Let’s start by looking at some frequently-asked questions:
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling vapor produced by a vaporizer or electronic cigarette. The vapor is produced from a material such as an e-liquid, concentrate, or dry herb.
What is a vaporizer?
A vaporizer is an electric device that turns vaping material into vapor. A vaporizer usually consists of battery, main console or housing, cartridges, and atomizer or cartomizer. The battery generates the power for the heating element in the atomizer or cartomizer, which contacts the vaping material and transforms it into vapor for inhalation.
What materials can be vaped?
The vast majority of vapers use e-liquids, but other common materials include waxy concentrates and dry herbs. Different vaporizers support the vaping of different materials. For example, e-liquids vaporizers have a cartridge or tank, while a dry herb vaporizer will have a heating chamber. Multipurpose vaporizers allow you to vape different materials simply by switching cartridges.
What is the vapor in a vaporizer?
Vapor is defined as “a substance diffused or suspended in the air which is originally a liquid or solid turned into a gaseous form.” The vapor in a vaporizer is the gaseous form of any of the vaping materials. The vapor looks thicker than smoke, however, smells much better, and quickly dissipates into the air.
What is e-juice and e-liquid?
E-juice, also called e-liquid, is the primary material used in vaporizers, and consists of a PG (propylene glycol) and VG (vegetable glycerin) base, flavorings, and may or may not contain nicotine.
There is a myriad variety of e-liquids available on the market, and you can find flavors raining from the most basic fruity ones to some very innovative flavors such as desserts, candies, and so on.
What is Vaping: A Timeline of Vaping History
Here’s a quick overview of the most important developments over the years:
440 BC – Ancient Vaping
Herodotus, a Greek historian, was the first to mention a form of vaping when describing a tradition of the Scythians, a Eurasian people who would throw cannabis, aka marijuana, onto red hot stones and then inhale and bathe in the resulting vapor.
1542 AD – Irfan Sheikh Invents Hookah
Though not directly related to vaping, the hookah is considered a key step towards the creation of the modern vaporizer.
1960 – Herbert A. Gilbert Patents the First Vaporizer
Gilbert, a Korean war veteran, introduced the basic anatomy of the vaporizer, which is still more or less the same as today.
The 1980s and 90s – Eagle Bill’s Shake & Vape Pipe
Frank William Wood, commonly known as “Eagle Bill Amato” was a Cherokee marijuana medicine man. He introduced the first portable vaporizer called Eagle Bill’s Shake & Vape Pipe and is known for popularizing vaping culture, especially the vaping of marijuana.
2003 – Hon Lik Invents Modern E-Cig
Hon Lik, now known as the father of modern vaping, is a Chinese pharmacist who invented the modern e-cigarette.
The late 2000s – E-cigarettes move into the spotlight
Within a year of their invention, e-cigarettes began to be sold commercially. Their popularity grew in the late 2000s, and continues to rise today. In the UK alone, the number of vapers has increased from 700,000 in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2015.
How does vaping feel?
Compared to smoking cigarettes, vaping may feel wetter and heavier depending on the vapor. As well, vaping is much more pleasantly aromatic and flavorful, due to the flavors of the e-liquids.
Vaping Experience in Words
For different people vaping experience can mean different things; therefore, it is very hard to explain it in words. Before I share my personal opinion, here is what two of my co-workers, who have smoked for 6 and 10 years, and now have been vaping for more than two, have to say:
“[Unlike smoking] vaping is lighter on the lungs, and I could hit a vape nonstop all day. When smoking, I can only smoke so many before feeling ill…flavor vaping is, of course, delightful and delicious.” – Vin
“While it took me a while to get used to the vapor, now I totally love how my teeth and lungs are happier, not to mention the amazing variety of flavors I can choose from. I’m never going back.” – Teressa
What You Need to Start Vaping
Here are a couple of options for beginning vapers:
The flavor quality of your vaping experience will be determined by the type and brand of e-liquid you use. Put some thought into choosing your juices, and they can make or break the entire experience. Particularly as a beginner, it is advisable to choose well-known and reputable brands, as low-quality e-juices can contain harmful contaminants or unlisted ingredients.
