How To Vape: A Quick Guide For A to Z Vaping


by Jeffrey Buckley

Updated: July 7, 2021

How To Vape A Quick Guide

If you are wondering how to vape then we have a lot to talk about! With all of the different ways to vape, we need to figure out is what type of vaping is going to be right for you. There is standard vaping, which is the easiest and most basic style. Then you have more advanced vaping styles such as sub-ohm and temperature control vaping. We are not done. There is also dry herb vaping.

We are going to cut through all of the noise and give you the tools to make the best decision for yourself. The Vaping Daily How To Vape guide will provide the background on a variety of styles and products. We want you to feel confident in understanding what specific vapor products are designed to do and different vaping styles.

If you have been into a vape shop or looked at some online stores, it can be pretty hard to make any sense of what you are looking at! There are devices of all shapes and sizes. Vaping has its own language. We will cover the basics of how to vape but first, we need to get you acquainted with a few of the concepts and some of the terminology.

Vaping 101 Crash Course

One thing before we get started, always read the user manual that comes with your vape devices! Every product is different. Our crash course will give you a general overview. This won’t be a Ph.D. course in vaping more like the one day certificate! Let’s roll.

vaping devices and accessories

Vaping is basically smoking an electronic cigarette or vaporizer. Of course without the smoke. Let’s get started with our vaping 101 crash course.

  • Electronic cigarettes – an electronic device used to vape. Also called an e-cig, e-cigarette or a vape. An e-cig is composed of three essential parts. The battery, atomizer, and a cartridge or tank containing e-liquid.
  1. Battery — The source of power for an electronic cigarette. Most often a rechargeable battery but sometimes a disposable.
  2. Atomizer — An atomizer uses the power drawn from the battery to generate heat. The atomizer is a metal coil typically made of Kanthal, nickel, stainless steel or titanium. The electric resistance of the wire determines how much power is drawn from the battery.
  3. The cartridge or tank contains the e-liquid that will be converted into vapor. The e-liquid is absorbed by a wicking material, such as cotton, where it comes in contact with the atomizer.
  • Cigalike — a type of electronic cigarette with a small cylindrical battery that mimics the appearance and feel of a tobacco cigarette.
  • Vape mod – a type of electronic cigarette that is designed to contain one or a number of larger capacity batteries. Vape mods are capable of more power and more vapor but are often more complex to use. There are mech mods and regulated mods. A mech mod has no internal control of power output. A regulated mod controls power output.
  • Vape tank — a device that combines an atomizer and an e-liquid reservoir in one.
  • RDA — stands for rebuildable drip atomizer. An RDA does not contain a reservoir of e-liquid rather the user will manually drip e-liquid onto the atomizer. Designed for people who like to build their own coils.
  • RTA — rebuildable tank atomizer. An RTA is basically an RDA style deck where you can build your own coils but also has a small e-liquid reservoir.
  • Pod mods — e-cigarettes with disposable e-liquid and atomizer cartridges. The JUUL is an example of a pod mod.
  • All in one mod or AIO — the AIO design features a vape tank built into the body of the mod.
  • MTL — mouth to lung. The process of drawing vapor into your mouth first and then inhaling.
  • DL — direct lung. The process of drawing the vapor directly into vapers lungs.
  • Hit or throat hit — the sensation of feeling like you have inhaled something.
  • Cloud chasing vtrying to get the biggest cloud of vapor possible.

Vape Juice, E-Juice and E-Liquid

E-cig vaping device vaporizer and containers with e-liquid or e-juice.

Vape juice, e-liquid, or e-juice is the liquid that is converted into vapor. All three names refer to the same thing. E-liquid contains the following ingredients:

  • Nicotine
  • Flavor
  • Propylene glycol and or vegetable glycerin.
The amount of nicotine in e-liquid varies. You can choose the amount of nicotine to suit your preference. The nicotine on vape juice is measured in either milligrams, mg, or as a percentage by volume. For example, if an e-liquid has a 12 mg nicotine level that is the same as 1.2%.

Both propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) are food grade additives. E-liquids today contain a ratio of propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin. If you see a vape juice that has a 50/50 blend, that means that it has 50% VG and 50% PG.

As a general rule, a PG e-liquid carries more flavor and has a stronger hit. A VG e-liquid produces more vapor with a milder hit.
When choosing an e-juice with nicotine, keep in mind that nicotine is very addictive. If you have not ever smoked before then stick with 0 mg nicotine juices to avoid becoming dependent.


