What is vaping?
Vaping has never been more popular. Seen by many as a viable and cleaner alternative to smoking, e-cigs that offer tasty-flavours and an odour-free finish have helped win over the hearts and minds of the public. But, particularly if you’re new to vaping, there’s lots of terminology to get to grips with and it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Vaping is far more straightforward than you might think. To get you going, we’ve put together this guide, where we’ll help you get your head around all the jargon and explain what happens when you power up your e-cig.
You’ll find the answer to:
- What is vaping?
- What is vapour?
- What is a vaporizer?
- What is a vape mod?
- What is a vape pod system?
- What is a vape pod/cartridge?
- What is the atomizer on a vape?
- What is the clearomizer?
- What is a vape kit?
- What is in vape juice?
- What is freebase nicotine?
- What is nicotine salt?
- What is the difference between nicotine salt and freebase nicotine?
- What device to use for salt nics?
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of using an electronic device to inhale a nicotine or non-nicotine e-liquid in vapour form. To create the vapour from the e-liquid, a device known as an e-cig, or vaporizer, is used. These devices come in many different shapes, sizes and specifications; and you can use an e-liquid of your choosing with each of these devices.
Vaping was first introduced back in 2004, when Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented the first modern e-cigarette. Since then, vaping has been adopted and enjoyed by millions of people around the planet. It’s proved particularly popular as an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, with a hefty share of former-smokers having made the switch.
What is vapour?
Literally put, vapour is “a substance diffused or suspended in the air, which is originally a liquid or solid turned into a gaseous form”. In this case, vapour is the gaseous state of an e-liquid, a flavoured and often nicotine-containing mixture that’s made to be inhaled. The vapour produced by an e-cig usually appears thicker than smoke, but it smells much nicer due to the flavouring of the e-liquid and it dissipates into the air much quicker, too.
What is a vaporizer?
A vaporizer is an electronic device that transforms an e-liquid into a vapour, to be inhaled. These come in lots of different forms, but almost always consist of:
- a battery,
- main console,
- cartridge or e-liquid refill container,
- atomizer or clearomiser,
- and an inhaler
Some will have several removable components, while others won’t. They work by using electricity from a battery source to heat an element within the device’s atomizer or clearomiser. When this contacts the e-liquid from the cartridge or tank, it turns the e-liquid to vapour, which can then be inhaled from the device.
Vaporizers are powered by a rechargeable battery. In most cases, this will involve the use a USB cable, while some models can be charged using a charger pack. As a rule of thumb, a vaporizer should take between an hour and three hours to fully charge.
What is a vape mod?
A vape mod is a colloquial term for an Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV). These are non-standard vaping devices, coming in a huge range of specifications; whether that’s unusual designs or altered components, such as larger batteries.
While these can have their benefits, they’re not a great place to start for those new to vaping. It’s probably best to get started on a more standard device first, and once you’ve learnt the ropes, maybe then consider modifications that could be of benefit to you.
What is a vape pod system?
Vape pod systems are among the most popular innovations to hit the market in recent years, offering the perfect balance of easy use, affordability, and quality performance. For many vapers, pod-based systems are the ideal way to enjoy an incredible vape experience that encapsulates everything they formerly enjoyed about cigarette smoking.
The easiest way to describe a vape pod system is as "a system somewhere between a basic e-cigarette and an advanced vape mod". Many vapers begin with an ultra-simple vape pen which is inexpensive, discreet, and highly portable. Unfortunately, vape pens are not powerful and don’t last long on a full battery. You can upgrade to a fancy box mod but the array of coils, varying modes and buttons is off-putting when all you want is a quick smoke.
A vape pod system manages to capture the best of both worlds: the power of a box mod and the easy portability of a vape pen. You’ll enjoy a high-quality vape experience that’s also pleasantly hassle-free and discreet.
- Open pod system - These are e-cigs that contain several removable parts, including a rechargeable device, clearomiser and mouthpiece; meaning these vaporizers require a more manual form of refilling. Because of this, they tend to be bigger and bulkier than closed system devices. They do require more maintenance, but because all of its parts are reusable, it can be a more cost-effective option.
