How To Vape Properly: The Right Way to Inhale a Vape


by Jeffrey Buckley

Updated: December 27, 2022

How To Vape A Quick Guide

Inhaling a vape is different from inhaling the smoke from a cigarette. Many former smokers make the mistake of thinking they know how to vape because they were smokers, but vaping requires a little more finesse. Smoking a cigarette is easy – you put the cigarette to your lips and inhale.

Some vaping devices work like that. They use draw-activated batteries, so you don’t have to press any buttons or controls. But most starter kits and vape pens have single-button control so you can turn the battery on and off and power the device.

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.

How Do The Vapes Work?

One thing before we get started, always read the user manual that comes with your vape devices! Every product is different. Vaping is basically smoking an electronic cigarette or vaporizer.

  • Electronic cigarettes – an electronic device used to vape. Also called an e-cig, e-cigarette or vape. An e-cig is composed of three essential parts. The battery, atomizer, and 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 one.
  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 some larger capacity batteries. Vape mods are capable of more power and vapor but are often more complex. 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 the vaper’s lungs.
  • Hit or throat hit — the sensation of feeling like you have inhaled something.
  • Cloud chasing, trying to get the biggest vapor cloud possible.

Vape Juice

Vape juice, aka e-juice, is what people who use vaping devices typically vape. It is a flavored or unflavored liquid infused with liquid nicotine that simulates the sensation of smoking a tobacco cigarette. Vape juice comes in many flavors and categories, but it usually consists of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavorings, and nicotine.

Some vape juices do not have nicotine in them, and many vapers often enjoy the flavors of e-juice instead of nicotine. But if you want to vape nicotine e-juice, you can also choose from various strengths and types of nicotine, some of which are more potent and satisfying than others.

Nicotine Salts

Nicotine salts are a type of nicotine that is more potent than regular freebase nicotine used in cigarettes and other nicotine e-juices. Nicotine salts bond with an acidic base to create a more concentrated form of nicotine that has a harsher taste and is similar to how nicotine occurs in tobacco leaves.

People vape nicotine salt e-juice because the experience is similar to smoking a cigarette. Regular freebase nicotine is easier to inhale in large volumes since it is not as harsh as tobacco. Still, nicotine salts should only be inhaled in small amounts because of the greater nicotine content.


Dabs are tiny, rice-sized pellets of concentrated THC extracted from marijuana that people heat and inhale like nicotine e-juice. There are many devices to dab with, but most dab pens have single-button control, like e-cigarettes, so you have to press the button to create vapor and inhale.

But you can inhale dabs for longer than vape juice. The more THC you inhale, the more you absorb into your bloodstream, so you get higher faster. You can also restrict the airflow on some dab vape pens, so you inhale directly from the heating chamber, but you can also leave them open for better cloud production.

How to Vape

Make Sure Your Device Is Charged

The first thing you want to do with any vaping device ensures it is fully charged. This helps prolong battery life and gives you the complete picture of your vaping device’s capabilities.

Read the Instructions

Every vaping device comes with instructions, ranging from a simple pamphlet to multiple pages, but most vaping devices are designed to be user-friendly. Still, you want to know how to use your vape properly, and the only way to know that is by reading the instructions. Once you know how to use it, you can go on to the next step.

Load Your Material

The next step is loading your device or attaching the vape juice tank to your battery. You should use the tools and other implements in a vape dab pen kit to load material into your chamber since wax dabs can be difficult to handle. The same does not apply to pre-filled tanks and cartridges, either with e-juice or THC oil.

Activate the Battery

Vapes with buttons usually take five clicks to activate and five to deactivate. Depending on the device, it could be more or less, but five clicks are the standard. On-demand devices create vapor when you press the button, but others only work when you inhale from the mouthpiece.

How to Inhale a Vape

Inhale vape like you were drinking from a straw. Take slow, small hits to get the full experience of vaping, e-juice, nicotine salts, or dabs. The flavor is a big part of vaping; you can lose the subtlety of different tastes if you inhale too hard and fast. But if you are using a high-powered vaping device, you can also take deep lungfuls of vapor to get the full experience.

How to Properly Inhale a Vape

Inhaling a vape is different from inhaling the smoke from a cigarette. Many former smokers make the mistake of thinking they know how to vape because they were smokers, but vaping requires a little more finesse. Smoking a cigarette is easy – you put the cigarette to your lips and inhale.

Some vaping devices work like that. They use draw-activated batteries, so you don’t have to press any buttons or controls. But most starter kits and vape pens have single-button control so you can turn the battery on and off and power the device.

