How do you choose your e-cigarette?
- Decide what type of vape you want to use
Pod e-cigarettes are particularly discreet and easy-to-use. Their only downside is that they lose their battery charge sooner than boxes. Boxes are generally bigger but offer more options for personalising the settings and a longer battery life.
- Choose your clearomizer
The clearomizer is the key component in your e-cigarette. It determines how e-liquid flavours taste, the draw type (either indirect, like tobacco cigarettes, or direct like hookahs), as well as how much vapour you can make. It should be easy to use.
So which vaping device is best for you? There is often no easy answer to this question. Here’s our guide to help you choose and answer the big question: which e-cigarette should I buy?
Some smokers want a small device about the size of a cigarette. But since boxes were introduced, so many vapers have taken to them that it’s getting easier to convince smokers to go for boxes.
Although small tube vapes like the eGo were all the rage for a few years, nowadays these have been replaced by a newer format called the pod.
The upside of these electronic cigarettes is that they are really easy to use and very small. The downside is that their battery charge doesn’t last as long.
Clearomizers need to be the right size for those new to vaping, as well as being user-friendly. More experienced vapers may decide to try an atomizer, a piece of kit that requires you to make your own coils, or a dripper which is designed to deliver better flavours. Unfortunately, we still see a lot of beginners who are wrongly advised to try kits that are designed for more experienced vapers.
Fortunately, the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which came into force on 20th May 2016 is mostly favourable towards devices here in France. But restrictions could be imposed at some point. Smokers looking to switch to vaping are spoilt for choice when it comes to the extensive range of products on the market, so they’re sure to find the right device for them.
Flavours and nicotine levels
Flavour and nicotine are the keys to successfully giving up smoking through vaping. It’s crucial to be able to try e-liquids before you buy. You need to enjoy the flavour you choose, otherwise you may get bored of it and abandon your attempt to quit smoking. We also recommend finding at least two flavours you like, so you can alternate them throughout the day or use them on alternate days for maximum enjoyment. Pleasure is a crucial factor when trying to quit smoking through vaping. Vaping must be more pleasurable than smoking (and it can be, believe it or not!).
The second aspect, which is even more important when you want to stop smoking but not feel deprived, is of course nicotine. There’s no need to fear nicotine – smoking is dangerous because of smoke inhalation, not because of the nicotine (its effects are similar to caffeine). Burning any plant-based material produces tar, which causes cancer (around 70 carcinogenic substances), carbon monoxide (due to incomplete combustion) which is toxic to the cardiovascular system, and solid fine particles which can cause respiratory issues.
Although nicotine is not the only factor that causes smokers to become dependent on tobacco, it is still a major contributor. So, trying to stop smoking with a nicotine-free liquid will almost inevitably mean you go back to regular cigarettes.
Choose your PG/VG ratio
The amount of PG and VG has a direct impact on whether you enjoy vaping.
One last important detail is the ratio of vegetable glycerine (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). Some people are sensitive to PG and need a liquid with a higher VG content to reduce the irritation caused by PG. A 70:30 ratio of PG to VG is a good starting point, whilst a 60:40 or 50:50 ratio may solve the problem for people who are sensitive to PG.
Something you should remember is that VG creates more vapour but delivers flavours less well. Reducing your PG level might mean you lose some enjoyment of the flavour.
But don’t assume you are sensitive to PG just because you cough when you first start vaping. This happens to all smokers, but it’s caused by tobacco smoke rather than vapour.
Tobacco smoke is highly irritating to the respiratory tract, but it also contains anaesthetising substances such as menthol (found in all cigarettes, even those not labelled as menthol), which inhibit the urge to cough (making it easier for young people to start smoking).
None of these substances are found in vapour, so the irritation caused by nicotine will make you cough (that’s why smokers often choose a minty liquid).
But this will soon stop, often within five to ten minutes. Unfortunately, it will happen again each time you smoke another cigarette. That’s why it’s best to stop using tobacco as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may not enjoy vaping and give up.
Plus, every cigarette you smoke will just remind your brain that it gets a better nicotine hit with tobacco than from vaping. You’d need to vape for 30 to 45 minutes to obtain the same amount of nicotine as from smoking a cigarette for 5 minutes.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’ve always got your vaping device in your hand or in your mouth. This is because vaping delivers nicotine less effectively, so you’ll need to vape more often than when you smoked cigarettes.
Cigarettes are also expensive, so you tend to smoke them right to the end. Vaping lets you get a dose of nicotine more regularly – a puff here, one or two puffs there.
It is important to choose a liquid with the strongest level of nicotine you can handle. The doses available (generally from 3 to 18 mg/ml) are just indicative, as is the number of cigarettes smoked.
A light smoker who smokes just 5 or 6 cigarettes a day might actually need a high level of nicotine in their liquid. This is because they take deep drags of their cigarette when they smoke, which can deliver between 1 and 3 mg of nicotine, regardless of the levels stated on their cigarette packet.
The stated levels are pretty much meaningless, as they are obtained using a smoking machine, whereas smokers can change the way they smoke to get what they need from their cigarette, puff after puff.
Plus, if you smoke more than one pack of cigarettes a day, even a liquid with 18mg/ml of nicotine may not be enough. If this is the case, you can always top up by using a high-dose nicotine patch. There is no risk of overdosing as vaping will add the extra hit you need; if you need more, vape more, and if you need less, vape less. Smokers know exactly how to measure their nicotine dosage.
Enjoy the experience!
Don’t be afraid to invest in your first device and liquids – they will probably cost about the same as a carton of cigarettes. But they’ll soon pay for themselves – especially if you stop smoking straight away or as soon as possible.
Continuing to smoke whilst vaping is a bad idea, as sooner or later it will lure you back to tobacco.
Also, try not to reduce your nicotine levels too quickly. This will happen naturally as pure nicotine is less addictive than the nicotine in tobacco smoke (for various reasons, but mostly because of interactions with other substances in the smoke).
Wait until your body decides (feeling dizzy or nauseous); don’t force things. You also need to be careful later on when you step up to more advanced devices. These can give you the false impression that nicotine levels are too strong.
This is often the case if you use a dripper (usually an atomizer without a tank, where you add a few drops of liquid at a time). As these devices deliver a stronger hit, it’s often tempting to lower the nicotine level. But this can lead to cravings over time. There is a risk of relapse, so be careful.
So, the key takeaway is: enjoy the experience, that’s the key to your success. Try a new liquid, buy a sleeker device, upgrade to something more advanced, share your enjoyment with other vapers (for example, joining a vaping club event is always fun), and rediscover the pleasure of exercising. Make the most of all the things you could never do when you smoked.