All you need to know about vaping
More and more people are swapping their regular cigarettes for e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) because it's proven to be a healthier alternative. If you are looking to make the switch, this handy guide for new user's should answer your key questions
What is an e-cigarette?
An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device that replicates the experience of smoking a cigarette. It works by heating a liquid which generates an aerosol, or "vapour", that is inhaled by the user. There are many types available for those first starting out, on a budget, or looking to splash out.
What are the benefits of e-cigarettes versus regular cigarettes?
Regular cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 carcinogenic (cancer causing chemicals) compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic and DDT.
E-cigarettes are non-combustible and, therefore, contain no ash, smoke, tar, or carcinogens. They also do not smell like regular cigarettes (hurray!) and are widely considered to pose no cause for concern to bystanders.
What is an atomiser?
There are many types of atomiser available in the vaping world today. They sit on top of an e-cigarette battery and use heat to vaporise e-liquid. They can be self-contained and disposable, use replaceable coils, or be rebuildable for experienced vapers who want full control over their vaping experience.
What is a coil?
These are the heart of your vaping device. Generally, with a manufactured coil (previously known as wicks), you'll see a small wire wrapped around cotton. The cotton is soaked in e-liquid and, when the wire is heated by the battery, it turns the e-liquid into vapour.
The resistance of a coil is defined in ohms, which tells you how much current the coil will allow to pass through it. The lower the resistance, the more heat will be generated meaning that you will produce more vapour and experience a more intense flavour from your vape juice. The downside is that you will go through more e-liquid and your battery life will be reduced.
What is sub ohm vaping?
You may have heard this expression within the vaping community. If you have seen a fellow vaper producing massive clouds, the chances are they are sub ohming. Go back just a couple of years and sub ohm vaping was reserved for those who built their own coils and modified their batteries. Nowadays, sub ohm tanks, pre-built coils and capable batteries are commonly available off the shelf.
There are two key ways to increase the amount of vapour you get out of your coil. The first is to increase the power of your battery in order to increase the heat; but there are limitations on the amount of power you can put through the coil before it stops creating more vapour and just gets really really hot. This will burn your coil which does not taste good!
A sub ohm coil has a resistance of less than 1 ohm; it combines a thicker wire with a higher airflow so you can use more power before you start creating excessive heat. The thicker wire increases the surface area which is in contact with the cotton (wick) which means more e-liquid is vapourised, and bigger clouds are produced.
When should I replace my coil?
Coils will need replacing periodically; the length of time between changes depends on a number of factors. The amount of device use, power settings, chosen e-liquid, and other variables, all affect the lifespan of the coil. Generally you would want to replace your coil as and when you encounter a burnt or poor taste from your atomiser.
How do I prime my coil to avoid premature burnout?
It's really important to make sure your coil is primed properly before you first fire the device. To achieve this, you can follow the following simple instructions:
- Drip some e-liquid into the holes in the top and the side of the coil, allowing the cotton inside soak it up between drips. Be generous; if there is any excess once the cotton is fully saturated you can simply flick the coil to let it come out.
- Refit the coil and fill your tank with vape juice
- Allow to sit for a few minutes to soak
- Take a few 'Primer Puffs' by pulling on the atomiser as if you were vaping but WITHOUT firing the device
- If your device has adjustable power, turn it to a low setting and fire it there
- Work the power higher at intervals until you are back to your preferred power level
- Huzzah, you should now have successfully primed your coil!
What is the difference between 'mouth to lung' and 'direct to lung' vaping?
These terms have come about due to the new technology available in vaping devices which are much more powerful than they used to be. If you are new to vaping, you will need to know the difference so you can make an informed choice about which may be best for you.
With mouth to lung (MTL/M2L), you inhale the vapour and collect it in your mouth before breathing it fully into your lungs. The atomisers used for this provide a tight draw and are what new vapers should start with first to ween off smoking.
The process closely mimics the effects of smoking, and is what early adopters of vaping will be used to as the first e-cigarette kits only allowed for the MTL method. Additionally, MTL setups usually require fewer power settings (wattage) and can handle higher nicotine and PG levels.
Direct to lung (DL) vaping is much closer to breathing normally. The DL devices are newer, more advanced setups and their atomisers have a much looser draw that require the use of your lungs directly to inhale.
Far more vapour is produced (cloud chasing), there is more flavour and the hit can be more intense and satisfying. Because of the bigger hit, it is important to choose a lower nicotine content (usually no more than 6mg). Users will also often favour a higher VG liquid which is much smoother, and a vape kit with airflow control.
