Welcome to Misthub's Tutorial Beginner's Guide to Vaping. It is safe to assume if you are reading this you are either new to vaping or curious about vaping. Misthub's expert staff is comprised of avid vapers with over 20 years of combined experience. Our goal for this guide is to explain vaping and its various aspects in order to give you an accurate and factual understanding of this rapidly growing alternative to smoking.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is the term given to using an electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer. Someone who uses traditional tobacco cigarettes is a “smoker” and they “smoke” cigarettes, someone who uses an e-cigarette is a “vaper” and they “vape” their e-cigarette or personal vaporizer.
What Is an E-Cigarette and Where Did They Come From?
E-Cigarettes or Personal Vaporizers are a device that gives us an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes by vaporizing “e-liquid” - a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavorings and sometimes nicotine. The first e-cigarettes as we know them were created by a Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003 but didn't enter the US market until late 2006. Since then the industry has expanded exponentially. Today, there is a massive selection of vapor devices available ranging from the humble e-cigarettes to high wattage advanced personal vaporizers. All of the early devices were manufactured in China but are now manufactured by companies large and small worldwide. While almost all of the early devices resembled traditional cigarettes, early e-cigarette users often modified or created their own devices because of the lack of variety and features. This has had a lasting two part effect. One being that a large portion of vapor devices are now most commonly referred to as “Mods” which is short for modified or modifiable and two, if e-cigarette companies wanted to remain relevant and continue to sell products they would have to create a variety of devices as diverse and intuitive as the community that uses them.
Anatomy of an E-Cigarette
Despite the large selection available today there are a few things in common with all vapor devices. At their simplest all vapor devices use a lithium battery to heat a wire coil. A wick is used to draw e-liquid to the coil. When the e-liquid is heated by the coil is vaporizes and can then be inhaled in a similar fashion to smoking. That however is usually where the similarities end. Below we will take a look at the general components of a vapor device.
Device – Vaping devices can come in a large variety of colors and shapes often dependent on their specific uses. Some might look like a traditional cigarettes while others might resemble a pen, a tube, a box, or other forms but they all serve the same purpose ultimately. To take the power supplied by the battery and deliver it to the atomizer.
Battery – This is the most crucial part of the device. It supplies power. While some devices use a non-replaceable internal battery a large portion use one or more replaceable rechargeable high drain batteries. If you are selecting a device that requires replaceable batteries and would like more information on selecting the right battery for your device please see our Tutorial: Best Batteries For Mods and Vaping Safety
Atomizer - This heat resistant part houses one or more resistance wire coils and its wick(s) often with some form of reservoir to hold e-liquid. There are many different styles, atomized cartridges (obsolete), Cartomizers, Clearomizers, Rebuildable Tank Atomizers, Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers, Hybrid Atomizers (rebuildable dripping tank atomizers and Genesis Atomizers). Each with their own unique sets of advantages and disadvantages. For more information regarding different types of atomizers please see our Tutorials: Atomizer VS Cartomizer VS Clearomizer and our Tutorial: Guide To Different Types Of Atomizers
Coil(s) – These are small pieces of resistance wire that is made into a coil shape resembling a spring. The type of wire used, the diameter of the coil and the number of wraps will all effect the coil's resistance. It's resistance is what determines the amount of electricity it will need to power it and the amount of heat it will produce. Coils are commonly made from Kanthal and NiChrome and more recently Nickel and are considered to be the safest to use for vaping.
E-liquid – Also known as e-juice, this is a solution consisting of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, food flavorings, and sometimes nicotine. This liquid can come in a variety of PG/VG ratios and nicotine strengths. Typically most cigarette smokers switching to e-cigarettes will start using high nicotine juices and move towards lower strength juices over time. It is common for most people to start out using strengths as high as 18mg/ml (heavy smokers as high as 24mg/ml) but often will soon switch to 12mg/ml e-liquids for their improved flavor (as nicotine content drops flavor increases) We do not recommend use of e-liquid with a nicotine strength above 18mg/ml. In fact we recommend using the minimum nicotine strength needed to sate your nicotine cravings because as nicotine content is decreased flavor is improved. It is important to note advanced users using devices that produce more vapor will typically use lower strength nicotine because when more vapor is produced and inhaled, the overall nicotine concentration stays the same. The need for higher nicotine concentrations is exclusive to devices producing smaller amounts of vapor. Those using advanced devices will typically favor liquids in 3mg/ml or 6mg/ml. For more information about E-liquid please see our Tutorial: E-Juice Propylene Glycol VS Vegetable Glycerin
Wicks – Made from various materials including cotton, twisted silica cord, eko-wool, ceramic, and stainless steel mesh the wick(s) carry e-liquid to the coils. Wicking material acts as delivery method e-juice from tank directly on to a coil itself, where it is vaporized.
