More and more Westerners are becoming familiar with the term “vaping,” a new word used to distinguish smoking from using electronic cigarettes. This verb calls to mind the fact that consumers who operate electronic cigarettes are not creating smoke as they would with cigarettes, so the word “smoking” isn’t appropriate for what they are doing. Instead they are creating vapor; hence, the word “vaping” was born.
What is Vaping?
How does a person create vapor with a little electronic gadget and why would he do that? Firstly, let’s consider what vapor actually is. When you heat an organic substance, it releases water vapor. In the gardening world, you see this with compost: vegetable peels and fruit cores break down and rot, becoming very warm but not burning. As this process continues, one will see steam rising from the pile of decomposing material; that’s water being released from this matter as its composition changes and matter breaks down to merely solid, dry waste. Steam is just water vapor.
Of course, vapers aren’t inhaling rotting food waste; that would be smelly, ugly, and disgusting. This picture illustrates the concept, though: of heating something until water is released, not smoke. Vapor smells good or bad depending on what you heat up. In the case of vaping, you are heating up a liquid substance containing nice-smelling components.
Vaping with Nicotine
Those components usually include nicotine, at least for the average vaper buying his first disposable electronic cigarette. His e cig is comprised of a battery and a liquid-filled cartridge, the contents of which vary from brand to brand.
Typically, these are nicotine (up to around 2.4% in most instances), propylene glycol or PG, possibly vegetable glycerin or VG (in some cases only vegetable glycerin), water, and flavoring. The usual flavors would be tobacco and menthol although numerous brands (White Cloud, for example) also produce e cigs flavored like cherries or vanilla for the disposable market.
The nicotine in e cigs will probably come from a source other than tobacco plants. In most cases, tobacco is not used to create flavoring either. This is especially true of disposable e cigs but not always the case among e liquid companies.
Either way, customers can check where the nicotine for a particular brand of e cig has come from by reading the firm’s website, writing a message on Facebook, or calling their customer service line. Always expect nicotine to be USP-grade (of a quality which pharmacies would be willing to utilize in their nicotine replacement products).
As you peruse rechargeable systems with replaceable cartridges or bottled e juice, you notice there are nicotine choices: from zero nicotine up to about 3.6% (even higher in a few cases). Numerous people use nicotine levels as a way to slowly wean themselves off of nicotine without giving up the comfort of putting a cylindrical object in their mouths; no longer a cigarette but still much like a cigarette or cigar in its dimensions.
Vaping with PG and VG
Consumers in the mini cig market are generally at the mercy of manufacturers when it comes to the composition of their e liquid. It is made from a ratio of PG and VG which they decide upon and the consumer has no say. For the most part the ratio is highly in favor of PG because of its thin quality, more compatible with their wicking material than viscous VG.
Once you start vaping with clearomizers or tanks and dual coils you can begin to experiment with thicker e liquids. The reasons behind this switch include:
• wanting to create thicker vapor
• looking for pure, organic ingredients
• seeking gourmet e juices
• preferring custard-style liquids typically made from a high-VG blend
Arguments in favor of VG as the purer and safer of the two base liquids are often debated, but the essential point here is that consumers have the choice. Several firms specialize in making VG-only or VG-dominant liquids, including some organic ones and brands made with all-natural flavorings to enhance their purity. Certain firms also allow clients to customize the amount of VG or PG in their e liquid.
In the beginning, there were tobacco and menthol e cigs. Now there are several types of tobacco, numerous versions of menthol, every fruit flavor, many dessert styles, drinks, cocktails, and even savory e liquids. The cheapest brands typically focus on single flavors: apple, cherry, chocolate, or coffee.
As companies become more sophisticated about e juice production, they blend styles to create chocolate caramel mocha, cherry tobacco, apple pie and ice cream, or vanilla custard with a twist of lemon. Customers are even encouraged to order personally selected blends made from up to 5 flavors in some cases.
A vaper starts with mini cigs, usually non-rechargeable ones bought at a gas station or liquor store. He progresses to a rechargeable system with two batteries so one can always be recharged and ready. The next level is a rechargeable eGo-type setup with 650-mAh batteries or better; up to about 1300 mAh.
After mastering e cigs which are button-operated (manual) rather than heating up when you puff them, vapers continue to Variable Volt devices which come with a dial at the base so as to create voltage consistency and consistent vapor until a battery requires recharging. After that there are APVs: devices with variable voltage and wattage up to around 15 watts.
Alternatives are non-regulated items with single-button operation but a high output you can only control by the duration of puffs, a vaping session, and your selection of atomizer resistance.
Next, you see regulated box or tube mods: variable watt/volt or even VW/TC (temperature control) devices with output of up to 200W or 600F. These complex systems are designed for vaping experts and coveted by individuals who love to create a lot of vapor using gourmet e juices.
They understand the correlation between e liquid viscosity, atomizer resistance, temperature, volts, and watts and how these affect the flavor of their vapor. These individuals also realize how dangerous mods can be at 600F. Vaping experience makes these vapers capable of operating mechanical (unregulated mods) safely and effectively.