What Is Vaping?

Looking to find out more about vaping? Despite the exponential growth of the vaping industry in recent years, and an explosion in the popularity of e-cigs, many people still aren’t sure what is vaping exactly. If you have any questions about vaping, vaporizers, or related uses, this comprehensive guide has got you covered.

What Is Vaping: An ultimate guide

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.

Unlike the smoke of a traditional tobacco cigarette, most e-liquids produce vapor with a pleasant odor.

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.

Vapers can choose from a virtually infinite variety of flavors. Some online stores allow you to mix and match, and even build your own flavors.

What is vaping? – 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 is Vaping infographics

What You Need to Start Vaping

Here are a couple of options for beginning vapers:

Starter Kits

Starter kits open the world of vaping to beginners. They introduce all the basic components of a device to new vapers like mods, tanks, and coils. Kits also contain accessories like chargers, replacement parts and tools. Starter models are usually more for e-juice vaping. There are beginner devices for dry herb and concentrates vaping.

Kits represent a higher-level of vaping than basic cig-a-likes. With those devices, users need only open the box, take out the vape, and start puffing.

Starter kits need more effort from the user. Starter devices need simple assembly. They also need cleaning and maintenance. Users will fill their first e-juice tanks. They will also learn about different vape settings, like temperature or variable wattage control.

Read more about Best Vape Starter Kits in 2020

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.

Since you can start using the kit right out of the box, even if you don’t have any previous knowledge or experience, they can make an excellent choice for new vapers.

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.

Read more about Best Electronic Cigarettes of 2020

Vape Mods

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.

Some of the mods are hybrids and allow you to vape multiple materials simply by swapping the cartridges.

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.

Read more about Best Vape Mods and Box Mods

Dab Wax Pens

Dab pens are for vaping wax and oil concentrates. They use simple, one-button controls or have LCDs for adjustable features. Dab pens are small in size, have built-in batteries and use a heating element to vape extracts.

Before, a “dab” or “dabbing” meant heating a metal nail to inhale vapor from a marijuana extract. Users would take a small piece of extract, place it or “dab” it onto the nail, and inhale the vapor.

Dabbing still means the same thing, only vapers are doing it in a different way. Now, with new devices that are battery-powered, and have adjustable settings, dabbing has never been easier.

Read more about Best Dab Pens are the Latest Vaping Trend in 2020


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.

Neil Lockhart/Shutterstock

Read more about Best Vape Juices and E-Liquids for 2020

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?

An ohm is the unit of measurement of the resistance of the current flow. And resistance is just how much opposition a material gives to the flow of an electrical current.
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.

Below are some statistics in favor and against the health benefits of smoking:


  1. Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. Public Health England.
  2. Vaporizers are exponentially less hazardous than cigarettes, and vaping can even help people quit smoking. American Heart Association.
  3. The benefits of vaping outweigh its risks. Vaping is the first genuine way of helping people quit smoking. Royal College of Physicians.
  4. The amount of volatile organic compounds found in exhaled vapor is less than both exhaled smoke and normal breath. Spanish Council of Scientific Research.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Read more about Vaping vs Smoking

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. Nicotine is a serious drug that is highly addictive and can lead to health problems on its own even if you have never smoked a cigarette. It is not worth taking on an addiction for the sake of vaping.
  • 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.

Don’t build your own mods until you are very familiar with how a vape mod works and get very familiar with Ohm’s law.

Hopefully, after reading this comprehensive guide, you now have a better understanding of what vaping is. No matter what benefits vaping has over smoking, the risks involved are still uncertain. For instance, most liquids contain nicotine, which is a habit-forming substance and can be poisonous if ingested. While we can’t claim that vaping is completely harmless, it does lack certain harmful ingredients present in normal cigarettes.

Published: December 15, 2016 Updated: January 8, 2020



Leave a comment

28 comments on “What Is Vaping?

  • judygeouge

    February 24, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    does vaping leave smoke like regular smoke

    • Christina

      February 26, 2021 at 1:41 am

      not really: vaping leaves cloud of vapor (which contains vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol mixed with aromatization liquids, and for non-zero nicotine juices — nicotine). This vapor is visible but thick, with a bit of a sweet taste.
      Fun fact, if vaping inside for a long time high vg (above 60%) juice tiny particles are left on surfaces (no worries, it cleans easily with with straight rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle).

  • cannabidiol

    September 8, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    I am sharing.

  • name or name

    May 19, 2020 at 11:08 am

    boomers say that vaping is bad but in the 1950 they would have pack of cigarettes everywhere and smoke more often than that people with vapes

  • boi

    January 3, 2020 at 9:00 am

    to all the idiots you can go ahead and vape and get cancer NOT MY CHOICE, YOUR LIFE, so choose how you die, 10 years less in your life without family carrying an oxygen tank for your last 10 years at 60 years old

  • Pepe

    November 20, 2019 at 10:02 am

    This article is not helpful for the people because the journalist states “my mission is to make e cigarettes less scary to people” so in this case she’s in favor of her own words and “investigations.” Actually vaping it’s harmful for people but due to high demand on vaping the marketing still booming crazy and the gubernamental agencies are doing nothing on favor of the community and obviously the high paying on taxes it’s very good for the government.

