In this guide to vaping you will learn about the following:
- What is Vaping?
- The History of Vaping
- What is E Liquid / E Juice?
- Vaping Vs. Smoking – What are the Health Benefits?
- Vaping Laws
- Types of E Cigarettes
- Vape Culture
What is Vaping?
People who use electronic cigarettes are known as ‘vapers’. Vaping has become particularly popular amongst smokers who are trying to quit, as well as by those who want to satisfy their urge for nicotine in areas where smoking is banned
Since the introduction of e cigarettes to the European market in 2006, vaping figures rose in 2016 to an estimated 2.8 million adults in Great Britain who used electronic cigarettes. This figure was just 700,000 in 2012.
If you are one of the millions of people trying to stop smoking, then making the switch to vaping might be the answer you have been looking for. There are many health benefits that come with making the switch, but please note that we do not recommend that you start vaping for fun!
Check out our video showing people vaping for the first time.
What Are E Cigarettes?
E cigarettes were manufactured to imitate the sensation of traditional smoking, with far less of the toxins and chemicals. Using an e cigarette is often referred to as ‘vaping’, so-called because of the vapour produced by an e cigarette (vapourizer) when they are used. Quite simply, vaping is the act of inhaling water vapour and dispelling a vapour or mist. It is similar to smoking, mirroring it in many ways, however, vaping is free from many of the typically negative attributes linked to traditional forms of cigarette and tobacco smoking. Most importantly, due to the fact that e cigarettes do not contain tobacco, and instead use a nicotine-containing e liquid, which satisfies the cravings associated with smoking, but does not cause cancer, there is a significantly reduced chance of getting cancer and other smoking affiliated illnesses if you choose to vape instead.
How Do E Cigarettes Work?
E cigarettes are very clever, effective machines, and how they work is far simpler than most people think. Put simply, the e cigarette battery provides power to the coil which heats up and produces a vapour. The coil is found in the atomizer, and inside that is a wicking material (such as cotton wool) which when heated pushes the e liquid through and causes a vapour to be produced, which a user inhales. An element of vaping which continues to grow in popularity is the myriad of flavours that can be added to improve your vaping experience.
Why Do People Vape?
Watch the story of Naomi, and why she started vaping:
Vaping can be for anyone. You can choose the levels of nicotine you vape, if any at all, and you can choose from a variety of e liquid flavours to enhance the experience and add to your enjoyment. There has been some negative press around electronic cigarettes, and some people are concerned about the side effects of vaping. However, most people start smoking e cigarettes to curb their addiction to traditional cigarettes.
There are users who have only ever vaped and enjoy competing in so-called vape competitions. However, the majority of vapers, at least at the moment, have smoked traditional cigarettes for a long time. One study found that a particular chemical, called NNAL (known to cause lung cancer), found in cigarettes, has been found to be 97% lower in e cigarette users compared to smokers. As a result, vaping is often encouraged by health professionals and companies such as the NHS as a way for people to quit smoking completely.
The History of Vaping:
The act of smoking was historically thought to have spiritual and medicinal properties. Smoking traditional tobacco became popular in Europe in the 16th century, although smoking was enjoyed by millions worldwide. The 1950’s saw the correlation between smoking and lung cancer confirmed, and the first anti-smoking campaigns were born.
1960’s: Herbert A. Gilbert
American born Herbert A. Gilbert was the first person to design an electronic cigarette prototype in 1963. Gilbert was keen to develop a cigarette that was both tobacco and smoke-free, which was based on warm, moist and aromatic flavours so as to make the experience of smoking enjoyable and free of toxins. The prototype received little attention and was never commercialised due to the ‘fashionable’ status of smoking.
2000’s: Hon Lik
It wasn’t until 2003 when a Chinese pharmacist and medical researcher, Hon Lik, wanted to develop a device which allowed smokers to have a ‘smoking’ experience without having to inhale combusted tobacco. The motivation behind Hon Lik’s desire to develop an alternative to smoking due to his own addition and that his father died from lung cancer. It wasn’t until 2006 before e cigarettes made their way to Europe and the United States.
