So you’ve finally made the decision to stop smoking traditional cigarettes and try out vaping. Congratulations! We’ve collected the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get right here, and we sincerely hope we can help start your vape journey off right.
What Makes Vaping Different from Smoking?
Smoking and vaping are both ways for you to inhale nicotine. When you smoke a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe, dried tobacco is burned and the smoke is inhaled.
When you vape, you are using a hand-held, battery operated device to heat e-liquid (a liquid containing nicotine along with PG, VG and food flavorings) to create vapor that you inhale.
Smoking has long been associated with health risks because the smoke associated with burning tobacco contains carcinogens.
By heating ‘eliquid’ or ‘ejuice’ to create vapor, you can get a dosage of nicotine with a similar sensation to smoking a cigarette, cigar or pipe, without some of the risks associated with inhaling tobacco smoke.
Why are There So Many Kinds of Vape Devices?
Members of the vaping industry have been advancing and perfecting e-cigarette technology since vaping started becoming popular in the late 2000s.
Each new vape device is designed to more closely simulate the feel and sensation of smoking. This is to help new users transition off traditional tobacco products and to provide a better experience (smoother vapor, better battery life, or more customization options, to name a few) for current vapers.
Early ‘e-cigs’ or ‘ecigarettes’ were a good starting point, but they had their limitations. The first e-cigarettes were small, lacked battery longevity and had issues with leaking and liquid capacity.
The next generation of devices were big and bulky, often still messy, and even with larger sizes, they frequently lacked power to last through the day.
Over the years and with several more generations of vape devices, many of these issues have been addressed. Devices are available now with improved battery capacity and optimization of battery usage, leak-resistant designs, and advanced electronic safety features. Hundreds of customizable vape systems exist today, each with different features and form factors to appeal to different vapers.
Navigating the different options available can definitely be difficult for a new vaper, so we’re here to help you as you search for your best device and vape style.
Are there different ways to vape?
Beyond the different styles of device, tank, and e-liquid, there is the physical act of vaping, and there are different ways to actually inhale vapor. For beginners, we have a couple reminders.
Finding the right style for you takes trial and error. Whether it’s trying a dozen different flavors before you find one that really tastes great, or using a few different devices over the course of a few months, it takes time for everyone to ‘get it right’. What works for one person won’t work for everyone; that’s why there are so many flavors and devices available today.
If you feel like you’re vaping too often or like you’re not getting enough nicotine, make a change. You bought a vape pen and a bottle of 3mg e-liquid from your favorite vape shop, but you’ve got an irresistible craving for a cigarette, or you’re vaping more frequently than you want to. It happens; the best thing to do is go up a step in nicotine strength (to 6mg, in this example). Adjusting your power settings (more on that later) can also increase the amount of e-liquid (and nicotine) per puff you’re getting.
Your vape is too harsh, or you feel like you’re getting too much nicotine. First of all, if you feel like you’re getting significantly too much nicotine or something is wrong, stop vaping immediately and seek medical assistance if needed. Using a lower nicotine strength e-liquid will reduce the amount of nicotine per puff you’re getting. Turning down the power/wattage settings in your device can help reduce harshness, and so can using a lower nicotine strength.
You can also try changing the physicality of your vaping in a few different ways.
First, you should always draw on your vape the whole time you are pressing the button. If you’re pushing the button to activate your device, you should also be drawing that vapor into your mouth or lungs. Pushing the button without drawing on your device will damage your coil and can damage your device.
You can also try drawing on your vape more gently (or more forcefully). If you’re experiencing harshness, a lighter draw can help, but it’s typically more effective to adjust your settings. Drawing too hard or too gently on your device can also cause your tank to leak and e-liquid to come up into your mouth, so adjusting this habit can help with those issues as well.
Mouth to Lung (MTL) vaping is when you draw the vapor into your mouth first, hold it there, and then inhale into your lungs.
Direct to Lung (DTL) vaping is when you inhale vapor directly into your chest/lungs as you vape.