  • MyMagicMist

    October 11, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    For @Amy & @Zane and anyone else seeking factual knowledge regarding vaping. Please watch this brief video with an open mind, objectively. Then, make use of the gray matter between your ears, do some more research prior to bashing what you do not understand. Thank you.

    Here’s the video link:

  • Elaina

    September 30, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Very informative and unbiased article. Thank you so much!

  • Amy

    September 25, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Moisture can turn to mold in homes. Maybe the people who are getting lung illness from vaping are developing mold in their lungs.

  • Zane

    September 23, 2019 at 1:50 am

    People have already died from vaping and we already know about cigarettes. Look at Wal-Mart pulling them because of the dangers.
    Want to have a hard time breathing later on in life? Connected to a machine with a one & one half inch tube shoved through your mouth into your lungs?
    Not to mention the anxiety of wondering how much longer you’ll have a hard time taking each breath?
    Sure, go ahead and vape/smoke! Go ahead, be naive and believe vaping isn’t harmful. What are your chances of being 80yrs old? 70? You’re only here for several decades, so yeah, go ahead and live a shorter lifespan, after all, those are your lungs to inflict punishment upon! Moral of the story? People have the right to smoke and vape. And we have the right to laugh at it.

  • Edward C. Stengel

    September 15, 2019 at 3:03 am

    Vaping and cigarette smoking should be a pro choice issue. I’m 74 years old, have been smoking for 56 years, and I’m going to continue to smoke cigarettes. However, for those who want to vape, be my guest. I wish the non-smokers and non-vapers would mind their business and stop interfering with the rights of others.

  • Bardett McGee

    September 12, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Vaping helped me quit smoking. It took about 2 years, but I had tried everything else including prescription medication. The result has lasted more than 5 years now.

    • Bardett McGee

      September 12, 2019 at 9:33 am

      I forgot to add, I no longer vape or smoke in the 5 years.

  • Crystal Ward

    September 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    COPD…..it’s a WONDERFUL condition. Just keep smoking and vaping….so down the road you can be attached to a 50 foot cord for the rest of your miserable life. And the ‘bonus” is you get to cough up phlegm a couple of times a day when your lungs fill up with it…….OH….SEE what you have to look forward to.
    HAPPY SMOKING to all you idiots. You deserve it for being so ignorant and stupid

  • Ava

    May 24, 2019 at 3:21 am

    Hello Cristina,
    I am a regular smoker and daily smoke half of the packet. One of my friends recommended me vaping, so I think about starting vaping instead of smoking.so I research and find this article to know more about vaping.

  • vapor boss

    April 28, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks for this article it really help the others i also sell vapes

  • Jason

    September 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t understand how inhaling oil can be good for you? I’m not saying that anyone is leaning that way. I just think that it be way worse than smoking. I guess I don’t get it, you are inhaling oil vaper

  • Jonny Stevenson

    July 24, 2018 at 2:15 am

    is vaping cheaper than smoking?

    • Nicole Osborne

      July 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Depends on what brand of smokes you use, but overall, yes, it is usually cheaper.

  • David

    July 10, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    why shouldnt we vape if we havent smoked? it says If you don’t already smoke, do not start vaping now and i dont get why

  • Zach Nelson

    April 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Vaping is as much of a hobby as it is a habit……clouds and coils let me know if anyone knows where to get free vape stuff…..get your new and improved, and the hottest deals on it all!

    • Debbie

      February 28, 2019 at 6:58 am

      They’re just saying if you haven’t already been introduced to nicotine, why start? Nicotine is a habit forming drug and vaping has Nicotine in it’s Vape juices… but if you intend on Vaping @ 0% Nicotine, then you are Right, it wouldn’t be a problem… but sometimes temptation for kids in school for instance, Vaping for leads to adding that nicotine to the equation…

  • koustav majumder

    April 4, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    vape hokkah is safe than orginal hokkah.
    is it really safe?

  • Zaima

    March 26, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Nice article and beautifully explained

  • pee pee

    March 24, 2018 at 1:32 am

    This actually makes sense

  • daddy big boy

    March 6, 2018 at 11:44 am

    yea vaping is good daddy

  • Brenda Albrough

    February 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I was introduced to vaping from a friend who smoked 2-3 packages of cigarettes a day. I smoked only about a half package per day, but decided to try it. I always hated the way cigarettes made my lungs feel so heavy and my throat feel soar. As most people ,I was addicted to smoking from an early age in my life. I decided to try vaping, but still had a few cigarettes per day. As time went on I enjoyed the taste of the flavor and that it didn’t make your house smell. I now have several vape pens and enjoy many different flavors, and now free from regular cigarettes. I have heard of a disease that you can get from vaping called popcorn lung, I have yet to research this but that will be my next project.

  • Bert

    February 22, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    I’m not convinced shoving anything but clean air up your orifice is safe, but clean air is getting harder to find in the Trumpian dystopia.

    The Spanish claim just seems completely whacko to me!