Hon Lik created e liquid by making a simple solution of nicotine suspended in propylene glycol. The introduction of vegetable glycol was added to produce more vapour for vape enthusiasts who enjoy the production of excessive amounts of vapour for competitions. The addition of flavourings was then experimented with to make the entire vaping experience more pleasurable than smoking.
2007: Umer and Tariq Sheikh
Two brothers, Umer and Tariq Sheikh who founded Gamucci in 2007, were the first UK electronic cigarette company to receive a patent for electronic cigarette technology. The brothers invented the ‘Cartomizer’, which completely changed the way the electronic cigarette worked. Instead of three separate components: a cartridge containing a nicotine dilution, an atomisation device and a battery, they invented a device that integrated the e liquid chamber with the heating coil. This change created a far more robust and user-friendly device, and since its release, the popularity of vaping has continued to grow with UK sales of vaping products surging 50% in 2016 to reach £1bn, and set to exceed £2bn by 2020.
The Future of Vaping
The vaping industry is constantly changing, and due to consumer demand, the electronic cigarette companies are constantly improving their devices so that vape hardware lasts longer, flavour qualities are better and battery life is the best it can be. Other factors will also shape its development and sustainability, and, like any high-growth industry, global and local demands will also determine its future.
What is E Liquid / E Juice?
E liquid or e juice is made from two primary ingredients: propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG). Some e liquids, however, can contain additional ingredients – however, recently, the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) has clamped down on certain ingredients and licensing laws.
Although this is not an essential ingredient in e liquids, it is a popular ingredient, especially for those who are switching from smoking to vaping.
The amount of nicotine depends on the strength of the nicotine infused in your e liquid, for example: if the e liquid you are using has a 2.2% nicotine base, it would contain 22mg of nicotine. You can expect to find that roughly 10% of your e liquid will be flavouring, leaving 87.8% of the leftover liquid as ‘fillers’, which help to dilute the flavouring and the nicotine. Nicotine can be found in various strengths, the most common are 22mg, 18mg, 12mg, 6mg, 3mg and 0mg.
It’s very important that you choose the appropriate strength level of nicotine for your e liquid. You should always start low, and work your way up if you need to. If you take a hit from a high nicotine e liquid, you may end up feeling quite dizzy and sick. If nicotine isn’t your thing, you can also opt to use the 0% e liquid ranges, primarily designed for those who are looking for a more relaxed vaping experience.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG)
Here are the main differences between these two substances:
VG: A thick (almost gloopy) sweet liquid that produces those amazing vape clouds. This makes your e liquid taste sweeter.
PG: Much thinner than VG, and far less tasty. PG is tailored towards the nicotine-dependant users, providing more of that familiar feeling ‘throat hit.’ PG has a higher sensitivity rating, and new users should try VG before tackling PG e liquids.
In short, VG is more light-hearted, it’s aimed at those who enjoy blowing huge vape clouds and enjoy the diverse range of e liquid flavours on offer. PG is directed more towards smokers looking for a similar hit to what they would have experienced when smoking normal cigarettes. However, both PG and VG can be tailored to suit your individual taste.
E Liquid Flavours
Thousands of flavours of e liquid are being developed worldwide. From classic drinks, tobacco, and menthol flavours, to the more obscure seaweed and cheese flavours. Our advice is to start with a simple and safe flavour, like strawberry or mint, and once you’re confident, you can perhaps move on to some of the more ‘daring’ flavours.
Safety and Storage of your e liquid
There are also some safety elements you need to be aware of. Here are the three main safety tips:
- Always keep your e liquid away from children and pets (some ingredients can be very toxic to pets)
- Do not let the e liquid come into contact with your skin – if it does, wash it thoroughly
- Do not ingest the e liquid, it’s for vaping, not drinking, despite how good it may smell!
Vaping vs Smoking – What are the Health Benefits?
The health benefits of vaping has been debated for years and is a constant battle with misinformation, especially online. Vaping as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes offers a healthier lifestyle and, despite recent scare stories in the media, has been steadily increasing in popularity. Most vapers have turned to vaping because they want to quit smoking, so with that in mind, let’s compare the differences between vaping and smoking.