You will sometimes see people, or even some vape companies, refer to electronic cigarettes as being vaporizers or vape pens. That is not wrong but as vaping has evolved the term “vaporizer” more and more refers to products that vaporizer herbal materials. What we are seeing is a separation in vaping terminology where e-cigs are the products that vaporize nicotine and vaporizers are used for dry herb.

Vaporizers are a class of products that can be broken down into three basic categories:

  • Desktop vaporizers — large herbal vaporizers that are used only in the home.
  • Portable vaporizers — vaporizers that are hand-held but large enough to have a significant battery capacity.
  • Vape pens — very small herbal vaporizers that have limited battery capacity and are designed for stealth and convenience.
Vaporizers are very popular for medical marijuana. Vaping with a vaporizer is sometimes referred to as alternative vaping. The advantage of a vaporizer vs smoking is that there is no burning, no combustion. The process of combustion wastes huge amounts of the active ingredients whereas a vaporizer can efficiently extract the active ingredients without excess waste.
Though avoiding the combustion of marijuana through vaping is considered a safer way to get a THC dose, it isn’t totally without health risks. There are other solvents and chemicals in materials like concentrates, wax and shatter that need more studies to determine how much risk there is.

Vaporizer Terminology

  • Heating oven or chamber — the section of a vaporizer where you place your herbal materials. The heating oven is where the heat is directed to vaporize the active ingredients.
  • Heat up time — the time it takes for the heating oven to reach a high enough temperature for vaporization to begin.
  • Dabs or concentrates — marijuana or herbal material that has been converted into a concentrated wax or resin for vaping.
  • Conduction vaporizer — the heat is applied directly to herbal materials.
  • Convection vaporizer — heated air is circulated into the heating chamber to create vaporization.
  • Pull — inhaling from a vaporizer.

Types Of Vaping

There are many different styles of vaping. Figuring out how to vape can be easy or it can be a more intricate process. The good news is that the technology is very good now. You do not need a complex device to enjoy fantastic vaping.

beautiful glamorous brunette smoke electronic cigarette

Standard Vaping

For a cigarette smoker, standard vaping is the most basic and familiar type of vaping. Standard vaping is simply vaping mouth to lung, MTL, with an electronic cigarette and atomizer over 1.0 ohms in resistance. This is also the easiest, most accessible type of vaping. Standard vaping is not designed to produce maximum vapor rather the emphasis is on satisfying vapor and convenience.

How To Vape With a Cigalike

With a cigalike style electronic cigarette, there are two types of batteries. There is the manual and automatic battery. Just like a transmission! With manual, you press a button to activate the atomizer to make vapor. With an automatic battery, the atomizer will be activated automatically when you inhale. When you get the best quality cigalikes from Mig Vapor or the V2 EX Series, you can choose whether you want the automatic battery of manual battery.

With standard vaping, you will be using an e-liquid blend that is more PG than VG. The typical nicotine level range for standard vaping is 6 mg to 24 mg. How to vape with a cigalike is as easy as it gets.

  • Connect a fresh e-liquid refill cartridge to the battery.
  • Start vaping. That’s it. Very easy.
  • Once the vapor diminishes attach a new cartridge.

How To Vape With A Standard Mod

With a standard mod and mouth to lung style vape tank, there are sometimes a couple of wrinkles thrown at you. These wrinkles are not complicated, they are simply to give you the ability to customize your vaping experience. The two biggest customization options are adjustable airflow and variable voltage.

You will also need to manually fill your vape tank with e-liquid. Once again, you will want to use a 70/30 PG/Vg e-liquid or a 50/50 blend. VG e-liquids are not appropriate for standard vaping with atomizers over 1.0 ohms.

With a standard vape tank, you will manually change atomizer coils. This is easy. All you have to do is unthread the old one and thread in a new one. An atomizer coil will typically last one to two weeks.

  • Install the atomizer into the tank.
  • Fill the tank with e-liquid being careful not to overfill.
  • Connect the tank to the mod.
  • Wait at least five minutes to allow the cotton wick in the atomizer coil to become fully saturated.
  • If you mod has variable voltage or variable wattage, start vaping at a lower setting like 9 watts or 3.2 volts.
  • If your tank has adjustable airflow, adjust the airflow to suit your preferred draw stiffness.
  • After a few puffs, slowly increase the power setting until you find the most satisfying vapor.
  • Try not to exceed 4.8 volts or 14 watts.

