If you’re a smoker who has stepped into a brick-and-mortar vape shop, did you find the experience overwhelming and intimidating beyond belief? If so, you’re not alone. It’s not unusual for a brick-and-mortar vape shop to devote the vast majority of its shelf space to expert-oriented vaping products such as large vape mods and sub-ohm tanks. That’s because beginning vapers often get their first e-cigarettes from traditional tobacco retailers like convenience stores and supermarkets, so vape shops have little reason to stock those products.
The current retail situation for vaping products, however, doesn’t exactly make things simple for beginners. You can buy a beginner-oriented vaping product at a gas station, but the person who sells the product to you will have no idea how to use it. A salesperson at a vape shop, on the other hand, will know how to use every vaping product under the sun – but many brick-and-mortar vape shops have virtually nothing that’s appropriate for beginning vapers.
What you need is a little dose of Vaping 101 – and that’s exactly what you’re going to get with this article. Whether you buy your first vaping device at a vape shop, a convenience store or somewhere else, you need someone to explain how to use it using simple language that a non-vaper can understand. This is your straightforward walkthrough for switching to vaping, and we’re going to start at the very beginning.
How to Choose Your First Vaping Device
The most important thing to consider when choosing your first e-cigarette is the size of that device. The smallest vaping devices are invariably designed with beginning vapers in mind. Larger vaping devices are intended for experienced vapers because those are the people who want the longest battery life and the biggest vapor clouds. That’s not what you want as a beginning vaper; you want a smaller vaping device because a small device has tight airflow characteristics like a tobacco cigarette. Using a small e-cigarette feels very much like smoking, and that’s exactly what you want.
The next thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want to buy a refillable e-cigarette or one that uses pre-filled cartridges or pods. Here are the pros and cons of both types of devices.
- A pre-filled vaping device is the easiest type of e-cigarette to use. Just charge the battery and connect a pod or cartridge, and you’re ready to vape. However, pre-filled e-cigarette cartridges are generally very expensive compared to bottled e-liquid. In addition, due to legal restrictions, the only flavors available for pre-filled vaping devices in the United States are tobacco and menthol.
- When you use a refillable vaping device, you’ll fill the device yourself using bottled e-liquid. Buying e-liquid by the bottle means that you’ll have a wider flavor selection and will spend less to vape. However, a refillable vaping device requires a bit more maintenance than a pre-filled device. In addition to charging the battery, you’ll also need to keep the tank or pod full and may also need to replace the atomizer coil periodically.
In the United States, the ban on e-liquid flavors for pre-filled e-cigarette cartridges and pods means that you really have no choice but to buy a refillable vaping device if you want to enjoy your experience to the fullest possible extent. With that in mind, the remainder of the instructions in this article will focus on refillable devices.
How to Choose Your First E-Liquid
The ideal vaping device for a beginner is usually a small e-cigarette that stores its e-liquid in a removable plastic pod. That type of device is called a pod system, and pod systems are usually designed to work best with a type of fluid called nicotine salt e-liquid. You can find nicotine salt e-liquid in virtually any online or brick-and-mortar vape shop, and it’s usually available in two nicotine strengths: low (20-25 mg/ml) and high (40-50 mg/ml). If you smoke around a pack of cigarettes per day, you should start with the higher strength and switch to the lower strength if you feel like you’re getting too much nicotine. If you’re an infrequent or social smoker, try the lower strength.
To have a satisfying vaping experience, you need to choose the nicotine strength that’s appropriate for you – but to enjoy your experience fully, the flavor of your e-liquid is even more important. Taste is subjective, and no two people like exactly the same things. That’s why vape shops carry so many different e-liquid flavors. With that in mind, your best bet is to select a few different flavors when you buy e-liquid for the first time. One of those flavors should be tobacco or menthol, depending on the type of cigarette that you prefer. The other flavors should be sweet ones like fruit or candy. Most vapers prefer sweet e-liquid flavors, but there are some people who like tobacco and menthol vape juices. By trying both types, you can determine what your preferences are.
How to Set Up and Use a New Vaping Device
So, you’ve got a refillable pod-based vaping device and at least one bottle of e-liquid. You’re ready to vape. Follow these quick steps to get your new device up and running.
- Connect the included charging cable or dock to one of your computer’s USB ports, and connect the main body of your vaping device to the charger. When the device’s indicator light changes to green or turns off, it’s fully charged.
- Remove the pod from the device and look for the filling hole. With most pods, the filling hole is covered by a silicone plug that you’ll need to remove. If you don’t see a plug, you’ll need to remove the pod’s mouthpiece by wiggling it gently until it comes off. Add e-liquid until the pod is almost full and replace the mouthpiece or plug. Wait several minutes before you continue. When you’re using a new pod, the wick inside the atomizer coil must be completely wet before you start vaping.
- Vape either by puffing gently on the device or by holding the activation button if there is one. Use gentle air pressure to avoid getting e-liquid in your mouth.
Vaping 101: Final Thoughts
As you get started on your journey towards a new smoke-free lifestyle, we have two final pieces of advice that you might find useful.
- Don’t be afraid if you cough when vaping for the first time. Vaping feels very similar to smoking, but vapor and smoke are two very different things. You’ll get used to the different throat sensation very quickly.
- Never stop trying new e-liquid flavors. Vape juices – even those with similar-sounding flavor profiles – can vary greatly from one another. Even if you’re not crazy about the first few e-liquids you buy, it doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy vaping. With hundreds of different flavors on the market today, there is definitely something for everyone.