Firstly, let’s look at the effects that smoking tobacco has on your health:
It is a well established fact that smoking can cause a number of diseases and health issues, including lung cancer and heart disease. In fact, it has been proven by scientists and health authorities that tobacco is the biggest avoidable cause of death worldwide, causing about 90% of lung cancers. Smoking causes significant harm to your body and is likely to cause permanent damage to your health.
When you smoke a cigarette, toxins enter your blood, making it thicker. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate, and reduces the amount of oxygen that circulates to your organs. The combination of these problems can increase the chances of people suffering a heart attack or a stroke. In fact, the British Heart Foundation have stated that smoking doubles your risk of suffering a heart attack.
Smokers have an increased chance of developing stomach cancer or stomach ulcers. Smoking can also cause excessive acid reflux, weakening the muscles that control your oesophagus, and allowing acid from the stomach to travel back up your throat.
We all know the effect that smoking can have on your skin. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin, causing the skin to age faster. The toxins released from your cigarette with each puff also cause cellulite.
Your lungs are affected very badly by smoking cigarettes. The symptoms, such as excessive coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and exercising, are just the start of lung damage. Smoking causes 90% of lung cancers, and is one of the most common causes of death among smokers.
Mouth and Throat
Smoking tobacco causes several problems in the mouth and throat, such as bad breath, yellowing or stained teeth, gum disease and, the most severe: mouth cancer. The good news is, when you stop smoking you can greatly reduce your risk of developing this.
The Risks of Passive Smoking
Not only do smokers pose a risk to their own health by smoking, but they risk the health of those around them too. Secondhand smoke can be breathed in, this is known as ‘passive smoking’ and increases the risk of people developing the same detrimental health conditions as first-hand smokers. Breathing in secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer by a quarter.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of secondhand smoke.
There are many people who remain uneducated on the topic of vaping, and do not see the point of switching from smoking tobacco cigarettes. Vaping provides a safer way of ingesting nicotine whilst still experiencing an experience similar to conventional smoking. The most important difference between e cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes is that they do not contain anywhere near the amount of chemicals that cigarettes do, around 4000.
So, the big question is, how does vaping affect your health? Read on to find out more.
Vaping Helps Smokers Quit
Vaping has been approved by various health organisations as a method for quitting smoking. Vaping helps smokers wean themselves off the addictive nicotine toxin by allowing people to adjust the amount of nicotine they are ingesting and reduce it over time.
Vaping can also help smokers to control a psychological term, coined by Sigmund Freud, known as ‘oral fixation’. This refers to the developed habit of a ‘hand to mouth’ action, which is regularly enacted throughout the day when you smoke. It is often the reduction of this repetitive action, which naturally happens when quitting, that leads to people over-eating or returning to smoking to satisfy the habit. Vaping offers habit satisfaction without the harmful chemicals. This excerpt taken from RD Jansen’s book, the Psychology of Smoking explains the clinical concept of ‘oral-stage fixation’.
Vaping Reduces Tobacco Exposure
One of the many plus sides to vaping is that it emits no harmful smoke or nasty smells that endanger or annoy the people around you. Public Health England published a comprehensive review of vaping in 2015, and the main finding was that e cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking.
One of the independent authors who contributed to this review, Professor Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University, London, said: ‘Smokers who switch to vaping remove almost all the risks smoking poses to their health. I would advise them (smokers) not to give up on e-cigarettes if they do not like the first one they try. It may take some experimentation with different products and e-liquids to find the right one’.
Improved Social Experience
Making the switch to vaping can mean that you will no longer be passively affecting the health of your friends and family members. Every smoker has experienced the social isolation of smoking: sneaking out of pubs and public spaces to satisfy their need for tobacco. Vaping, in comparison, produces a water vapour. This vapour evaporates shortly after being exhaled and is not harmful to those around you. This allows users to vape openly in public spaces without impacting the comfort of others.
The debate over vaping vs smoking is ongoing, and there is plenty of research and evidence available which proves that the health benefits of vaping far exceed those of smoking tobacco cigarettes. So, the only question left for us to ask you is, when will you make the switch?