What Device Is Best For Beginners?
This is a very common question we are asked and it is also one of the most complex and difficult questions we are faced with. With vaping many things like taste for instance are subjective and what works best for one person might not work as well with the next. This is further complicated by the large variety of devices available today. Instead of saying one or two specific devices are best we feel it more appropriate to break down the different styles of devices by experience and skill level needed and let you make the decision yourself and know what direction to move in if you are ready to move to a more advanced device.
Beginner – We define a beginner as someone with very little or no experience vaping. Someone unfamiliar with electrical concepts like Ohms Law and Joules Law. For this category we suggest low output regulated devices that use integrated internal batteries. Paired with Clearomizers that use easily replaceable coils with a resistance over 1.0 ohms. This maximizes safety and ease of use. Although more complex devices will outperform these devices they are often more than suitable for most users if for nothing else than determining if vaping is right for them and justifies the expense of a more advanced device. We have a large selection of Starter Kits suitable for this purpose but we more specifically recommend the following.
Intermediate – We define an intermediate vaper as someone who is familiar with e-cigarettes, has some experience using them. Has an understanding of how their devices work. How to perform basic maintenance and troubleshoot basic issues with their devices. Someone who is looking for either greater vapor or flavor production. For beginners looking to step up to intermediate users we recommend mid powered regulated devices (80w or less) and clearomizers with replaceable coils with a resistance at or above .5 ohms. We also suggest taking a look at our Tutorial: Guide To Sub-Ohm Vaping. These devices will deliver increased flavor and vapor production while maintaining ease of use and safety. Some recommended examples of these devices are as follows.
Advanced – We define an advanced user as a vaper who has an understanding of how vapor devices function. Someone who understands and has a working knowledge of Ohms Law and Joules Law, and the risks involved with rebuildable devices. Someone who is knowledgeable and respectful of vaping and battery safety. Intermediate users wanting to make a step forward will have to decide if they want to enter into the world of rebuildable devices or not. If tinkering with gadgets is something you enjoy this is likely for you. But if not that's OK too. For those who don't have an interest in rebuilding but want to take another step forward into the world of vaping we suggest a high power regulated mod and a high wattage sub-ohm clearomizer. For instance the following devices:
For those who do not want to rebuild we would suggest looking at our Tutorial: Guide To Sub-Ohm Vaping and our Tutorial: Vape Coil Building – Beginners. While the high power regulated devices suggested above are suitable but for rebuildable devices you also can use Mechanical Mods. These devices are very rugged and simple making them difficult to damage but also lack any form of protection circuitry. For reason one might say a regulated device is more like a car while a mechanical device is more like a motorcycle. In that sense there is an inherent risk with these devices and if you don’t treat these devices with the respect it deserves you can injure yourself. Also there is a massive selection of rebuildable tanks and dripping atomizers available for use. Then you just have to decide whether to use a tank or a dripper which we will discuss in another guide.
Expert – An expert vaper is just that, an expert. They are essentially an advanced vaper with significant experience and knowledge under their belts. Someone who fully understand the workings of all vapor devices at least in concept and is also knowledgeable and comfortable rebuilding and troubleshooting vapor devices. The only devices we consider exclusive to this group of vapers are Hybrid devices which combine both rebuildable atomizer and mechanical mod in a single device with a direct to battery connection like the Wismec Noisy Cricket Mod or the Compvape Double Vision RDA One or a mechanical mod with a Hybrid Top Cap like the 4Nine or the SMPL because the direct to battery connection puts your atomizer in direct connection with the battery. To prevent injury or property damage with these devices your atomizers positive pin must protrude substantially beyond the threads of the atomizers 510 connector to prevent a hard short resulting in battery failure. Battery failure from a hard short can cause the device to explode or catch fire. There is an inherent risk involved with Hybrid mods.
Hopefully you now know how e-cigarette's, personal vaporizers, and other vapor devices work in theory. Understand the e-liquids they use, and have an idea of what devices are best suited to your level of skill and experience. Congratulations you are now ready to start vaping. If you are still unclear or unsure about what to do or what to equipment to purchase or use, fret not. MistHub has a great Tutorials and Guides Section packed with useful information and our expert staff is always more than happy to answer your questions and help guide you to the products you need.