Vaping for Beginners
You've arrived at Crown's comprehensive guide to vaping. Whether you're new to the vaping scene, curious about it, or simply need to refresh your memory, you've come to the right place. This page will take you through the ins and outs of the vape world, vaping basics, origins, and anatomy.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping refers to the act of inhaling vapor with a vaporizer device or electronic cigarette. The vapor is produced from the heating of an e-liquid. The people that use them are known as "vapers", just as traditional cigarette users are referred to as "smokers".
Vaping Basics and Origins
Vaping devices, or e-cigarettes, are often used as an alternative to, or a transition from, traditional tobacco cigarettes. These devices operate by heating and vaporizing e-liquid. E-liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavorings and sometimes nicotine. The original E-cigarette was created in 2003 by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik, but didn't arrive on the US market for another three years. Since then, vaporizers have exploded in popularity, both in North America and across the globe.
Vaping devices have come a long way since Hon Lik's original model. They're now manufactured worldwide by small and large companies alike. Their features are constantly evolving to enhance the device's performance, and to make the vaping experience more intuitive and enjoyable. For this reason, vape devices are commonly referred to as "mods", short for modified or modifiable. These devices come in an endless variety of sizes, shapes and prices.
Vape Device Components
Every vaping device, no matter how basic or state-of-the-art, operates from the same essential components. Simply put, all vapor devices require a lithium battery to heat a wire coil, with a wick that transfers e-liquid from the reservoir to the coil, thus vaporizing the e-liquid. This process creates a throat-hit inhale and a cloudy exhale, similar to traditional smoking.
As mentioned, vaping devices come in all shapes and sizes, often depending on their unique features and uses. Some are tube or pen shaped, mimicking the traditional tobacco cigarette. Others are box-shaped, known as "mods". These offer enhanced and longer-lasting performance, greater heating capacity and e-liquid storage. Ultimately however, these devices all serve the same purpose. It's up to the device user to determine their best fit.
Batteries provide the power, making them the most essential component of the device. Some devices use a non-replaceable internal battery, but most rely on rechargeable and replaceable high-drain batteries.
Atomizers are essentially a piece of heating coil, made from resistance wire that heats up to vaporize e-liquid. Atomizers come in a variety of styles and resistance levels. Atomizers, specifically the coils, are measured in ohms, based on the amount of resistance it provides. Atomizers are built with a reservoir that houses the e-liquid. The size of the reservoir varies according to the size and complexity of the device.
Coils are small pieces of spring-shaped resistance wire. The coil's level of resistance is determined by the type of wire used, the diameter of the coil, and the number of wraps that shape the coil. The coil's resistance level helps the user understand how much power it uses and how much heat it produces. Common vape-safe coil materials include Nickel, Kanthal and NiChrome.
E-liquid is the flavoured juice that is heated in the atomizer, vaporized and ingested. E-liquid may or may not contain nicotine, but is always made from propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and food flavoring. E-liquids are available in a wide range of flavours, including sweets, fruit mixes, tobacco flavours, and endless others. They're also available in various ratios of vegetable glycerin to propylene glycol, depending on the vaper's preference for flavour and throat-hit intensity, cloud production, and e-liquid longevity. Tobacco cigarette smokers, or former smokers transitioning to vaping, often prefer to start out with a high dose of nicotine, sometimes as high as 24 mg/ml, and gradually reduce it with time. A level of 18 mg/ml of nicotine is recommended to satisfy nicotine cravings without compromising the flavour of the e-liquid. But, it is important to note that advanced vapers using devices that produce more vapor will typically use e-liquids with a lower level of nicotine -- when more vapor is produced and inhaled, the overall nicotine concentration stays the same.
Wicks transport the e-liquid from the reservoir to the coil, where the coil is heated and the e-liquid vaporized. Wicks are made from various materials including cotton, twisted silica cord, eko-wool, ceramic, and stainless steel mesh.