If you are using a starter kit, you want to:

  1. Take short pulls at first to get used to it
  2. Take slow pulls, so you don’t cough
  3. Space out your session, so you don’t vape continuously
  4. Limit each session to five or ten inhales
  5. You don’t want to overload your lungs with vapor by taking long pulls. Besides, most vape pens have automatic shut-offs, so they will only let you inhale for a few seconds, but that is more than enough to get a satisfying hit.

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.

Standard Vaping

Standard vaping is the most basic and familiar type for a cigarette smoker. 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 cig-a-like style electronic cigarette, there are two types of batteries. There is a manual and automatic battery. With a manual, you press a button to activate the atomizer to make vapor. With an automatic battery, the atomizer will automatically activate when inhaling.

With standard vaping, you will use 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 cig-alike 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, you will need to fill your vape tank with e-liquid manually. 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 Vaping

What does Sub Ohm mean?
Sub-ohm means a low ohm, meaning less resistance to electricity. This allows for a higher wattage to get huge clouds.

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

  • 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. MTL is for flavor seekers – those who want more flavor but don’t care about the amount of vapor.
    This is similar to smoking cigars and traditional cigarettes or drinking soda with a straw.
  • In DTL 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 the lungs. DTL is for cloud chasers – those who want a solid hit and a lot of vapor but don’t care about the flavor.

Equipment for Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung Vaping

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 DTL, 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]

MTL and DTL Vaping Pros and Cons

Both DTL and MTL have their unique pros and cons.

Pros of MTL

  • Affordable setup – Sub-ohm tanks and more powerful batteries are required for DTL. 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 its immense flavor. 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 DL, ex-smokers might feel overwhelmed.

Cons of MTL

  • 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 DL.
  • 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 of DTL

  • 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 make DTL desirable. This is why almost every experienced vaper prefers DTL. Moreover, you’ll find most of the new vaping gear designed for DL.
  • Bigger clouds — With DTL, you’ll instantly blow massive plumes of vapor. You’ll be the envy of your vaping friends.

Cons of DTL

  • Overwhelming – The experience can be a little overwhelming, especially for new vapers.
  • Risky – The risk factor is slightly higher since we deal with extremes. You have very high battery power and very low coil resistances.
  • Likeliness of dry hits – The biggest nightmare of a DL 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 the vapor in your mouth long enough for your taste buds to feel it.

How To Vape CBD/THC

Many people who have tried vaping CBD 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 when you light up a piece of 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 that answers the question of how many hits it would take to get you high. Apparently, it depends on a few factors, particularly these:   

  • Material quality. Be aware that when buying already-ground cannabis; you never know what you will get. It may be mixed with different leaves to sell 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 are considered to be more effective because of the pollen in which cannabinoids actually reside. You can find two types of flowers: Indica (relaxing effect) and Sativa (the best one, which brings euphoria and energy). They look different, so 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 joy, while too big 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 dizzy, your inhales are probably too slow or too short (or both). Try to take a quick and deep DL inhale and hold it for as long as possible. 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 out of your buds. You can adjust the heating temperature in most vapes, 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 are usually enough to feel the difference. Aside from experience level, getting high greatly depends on your personal tolerance to certain chemical compounds and neurotransmitters.


How long should I wait between puffs of vape?

You don’t have to wait too long between puffs if you use a disposable. But chain vaping is not good for your lungs and takes away from the richness of the vape flavors.

How many hits a day should I vape?

There is no limit to how many hits you should vape a day. It depends on what you are vaping and how often you want to vape.

Can you vape too much?

Vaping too much can give you headaches, a sore throat, and a persistent cough. Too much of a good thing is still too much. If you started vaping to help you quit smoking, you should limit your consumption to ensure you don’t replace one habit with another.

Should I inhale vape slowly or fast?

You should always inhale slowly since inhaling quickly will irritate your lungs and throat and rob you of the pleasure of vaping.

Can you vape without inhaling?

Yes, you can vape without inhaling into your lungs by keeping the vapor in your mouth like a cigar. But it won’t have the same effects as inhaling into your lungs.

Can a doctor tell if you vape?

No, a doctor cannot tell if you vape, but they will probably ask you, as they would ask about your eating and drinking habits or anything else to do with your lifestyle if your health is affected.

Conclusion on How To Vape

The right way to vape depends on the type of vape you prefer. Vapes produce an inhalable vapor containing everything from nicotine to THC and CBD, but the device also plays a role in how to vape. If you have a powerful, dual-battery mod, then taking long pulls from your device is what you want.

But if you are using disposable or pod devices, you can take small, short puffs or long ones, depending on your preference and tolerance. Some advanced devices have airflow control or simple air holes to let in more air and create bigger clouds, so there are ways to control how and what you inhale.

Published: August 24, 2017Updated: December 27, 2022

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.


Leave a comment