Welcome to the World of Electronic Cigarettes
Ultimate Guide to Vaping in 2020
If you’ve looked online for vaping guides, you’ve probably found that most of them don’t address your particular question or needs. Most vaping guides exist only to sell you products, and those that don’t are hopelessly out of date. Are you looking for a guide that explains electronic cigarettes and vaping as it currently is – and doesn’t talk down to you as a new comer? You’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the world of vaping, from how e-cigarettes work to how you can get the best possible experience from vaping, we’re going to discuss it all in our Ultimate guide to vaping in 2020.
What Is an E-Cigarette, and How Does It Work?
An electronic cigarette is a device that simulates the act of smoking while delivering nicotine to the user in the form of vapor. E-cigarettes go by many names – e-cigs, personal vaporizers, vapes, vape pens, mods and more – but the basic function of the device is always the same.
E-cigarettes come in many different designs, but each type of e-cigarette generally has these basic components.
A rechargeable battery supplies the power necessary for an e-cigarette to work. Some e-cigarettes have built-in batteries, and others have removable batteries. Since you don’t have to buy batteries separately when buying an e-cigarette with a built-in battery, you’ll probably pay less – but there is a trade-off. All lithium ion batteries eventually stop holding a charge. When an e-cigarette with a permanent battery stops holding a charge, you’ll need to replace the entire e-cigarette.
Every e-cigarette has a mechanism that allows you to control when the device produces vapor. The control mechanism might be as simple as a single fire button. Other e-cigarettes have additional buttons that allow you to raise and lower the voltage, wattage or temperature of your device. A few e-cigarettes have touch-screen interfaces. The simplest e-cigarettes have no buttons at all. Instead, they use sensors that activate automatically when you puff. An e-cigarette with more adjustable settings gives you more room to customize your vaping experience. It is important, though, to avoid buying an e-cigarette that’s too complex for your comfort level.
Most e-cigarettes have integrated circuits that control functionality and ensure that you can vape safely. When the battery in an e-cigarette reaches its target voltage during charging, the microprocessor stops the charge cycle. The microprocessor may also have features to protect you in the event of overheating, reverse battery installation, short circuits and more.
E-liquid – also known as e-juice or just juice – is the substance that your e-cigarette heats and turns to vapor. E-liquid contains propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin – common ingredients in food and cosmetics – along with flavors and nicotine. Nicotine-free e-liquids are also available. You’ll buy plenty of e-liquid during your time as an e-cigarette user, and trying a new e-liquid flavor is the fastest way to completely change your vaping experience. We think that experimenting with new e-liquids is a great thing.
An e-cigarette needs a way to store enough e-liquid for several uses. Most current e-cigarettes use tanks. Although e-cigarette tanks vary in their designs, you can refill most of them by unscrewing the top of bottom cap. Other e-cigarettes – such as the ones that you generally find in convenience stores and gas stations – are "closed system” e-cigarettes that you can’t refill yourself. Those e-cigarettes use small sealed cartridges or pods that hold enough e-liquid for a day or so of use. When a pod or cartridge is empty, you need to discard and replace it. Pod- and cartridge-based e-cigarettes are very convenient and easy to use, but the fact that you can’t refill a pod is a serious drawback. In the long run, you’ll pay more to use a pod- or cartridge-based e-cigarette because the pods cost more than bottled e-liquid. Also, the fact that you can’t fill the pods means that you can only use the e-liquid flavors provided by your device’s manufacturer.
The heating element in an e-cigarette is a coil made from a resistance wire such as kanthal. When the e-cigarette applies power to the coil, the coil resists some of the current and generates heat as a result. The heat turns the e-liquid in the e-cigarette to vapor.
The mouthpiece of an e-cigarette – also called a drip tip – is the part that you’ll place inside your mouth when you use the e-cigarette. In some e-cigarette designs, the drip tip is permanent. Other e-cigarettes have removable drip tips. If you have an e-cigarette with a removable drip tip, you can experiment by buying drip tips with different shapes and materials such as plastic, metal, glass and wood.
How Do I Use an E-Cigarette?
No one guide can explain everything you need to know about how to use every e-cigarette on the market. There is no replacement for reading the instruction manual that comes with your device – but we can help you get started. This section provides general information that applies to most e-cigarettes – including those in the complete vape kits section of the Triple 7 Vaping website.
Charge your battery while you read your device’s instruction manual. Although some vaping devices arrive from the factory fully charged, most do not.