- Closed pod system - These are sometimes referred to as cig-a-likes, and consist of only the rechargeable device and a replaceable cartridge. They tend to be smaller and slimmer than open system devices, and are the convenient option if you don’t want to be fiddling around with parts to use your e-cig – simply unscrew the old cartridge and add a new one.
What is a vape pod/cartridge?
Instead of the atomizer or tank that you would use with a box mod, you’ll be working with a pod-based system. As its name might suggest, a vape pod system utilizes a pod to hold and vaporize the vape juice. Appearance-wise, vape pod systems tend to be slightly larger than e-cigarettes, but considerably smaller than most box mods. Many vapers compare the look of a vape pod device to a USB drive, though you can find options that are designed to look like box mods as well.
- Open System Vape Pod
However, dealing with refills might be a deal breaker for some vapers, and you can also expect to perform fairly regular coil and cartridge replacements.
- Closed System Vape Pod
A closed system vape pod works a lot like a cartomizer, using pre-filled cartridges of vape juice. When it comes time to refill, all you have to do is click in a new one – incredibly convenient and quick. Generally, you’ll be able to find cartridges in a mix of flavors and nicotine strengths. Overall, a closed system vape pod is a good option because it requires next to no maintenance. There are no coils to replace or tanks to maintain, making closed systems very easy to work with.
Downsides include a limited selection of nicotine strength and flavors in comparison to its open system counterpart. Also pods do tend to cost more than liquid refills, so it could be a less economical option. This device is also known for offering weak draws and users occasionally report ‘spitbacks’. A spitback happens when the e-liquid bounces off the coil rather than vaporizing.
What is the atomizer on a vape?
The atomizer is the part of your e-cig that’s responsible for turning your e-liquid into vapour, through heating. It does this using a heating element, usually a coil, the power of which is measured in ohms. Generally, the lower the ohm level of the coil, the more power it will need to do the heating.
When you turn on your vape device, power from the battery will begin to heat up the coil inside the atomizer. Just above the coil is a wick, which tends to be made from absorbent materials like cotton, that soak up your e-liquid. When the coil gets hot enough, it’ll evaporate the liquid and turn it to a gas, which can then be inhaled from your device.
Depending on the type of e-cig you have, the atomizer can be a disposable part contained within the cartridge, or a permanent part within your re-usable device, whereby you’d only need to top up the e-liquid when it runs out.
What is the clearomiser?
A clearomiser is a particular design of atomizer. These are made of a pyrex glass or polycarbonate plastic, so that the user can check on the level of the vape juice in the tank, and more easily tell if it requires topping up.
What is a vape kit?
Vape kits are bundles containing all the things you need to start vaping. They’re excellent for vaping beginners, usually containing an e-cig power console and charger, along with a selection of cartridges or e-liquid refills. If the vaporizer has removable parts, it might even come with replacement components like extra coils, batteries and other mod parts. But we would recommend that those starting out with vaping keep it simple at first.
What is in vape juice?
Vape juice is what’s known as e-liquid. This liquid is converted into vapour by the e-cig, and it comes in a wide variety of flavours and nicotine strengths. That means that the exact makeup of your vape juice will vary somewhat, but there are two main base ingredients of any vape juice.
These two ingredients are:
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – a sweet, vegetable based liquid. It helps produce the vapour, simulating smoke. This ingredient is non-toxic, and a vape juice with a higher concentration of this ingredient will feel smoother to inhale.
- Propylene Glycol (PG) – an ingredient commonly found in things like food colouring, and as an additive in some medicines. It’s this that provides the throat sensation. It’s non-toxic and thinner in consistency than the Vegetable Glycerine.
The ratio of VG to PG will have a noticeable impact on how the vapour feels when inhaled. Starting from a standard 50% PG / 50% VG split, you’ll find higher VG blends provide a smoother and sweeter vape, while higher PG variants offer more intensity and a better throat sensation.
These two ingredients are then combined with natural or artificial flavours, to give the vape juice its distinct taste and scent. There may be some dilutants too, such as distilled water, to help bring the strength down and make the mixture runnier. In most e-liquids, you’ll find nicotine is also added, however you can get liquids that are nicotine-free.
If you’re looking to make the switch to a more convenient alternative to cigarette smoking, browse our range today and find a vape that’s perfect for you.
What is freebase nicotine?
