Fred Cassman, the founder of MIST, has written this list of 12 Quick Tips for Better Vaping.
FC: Welcome to the vaping community! Congratulations on taking the first step to ditching the cigarettes and regaining control of your health, not to mention your bank balance. Taking your first step into vaping can be a bit daunting, especially with the paraphernalia that comes with it: e liquid, e cigarettes, batteries and chargers etc, especially when you’re used to simply lighting up a simple cigarette. There are a few things I know now that I wish someone had told me at the beginning. So, I decided to write down my top tips to make your vaping experience the best it can be, hopefully giving you a head start, and help avoid making the mistakes I made.
1. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!
I began my vaping journey by buying a disposable ‘cigalike’ from a convenience store. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t very good and my initial thoughts were that vaping wasn’t all it was cracked up to be! So I went back to smoking for a while. I know now that using a cigalike provides a very basic experience, that doesn’t represent vaping in a good light, and how effective it can be in helping smokers quit. Then a friend showed me his vape pen, and explained how he’d completely quit smoking, and let me try it. This was the moment I realised vaping really could be a viable method to helping me quit smoking for good. The flavour was much nicer, and the whole vaping experience was just far more enjoyable!
So, I went online and ordered a vape pen. Although this was a step in the right direction, I would still do things differently if I had the chance to do it again. Initially I bought a very overpriced device, thinking it would be better than the other options. When it arrived, I tried it, only to find I had spent more than twice as much as my friend on a device that wasn’t any better. In fact, I’d say it wasn’t as good in many ways. Lesson learned – just because something’s expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any better.
2. Get a recommendation from a trusted source before taking the plunge
There’s a lot of junk out there. Ask the sales assistants at vape stores to help you, use online reviews from fellow vapers and ask your friends who already vape. Their recommendations might not be right for you, but they will at least help to guide you in the right direction, towards decent, trusted brands who are making quality vape products.
As an experienced vaper, I highly recommend a Endura T18 or Endura T22 Kit. They’re reasonably priced and are satisfying to use.
3. Try the flavour first, or buy a small quantity
Being new to vaping, I was very excited by the prospect of so many flavours! On payday I ordered a whole bunch of different flavours, I wanted to try them all! I bought the largest bottles available for each flavour, since I was saving so much by not smoking, I decided to splash out. This was a big mistake. Firstly, I greatly overestimated how much e liquid I was going to need: the device I had, and the way I vaped at the time, I would only burn 1-2ml of e liquid a day, and I bought over 300ml in total. After they arrived, and I had tried them all, it turned out I liked about a third of the flavours, so I suddenly had all these bottles of e liquid I didn’t like, and wasn’t going to use. What a waste!
4. Clean your tank/coil thoroughly when changing flavour, or use a new coil
This ties in with my last point; I soon learned that if you don’t clean your tank and coil well when you change flavours, the cross contamination of flavours can be pretty bad! Don’t get me wrong, some flavours pair excellently together, and I have mixed a few concoctions in the past to create my own flavours that I love, and I now make a lot of my own vape juice. I’d definitely recommend a little experimentation here. It is worth knowing how to clean your tank and coils for when flavour combinations don’t work, or if you just want to change flavour without tasting the old one.
5. Learn how to clean your vape properly
The simplest way of doing this is by using a bit of soapy water (standard washing up liquid will do).
Here’s how to clean your vape:
- Disassemble your device (don’t get the battery wet!)
- Remove the tank and take the coil out
- Rinse the tank with lukewarm water
- Put a few drops of washing up liquid in a bowl of warm water if it’s really grimy
- Use kitchen towel to dry each piece well
- Let the pieces air dry for 15-20 minutes – you can put them on top of a radiator (NOT the battery or a plastic tank)
Here’s how to clean coils:
- Mix a little vodka (unflavoured) with water and soak it for a few minutes
- Leave to dry naturally – do not put it on a radiator as this can dry out and ruin the cotton
- Reassemble your device
- Put the coil back
Pop it back on your battery and before you add any liquid, press the button and blow gently for a second or two. This should vaporize the alcohol, you don’t want to inhale that as it’s very hot and harsh on your throat! Only do this once for a second or two, or you’ll burn your cotton. Then treat it like a new coil: add your e liquid, and let it sit for 15 minutes or so to soak up and you’re ready to vape as normal again. Any flavour from your previous liquid should be gone altogether.
There’s also the lazy way – only use one coil for one flavour. When you change flavour, also change the coil. This is what I do most of the time, leaving the coil with the bottle so next that time I want to vape that particular flavour again, I can reuse the coil until it needs to be thrown out. You should still clean the tank itself between each flavour change.
Learning to use my device properly has made my whole vaping experience far more enjoyable. Keeping my device clean has made my e liquid taste better, and also means the vapour is more pleasant overall.