The vaping laws in the EU and the UK were changed forever when the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force in May 2016. The directive introduces new rules for nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and refill containers, with the goal of improving the functioning of the tobacco market and tobacco related products.
The TPD released new requirements on 20th May 2017.
Vaping Laws UK: A Breakdown
The requirements set out in the Tobacco Products Directive are aimed at ensuring a high level of safety for European citizens.
Key takeaways from their regulations are:
- restrict e cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml
- restrict the maximum volume of nicotine-containing e liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml
- restrict e liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml
- require nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident
- ban certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine
- include new labelling requirements and warnings
- require all e cigarettes and e liquids be notified to MHRA before they can be sold
2017 saw dramatic changes to the European vaping industry. There is a consensus amongst those in the vaping industry that the TPD regulations will lead to an increase in vaping goods being sold illegally on the black market. This will undoubtedly put e cigarette users health at risk due to a lack of quality control the industry will have over how these products could potentially be made.
Despite the difficulties these new vaping laws have posed to suppliers and the industry, the Tobacco Products Directive has two main goals: to improve safety and quality. The restrictions on nicotine strength, refills and tank size, and the mandatory improvements to vaping devices are all intended to give e cigarette users a more safe, consistent and measured experience.
For a more comprehensive breakdown of the new restrictions and to make sure you stay up to date with the TPD Regulations, check out our dedicated blog post.
Types of E Cigarette
You may have heard of phrases in vaping such as mechanical mods, box mods, sub-ohms and RDAs, all of which are considered advanced forms of vaping, and certainly no place for beginners to start. We’re here to put confused perceptions to rest and answer those all important ‘where do I start’ questions.
Let’s start with a simple breakdown of the different types of e cigarettes:
Cartomizers contain a cotton or cotton-like fiber in the tank which soaks up the e liquid. The e liquid is then distributed to the coils via this fiber, and evaporates once heated by the battery.
Clearomizers do not use cotton fiber, instead, they use coils (metal wires) which have wicks attached to them. These wicks absorb the e liquid and distribute it to the atomizer coils. A clearomizer also contains a plastic e liquid reservoir, which can hold different amounts of e liquid.
Glassomizers operate in exactly the same way as clearomizers. The only difference is that the e liquid reservoir in a glassomizer is made of Pyrex glass, not plastic. The benefit of this differing feature is that makes the reservoir completely resistant to erosion from the acidity in the e liquid. Plastic tanks can erode over time for this reason.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDA) are arguably the most common device of this concept. This type of device allows the user to build their own atomizer coils, which either have wicks or cotton running through them which absorb the e liquid that is dripped onto them which feeds the liquid to the coils. Once the coil heats up, the e liquid produces a vapour, which the user inhales. When the flavour intensity begins to lack, simply top-up the cotton with some more e liquid.
This is a manual process, meaning that you can keep on pouring until the coils need to be replaced. This type of setup is used when vapers want to produce huge clouds of vapour.
Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA) are fairly similar to RDAs as they can also be completely rebuilt. They main difference is that they have a tank that sits on top.
RTAs are popular because they offer the ability to use your own coils and cotton, though, instead of having to drip e liquid onto the cotton regularly, the addition of the tank allows you to fill it up with e juice, which leaves the cotton constantly soaked in e liquid.
The Box Mod:
Box Mods are essentially higher powered versions of your standard e cig battery. As the name suggests, ‘box mods’ are shaped like a box, the main reason for this is that they require the extra space. These are powerful little devices, and they require a big battery. You’ll find that even the lower end box mods will start at around 30 watts of power, and the more advanced reaching up to 200 watts.
High Powered Mods are used in conjunction with RDAs and high-powered sub ohm tanks. They use mechanical and variable wattage batteries which allow the very best flavour to be delivered from your e liquid. This is the main reason why people prefer using an HPM with an RDA.
Due to the resistance of the coils used in an RDA, a lot of power is needed to fire up the device. When using high powered sub ohm tanks you need a lot of power to truly get the best out of the flavour.
These mods also play a big part in the popular vape activity ‘cloud chasing.’