Sub Ohm And Temperature Control Vaping

What does Sub Ohm mean?
In other words how much opposition a coil gives the electrical current. So, sub ohm just means that it is a low ohm meaning less resistance to the electricity. This allows for a higher wattage to get huge clouds.

With sub ohm or temperature control vaping, it is a different ball game. You will be vaping with atomizers with resistance levels below 1.0. You will be vaping with power settings that are much more powerful. The goal of sub ohm and temperature control vaping is increased vapor production.

For sub ohm and temp control, you will be using a vape juice that is primarily VG. In fact, you should be using an e-liquid at least 60% VG or higher. The nicotine level for sub ohm and temp control will usually range from 0 mg to 6 mg. Because you will be inhaling much more vapor as compared to standard vaping, you will not need as much nicotine.

How To Sub Ohm Vape

  • Install you coil into your vape tank, RDA or RTA.
  • Prime your coil by placing a few drops of vape juice into the wick.
  • Assemble your atomizer tank or RDA/RTA.
  • Connect your atomizer to your sub ohm box mod or tube mod.
  • If you have a tank, fill it with e-liquid.
  • Even though you have primed your wick, wait five minutes to allow for full saturation.
  • Adjust the power setting on your mod to an appropriate level.
  • If you are using a pre-built coil, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for power setting.
  • Start vaping at the low end of the recommended power setting.
  • Inhale the vapor directly into your lungs, DL style.
  • Increase power gradually and adjust airflow as desired.

How To Vape In temperature Control

  • Ensure you have an appropriate coil material for temperature control vaping.
  • The most common TC coil materials are nickel, stainless steel or titanium.
  • You cannot use Kanthal coils for TC vaping.
  • Prime your coils.
  • Set your mod for temperature control vaping.
  • Follow the same steps for sub ohm vaping gradually increasing temperature and airflow to suit your preference.

Dry Herb Vaping

Vaporizers come in numerous shapes and sizes. Some of them may have variable temperature settings and some of them may be designed for dabs as opposed to dry herb. Some, like the Pax 3, will have dry herb atomizers so you can vaporize both dry herb and dabs. There is a lot to choose from.

For vaping medical marijuana, you will want your herb to be dry. If your herb is a bit moist, let it dry out before loading it into your vaporizer’s heating oven.

How To Vape Medical Marijuana or Other Herbal Material

  • Once your herb is nice and dry, use a grinder to break down your materials into a relatively fine grind.
  • Your vaporizer will usually come with a packing tool. Use the packing tool to load the material into the heating oven.
  • Close the oven and power up your vaporizer.
  • An indicator light will let you know when the “heat up time” has been reached.
  • Pull gently of the vaporizer and inhale.
  • Once finished, use the cleaning tool to clean out the heating chamber.

How To Vape With A Dab Pen

Using a dab pen is not like using a dry herb device. A dab is a very concentrated form of marijuana. It is a resin like material that will gum up a dry herb chamber. You need a specially designed device or insert for dabs.

The reason that people enjoy vaping dabs is the potency. Essentially, a dab or concentrate is made up almost entirely of active ingredients.

There are products like the V2 Series 3X that let you enjoy all type of vaping with one device. You simply insert the appropriate cartridge for whichever type of vaping you wish to indulge.

  • Use a dab tool to load the concentrate into the vaporizer heating oven.
  • Fill about ¾ of the heating chamber.
  • Try not to touch a dab with your fingers because it can degrade the material.
  • Close the heating chamber.
  • When the indicator light tells you the heat up time is done, press the fire button.
  • Pull gently and inhale.
  • For more vapor, press and hold the fire button for a second or two before inhaling.
  • Clean out the chamber after use.

Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung Vaping: Different Terminologies Used

Vapsters use various terms for different styles of vaping, so let’s make life easy and learn all of them before we get into details.

Mouth to Lung Hit:Mouth Inhale, Mouth Inhalation, or MLT. We’ll use MLT throughout the rest of the guide.
Direct Lung Inhalation:It includes Lung Inhale, Lung Vaping, Lung Inhalation, Direct Lung Hit, Lung Hit, Direct to Lung Hit. Additionally, it also includes Direct Lung Inhalation, Lung Vaping, or DLI. We’ll use DLI throughout the rest of the guide.
You now know the different terminologies for the two vaping styles. For better understanding, we’ll do a head-to-head comparison. But first, let’s define each of them:

Definition of Mouth to Lung Hit Vaping (MTL)

In MTL style of vaping, you inhale and gather the vapor in the mouth. After a short amount of time, you inhale it into the lungs.