What is e-liquid?
E-liquid can also be known as e-juice, vape liquid, vape juice or coil sauce and is the liquid that you drip into your vaping device which is heated by the coil to create vapour. It consists of just four ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), flavouring and nicotine. The VG and PG are additives from the food industry that are typically used to sweeten or preserve food (more on this below).
Ultimately, the blend you choose will be a very personal thing so it's a good idea to experiment with a few different brands to find the perfect vape juice for you.
You may prefer more PG for the throat hit or more VG for increased vapour production and intense flavour. You may favour a particular flavour group (tobacco, menthol, fruits, vanilla, caramel, mixed berries - the choice is endless). You may decide to vape a liquid with high, medium, or no nicotine at all.
Which nicotine strength should I go for?
The nicotine strength listed for e-liquid is the number of milligrams of nicotine per millilitre in a bottle. That means a 10ml bottle of 6mg nicotine e-liquid would have 60mg of nicotine (6mg x 10ml).
The new legislation from the TPD restricts e-liquid to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml.
If you smoke regular cigarettes (like a Marlboro Red), there is approximately 1.2mg of nicotine in each cigarette, or 24mg of nicotine per pack (1.2mg x 20 cigarettes).
If you smoke light cigarettes (like a Marlboro Light), there is approximately 0.7mg of nicotine in each cigarette, or 14mg of nicotine per pack (0.7mg x 20 cigarettes).
If you smoke Ultra Light cigarettes (like a Silk Cut), there is approximately 0.5mg of nicotine in each cigarette, or 10mg of nicotine per pack (0.5mg x 20 cigarettes).
As you make the switch to vaping from regular cigarettes, you can consider this a guide to the nicotine strength you should try. Of course, this isn't definitive as other factors, such as VG/PG ratio and your chosen flavour can have an effect on the nicotine hit, so you should always experiment with a few variants.
10+ regular cigarettes per day = 18 mg nicotine strength
Up to 10 light cigarettes per day = 12 mg nicotine strength
Up to 10 ultra-light cigarettes per day = 6 mg nicotine strength
Very light/occasional smokers = 3 mg nicotine strength
Nicotine free = 0 mg nicotine strength
What is propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG)?
PG and VG are the liquids that help burn the nicotine to vapour.
They are both recognised as safe by the Food Standards Agency and are in many processed foods and cosmetics.
PG is tasteless and derived from plants. It is used in baked goods, medicines and cosmetics. The liquid is thinner than VG and so produces less vapour. PG produces more throat hit that is similar to smoking a regular cigarette. It is better suited to lower powered devices and can carry a higher nicotine content. One of the downsides of a high PG e-liquid is that it may cause some throat dryness.
VG tastes a little sweet but the flavour is too small for most people to detect. It's used in baked goods, sweeteners, and as a filler in foods. The liquid is thicker which helps to produce lots of vapour and, as it's the vapour that carries the flavour, high VG vape juice provides a more intense taste sensation. The vapour also carries the nicotine, so vapers who prefer high VG liquids generally opt for a lower nicotine strength. In order to produce the large vape clouds, more power is required so you should consider more powerful hardware to heat the VG effectively.
Most people start out with a 50/50 mix which has been determined to be a very optimal blend and can be used effectively in a smaller starter kit. As you experiment with different juices that use different blends, you may choose a juice with more VG for more vapour production, or more PG for throat hit with 60/40 mixes or even 70/30.
An important consideration is allergies or reactions to either PG or VG, in which case you should buy a blend that uses less of that item. These reactions are typically more common with PG than VG.
What PG/VG split do your e-liquids contain?
The majority of our own brand range of UK made Vape UK e-liquids are a 50/50 VG/PG split, but each flavour shows the specific blend in the listing on our site
Our premium, high VG UK made Vape UK e-liquids contain either 70(VG)/30(PG) or 80(VG)/20(PG) and are fantastic for flavour delivery and vapour production.
How to care for your products?
One of the big headlines about the vaping industry is the safety of the equipment. There are many experienced vapers that know how to safely use batteries with the various types of mods. However, for those new to the world of vaping, practicing battery safety is something that needs to be made a priority. Vape shops should always take care to ensure their customers are fully informed about proper battery safety.
Unfortunately, when an incident occurs to a vaper who hasn't properly handled their equipment, it is usually broadcast across media. Research studies are proving more and more positives about vaping, so the media needs new ways to portray the negative view; the current negative is e-cigarette batteries exploding.