Open the tank included with your device. In most cases, the bottom cap screws off. You’ll see that the atomizer coil is already installed in the base of the tank. Prime the atomizer coil by wetting the exposed cotton wick with a bit of e-liquid. Fill and reassemble the tank. Wait several minutes to ensure that the e-liquid has completely saturated the wick.
Assemble your e-cigarette when the battery is done charging. Some e-cigarettes have fire buttons that lock for safety. Press the button five times quickly to turn the e-cigarette on.
Lower your e-cigarette’s wattage to the lowest possible setting in the recommended range for your tank’s atomizer coil. In most cases, you can see the recommended wattage range by looking at the side of the coil. You can begin increasing the wattage gradually once you’ve become accustomed to the device. If your device doesn’t have adjustable wattage settings, no need to worry; your device will work fine with the included tank.
Puff on your e-cigarette while holding the fire button. Release the button after completing your puff.
When you use an e-cigarette for the first time, the most important thing to remember is that you can’t vape in the same way that you smoke. Short, firm puffs work well when you want a tobacco cigarette to produce more smoke. However, the coil in an e-cigarette doesn’t become hotter if you puff harder. The wattage setting determines the relative heat of the coil. If you puff too firmly on an e-cigarette, you’ll suck e-liquid through the air tube and into your mouth. You do not want that to happen; when it’s in liquid form, e-liquid tastes terribly harsh.
What Nicotine Strength Should I Use?
No two people have exactly the same nicotine needs – that’s why e-liquid is available in so many different nicotine strengths. You may even find that your own preferred nicotine strength actually changes after you’ve vaped for a while or when you purchase a new device. Higher-wattage devices generate more vapor than lower-wattage devices, so switching to a higher-wattage device often coincides with a switch to a lower nicotine strength.
If you’re still smoking and haven’t switched to vaping yet, we recommend starting with a lower-wattage device such as the Aspire K3 Quick Start Kit. Assuming you do begin with a lower-wattage device, we’ll base our nicotine strength recommendation on the type of cigarette that you presently smoke.
"Bold” or "Full Flavor” cigarettes: 12-16 mg e-liquid
"Medium” or "Lite” cigarettes: 8-12 mg e-liquid
"Ultra Lite” cigarettes: 3-8 mg e-liquid
If you still aren’t sure which nicotine strength you need, we recommend erring on the high side. If the nicotine strength that you select is too low, you won’t find your e-cigarette satisfying and may consider smoking concurrently. You’ll also run out of e-liquid quickly.
What Is Throat Hit?
When you inhale the vapor from your e-cigarette, you’ll detect a slightly scratchy feeling in your throat. E-cigarette users call that feeling "throat hit.” It’s a mild irritation caused by nicotine; you feel something similar when you smoke. If your e-liquid produces the right amount of throat hit for you, you’ll find the vaping experience highly satisfying. If you find the throat hit too harsh, you should try a lower nicotine strength. Do you have another question that isn’t answered here? Visit Triple 7’s Facebook group to discuss vaping with some friendly and like-minded people.
Does Flavor Matter for Vaping? What Do the E-Liquids Really Taste Like?
For most e-cigarette users, flavor is the primary factor that makes vaping enjoyable. In 2013, a group of Greek and Italian physicians surveyed 4,618 e-cigarette users. Of those, 91.1 percent were using e-cigarettes exclusively and no longer used tobacco. Nearly half – 48.5 percent – of the people who responded to the survey said that they would crave cigarettes if their favorite e-liquid flavor became hard to obtain. Flavor absolutely matters – and you’ll understand how much it matters when you discover your own favorite flavor.
You’re likely also wondering whether e-liquids taste exactly like their descriptions. You’ll find that some e-liquids – particularly candy flavors – taste strikingly like the foods they’re supposed to replicate. That’s because e-liquid makers and candy makers use the same types of flavoring concentrates when making their products. Other types of flavors taste more like approximations, with some flavors coming closer to the real thing than others.
You may have noticed that "birthday cake” is a particularly popular flavor among candy makers right now. You can even find sugar-free birthday cake chewing gum in many stores. Does the chewing gum taste like real birthday cake? Of course not. How could it when it contains no sugar, no eggs, no flour – almost nothing at all? Nevertheless, you’re reminded of birthday cake when you taste the gum because the gum contains a blend of similar flavors.
