Starting Out Vaping Intro Guide to E-Cigarettes

Published on October 8th, 2013 | by George Jacobs


Vaping Intro Guide to E-Cigarettes

Smoking dates back to as early as 5000 BC and many ancient civilizations have burned incense as part of religious rituals.  It may be an innate desire in humans to smoke perhaps.  It is relaxing and popular among many cultures.  I am a former cigarette smoker and have gotten into vaping recently.  I love the feel of smoke hitting the throat and little breaks I get to take throughout the day to have a moment to myself.  I like going out for “fresh air” at bars and chatting with other smokers.  For something as relatively cheap and short lived, it was a very simple delight I enjoyed in life.  But oh the health issues, death stares, and the smell to non smokers.  Even as a smoker, I was often turned off by the smell of stale cigarettes I smelled on others or an ashtray.

Smoking alternative is vaping

We are in an interesting time in history where vaping has just come about.  Vaping is the inhaling of vapor rather then smoke.  The idea is that it is a “healthier” alternative to smoking.  Also it doesn’t smell bad so you won’t get stares from smoker haters or turn off your partner when you give them a kiss.  In fact, a lot of times I get approached by a lot of curious people.  I also still get the comradery I got when I used to go outside to smoke a cigarette with other smokers.  There is a huge vaping culture arising and vaping allowed me to quit smoking cigarettes which I’ve never been able to do in over 10 years of smoking for longer then a week!

What are you inhaling when vaping?

Vaping for ecig usually means vaporizing of a liquid mixture commonly called e-juice.  E-juice usually contains 4 ingredients. Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Nicotine, and Flavoring.  We all know what nicotine and flavoring are but what is Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG)?  In short they are liquids used for various applications and products.  One thing to note is they are both FDA approved as food additives.  In other words they are deemed safe by the FDA to be eaten.

Health effects of vaping

Nobody knows for sure what the effects of vaping e-juice does to humans, but as mentioned before, the 2 main chemicals ARE approved by the FDA as food additives.  Nicotine is still addictive but by itself was never considered a carcinogen.  It’s mainly all the other stuff in cigarettes that are responsible for all the terrible diseases that are associated with smoking.  Nicotine by itself does increase blood pressure and heart rate, but I believe everything in life is a poison.  It’s the dosage that matters.  Even drinking too much water can be bad for you.  Since there has been no long term studies conducted due to vaping’s recent arrival, nobody knows for sure what the health effects are.  But when I combine all the following knowledge, I am pretty much sure vaping is a healthier option over smoking.  Don’t quote me on that.

How does an e-cigarette work?

E-cigarettes consists of a battery, a tank, and an atomizer.  The atomizer is powered by the battery and it vaporizes the e-juice held in the tank.  The atomizer usually pulls in the e-juice with wicks like a candle.  The atomizer instantly vaporizes the liquid which is then inhaled.  Atomizers generally need to be replaced after a while and e-juices will be refilled with different flavors.

E-juice basics

As mentioned earlier, e-juice consists of Propylene GlycolVegetable Glycerin, Nicotine, and Flavoring.  You will see a lot of PG/VG ratios like 80% PG / 20% VG floating around.  80% PG / 20% VG is the e-juice standard as of this writing.  PG is responsible for the throat hit you get when vaping and VG is responsible for the vapor feedback you see when you exhale.  Different people have different preferences and I would recommend you try different ones.  Nicotine concentration in e-juice also is responsible for throat hit and can come in varying strengths.  You can get e-juices from 0mg nicotine to as high as 26mg or more.  There are also a plethora of different flavors to choose from now.

So many brands and types of e-cigarettes!

I like to think there are 2 types of e-cigarettes: Prepackaged and Mod.  Essentially they all work the same.  Prepackaged e-cigs come as disposable or cartridge refills.  When you buy a disposable e-cig you use it for it’s life then throw the whole thing away.  Other type of prepackaged e-cig is you keep the battery and you purchase cartridges which combine the atomizer, tank, and the e-juice in one.  Once you finish the e-juice inside the cartridge, you toss it out but you keep the battery and recharge it.

The other type of e-cig is the Mod type.  The mod type means you buy all the components (battery, tank, atomizer, e-juice) separately and customize it how you like.  This is the way to go in my opinion.  Takes a little bit more research, but once you find out what you like, you can replace the parts as needed only when needed and it opens the doors to a whole lot more options.

How much does vaping cost?

As of this writing, vaping is considerably cheaper then smoking.  A starter kit will probably put you back $30-$80 depending on the quality of the battery and tank you pick.  I used to smoke 3 packs a week and at $7/pack, that’s $21 a week, and around $85 a month.  With vaping, I vape around 2ml / day of e-juice which costs me about $20 a month.  I also will go through about 2 atomizers at $1 a piece costing me about $42/month.  Even with the additional getting started costs to vaping I’ll make back in savings within 2-3 months.  Depending where you get your e-juice and the quantity it could cost more or less.  Also there is some extra expenses when you lose your setup which is bound to happen.

How much vaping is equivalent nicotine to smoking a pack of cigarettes?

This is a difficult answer to track down because it is a difficult question to answer.  E-juice will come with varying strengths of nicotine as does cigarettes.  Also the delivery method, although the same (inhaling) is affected by the carrier (smoke vs vapor).  Our bodies absorb different percentages depending on the transport and this percent is debatable.  Also depends on the type of smoker you were.  Smokers take varying amount of puffs from their cigarette as it burns away.  I hate the answer of “unknown” so here’s an educated guess.  If a vaper vapes 2ml of e-juice at 12mg nicotine strength, that is 24 mg of nicotine.  The nicotine in a single marlboro light is 0.8mg nicotine.  So 2ml could possibly mean 30 cigarettes.  Hard to say if this is accurate at all but rule of thumb is if you crave an analog cigarette, just vape til you don’t crave it no more.


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