Each style has its benefits and drawbacks, and there are devices and coils that are designed for each style, but ‘how to vape best’ comes down to personal preference and experience – only trying each style will let you know which is most satisfying for you. Be sure to use a low power setting and low nicotine option (if possible) for experimentation!
What about throat hit?
Throat hit is simply how smooth or harsh an eliquid is when you vape it. This is a subjective experience, but in general, you can increase throat hit (for a more cigarette-like experience) with higher nicotine levels, higher power settings in your device, and by choosing certain flavors of eliquid. For a smoother vape and less throat hit, lower nicotine levels or using nicotine salt flavors, lower power settings, and specific flavors or brands of eliquid can be used.
What’s in a Vape?
It’s completely normal to be confused about all the pieces that go into making your vape work the way you need it to. In simple terms, each vape component works alongside another in order to create the final product; vapor.
There are a lot of different names for the same basic components, so we’ll try to include some alternate terms for each part in the list below.
Almost every complete vape setup, regardless of what it looks like, has just three basic components:
- A power source (called your device, mod, vape, battery or e-cigarette)
- A tank and atomizer (this is the whole part of your device that holds and converts e-liquid to vapor, which includes your coils, wicking material, airflow channels, eliquid chamber, and more)
- E-liquid (also known an e-juice or vape juice)
Let’s go in and break each component down a bit for you.
Powering Your Vape: Batteries & Electronics
Why do I need a battery to vape?
Traditional tobacco products use fire to burn tobacco and produce smoke, but e-cigarettes use electricity to provide the energy to heat eliquid and produce vapor.
Your vape device holds and regulates a battery or batteries to provide power to your atomizer.
All electronic devices need power to operate, whether from an outlet or a battery.
Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer rechargeable batteries are portable, making them the clear choice for any handheld electronic device, from your phone to your vape mod.
Are there different types of devices for vaping?
Yes – there are a huge variety of devices designed for vaping, each with their own unique options and benefits.
Many vape devices contain built-in rechargeable batteries, especially the smaller devices that resemble traditional cigarettes. You won’t need to buy batteries separately for this type of device, and you’ll recharge your device’s battery using the cable that comes with your device.
Other vape devices are made to accept replaceable batteries so that you can choose your own batteries to install and swap them out for charging.
With replaceable batteries, you have more power, longevity, and customization of your vape experience. You will buy your batteries and a charger separately for these types of mods.
Always be sure to purchase only high-amp batteries sold for use in vaping devices.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, whether built-in to your device or sold separately, are easily charged via a USB cable or with a stand-alone charger.
Creating Vapor: Tanks, Atomizers, Coils & Wicks
We now know that your vape device and the batteries inside it are needed to supply power, but what about turning your e-liquid into vapor?
You’ll buy a tank (or a pod, or cartridge) for your vape, but you may have also heard the terms ‘atomizer’, ‘coils’, or ‘wicks’. These are all parts of the vaporization system. The whole system is usually just called a ‘tank’ for simplicity.
What is a vape tank?
Your vape tank, pod, or cartridge is just the part of your device that holds your e-liquid. When you buy a tank, usually it has your atomizer already built in and includes a (replaceable) coil inside, depending on what you’re buying.
In the past referred to as cartomizers or clearomizers, vape tanks are now more often called tanks, pods, or cartridges, depending on your vape device.
Tanks, pods, and cartridges are all fairly similar. They will open, unscrew or detach in some way from your mod or device so that you can fill and refill your favorite eliquid. They’ll also allow you to see your liquid level through a window, port, or by being made of clear glass or plastic.
What is a vape atomizer and what does it do?
The atomizer in your vape setup is all of the parts that transform e-liquid into vapor; that includes the heating element (coil), wicking material, the airflow construct, and the parts that connect to your device to move power from your battery to your coil.
Your atomizer is usually built into your tank, pod, or cartridge and doesn’t need to be purchased separately.
Tanks and atomizers can come in all shapes and sizes, from disposable pod atomizers with built-in coils used by the Aspire AVP, to long-lasting glass tank setups with replaceable premade coils like the FreeMax M Pro Tank or the Tobeco Super Tank Mini. There are even atomizers where you can make your own coils, called rebuildables (RBAs).