The nicotine in your vape juice that you are familiar with is something called freebase nicotine. It is a method that tobacco companies have been using since the 60’s.
Freebase means that the nicotine is in its purest form compared to the other nicotine derivatives. In turn, the nicotine is much more potent when heated and it can be absorbed much faster in your lungs and in your brain.
What is Nicotine Salt?
Nicotine Salt is a type of nicotine that forms naturally in leaf tobacco and is generally considered to be a more stable form of nicotine vs. traditional freebase nicotine salt found in most e-liquids. Nicotine Salt requires a higher temperature in order to properly vaporize and the ions don’t travel to the nicotine receptors in your body as easily. In other words, Nicotine Salts are not the most efficient way to deliver nicotine to your body…so why use it?
When you vape traditional freebase nicotine, most people wouldn’t choose something over 18mg, as the hit would be much too harsh. However, with Nicotine Salts, most people who vape 3mg freebase nicotine are able to comfortably vape 20mg-50mg Nicotine Salts and they also help to mimic the sensation of smoking a combustible cigarette.
This can be confusing, and for good reason, as most everything we’ve been taught about e-liquid would lead us to believe that 50mg of nicotine would be extremely harsh and even potentially dangerous, but Nicotine Salt e-liquids have a special ingredient called Benzoic Acid that helps to make Nicotine Salts as smooth and palatable in higher strengths.
Benzoic acid serves two key purposes in salt nicotine:
- It helps nicotine salt vaporize at lower temperatures as well as lowering the pH levels in the salt nicotine which results in a smoother throat hit.
- A chemical reaction occurs that makes the nicotine more absorbable like free base nicotine.
What this means is that you can vape comfortably at high nicotine levels such as 50 mg and it also makes it easier for your body to absorb nicotine contrary to the nature of nic salts.
What is the difference between Nicotine Salt and Freebase Nicotine?
The biggest difference between Freebase Nicotine and Nicotine Salts is the harshness that higher levels of nicotine typically lead to. Freebase Nicotine has a higher pH level which in turn affects the alkalinity, meaning that Freebase Nicotine gets much harsher as the nicotine level goes higher. Because of the benzoic acid found in Nicotine Salts, they have a lower pH level and are therefore much more smooth and enjoyable.
Freebase nicotine e-liquids are normally more suitable for sub-ohm vaping in direct to lung devices because of their lower concentrations, although salt nic manufacturers have now begun to create low strength nicotine salt e-liquids to be used in high-powered devices.
Nicotine Salts are one of the most effective types of nicotine to help aid cigarette smokers in ditching the habit. Due to the higher nicotine content, Nicotine Salts more closely resemble the effects of smoking a cigarette and therefore help curb the craving. Another reason for using Nicotine Salts would be the fact that they’re designed for use in smaller, lower wattage devices like the SMOK NOVO kit, SMOK NORD Kit, SMOK MICO Kit, and Innokin EQ Kit to name a few. So, if you want an extremely portable device for when you’re on the go, or you don’t want to be the guy blowing massive clouds in public, Nicotine Salts will help to satisfy your craving in smaller and more concentrated doses.
What device to use for salt nics?
One thing to keep in mind is that salt nics operate in lower wattage devices. It is strongly recommended to avoid using high powered devices to vape salt nicotine. Using sub-ohms to vape salt nicotine at 50 mg nic levels will give you excessive amounts of nicotine and would be fairly unpleasant.
The salt nics are designed to be used in pod systems due to the higher amount of nicotine absorbed as well as not requiring to vaporize at higher temperatures.
Not only are the devices low profile and sleek, most of the low wattage devices are autofire meaning you only get vapour when you inhale it. This makes it a user-friendly device for any smokers who are new to vaping without the investment in figuring how all of the current devices work.
The pod systems that are currently on the market come with two available options:
Open System - you can refill manually by buying nicotine salt e-liquids.
Closed System - you can buy cartridges/pods that contain e-liquid without creating a mess.
Side note: You can also consider getting lower nicotine levels like 3 mg and 6 mg in nicotine salt form for your sub-ohm device. As far as it being more effective at delivering nicotine than freebase nicotine, what you may notice is a smoother throat hit than freebase nicotine e-juices.