Vaping: A beginner’s guide
The best option for any adult smoker, looking for a better alternative to smoking, is to quit smoking altogether. However that’s easier said than done, for those who do not want to quit, or are unable to, there are a variety of alternatives to smoking available in New Zealand which represent a better option than continuing to smoke.
This article covers the beginners guide to vaping – explaining how vaping is different from smoking cigarettes and how different vaping devices work. It also provides an overview of the types of vaping devices available and information on e-liquids.
How is vaping different from smoking cigarettes?
Traditional smoking involves lighting a cigarette with a flame or lighter. This process of combustion from the cigarette burning produces smoke – this smoke contains nicotine.
Vapers use an e-cigarette or a heated tobacco product, which is a handheld electronic device. Vaping doesn’t use a flame to create combustion. Instead, when you use an e-cigarette vaping device, the e-liquid is heated and converted to a vapour, which is then inhaled. The main difference between vaping and cigarettes is there is zero combustion involved in vaping.
E-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, though this isn’t always the case. Many vapers use e-cigarettes without any nicotine at all to support them on their journey to quit traditional cigarettes.
What are the different types of vaping devices?
Whilst there is a growing range of products on the market at various prices, e-cigarette devices will typically fall into one of the following two categories; open-tank or closed-tank.
Essentially, the main difference between open or closed-tank is that open-tank e-cigarettes can be refilled with e-liquid manually, giving you more control over what flavours you use and how much nicotine is included.
Some people refer to open-tank devices as ‘box mods’. These types of devices are larger and generally have more customisable features, with longer battery life and multiple changeable elements, often including wattage and temperature control.
The changeable components like wick and coil can sometimes be the downfall of open tank systems. If these devices are not maintained properly or regularly, some vapers describe a resulting ‘burnt flavour’.
Closed-tank systems use pods already filled with e-liquid. They are simpler and generally easier to use and maintain without the hassle of refilling or replacing parts like wick and coils required in open-tank systems.
Closed-tank devices are often referred to as ‘pod vapes’. A pod vape is an ultra-compact and easy to use two-piece device including a battery and a pod. These devices are available with either closed vape pods or refillable pods.
Depending on the specific brand and model of pod vape chosen, these devices may include features such as variable wattage. These devices are usually more discreet in terms of size compared to open-tank devices, and easier to maintain.
What are vaping e-liquids?
Vaping devices utilise e-liquids, also referred to as ‘e-juices’ or ‘vape juices’. These liquids usually contain a base product commonly called VG (vegetable glycerine), which is a natural derivative derived from vegetable oil and used to produce dense vapour clouds.
Some e-liquids also contain an ingredient called PG (propylene glycol). PG is a synthetic additive used to provide what vapers call a ‘throat hit’, which also includes flavourings and often nicotine.
Some vaping systems use pods pre-filled with e-liquid. These e-liquid pods are available in various forms of disposable cartridges that are inserted into the vaping device and then disposed of once the liquid has been vaped.
With other ‘refillable vaping systems’ like open-tanks or box mods, e-liquids are poured directly into refillable pods or the device’s tank. With open-tank devices you are not buying packs of pre-filled e-liquid pods, instead you buy the liquid on its own and refill your device directly.
E-liquids are available in a variety of nicotine strengths and flavours. The nicotine strength of the e-liquid is indicated on the container either as a percentage or displayed in milligrams per millilitre (often shortened to ‘mg’).