Spinfuel’s Guide To Vaping Continues – Before you can begin to think about the right e-cigarette you need to understand a few of the fundamentals of electronic cigarettes so you have some idea of what to expect. If you are a current smoker or a recently converted Vaper* these fundamentals should be recognizable because there are counterparts that exist in cigarettes, albeit in a much more dangerous way. Consider this to be the last piece of information before we begin talking about specific e-cigarettes and e-cigarette brands that I can personally recommend for the first time Vaper.
I don’t see the need to create filler material here and give you a lesson about nicotine. The only things to know about nicotine are things you already know; it’s addictive. Some people get addicted badly, some don’t. It is a stimulant. It decreases your appetite and it can raise your blood pressure. It can stave off dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. There are certain negatives like addiction and certain positives like stimulating your brain, making you a bit sharper. Anything else is science, ya know?
As for nicotine in e-liquid* you will need enough of it to satisfy the same craving you got from cigarettes, otherwise you’ll still crave cigarettes and that’s not what vaping is about. Nicotine is also necessary for the elusive throat hit, which I’ll get to shortly. Most importantly, when it comes time to choose your e-Liquid vendor you need to be able to trust that the vendor’s nicotine is pure and the stated nicotine is accurate.
You can “over consume” nicotine a lot easier with e-cigarettes than you can with tobacco cigarettes. If you smoke too much you wind up with a headache and maybe nausea, if you vape too much nicotine you not only get the headache, but you can also get the shakes, sweat profusely, and get sick to your stomach too boot. Over consumption of nicotine is achieved by vaping too long or using a nicotine strength in your e-liquid that is too high for you. I’ve felt the effects of over consumption and it’s not fun. The main reason it’s easier to over consume nicotine through vaping is pretty simple; the taste of tobacco cigarettes are pretty awful whereas the taste of vapor is quite the opposite, and in unlimited varieties. More on that below.
If you find yourself vaping all day long, like I do, and you want to avoid the over consumption of nicotine then your only choice is to cut down on the nicotine level you’re using in your e-liquid in order to balance out the amount of nicotine entering the body. Vaping all day long is something I call ‘pacifier vaping’ and I’ll cover that below as well.
There is no magic in the early successes with e-cigarettes; it’s just being able to know yourself and your personal smoking habits enough so that you make the right choices, and that includes the amount of nicotine you start off with. Without it you’ll either over consume nicotine or you won’t get enough, both of which can lead to running back to Marlboro country.
Guide To Vaping – Vapor
Vapor to the e-cigarette is what smoke is to the tobacco cigarette. Vapor looks like smoke (for the most part), but the flavor is, well, the whole ball of wax. Vapor can taste like whatever you want it to taste like. Enjoy watermelon, cinnamon buns, chocolate cake, bananas foster? If there is a food flavoring for it there is most likely an e-Liquid that will deliver that flavor to you in vapor form. Good, artistic e-liquid ‘flavorists’ know how to combine certain concentrates to come up with original flavors that can really impress even the most hard to please Vapers.
This has a lot to do with pacifier vaping. You know the old saying “there’s always room for Jell-O”? It takes on a whole new meaning when you’re vaping your favorite desert flavors and the only thing stopping you from over doing it is…nothing. As long as you breathe you’re able to breathe in vapor. There may always be room for Jell-O but there is unlimited room for vapor.
The quality of vapor varies a lot. Every battery, cartomizer, tank, clearomizer, and e-liquid recipe and PG/VG ratios all affect the quality of your vapor. Vapor is key; it is the Holy Grail.
The perfect vape* cannot happen unless perfect vapor is part of it. But the perfect vapor is also a matter of personal choice. Perfect vapor is different for each Vaper. Some people are fine with light vapor; some will never be satisfied even if the vapor is thick enough to cut with a knife. People that are always looking for better vapor are said to be “chasing the dragon”, a saying from the drug trade and heroin. It is apropos to seeking better and better vapor production though.
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The ‘Throat Hit’ is one of the stranger aspects of vaping. You know that feeling in the back of your throat when you smoke your first cigarette of the day? That’s the throat hit, and that’s what most vapers want to feel with every drag from their e-cigarette. Not all Vapers, but most. Some are satisfied with intense flavor over a good throat hit, and that is a personal preference you’ll understand better once you make the switch to electronic cigarettes.
Strangely, the throat hit is very important to most Vapers in the beginning, but then lags off for several months as they explore new flavors, PG/VG ratios, and lots of hardware. Just as quickly as it’s importance fades, when the Vaper settles down into a vaping lifestyle the throat hit suddenly becomes important again. It’s as though they’ve finally decided on the right hardware, flavors, PG/VG ratios and all the rest, and they start missing that throat hit again.