In reality, there has been a tiny percentage of battery accident compared to the number of products that are out there. Yet, every time an incident occurs, the story spreads like wildfire, causing people to assume that vaping is a dangerous hobby.
We're here to reassure you that the proper handling, storage and maintenance of your vape devices removes the chance of anything happening that could put you, or the people around you at risk. Whether your are an experienced sub-ohmer with a multitude of mods, or a vaping convert with a starter kit, please ensure that you practice proper battery safety!
Caring for your batteries
We would always advise that a battery cover or holder is used when transporting batteries to prevent them from touching each other, or other metallic items.
Make sure that your batteries are inserted the correct way to avoid them venting. Even if your mod features reverse polarity protection, pay attention that the batteries don't go in backwards.
When charging your battery, check back regularly to see if it has finished. As soon as charging is complete, remove from the charger to prevent it from overcharging, which can cause battery failure. Batteries should always be charged on a fireproof surface, and should not be left unattended or to charge overnight.
The chemicals contained within the battery should never be exposed to extreme temperatures so keep it at room temperature - and definitely keep it away from fire! Also, check for damage/denting regularly and do not use if any is found.
Use special caution when working with rechargeable Lithium Ion 18650 cells and make sure you have enough knowledge of Li-Ion batteries in charging, discharging and assembly before use.
If you want your Li-Ion battery to last, don't let it empty completely. These batteries do not need to be discharged all the way to prolong their life in the same way that Nickel based cells do. Instead, get into the habit of recharging before the low battery indicator shows on the mod.
You can also extend the life of the battery by staying above 2.5V. Dropping below 2.0V leads to metal being plated inside the battery which can lead to a short circuit, or possible bursting. Bear in mind that this is the resting voltage, not the voltage 'under load' that the battery drops to when used.
If you do happen to discharge your battery below 2.0V, you should charge immediately at the slowest rate your charger will allow. Once it gets above 3.0V, you can switch back to normal charging rate.
If the battery has been at 2.0V for a while then, the chances are it is damaged. Trying to charge or use at this point may lead to a short circuit.
You should allow the cell to cool to room temperature when you remove it from your mod before attempting to charge it. Also, never use a trickle charger with this type of battery as the continuous holding of the battery at trickle charge voltage will damage it.
All devices used with rechargeable Lithium Ion IMR batteries should have an amp limit of 20A or higher. Using other batteries can be potentially hazardous.
If you start to get battery alerts from your mod earlier than before, it doesn't hit as hard, or it gets warmer during use, it may be time to replace the cell. Please don't ever put a battery in the bin!
Rebuildable atomiser coils and wicks
Rebuildables have known risks and are for experts, not average or beginner vapers with no multimeter or knowledge of how to or when a meter must be used, or how electronic devices work. These materials cannot safely be used by the inexperienced or those without basic knowledge of electronics.
This is for a number of reasons:
1. A rebuildable coil / wick MUST be tested carefully with a meter before it is used.
2. If it is not tested it is entirely the risk of the user.
3. Faulty wicks / coils WILL blow electronic devices.
4. New coil / wick units must be tested and then used first on a strong basic mod that has short circuit protection or better still a testing rig.
5. No new coil / wick assembly should be used on an electronic device until known to be safe.
6. These items destroy electronic devices if faulty. This is a known issue.
Sub-ohm tanks and sub-ohm resistance coils should only be used by experienced users. Extra safety precautions should be practiced when using a sub ohm tank. Sub-ohm tanks will only work on a mechanical or a regulated mod capable of firing sub ohm atomisers and coils.
For example, if you have a 0.2ohm coil, your mod must be able to fire atomisers of 0.2ohm or lower. You must also ensure that your batteries can handle sub ohm atomisers and coils. If you're using a regulated mod, make sure it can handle the amps. Improper use can lead to injury or damage. Use the OHMS LAW CALCULATOR, CHECK YOUR AMPS, and be safe.
Tip for new users:
We strongly suggest 6mg e-liquid or lower with sub-ohm resistance atomisers. Sub-ohm atomisers produce a higher throat hit than low and standard resistance atomisers. Using this atomiser with a nicotine level above 6mg will usually taste burnt or harsh.
Please vape responsibly
Please have a basic understanding of the kit you are using and how to care for it properly. We are here to help you and we want to be sure that you know how to get the best from your vaping equipment. However, Vape UK cannot be held responsible for damage if there is any modification to the kit we supply, including battery wraps/markings. We are also not responsible for any damage caused by misuse or mishandling of Li-Ion batteries and chargers.