This is similar to smoking cigars and traditional cigarettes or drinking soda with a straw.

Definition of Direct Lung Inhaling (DLI)

In DLI vaping, the vapor bypasses the mouth and channels it through the throat, directly to the lungs.

This is similar to using a hookah, shisha, bong, joint, or just inhaling air into lungs.

Which is Ideal for You?

The two ways of taking a hit can yield extremely different results. Additionally, your ideal style depends on your expectations from your e-cig.

  • MTL is for flavor seekers – those who want more flavor but don’t care about the amount of vapor.
  • DLI is for cloud chasers – those who want a solid hit and a lot of vapor but don’t care about the flavor.
The two techniques may seem just a matter of inhaling vapor from your e-cig (which is partially true). However, you need different setups and e-liquids to achieve pure MTL or DLI.

Vaping Experience – Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung

Since the vapor stays in your mouth for a while, the flavor is more apparent. However, the throat hit or lung hit is subtle as compared to direct hit. This approach is pretty similar to smoking cigarettes and cigars. As a result, ex-smokers who have recently switched to vaping will find it more agreeable. MTL is also ideal for chain vapers, mainly because of high flavor and low throat hit.

On the other hand, DLI offers an intense experience which only experienced vapers will find satisfying. But, it can be overwhelming for beginners. The throat hit is intense, however, since vapor quickly passes through your mouth. It doesn’t leave the taste buds enough time to extract the flavor.

Equipment – Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung

The ideal hardware and e-liquid composition for MTL is:

  • Tanks with high ohm coils, at 1.2-ohms or higher
  • Medium to low battery strength, ideally between 15-18w
  • Narrow drip tip
  • Tight airflow
  • High PG e-liquid, generally above 70% PG (can be up to 100%)
  • Any nicotine strength[/su_list]
And for DLI, here’s the recommended setup:

  • Sub-ohm tank (i.e. a tank that has coils with resistance under one ohm)
  • Powerful battery
  • Wide bore drip tip
  • Loose airflow
  • High VG e-liquid
  • Low nicotine strength, ideally around 3-6mg/ml [/su_list]

Variations of MTL and DTL

Many people think that mouth to lung hit and direct lung hit are the only two styles of vaping. It simply isn’t true. We have subtle variations of these two methods, which aren’t very common. Also, they aren’t as satisfying but try to offer the best of both worlds.

Pure Mouth Hit– This is the simplest way, where first, you inhale the vapor, keep it in your mouth. Then, you exhale without taking it into your lungs, either through your mouth or nostrils.
Hybrid Hit – Just as the name suggests, it’s an MTL followed by DLI. Here’s how to do it. First, draw and gather vapor in your mouth. Then, while doing it and your mod still firing, allow some air into your mouth. Third, take a deep direct breath. This gives some flavor, and some lung hit at the same time.

The Moment of Truth

Both DLI and MTL have their unique pros and cons, let’s take a quick look at them one by one.

Pros & Cons of MTL


  • Affordable setup – Sub-ohm tanks, as well as more powerful batteries, are required for DLI. This means that you can save a few bucks when you go for MTL.
  • Economic in the long run – MTL vaping consumes less e-liquid, mainly because of slow inhalation and slow vaporization.
  • Soothing flavor, cooler vapor – The biggest reason people prefer MTL is the immense flavor it has to offer. On top of that, the vapor produced is comparatively cooler and gives a satisfying sensation.
  • Ideal for ex-smokers – If you’ve recently switched to vaping from smoking, you won’t find it off-putting. It’s because the overall experience is pretty much the same. But in the case of DLI, ex-smokers might feel overwhelmed.
  • Weak throat hit – If you want a higher throat hit, MTL will rather disappoint you. Using e-liquids with a decent amount of PG can make up for it. However, it still can’t be compared with DLI.
  • Old-fashioned – Experienced vapers consider MTL to be outdated. It is mainly due to the growing popularity of cloud chasing and vaping. It has turned from a hobby into a competitive sport. Additionally, most of the modern vaping gear focuses on sub-ohm vaping.