When a Vaper reaches a certain point they will find a handful of e-liquids that they’ll use all the time. There will be certain flavors, brands and PG/VG ratios that light up certain areas in the pleasure centers of the brain, and once they become accustomed to having those things the throat will once again matter, and play a major factor in choosing e-liquids and e-cigarette accessories moving forward.
Combining two different parts of the vaping experience, the throat hit is determined by the amount of PG (propylene Glycol) and nicotine in e-liquid. Finding the most satisfying throat hit means finding how much nicotine a Vaper will need/want and how much PG they can handle in their e-liquid. There are some shortcuts to finding the right nicotine and PG levels, and I’ll go over a couple in the next article in this series.
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This right here, pacifier vaping, is going to be the biggest problem you face as a Vaper. Of course most people that vape don’t consider this a problem at all, but it can be.
Pacifier vaping is worse than chain smoking. At least with chain smoking you take a break now and then, like when you sit down to dinner or breakfast. Vapers that suffer from severe Pacifier Vaping have their electronic cigarette in their mouth constantly, and have even been known to take drags between bites of food.
E-cigarettes, unlike tobacco cigarettes, never go out; you never snub them out in an ashtray and instead you just set them down on the closest surface. You can, quite literally, keep it in your mouth all day and all night, slowly hitting on it with every breath. Thankfully Pacifier Vaping at its extreme is limited to a small selection of Vapers.
Pacifier Vapers feel anxious, worried, and almost sickly, when they are without their e-cigarette. It’s not the nicotine that does it (although that might play a part in it), what creates a Pacifier Vaper is finding the first ‘irresistibly’ delicious e-liquid that is impossible to put down and they give in to it because they believe that vaping is harmless, no matter how much or how long they vape.
Chances are within the first 2 months of vaping you are going to hit upon a certain e-liquid that you absolutely love and that you find irresistible. It will have everything you’re looking for; incredible flavor, terrific vapor production, delicate but satisfying throat hit, and so on.
Once you find it you might want to order a large enough supply to be able to assure your friends (why they would care I have no idea) that you have a nice backup supply should anything happen, like the zombie apocalypse. You might have a bottle or two in use at all times and two or three steeping in the closet, and yet another two or three bottles on order. Think I’m kidding? Just wait. Finding that magic flavor is almost as good as sex, sometimes better, depending on your ‘situation’.
Pacifier Vaping is the one thing in all of VapeLandia* that keeps people spending money, and I mean that in a good way. Because Vapers spend so much time vaping they seem to be keenly aware of the latest breakthroughs, the newest e-liquid brands, the newest flavors from their favorite vendors, and they browse vendor sites to see what’s new.
Vaping for many people, including myself, was once supposed to be about quitting tobacco, but somehow it becomes a hobby. A hobby that is practiced all the time, except when sleep calls out. To be completely honest, I have fallen asleep with my e-cigarette securely planted between my lips more than once.
I’m not trying to say that everyone falls victim to pacifier vaping, they don’t. Pacifier vaping mostly occurs when people move on past the cig-a-like experience and onto larger and more elaborate e-cigarettes.
When I started vaping it was all about Blu Cigs. I couldn’t own enough batteries or packs of cartomizers. Had I not been recruited into Spinfuel I don’t know if it would have stopped there or not, but from the way I was always stopping at one and only Walgreens when I was back in New Hampshire for a visit, buying out their cartomizers completely, I probably would have. From that point on it’s kind of a blur.
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Most people that have tried electronic cigarettes and failed did so because they rushed in thinking all e-cigarettes were the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you can avoid the e-cigarette scams (easy to do), refuse to fall for attractive packaging of various disposable brands at the gas station or convenience store (also easy), and if you take the time to think about what you want from an e-cigarette now and in the future then you can lessen the chance of failure. You will need to decide at some point early on if e-cigarettes are a part of the ‘quitting’ program to be free of all nicotine, or if you are interested in using e-cigarettes indefinitely. The best way to determine that is to decide if the reason you want to get away from tobacco cigarettes is because of the nicotine addiction or the dangers of smoking. If you enjoy smoking then you may find electronic cigarettes will become a long-term hobby.
In the next article I’m going to offer up 3 different brands that I believe would be perfect for someone looking to switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes and who smoked the same way, or similar, to the way I did, which I’ll explain in the next article as well.
These are all brands I have used personally, and each one has their strong points and weak points. But there is one brand I practically like and if you wind up identifying with the kind of smoker I was then this is your best first e-cigarette, and one that is priced under $50.
Look for the next Guide To Vaping article on Saturday, June 1st, 2013.
Footnotes Vaper – a ‘Vaper’ is someone that uses electronic cigarettes. To “smoke” an electronic cigarette is to “vape”, thus, someone that “vapes” is a “Vaper” E-Liquid – the liquid inside cartomizers and clearomizers that your battery turns into vapor The Perfect Vape – the perfect combination of flavor, vapor, and throat hit Vanlandia – A magical place where everyone vapes in complete serenity.