some people prefer vaping devices with manual activation is because, when you puff on an automatic device, there’s always a split-second delay before the device produces vapour. With a manual device, you’ll get slightly bigger vapour clouds because you can press the button before you begin inhaling.

What E-Liquid Flavours Do New Vapers Prefer?
The best thing about vaping compared to smoking – aside from the fact that vaping is smoke free, of course – is the incredible variety of flavours that you can experience. Although the world’s various cigarettes have subtle flavour differences from one brand to the next, they all still taste like cigarettes.

E-liquid, on the other hand, is something completely different. It contains no tobacco and creates no smoke, so it’s never going to taste like a traditional cigarette. Using various combinations of food-grade flavourings, though, it’s possible to create an e-liquid that tastes like just about any food or beverage you can imagine.

When you get started with vaping, it’s a good idea to try at least one tobacco or menthol e-liquid depending on what your cigarette preferences are. Most people who vape, however, prefer sweeter e-liquid flavours rather than ones that attempt to recreate the flavours of cigarettes. Some of the most popular vape juice flavours include fruity, candy and dessert flavours.

What Are the Best Vaping Devices for Beginners?
One of the first things you’ll notice when you survey the landscape of beginner-oriented vaping devices is that they all look outwardly similar; they’re slightly larger than cigarettes but are clearly meant to recall tobacco products in their overall appearance. You can hold them comfortably between two fingers. All of the devices on our list of the best e-cigarettes for beginners are incredibly simple to use, and they all have automatic draw-based activation. Just charge the device, insert a pod and puff to vape. When you scan these devices, it’s obvious that they’re similar in broad strokes. It’s the subtle differences that can make a particular e-cigarette the best one for your needs, and we’re going to shed light on some of those differences to make your buying decision a bit easier.