What is a vape coil?
A vape coil is a component of your atomizer system; it is the heating element that the atomizer activates.
These small sections of wire most commonly look like ‘coiled’ springs (thus the name) but can also come in other, newer shapes, like tube-shaped honeycombed mesh coils. Traditional coils in the spring configuration are most commonly available, but the newer configurations offer unique benefits; mesh coils, for example, typically heat more evenly and provide a larger surface area for heating, which leads to more e-liquid being vaporized each time you heat the coil.
Coils also come in a wide variety of metal options, each with different uses and properties. The most common is FeCrAl (brand name Kanthal) which can be used only with Power (Voltage/Wattage) device settings. Less commonly, Stainless Steel and Nickel may be used to make a vape coil. These types of coils can be used with temperature control (TC or TCR) settings in some advanced vapor devices.
Coils can only be heated so many times, and need to be replaced as they age or ‘burn out’.
The amount of time a coil will last varies on a wide variety of factors; the same coil may last a different amount of time for a different person, or when using a different eliquid, as two examples.
There are a wide variety of coil types available today. In modern vape devices, most coils you’ll buy are designed to work with a specific atomizer/tank system. These coils are pre-wicked and encased within a metal housing, almost like a capsule, so that it can be easily installed into your atomizer/tank system.
Some vape systems use replaceable pods that serve as the tank and atomizer and come with built-in coils; when a coil burns out, the entire pod is discarded and replaced.
What does OHM (Ω) mean when we’re talking about coils?
There’s a complicated answer to that, and a simple answer: we’re going to stick with simple for now. Essentially, the ohm rating or resistance rating of a coil is a measure of how much power is required to heat up your coil.
Functionally, that means that the lower resistance your coil is, the hotter it will get because power can flow through it faster. A coil with a resistance of 0.2 ohms, for example, might be rated for use at up to 200 watts – you can put more power through it, and it will provide a warmer vape as a result. Any coil that is under 1.0 ohms (so 0.9 ohms to about 0.15 ohms at the lowest) is considered a sub-ohm coil. These coils often provide big flavor, big clouds, and warm vapor, but every coil is different – and other settings impact these factors as well. A sub-ohm coil should never be used with high nicotine or nicotine salt e-liquids. Low resistance coils vaporize more e-liquid, faster, than high resistance coils, so using high nicotine liquids with them can result in consuming too much nicotine.
Low resistance coils require more power: larger batteries and higher wattage settings are needed to fire these coils.
A high resistance coil is any coil over 1.0 ohms and these coils are typically found in smaller devices or devices designed for use with high nicotine (nicotine salt) eliquids. Because these operate at lower power, they typically provide a cooler vape (though this varies by settings) and smaller vapor clouds. They also use, in general, less e-liquid per puff and will deplete a battery slower. Most devices made to use high resistance coils are small because they don’t require the large battery capacity and high output voltage that is needed to fire lower resistance coils.
What is wattage and how does it relate to coils?
Many vape systems allow you to change your wattage setting. Some do not, and we recommend these simpler devices for new vapers.
However, if you do choose a device that allows you to change your wattage, it’s important to know the basics of what wattage settings mean. Simply put, your wattage setting is how much power you’re using to vape. Higher wattage means a warmer vape, more vapor production, and usually more e-liquid and battery use. We always suggest starting at the lowest setting you can and moving the wattage up until you find a satisfactory wattage for you: every single person is different and may like a different wattage.
Be sure that you are using a wattage that is appropriate for your coil. Every coil should have a resistance rating written on the box and often directly on the coil housing, as well as a recommended wattage range, like “30-50W”. For a coil with that rating, you should start at the lowest end of the range (30 watts) and move up until you find the best setting for you. Don’t go above the higher number, though – you risk damaging the coil, and getting bad flavor. Using a lower setting than recommended for a coil can cause leakage, so we always suggest staying within recommended wattage ranges.
What is a wick?
The wick is a part of your atomizer; it soaks up the eliquid from the tank and carries it to the coil to be heated.