Let’s extend that idea to tobacco e-liquids. We’re going to tell you right up front that no e-liquid tastes like tobacco smoke. That’s not possible because an e-cigarette contains no tobacco and doesn’t burn. Just like in the example of birthday cake chewing gum, though, it is possible to approximate a flavor profile by skillfully blending the right flavor notes. If you approach your first e-liquid purchase with realistic expectations, you’ll love the experience. When you find your favorite flavor and things really start to click for you, you’ll understand why so many people are so passionate about vaping.
At this point, you’re probably wondering which e-liquid you should buy first. When they first start vaping, many people look for tobacco and menthol flavors. If you’re looking for something that replicates the experience of smoking as closely as possible, a selection of tobacco or menthol e-liquids might be right for you. We encourage you, though, to explore other types of flavors as well. E-cigarette users overwhelmingly prefer sweet e-liquids such as candy, dessert and fruit flavors. If you try a few sweet e-liquids, we think you’ll agree that there’s no reason for an e-cigarette to even try to replicate the flavor of a tobacco cigarette.
How Long Will My Vaping Equipment Last?
At Triple 7 Vaping, we only carry vaping devices that are made by the world’s leading manufacturers and have undergone rigorous testing for reliability. Nevertheless, e-cigarettes experience more stress than most consumer electronics products. You’ll likely puff on your e-cigarette around 200 times per day. Each time you puff, you’ll stress the e-cigarette’s battery, heating coil, buttons and other components. A component in an e-cigarette can fail without warning, so you’ll eventually want to buy a backup for every critical item in your vaping setup.
If you buy an e-cigarette with a tank system, there’s no need to replace the entire tank when the performance of the atomizer coil starts to decline; you’ll keep the tank and replace only the atomizer coil. The atomizer coil is a twist-in component, and replacing it takes seconds. We find that an atomizer coil typically lasts about 5-10 days depending on usage patterns. "Chain vaping,” vaping at high wattages and using very sweet e-liquids can all result in decreased coil life.
Recharged once daily, a lithium ion battery typically lasts for around one year before its capacity decreases noticeably.
Why Do My Usage Patterns Matter? Shouldn’t an E-Cigarette Just Work?
We wish it were that simple. There are so many variables involved in vaping, though, that it’s impossible for anyone to predict exactly how long any component will last. What’s the capacity of an e-cigarette cartridge or pod in puffs? That depends on how long your puffs are. How long does an atomizer coil last? Vaping at 100 watts will stress an atomizer coil far more than vaping at 25 watts. How long does a battery last? If you drain your batteries quickly because you prefer high-wattage vaping, you’ll probably need to buy batteries more often than someone who prefers low-wattage vaping. If your usage patterns place little stress on the components of your e-cigarette, those components will likely last longer. Thankfully, e-cigarette batteries and atomizer coils aren’t that expensive. If high-wattage vaping is what you prefer, you don’t need to worry about breaking the bank.
Do you want the components of your e-cigarette to last as long as possible? Continue on to read our recommendations.
How to Prolong the Life of an Atomizer Coil
To keep an atomizer coil working its best, we suggest following these simple pointers.
When you purchase a new tank, read the instruction manual. Although most e-cigarette tanks are similar in the way they operate, you should still read the manual to find out about any quirks that your tank may have.
Always prime a new coil before using it. Prime a coil by placing a bit of e-liquid on the exposed areas of the cotton wick.
After filling a tank with a new coil, wait several minutes before using the tank for the first time. The e-liquid needs to fully saturate the cotton wick to ensure that you won’t burn the cotton when you try to use the e-cigarette.
Don’t use your tank when the e-liquid level is very low. The e-liquid needs to cover the exposed wick holes on the sides of the atomizer coil to keep the coil wet. If you use the tank when the coil is dry, you’ll experience a harsh, hot "dry hit.” If the coil’s cotton wick burns, you’ll taste a burned flavor when vaping until you replace the coil.
If you have an e-cigarette with adjustable voltage or wattage settings, ensure that you use your e-cigarette within the recommended wattage range specified by the manufacturer of the tank. You can usually see the recommended wattage by looking at the side of the coil. If you prefer a wattage on the high end of the coil’s recommended range, take short puffs rather than long ones.
Wait several seconds between puffs to allow the wick to become fully wet with e-liquid.
If you experience a burned taste when vaping, stop using your device and investigate the cause. We’ll explain how to troubleshoot a burned taste when vaping later in this guide.