The Mechanical Mod:
Mechanical mods are only for the most experienced vaper. Mechanical mods are regulated, which means that the power they produce is controlled, as these things can be quite dangerous if misuse them. HPM’s are made with safety features to prevent accidents, and can stop the device from firing if it finds a fault or short circuit. Mechanical mods, however, offer no such safety features.
Mechanical mods are typically tubular shaped pieces of metal equipped with a firing pin which allows the electricity from the battery to easily access the attached RDA. Put simply, this causes the coil to be heated and the e liquid to be vapourised. These devices are specifically marketed to those who enjoy custom building their e cigarettes, for those who are unfamiliar, we urge you to do your research before tackling these.
Beginner E Cigarettes
If you’re completely new to vaping, then you must be feeling a little confused by what it all means, but don’t worry, that’s what we are here for.
At Mist, we try and test as many products as we can in order to select the best, and most effective, products available. Due to the dedicated and meticulous nature of our team, our shelves are stocked with the highest quality vaping products for you to enjoy.
We have compiled a list of different e cigarette products and broken each of them down into simple, easy to vape, explanations.
Advantages: Cheap, dispensable, very common.
Disadvantages: No customisation, ugly, bad lifespan.
Cig-a-likes tend to be seen as the most basic of all e cigarettes. Hence its name, it looks like a real cigarette and lasts for around 50 puffs. A lot of vapers used to start with these, but they are now seen as costly considering their longevity.
Cig-a-likes aren’t necessarily considered to be ‘starter kits’, but they do act as a good introduction to the concept of electronic cigarettes. Some of the more popular brands of cig-a-likes include: Gamucci, E-Shisha, Innokin AIO starter kits.
This type of e cigarette is perfect for beginners. Their small and compact design means that they are easy to use for anyone new to vaping, and they also usually come with pre-filled e liquid cartridges which cuts out any potential complications for beginners. I think the main reason why cig-a-likes are still selling reasonably well is because they look so much like real cigarettes, which has a positive psychological effect on people who are trying to quit smoking.
Advantages: Great for beginners, easy to use, good lifespan.
Disadvantages: Lack of customisation, battery-life can be sub-par, limited function.
Recommended product: Innokin Endura T18E Kit
To enter the world of vaping properly, we advise that you take a look at some of the vape starter kits on the market. E cig starter kits are a fantastic way for new users to test the waters before opting some of the more expensive e cigarette options. Although many may look different from cig-a-likes, they are actually very simple to use. To get to grips with how to use your e cigarette, take a look at our guide.
E cig starter kits are far easier to maintain than cig-a-likes. Despite having more customisation options, prices are fairly modest with most beginner kits ranging between £15-£35. For consumers who don’t intend to use their e cigarette on a regular basis, they can expect to spend around £5 a week (max) to run this type of set-up. For more advanced, heavier users, you’re looking at around £10 a week (max). Considering a pack of 20 cigarettes is almost £10, and many smokers go through a pack a day, vaping is an incredibly cost efficient alternative.
In most cases, an e cigarette starter kit comes equipped with a tank system, or a refillable cartomiser, which the user will be required to regularly refill with their choice of e liquid. Whilst mist e cigarettes in starter kits are not pre-filled, this gives you the opportunity to do some research and find out what type of e liquid flavours you will like the most.
At Mist, we’re happy to recommend all types of starter kits as most of the top brands have their own range. Brands like Kanger, Innokin, Aspire and Smok are well respected in the industry and offer exquisitely designed vaping products.
Advanced Starter Kits
Advantages: Excellent customisation, more power and versatility.
Disadvantages: Costly for a starter kit, can seem overwhelming
Recommended products: Endura T22E Kit
The more advanced starter kits usually come equipped with a variable voltage/wattage mod as standard, which allows the user to fully customise the voltage and wattage settings. Advanced kits also allows for higher power than a pen e cigarette and generally provide a much more versatile vaping experience.