Wicks are often made of cotton, but can also be composed of other porous fibers such as silica, flax, eko-wool, or even ceramic. In more modern vapes, the wicking is built into the capsule-like housing of the replaceable coils for your atomizer/tank system.
What is airflow, and why is it important?
Airflow is essential for the creation of vapor. Without air passing through the atomizer, vapor will not be created.
All vape devices have some sort of method to get airflow into your device. Many vapes, from tanks to portable pod systems, will allow you to adjust the airflow to suit your style. Some have fixed airflow which cannot be adjusted.
Generally speaking, airflow volume in a vape device creates two results.
More airflow allows for large amounts of dense vapor that is less harsh on your throat and feels a little cooler. With the increased amount of air, this can make your flavor slightly weaker.
Less (or tighter) airflow allows for a sensation more like traditional smoking. The vapor in this case is a bit harsher and warmer on the throat but is often more flavorful.
Find Your Flavor: Eliquid & Ejuice
Eliquid, or ejuice, is the liquid that your vape setup transforms into vapor.
Eliquid comes in a variety of different flavor profiles and nicotine strengths. The main ingredients are usually PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerin), food-grade flavorings, and nicotine.
PG is a common additive and preservative in food. VG is also an additive and preservative but is thicker and sweeter than PG. For vapers, PG provides more of a throat hit than VG eliquids and carries more flavor, while VG creates denser vapor and a smoother throat hit.
Most eliquids use a combination of PG and VG, and the different ratios of PG and VG in eliquids produce a variety of different vaping experiences. High VG eliquids (70% VG or more) are recommended for use in most vaping systems and are the most common option. However, higher VG e-liquids are available and will be thicker and slower to wick – these are optimal for advanced vaping setups. Thinner, lower VG liquids (50% and below) are best used with pod-style systems and high-resistance tanks, as many sub-ohm tanks will leak if used with thin e-liquids.
Eliquid comes in a variety of nicotine levels: 0mg contains no nicotine, 3mg is considered low nicotine, 6mg – 12mg is medium nicotine, and 18mg and up is considered high nicotine. You can find e-liquids with standard nicotine, as well as e-liquids with nicotine salt.
What is nicotine salt? Nicotine salt, or nic salt, is a combination of nicotine and benzoic acid that lowers the pH of the solution, making it smoother to vape even at high concentrations. Nicotine salt products are typically found in 25mg (2.5%) up to 50mg (5%) nicotine strength. These products should only be used with high-resistance, low-power devices. The amount of nicotine you consume per puff will vary depending on your device, settings, e-liquid, and draw length.
What nicotine strength should I choose?
Every person is different. Choosing the right nicotine strength to replace traditional tobacco products will always vary based on your personal preference and habits. For someone who smokes regularly (a pack a day) and can vape any time, we might recommend a 6mg e-liquid and a medium-power device like the Drag Mini Refresh which can be used regularly throughout the day. Or, if you’re a regular smoker and can only vape once in a while throughout the day, you might be better served with a high-nicotine e-liquid or nicotine salt e-liquid and a low-power device like the FreeMax Maxpod, which is designed for nicotine salt products.
As a general rule, the higher wattage you use, the lower your nicotine strength should be. You should never use sub-ohm tanks or high wattage devices with high nicotine strength e-liquids.
If you’ve never used tobacco products/nicotine, we do not recommend using ANY nicotine product.
What Is The Right Vape For Me?
We’ve gone over the basic components of a vape set up – a device to power your kit, a tank/atomizer to convert your eliquid to vapor, and the e-liquid that contains your nicotine. Now it’s time to talk about what the different types of vape kits are, so you can choose one that will work for you.
Vape kits, like the people who use them, are all slightly different. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common types of vape devices available today, and what kind of vape experience they are best suited for.
Closed System Vapes
The earliest types of e-cigarettes were closed system vapes and were often called cig-a-likes because they were about the size and shape of a traditional cigarette.
Closed system vapes are often the jumping off point for people switching from traditional cigarettes to vaping.
Many of these devices are readily available at local gas stations or convenience stores, and they are easy-to-use, small, and provide a high dose of nicotine.
