#1- Understanding what it is and knowing what to expect

You probably already know that the electronic cigarette doesn’t compare to any other cigarette in the sense that it contains no tobacco and presents no combustion. Its principle consists in vaporizing a liquid that contains or not nicotin and five main ingredients:

  • Propylene glycol (PG) to produce steam and carry fine droplets of nicotin and flavorings
  • Vegetal glycerin (VG) to densify steam (making it thicker and whiter) and/or to carry droplets of nicotine and flavorings
  • Food-grade (USP/EP) artificial or natural flavorings to give it a taste (tobacco, fruit etc…)
  • Water
  • Alcohol

It is important to regard the electronic cigarette as a method of risk reduction for adult smokers. It only makes sense when the risk associated to vaping is compared to that of smoking tobacco, which is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year in US* above which more than 91% are related to diseases (cancer, metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory).

The ingredients listed above are long-known by the food-processing and the pharmaceutical industries, and by healthcare professionals. Although scientific knowledge is urgently needed to evaluate the impact of inhaling such aromas compared to ingesting them, the electronic cigarette remains at a lower toxicological level, as confirmed by recent studies and compares with some nicotin substitutes that can be purchased over the counter.

Traces of nitrosamines, formaldehyde and acrolein have been detected in some studies that appeared to be questionable with regard to the experimental protocols and far below from the thresholds of acceptability by some health authorities. The simple fact that carbon monoxide and tar are not detectable in the steam of an electronic cigarette eliminates most of the risks associated to smoking tobacco.

#2- Buying good equipment

Do not expect to sense the taste and effect of a tobacco cigarette when taking a drag on an e-cigarette, the feeling is quite different. However, the pleasure of vaping is comparable, and probably even better than smoking. It is rather a matter of equipment, of approach and of time.

It may sound stupid but the equipment does make all the difference, especially at the early stages of switching to e-cigarette. It is double or quits, or you get disgusted or you adopt it in a minute. It is therefore important to start with a good equipment and not a trinket. I often advise the Deluxe Edition pack for people who ask me what to buy.

A simple and good advice I can give you is not to buy electronic cigarettes with which you can not change the e-liquid (the famous product that steam/smoke). That’s the crux of the e-cigarette, changing of e-liquid for something different and especially to find what best works for you, both in terms of taste and nicotin dosage.

#3- Not quitting smoking abruptly

My third advice is on behavior. You are well placed to know that quitting is hell, it is stressful and depressing. From my own experience, I would advise you not to stress yourself going directly to the electronic cigarette and expecting it to make you quit tobacco in a wink and forever. First impressions are always a bit disappointing, it is therefore important not to reject the product if it has only fulfilled 70% of its role of substitute. It means that you almost found a suitable match.

It took me a few months to gradually reduce my consumption of cigarettes, before I moved on to the e-cigarette. The transition should, in my opinion, be a natural way and as I am used to say, one less cigarette is always winning, even if the real danger of smoking is the duration and not quantity. If you adopt this attitude you will see that you can greatly reduce your smoking, even probably quit.

In any case never hesitate to consult a health professional if in doubt. The professionals are now more knowledgeable about the product.

#4- Talking about it on blogs and forums

Exchanging with others and discussing reinforces your herd instinct and strengthens the social roots of your process. It is important to reinforce this behavior, but there is also a technical dimension ton take into consideration. The electronic cigarette is a device, depending on the model, that can be a bit complicated for a novice (one often referred to as a learning curve).

I suggest you to hang out on forums and chat with other vapers. It is perfect to smoothly penetrate into the world of electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, technologies… You will find there some people very welcoming and patient with beginners.

#5- Varying the e-liquids

The pleasure of the electronic cigarettes, or vaping is now you are an expert, to take pleasure in changing flavors. The product contained in electronic cigarettes, the e-liquid, can be very different depending on the brand you choose. Many manufacturers exist, French or from foreign origin, and some really stand out of the market. You will be surprised discovering the diversity offered by these companies, mostly created by ex- smokers. I enjoyed so much the flavors of some e-liquids, took so much pleasure to vape them, that I came to a point where the taste of a real cigarette was sickly to me. But it takes time, be patient, buy different e-liquids, it is the way you get to identify your tastes and find your best fit.

Product evaluation by users, on forums, is very informative. It allows vapers to rank e-liquids on several criterions and add fruitful comments. Do not hesitate to hang around in order to extend your culture and, in return, to share your impressions.

*source CDC.gov


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PhD in science and journalist for the Vaping Post. Specialised in scientific topics.