The more advanced starter kits is can be quite technical and overwhelming those who are new to vaping. The cost is also higher due to more advanced technology, which can be off-putting to beginners. Ultimately an advanced kit gives you more for your money as they allow for more choice in batteries, mods, atomizers, voltages, customisation and general settings. If you’re serious about getting into vaping, this could be the best place to start but do your research and don’t try to wing anything!
Cloud Vaping Kits
Advantages: Huge clouds, a richer, fuller vape, impress your friends.
Disadvantages: Can be costly, can annoy passive vapers nearby.
I’m sure you’ve seen people blowing huge clouds of sweet smelling vapour in the street. These people are known as ‘cloud chasers’. In order to produce huge vape clouds you need to get into really advanced vaping, and have a ‘dripper’ setup, rather than a tank system. However, if you’re looking for a starter kit that will give you much bigger clouds than the average e cigarette, then you will want to look at a cloud kit. Cloud kits will usually include a sub ohm mod, which uses an incredibly low resistance coil. Having a lower resistance coil means that you can get more power out of the mod and heat the e liquid quicker and harder, which produces an intense cloud of vapour.
There are many people who enjoy the experience of ‘cloud chasing’, and there are even competitions held around the world. If you’re interested in getting into it, but you’re not sure where to start, a cloud vaping kit could be the best option.
Know Your Vaping Skill Set
We hope that this vaping guide has acted as a good starting point and has equipped you with the basics. The main point we would like to highlight here, and hope you have concluded on your own, is not to go out and buy a mechanical mod as your starting device when you haven’t got any experience or gained the skills to use them properly. The reason you hear horror stories about e cigarettes blowing up in people’s faces is due to dangerous misuse. The team at Mist would like to ask you all to be safe, be sensible, and learn every vaping trick in the book before tackling any form of advanced vaping. Always use at your own risk.
Vape culture has been growing rapidly since the e cigarette industry became a part of contemporary society around 2012. People from all over the world have been making the switch from smoking to vaping. Let’s go through some of the core concepts that revolve around vape culture, and why it’s become such a worldwide craze.
Every year, thousands of people attend numerous vaping exhibitions which offer users the chance to trial prototypes and purchase new e cigarette products.
Arguably one of the fastest-growing vaping exhibitions in Europe, Vape Jam UK is definitely worth a visit.
Vape Jam UK takes place over three days and is hosted in ExCel London. The event has attracted over 10,000 people and 300 exhibitors from more than 40 countries. It’s a fantastic opportunity to indulge yourself in a whole host of new and exciting vaping products!
UK Vapefest takes place across 53 acres of lush countryside, situated within Greenhouse West Midlands Showground. The main benefit of this festival is the sheer size of it! Set within Shropshire, the showground where UK Vapefest is based also plays host to other festivals throughout the year, including the Clun Green Man Festival, Bishop’s Castle Walking, and the Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival.
The best part of this event is that is it free to attend! If you’d like to camp on the grounds however, you will have to buy a ticket.
Vaper Expo UK is known for being the biggest vape event across Europe.
Hosted in Birmingham’s NEC centre, the event covers a massive 165,000 sq ft. Consisting of exhibitions, and a huge number of stalls where you can try and test products before buying. This is definitely one to add to your vape bucket list.
The Vape Collective happens in Doncaster, and brings together consumers, manufacturers, and retailers. During the 2 day event you will discover vape discussion stalls, e liquid exhibitions, and all number of interesting and wacky vaping presentations. There is a host of entertainment, which, if you are into cloud competitions, cannot be missed! Food and drink are available from 8am till 6pm.
Camping is available for up to 500 tents, and the host also has discounts at a range of local hotels.
A Globally Recognised Alternative to Smoking
With vape culture on the rise, the tobacco industry should be getting more concerned by the day. At Mist, we believe that vape culture provides people with a fantastic opportunity to meet up, share their experiences, swap tips and tricks and generally discuss their interests around the subject of vaping. Vape meetups have the natural benefit of bringing people together and providing a support network for people who are trying to stop smoking altogether.
Stay tuned for more additions to this guide. At Mist we are dedicated to keeping on top of all the latest news and trends in the vaping industry, so keep checking back to find out what’s happening, alternatively, sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this guide to ensure you that you never miss a drop!