Pros & Cons of DLI


  • A more fulfilling experience – A powerful hit means that the vaper will feel more satisfied.
  • It’s a hip thing – Bigger clouds, more excitement, and a satisfying experience makes DLI desirable. This is why almost every experienced vaper prefers DLI. Moreover, you’ll find most of the new vaping gear designed for DLI.
  • Bigger clouds – With DLI, you’ll be instantly blowing massive plumes of vapor. You’ll be the envy of your vaping friends.
  • Overwhelming – The experience can be a little overwhelming, especially for new vapers.
  • Risky – The risk factor is slightly higher since we’re dealing with extremes. You have very high battery powers and very low coil resistances.
  • Likeliness of dry hits – The biggest nightmare of a DLI vaper is getting dry hit when cotton gets burnt. This comes as a result of not getting enough e-juice when your tank is about to run out.
  • Less flavor – You’ll barely feel any flavor for two reasons, you’re using low PG juices. On top of that, you can’t keep vapor in your mouth long enough for your taste buds to feel it.

How Many Hits Does It Take To Get High

Lots of people who have tried vaping marijuana tend to prefer it over traditional smoking of a blunt (joint) or a bowl. Because when combustion is not happening, the effect they get from vapor with THC compounds appears to be much more sensational. No wonder, because when you light up a piece of a dry hemp, cannabis wax or oil, up to 90% of cannabinoids burn out into the open, leaving you only 10% of pleasure.

If you want to experience pure joy, relaxation, and euphoria, consider vaping the stuff. However, if you are new to this, there were probably a few times when you didn’t quite catch the mojo. It’s okay, everyone is still looking for that perfect formula, which answers the question of how many hits would it take to get you high. Apparently, it depends on a few factors, particularly, these:   

  • Material quality. Be aware that when buying already grinded cannabis you never know what you get. It may be mixed with different leaves for selling a bigger weight. It may be a wild-grown hash of no use. Meanwhile, the amount of THC, a.k.a. the active substance responsible for getting high is quite small in there. Whole flowers considered to be more effective because of the pollen, in which cannabinoids actually reside. Basically, you can find two types of flowers out there: Indica (relaxing effect) and Sativa (the best one, brings euphoria and energy). They look different, so, thankfully, you can easily recognize whether you’re buying the right one.
  • Quantity. One small pinch is usually enough for 2 to 3 nice hits. Too little won’t bring any joy, while too big one will get you stoned and out of control. Not fun.
  • How you inhale. Getting high straightly depends on how much THC you get at one time. If you are not getting trippy or even dizzy, probably your inhales are too slow or too short (or both). Try to take a quick and deep DLI inhale and then hold it for as long as you can. The other reason why vaping is more suitable for a light-headed effect is that it doesn’t hit your throat as much as during joint burning. The vapor feels smooth, meaning you can get the most of your buds. In most vapes, you can adjust heating temperature, which is also a plus. The best one for marijuana is nearly 160°C and 320°F. Heating it more will anyway bring the sedative or stoned effect. Some may like it but it’s far from the joy of being high.
  • The more you take it, the more you need it. Adaptation is our natural survival feature. If you’re an experienced cannabis consumer, don’t be surprised that only 6 to 12 hits can get you smiling. For beginners, one good and proper hit is usually enough to feel the difference. Aside from experience level, getting high greatly depends on your personal tolerance to certain chemical compounds and neurotransmitters.

Your Turn

Congratulations! You have completed our Vaping Daily A to Z Guide for how to vape! As you can see there are many different styles of vaping. We have covered the basics. As you move forward with your personal vaping journey you will find your own techniques and methods that suit your own style.

Vaping truly is about personal preferences. The range of e-cig, mod and vaporizer technology gives you a lot of options. That is one of the beauties of technology. There is no one size fits all answer for how to vape, there are many answers for how YOU want to vape. The technology gives you total control. Take advantage and enjoy!

Published: August 24, 2017Updated: July 7, 2021

Jeffrey Buckley

I was a smoker for over 25 years. In this time I also earned my medical degree with a specialization in addiction treatment and counseling. That period has led me to vaping, my interest started around 2011. I’m fighting the tide of hysteria and dis-information around vaping that emanates from various fronts legislative, cultural and scientific. Having scientific councils support, I’m happy to contribute my thoughts, articles, and expertise.


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