Buy only from a reputable vendor such as Triple 7 Vaping to avoid purchasing counterfeit products.
E-Cigarette Battery Care and Safety
No lithium ion battery lasts forever, but there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your e-cigarette batteries will last as long as possible. Exercising proper battery care doesn’t just prolong the life of your investment; it also helps to keep you safe. A battery stores an immense amount of power in a small package. In the event of overheating or short circuit, any battery can potentially vent hot gases or catch fire. Follow these steps to care properly for your e-cigarette batteries.
Charge your e-cigarettes or e-cigarette batteries only with the recommended chargers. If you aren’t sure, ask the experts at Triple 7 Vaping for help.
Do not charge an e-cigarette battery with a "fast charging” wall adapter such as one for a smartphone or tablet.
Do not charge your batteries unattended. If a battery should experience a thermal event during charging, fast action on your part can prevent injury or property damage.
If your e-cigarette becomes uncomfortably hot, your vaping pattern or power setting could be causing stress to the battery. Stop using your device and allow the battery to cool completely. Lower your device’s power level when you resume vaping.
If you use a two-battery e-cigarette, do not mix battery brands and types. Use only matched pairs of batteries.
Reduce battery stress by using your batteries in rotation. Try to avoid using and recharging the same battery several times in a day.
Store your e-cigarette batteries in a cool, dry place. Batteries are sensitive to humidity and extremely low or high temperatures.
Do not use batteries with torn wrappers, bulges or other visible damage.
Keep your batteries clean. Handle them with care. Do not alter or modify your batteries in any way.
Buy only from a reputable vendor such as Triple 7 Vaping to avoid purchasing counterfeit products.
What Should I Do if I Get a Burned Taste When Vaping?
E-cigarette vapor should never taste burned. If you consistently experience a harsh, unpleasant flavor when vaping, you can do something about it with this step-by-step troubleshooting guide.
Check the level of e-liquid in the tank. You should never allow the exposed wick openings on the sides of the atomizer coil to become dry. If the wick is dry, e-liquid will not feed through to the atomizer coil. Don’t wait until your tank is empty to fill it.
Check the atomizer coil. Some sweeteners and flavors in e-liquid may not vaporize cleanly. Over time, those compounds collect on the coil and form a crust that vapers call "coil gunk.” If your atomizer coil looks black and the cotton wick wrapped around it has darkened significantly, it’s time for a new coil.
If the tank has plenty of e-liquid and the atomizer coil looks fine, lower your device’s wattage or voltage.
If you’ve tried lowering your device’s power level and still experience a burned taste when vaping, your e-liquid may be too thick for the device you’re using. An e-liquid contains a blend of the base liquids propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Vegetable glycerin is the more viscous of the two liquids. It is so thick that an e-liquid with a high percentage of VG will have difficulty flowing through an atomizer coil with small wick openings. Try an e-liquid with a higher percentage of PG for better performance in a smaller e-cigarette tank. We’ll discuss VG and PG at greater length later in the guide.
What Should I Do If My E-Cigarette Gurgles or Bubbles?
An e-cigarette tank usually has a narrow chimney leading from the atomizer coil to the mouthpiece. If the chimney stays fairly dry, you’ll have a good vaping experience. Over time, though, vapor will condense in the chimney and drip back down to the coil. When the coil in your tank is overly wet, your e-cigarette will pop, gurgle or bubble when you try to use it. It may even spit hot e-liquid into your mouth. Fix a gurgling e-cigarette with this step-by-step guide.
Run a cotton swab or folded paper towel down the chimney of your tank periodically to soak up excess e-liquid. If that doesn’t stop your e-cigarette from gurgling, you’ll need to clean the tank more thoroughly.
Disassemble your tank and clean all of the parts except the coil in warm water. Dry every component thoroughly.
Reassemble your tank. Hold a paper towel or Vape Rag over the airflow vents and threading at the bottom of the tank. Blow firmly. The paper towel will catch any excess e-liquid in the coil and airflow vents.
Refill the tank and continue vaping.
Why Am I Having Trouble Tasting My E-Liquid?
If you find that your e-liquid suddenly tastes bad – or you can’t taste it at all – you may have a condition that people in the vaping community call vaper’s tongue. The body can eventually start to grow numb to any strong sensory input, and that’s exactly what’s happened with your ability to taste your e-liquid. Don’t worry – you’ll regain your love of your favorite e-liquid before long.