They are also usually relatively inexpensive, but cannot be refilled with eliquid. Some have rechargeable batteries, while others have single-use batteries.
Closed system vapes typically have two common components:
- A disposable pod or cartridge that comes pre-filled with eliquid that cannot be refilled, with a built-in coil and wick, that fits with a matching battery
- A battery that the matching pod or cartridge fits into, with part of the atomizer built into the battery
Vape Pens & Vape Pod Systems
Vape pens, pod system vapes, and ‘pod mods’ are slightly bigger than typical closed system vapes and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are designed to be as portable and convenient as closed system vapes, but unlike closed systems, you can reuse and refill your vape pen or pod system many times.
These types of devices are what we recommend for most brand new vapers and intermediate vapers because they balance simplicity, quality, and satisfaction better than any other category of vape kit.
Since vape pens and pod systems are reusable, they’re more cost-effective than a closed system. With the ability to refill your eliquid of choice, the flavor possibilities are virtually endless as well.
These systems also usually deliver greater performance and taste than a closed system will, and frequently allow simple customizations to enhance individual experience.
This ultra-portable segment of the vaping world is expanding every day. From simple draw-activated pod mods for beginners to kits with robust settings for those who like to tinker, Giant Vapes offers a variety of vape pod systems and portable vape devices to satisfy any type of vaper.
Vape Mods & Tanks
Vape mods or box mods are larger power supplies that can connect with stand-alone vape tanks and sub-ohm atomizers. These devices allow you to use a huge variety of settings and features but do require some extra effort to get started with.
Box mods contain larger (sometimes multiple) batteries and can power advanced vape tanks and low-resistance coils. They can produce larger amounts of vapor for a longer amount of time, and often feature variable wattage and voltage and temperature control settings.
A full vape starter kit will usually come with a box mod, a vape tank with a built-in atomizer, one or two compatible coils, a charging cable, and a mouthpiece or drip tip. You’ll need to purchase e-liquid and sometimes batteries separately.
You can also get just a mod, or just a tank, and mix and match to your heart’s content. Unlike pod systems and closed systems, many vape mods will work with many different tanks, though individual compatibility should be checked before you buy.
Box mod and sub-ohm starter kits contain complex components and customizable pieces. There’s a learning curve to these advanced vapes, but they can provide the longest battery life and most customization options of all the setups out there.
To learn more about different vape devices and which ones would best suit you for your first time vaping, check out our article on the variety of vape kits available today.
How Can I Make Sure I’m Vaping Safely?
As with any electronic device or nicotine product, you should handle your vape device and components carefully. We have a few tips and best practices for new vapers that we’d like to share!
- If your battery is built-in to your device, always use the provided charging cable and an A/C adapter that charges at the appropriate rate for your device.
- If your device requires separate batteries, use correctly sized and rated high-amp Li-ion batteries sold for the purpose of using with your vaping device. No one battery works with every vape device.
- Be sure to use a Li-ion charger that is designed to work with your batteries.
- When using a device that takes multiple batteries, always use and charge those batteries together. This is called battery “pairing” or “marrying”.
- Keep individual batteries separated from one another in a protected battery case so the terminals do not touch each other.
- Keep your batteries out of extreme heat and elements.
Find more information on how to safely handle your batteries in our article about all things battery safety.
- Always store your eliquid in a cool, dark place where children and pets cannot reach them.
- Eliquid should never be ingested through the mouth or the skin, as nicotine in high concentrations can be hazardous.
- Never use high nicotine e-liquids in sub-ohm tanks or at high power settings.
- Should accidental ingestion occur, you should immediately contact poison control.
- Consult your doctor before and during vaping should you have any questions or concerns.
On behalf of everyone here at Giant Vapes, we would again like to congratulate you on the decision to stop smoking and welcome you to the world of vaping.
If you have more questions or need recommendations on where to start or what device is the best fit for your needs, check out the rest of our articles here on the blog or reach out to our outstanding Giant Vapes customer service team.
We’re always here to help you on your path to a smoke-free lifestyle.