One in 20 U.S. adults — almost 11 million people — have already taken up vaping.
While the use of electronic cigarettes is still a hot topic for debate, the CDC has passed judgment on it. According to the agency, e-cigs can benefit adult smokers, particularly cigarette smokers.
That’s a lot of people who can benefit, seeing as 34.3 million Americans smoked tobacco cigarettes in 2017. Switching to e-cigs may help them finally kick their smoking habits.
If you’re one of these folks, and you’re ready to give up your pricey smokes, now’s the best time to learn how to start vaping.
Ready to say goodbye to the stinkies caused by tobacco ciggies? Then let’s get right into it!
How to Start Vaping: Set Your Expectations First
Before you start to vape, prepare yourself for some side effects, especially coughing. It’s common among first-time vapers, but don’t worry, since it’s temporary for most people.
One possible reason is that your body still has to acclimatize to the change.
Think of it this way: Your body has gotten used to the nicotine dose of your regular cigarette. When you vape for the first time, you’re taking in a different nicotine level. You’re also “puffing” in a different way, which can make you inhale more than what you’re used to.
These changes may then prompt your body to expel that extra nicotine (and vapor) by coughing. You can avoid this by choosing an e-liquid with a nicotine level based on how heavy a smoker you are (or were).
Tobacco cessation itself can cause coughing too, according to researchers. Again, that’s because the body has to acclimatize to the sudden absence of nicotine. In this case, coughing can occur whether you start vaping or not.
It’s also a good idea to get yourself tested for e-juice allergies before beginning vaping. Some folks are allergic to propylene glycol (PG), which may cause throat and muscle pains. Sweating at night and rashes may also occur due to PG allergy.
Note that researchers found PG to be completely harmless under vaporized conditions though. Also, those who experienced PG side effects only had the symptoms for a few days. Once your body gets used to the e-juice component, the side effects may disappear.
If you can’t tolerate the side effects, your other e-liquid option is vegetable glycerin. Like PG, VG testing showed no signs of toxicity, but it may have fewer side effects.
Choose Your Device (and Experience)
The device you choose will not only affect cost but also your vaping experience. For beginners, a cig-a-like is a good starting point. Vape pens are also a neat choice, although they’re on the higher price tier.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each vaping device.
Cig-a-Likes: The Cheapest
Most who are still learning the ropes on how to vape often start with cig-a-like devices. Like the term suggests, these are devices that look like tobacco cigarettes. Even their “feel” and the way you “use” them are the same — you only have to puff and inhale.
Cig-a-likes are disposable devices, which make them the cheapest of all e-cigarette types. For newbies, this is a great option to learn to vape.
In the long run though, all those replacements can take a huge toll on your budget. So, once you’re accustomed to vaping and your cig-a-like dies, consider moving on to…
Vape pens cost a bit more than cig-a-likes, but they’re more powerful and customizable. They’re also longer lasting, which means fewer replacements. Fewer replacements mean you’ll have an easier time managing your budget and finances.
In the beginning, you can go for the more convenient pre-filled, disposable cartridges. You can also use tanks, which means you can try out various e-juice flavors!
In vape pens, the pre-filled cartridges and tanks are the disposable parts. Once you run out of juice, simply remove these and screw in a fresh cartridge or tank. As for the pen itself, you only need to plug them up to recharge them.
There are also vape pens that you can use for “sub-ohm” vaping, a type of vaping technique. With a sub-ohm tank, you can enjoy flavorful juices and produce a lot of clouds (vapor).
Plus, many vape device manufacturers, like this company, offer sub-ohm starter kits. With such kits, you get everything — parts and e-juices — you need to start sub-ohm vaping.
Vape mods, or box mods, are for the most advanced vapers, but we’ll still cover it a bit in this guide to vaping.
These mods offer a great deal of power, letting you produce (and chase) more clouds. They do so through their bigger — and longer lasting — battery capacity. You can pair them with various atomizers, which allows for more customization.
Their greater power and flexibility come at a greater price too. The vaping device itself costs more than cig-a-likes and vape pens. The higher-capacity batteries (which you may need to buy separately) are also pricey.
Pick Your Nicotine Dose
Cigarette smoking is one of the lifestyle habits you need to change to lower your risks of diseases. After all, tobacco smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It also causes emphysema and raises one’s risk for strokes and heart disease.
But to enjoy the benefits of vaping, you need to commit to weaning off tobacco. And choosing the right nicotine level is key to kicking your cigarette smoking habit. The good news is, vaping gives you more control over the amount of nicotine you inhale.
A good way to gauge what nicotine level to choose is how heavy you currently smoke.
Tobacco cigarettes in the U.S. have an average nicotine content of 10.2 mg. As for e-juices or e-liquids, they contain nicotine levels varying from 0 to 24 mg/ml.
If you’re a heavy smoker, like more-than-a-pack-a-day kind of smoker, you may want to start with 18 mg/ml. It may be tempting to go straight to 24 mg/ml, but it’s best to start at a lower level. Remember, vaping delivers more vapor (and nicotine) straight into your lungs, so 18 mg/ml may be enough.
If you smoke a pack or less a day, the 6 or 12 mg/ml level may already soothe your nicotine cravings. If you’re a light smoker, test the 3 mg/ml dose.
While your goal is to decrease your nicotine intake, sudden abstinence may not be a good idea. You may experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea, stomach cramps, gas, and headaches. It may even lead to the development of anxiety and depression.
The best thing to do is to start with your regular dose and from there, gradually reduce it. You may even find yourself vaping only for the sheer pleasure of producing clouds with a 0 mg juice.
Take a Pick from Your Many E-Juice Flavor Options
E-liquid, also known as e-juice or vape juice, come in all sorts of flavors, even Fruit Loops! There’s a juice for almost all fruits out there, even for cheese, barbecue, and pizza. Not to say all these are great, but it’s likely you’ll find what you fancy since there are so many e-juice flavors.
If you like the regular taste of tobacco, there are vape juice manufacturers who offer that too. Menthol cigarette flavors are also up for grabs.
When buying e-liquids, look at the main ingredient, which can either be PG or VG. Some also have a mix of propylene or vegetable glycerin. Make sure you’ve already tested yourself for PG allergies so you know whether to stick to pure VG juice.
Most of these flavors are also available in 0 to 24 mg/ml nicotine doses. Once you’ve chosen a specific flavor, you can buy them in the nicotine level that best suits you.
Where to Get Your Vaping Essentials
You have two choices: Buy your vaping gear at a brick and mortar shop or order it online.
Opt for the former, and you can see and feel the actual devices. Some shops may even let you test them out and sample out flavors.
If you shop online though, that’ll give you access to lower prices and more options to choose from. You’ll also find tons of online reviews that you can use to figure out which ones are highly-rated. The negative reviews will also help you learn which products to stay away from.
If there’s a nearby vape store, check it out and see what they have on offer. If you find something you like, google it first to see if it’s highly recommended. You may even get it for a lower price online!
Switch to Vaping Now
So long as you follow this guide on how to start vaping, it’ll be easier to find the right vaporizer to suit your needs. Remember, the right device, paired with the right juice, can help reduce side effects. And make sure to start slow on your nicotine reduction to lessen withdrawal symptoms.
Switch to vaping now to finally rid yourself of the stinkies! Plus, vaping can be a good way to reap the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). Here’s a guide you can use if you plan to pick up CBD vaping once you’ve become a more advanced vaper.