Start by cleansing your palate. Drink some unsweetened coffee or tea. You could also try milk or lemon juice. Alternatively, you can gargle with saltwater. Often, a flavor that’s different – but equally distinct – is all that’s needed to reset the taste buds. Proper hydration is also an essential part of getting the most out of the vaping experience.
Switch e-liquid flavors for a while. Many people rotate their favorite e-liquid flavors to help prevent vaper’s tongue. If you find it difficult to enjoy any e-liquid, try an unflavored e-liquid instead. An unflavored e-liquid won’t just help you reset your palate – it’ll also save you money. Unflavored e-liquids usually cost less than flavored ones.
Are you ill? Sickness can disrupt the body’s ability to taste. In that case, there isn’t much that you can do except wait until you begin to feel better. You might prefer an unflavored e-liquid in the meantime.
Becoming an E-Liquid Expert: Understanding VG and PG
One of the first things you’ll notice when you start looking at e-liquids online is that there are many, many different products available. There are probably thousands of different e-liquids in the world. Although experimentation is definitely fun, you’re not looking for thousands of e-liquids – you’re looking for the one that’s going to become your favorite. This section of our guide will help you become an e-liquid buying expert by teaching you the differences between VG and PG.
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are the two base liquids in an e-liquid. An e-liquid will often display its VG/PG ratio on the label. VG/PG ratio matters to you because the two liquids have different properties.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Vegetable glycerin is thicker. It creates a large vapor cloud with a creamy mouth feel. VG also tastes slightly sweet, so some e-liquid makers use it in lieu of other sweeteners that could cause coil gunk. Because VG has some flavor of its own, it can muddle the other flavors in an e-liquid a bit. VG also tends to produce less throat hit than PG. Depending on your preferences, that may be a benefit or a drawback. An e-liquid containing more than 50 percent VG works best with a high-wattage e-cigarette and tank.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene glycol is thinner. It creates a small vapor cloud with an airy mouth feel. PG has little flavor of its own, so it can allow you to taste the flavors in an e-liquid a bit more clearly. PG tends to produce more throat hit than VG. An e-liquid containing more than 50 percent PG works best with a low-wattage e-cigarette and tank.
An e-liquid usually ships with the ideal VG/PG ratio to work in the widest variety of tanks possible, so VG/PG ratio isn’t usually something that you need to think about. If you have a tank in which the coil’s wick openings are very small, though, you should avoid buying "Max VG” e-liquids. A Max VG e-liquid will be too thick to flow through your coil’s wick openings at an acceptable rate, so you’ll sometimes get a burned taste when you vape.
What Is Sub-Ohm Vaping? Is It Something That I Should Do?
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, an e-cigarette atomizer coil is made from resistance wire. The resistance of a coil – or the extent to which it restricts the current – is measured in ohms. An atomizer coil with a resistance under 1.0 ohms is a sub-ohm coil. So, sub-ohm vaping is any vaping configuration in which the atomizer coil has a resistance under 1.0 ohms.
Why might you want to use a sub-ohm coil? Since a sub-ohm coil restricts little of the current that flows through it, you can operate it at higher wattage settings than you could an above-ohm coil. Low-resistance wire is also thicker than higher-resistance wire, which means that sub-ohm coils often have greater surface area than above-ohm coils. If everything else is equal, a coil with more surface area produces more vapor. That’s the purpose of sub-ohm vaping in a nutshell: getting more vapor out of an e-cigarette.
Is sub-ohm vaping right for you? It’s difficult to know how much vapor you want your e-cigarette to produce if you’ve never vaped before. Vaping at higher wattages also places greater stress on your e-cigarette’s battery, so you need to know that your tank, device and battery are all capable of driving a sub-ohm coil. Thankfully, the complete vape kits at Triple 7 Vaping make choosing an appropriate combination of equipment easy.
The most important factor that should influence your decision whether to use a sub-ohm vaping setup is the way in which you expect to inhale the vapor. Do you plan to draw the vapor into your mouth before inhaling it – as you would with a cigarette? You’ll probably want a lower-wattage vaping setup because most sub-ohm tanks aren’t designed for mouth-to-lung inhaling. They produce so much vapor – and have such open airflow – that the only way to use them properly is by inhaling the vapor directly into the lungs. Most of the people who use sub-ohm vaping setups have decided that they prefer direct-to-lung inhaling, but they didn’t start that way – they started with low-wattage mouth-to-lung devices. You’ll have to decide which way is best for you.