Electronic Cigarettes, AKA E-Cigs
These devices, also known as “Cig-a-likes” are the size of a pen and are designed to appear somewhat like a traditional cigarette. E-cigarettes often come as a complete starter kit containing batteries, refillable or pre-filled cartridges, and a charger. E-cigs are very convenient and affordable but do not offer more extreme experiences of vaping.
Another upside to e-cigarettes is that if you’ve recently switched from smoking cigarettes, they can offer a sensation similar to smoking a traditional cigarette. Low strength nicotine and moderate to low throat hits can make them a viable option for novices.
These are the real deal, offering extreme vaping experiences that are ideal for those who have some vaping experience. Mods are available from $30 to $300 or above, and allow you to vape all types of material including e-liquids, dry herbs, and wax concentrates.
A vape mod might set you back a pretty penny, but after the initial purchase you can buy affordable e-liquids. This could be considerably more economical than smoking cigarettes, especially in the long run. Just make sure that you buy the mod from a well-known and reliable brand.
What is Vaping: Conduction vs. Convection Vaping
When it comes to technology, there are two basic types of vaporizers: conduction- and convection-style vaporizers.
Heat transfer is the physical act of thermal energy moving from one area or substance to another. This can be achieved in two different ways, and different vaporizers use one of these techniques to transform the vaping material into vapor.
How does conduction vaping work?
In conduction vaping, heat is transferred from the heating chamber, coil or heating plate to the material via direct contact. This results in speedy heat-up and the vaporizer is ready in a matter of seconds. However, this can result in an uneven energy transfer, and can cause burning of the material.
How does convection vaping work?
Convection vaping works by heating up the material by blowing hot air through it. The material is transformed into vapor without direct contact. Since the air flows through the material evenly, convection vaping results in a smooth taste; however, the vaporizer may take a while to reach the optimal temperature level. Convection vaporizers are usually more expensive.
What is sub-ohm vaping?
Sub-ohm vaping refers to vaping using a coil with a resistance of less than 1 ohm. Sub-ohm vaping results in a larger current flowing through the coil, and stronger vapor and flavor production. Sub-ohm vaping may be too intense for first-time vapers.
Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?
This is probably the second most commonly asked question, and the answer is, unfortunately, unclear. Science has yet to determine for certain whether or not vaping is absolutely safer than smoking. Public health experts in the U.S. is divided over the potential benefits and risks of e-cigs, and conclusive scientific evidence is scarce.
The general idea, however, is that since e-liquid contains no tar or carcinogens found in tobacco leaves, vaping is safer in that is less likely to cause lung damage and cancer due to these ingredients.
Below are some statistics in favor and against the health benefits of smoking:
- Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Public Health England.
- Vaporizers are exponentially less hazardous than cigarettes, and vaping can even help people quit smoking. American Heart Association.
- The benefits of vaping outweigh its risks. Vaping is the first genuine way of helping people quit smoking. Royal College of Physicians.
- The amount of volatile organic compounds found in exhaled vapor is less than both exhaled smoke and normal breath. Spanish Council of Scientific Research.
- A report by WHO suggests that vaping can become a gateway for teens and young adults a gateway to the world of smoking. World Health Organization.
- A more recent study suggests that vaping has nearly the same impact as cigarettes in terms of suppressing the essential immune system-related genes. American Association for the Advancement of Science.
What is Vaping: Vaping Safety Tips
Here are a few things you can do to ensure the safety of yourself as well as others around you:
- If you don’t already smoke, do not start vaping now.
- Choose the best vaping gear from the most renowned manufacturers because low-quality vaporizers can pose several threats and risks to your health that may not even be related directly to vaping.
- Avoid vaping in places where smoking is prohibited.
- For a healthier lifestyle, eliminate nicotine from your e-liquids. Most manufacturers allow you to choose a nicotine strength, which makes it easy to gradually cut down the intake and eventually vape e-liquids with 0% nicotine.
- Always prefer child-proof bottles for your e-juices, and keep them out of reach of children and pets because if an e-liquid contains nicotine, it can be poisonous if ingested.
- Take precautionary measures to ensure battery safety, especially if you are using the 18650 vape batteries. Don’t use a charger other than the one recommended by the manufacturer; don’t overcharge or over-discharge the batteries; store the batteries which are not in use in a safe place (preferably in a plastic case); and don’t carry loose batteries in your pocket.