5. Try a few different nicotine strengths and find what works best for you
In making the switch to vaping, I wanted to ensure I satisfied my nicotine cravings, and as I was a 20-a-day smoker, I bought the highest strength nicotine that was available. At first it was fine, but when I did eventually step down my nicotine to a more reasonable level, I found the flavour was much improved.
I started at 24mg nicotine, but ended up finding 12mg much more pleasant in a vape pen. When using a “cloud” device, even 6mg is too strong for me, and I opt for 2-3mg. Keep in mind that a lower strength won’t satisfy a nicotine craving as easily as a higher one, but the higher ones are harsher to vape and the flavours aren’t as pure. I’d recommend getting a few bottles of the smallest size in a few different strengths and deciding for yourself what your preferred strength is.
7. Keep your tank and battery topped up when you can
The next thing I learned was the more I enjoyed vaping, the more I vaped. I soon realised that when the tank is almost empty, the cotton can’t wick properly, and when the battery is low it can’t provide the power needed for a satisfying vape. The Endura series is pretty good – a full tank should last more than a day for any vaper, and the battery life should be pretty close too. Make sure you read reviews on the tank life and battery life of your chosen device.
8. Always have a spare at hand
This may seem obvious to some, but I still had to learn the hard way! A lot of vape devices tend to be round, so they tend to roll.. sometimes right off the edge of a table! When this happens, it can cause a crack in the glass tank, resulting in your e liquid leaking out and rendering the tank totally unusable. When your vape is out of action that just increases the temptation to go back to cigarettes – don’t put yourself in that situation! Always carry a spare device with you.
9. Don’t store your vape upside down!
If you’re anything like me, then your vape device is never too far from you. They fit nicely into a bag or a pocket, but this can sometimes cause a few messy problems. Although the tanks are well sealed and leaking is rare, gravity can still be an enemy. My bag smelled for weeks after a particularly bad leak when I didn’t screw the top on properly and just chucked it into my bag.
This is easy enough to solve with a little care and attention. Make sure everything is screwed on tight enough, (but not so tight that you can’t undo it when you want to fill the tank!) and don’t put your device upside down in a bag or pocket. That’s just tempting fate!
10. How to fix a “gurgling” or “flooded tank”
Sometimes, no matter how you’re using your vape, a little too much e liquid can be soaked up by the cotton. This can be when the top isn’t tight enough, or, you simply haven’t vaped in a while. This will create a little gurgling sound, and sometimes you may even suck some e liquid into your mouth, which isn’t fun!
Here’s how to fix a gurgling vape or flooded tank:
- Give the device a little flick/shake. Hold it tightly so you don’t chuck it across the room (speaking from experience here), and flick your wrist. The excess e juice should fly right out.
- Gently blow into the vape pen, instead of taking a drag, (without pressing the button) this should blow that excess juice straight out of the airflow.
It’s a good idea to hold a piece of tissue around the device to catch the e liquid, so you don’t end up covering yourself in droplets and ruining your clothes.
11. What do I do if my coil tastes burnt?
You might find that sometimes you get a burnt taste when you vape. Burning cotton is NOT a nice flavour, so you definitely want to avoid this at all costs! If this has happened when using a brand new coil then you were probably a little too impatient to start vaping, and didn’t allow the coil to fully saturate. Patience is a virtue.
Don’t panic, it’s more than likely you haven’t wrecked your new coil, follow these instructions below.
Here’s how to stop your vape tasting burnt:
- Unscrew the top for a second – sometimes the airtight seal can create a kind of suction effect that prevents the e liquid soaking into the cotton of your coil
- Screw the top back on, and take a short, sharp pull without pressing the button to suck the liquid onto the cotton
- Let it sit for 10 minutes and you should be good to go.
If it still tastes burnt however, you might have ruined the coil and will need to change it.
If the above scenario ever happens when it isn’t a brand new coil, it might be that your coil has simply finished it’s lifespan and needs changing.
12. How to get the best flavour out of your vape
Another problem I used to run into was not getting much flavour from my device. It wasn’t a burnt hit, but there really wasn’t much flavour or vapour coming through. At first I couldn’t figure out why, but a few years later, I learned what was causing it and how to avoid it.
Sometimes the coil needs changing, even though it doesn’t taste of burning yet. I find the easiest way to tell if this is the issue, is to take the coil out and take a closer look at it. The main thing to look out for is if the cotton looks grey. This can be hard to see if you’re using a coloured liquid, but you should still be able to tell when the colour looks muted or greyer than it would with white cotton. Throw it away and pop in a fresh one, you should notice that the flavour is coming through again.
If your coil looks fine, have a look at your bottle of e liquid. Look for a PG/VG ratio. You can learn more about what this means in our Beginners Vaping Guide.
To sum things up
My final, most important bit of advice is simply to enjoy vaping, however you want to vape! If you enjoy it, you’re less likely to go back to smoking. Hopefully these tips will help you to enjoy your vape more, and keep yourself smoke free!
If you have any tips you’d like to share, please leave a comment below and we’ll add to the list!