Your first few weeks of vaping will probably be the most challenging — but also the most exciting. This is the time when you will get to learn more about the industry, the gadgetry, and the community. And it’s also the time when you will start developing your first preferences: choosing between different vaping kit options, trying out different e-liquid flavors, discovering what type of vaper you maybe — and so much more! Your first month of vaping is also when you will explore the variety of price options available and might start to set up a budget for your new habit.
So, where do you start?
In the beginning. In this guide, we will go over the following:
- the supplies you will need for your first months of vaping
- the types of vape kits available
- choosing right e-liquid
- and ways to manage your costs
Vaping Kit Basics
The least expensive vaping kits on the market will cost you somewhere in between $20-$30 USD and they should last for up to a year (provided you take good care of them). For a bigger kit, you might have to replace some parts here and there, however, if you clean it regularly, it should serve you long and well.
There are several different types of e-cigarettes and the way they look, as well as their functionality, may differ slightly from device to device.
With that, whether they are disposable or re-usable, pre-filled or refillable, compact or complex, most vaping gadgets would have the following key components:
- Atomizer. An atomizer is basically a miniature coil that is used to heat up the e-liquid and create the vapor that you will then inhale.
- Battery. Every vaping gadget needs a power supply to activate its atomizer. Some come with small capacity batteries (around 200mAh), while others sport more substantial setups (like a massive 1100mAh battery).
- Mouthpiece. This is the top part of the e-cig — and the part of your vaping gadget that you have the most interaction with. You use the mouthpiece to inhale the vapor produced by your e-cigarette. Mouthpieces are typically made of glass, plastic (polycarbonate plastic) or rubber.
- E-liquid. Naturally, e-liquid is an essential part of your vaping experience. In some devices, you will need to refill the e-liquid manually while others use disposable or refillable pods that are simply inserted into the device.
The coil is the key element of any vaping gadget, big or small, as it is what heats up the juice within the tank and turns it into vapor. The battery used in most vaping devices is typically a lithium battery and it is charged via a USB port.
Types of Vaping Devices
There are several types of vaping devices that you are sure to get acquainted with during your first month of vaping. It may take you some time to find the perfect fit and you may even try using several devices at once. But first, it’s a good idea to learn a bit about your options.
- Easy to operate
- Practical design
- Refillable or replaceable pods
- Button or draw-activated
- Perfect for vaping nic salts
- Great for discreet vaping
These are the latest type of vape gear to hit the market — and there is a high chance that your first vaping gadget will be a pod vape. A pod vape is a two-piece device consisting of a battery and a replaceable (and sometimes refillable) pod. Pod vapes are praised for their compact designs, ease of use and portability — and they are usually more affordable than more complex vaping devices. Pod vapes are perfectly suited for nicotine salt e-liquids.
- More powerful than vape pens
- Longer battery life
- Replaceable coils or cartridges
- Simple in use
Vape pens are larger than pod vapes and offer a more powerful performance. They come in a variety of sizes but are mostly compact enough to fit in your hand. Most vape pens have only two key components: battery and tank. These can be either detachable or come in an all-in-one design. With that, vape pens’ capacity is limited by the size of their internal batteries — and these, while bigger than on pod devices, are still confined by the small size of the devices.
Box mod kits
- Lots of variety
- Higher performance level
- Long-running internal/external batteries
- Can be taken apart, can be used with other tanks
Box mod kits are larger and more capable vapes and are something you might want to move on to after you’ve exhausted your resources with pod vapes. The extra size translates into better performance and longer battery life — and some gadgets even come with external vape batteries. Most box mods let you tweak settings, adjust wattage and temperature, etc.
For your first box mod kit, consider a starter option consisting of a single-battery mod with variable wattage and temperature control capabilities and a mid-range sub-ohm tank.
High wattage box mods
- Many options in size, performance, and specs
- Interchangeable tanks
- Substantial battery life
High wattage box mod kits are some of the most popular vapes on the market among advanced vapers. High wattage box mods typically come with replaceable coils and the number of batteries that come with the device depends on the size and power limits of the device. Most high wattage box mods come with two to three batteries — but some may even take on four batteries.
E-juice, vape juice, and e-liquid are all names for one and the same thing — it is what you need to put in your vaping device for vaping to make sense. The coil inside your vaping gadget will then heat up the e-juice and produce the flavorful vapor that you will then turn into beautiful clouds.
E-liquids come in a variety of flavors and choosing between icy mango and cappuccino may be one of the most exciting things about vaping. But what are e-liquids actually made of
There are four key components that make up most e-liquids:
- 90% PG (propylene glycol) OR VG (vegetable glycerin)
- Food grade flavoring
- Nicotine (optional)
Propylene glycol, PG, is an agent typically used in flavorings to distribute the taste evenly. You will often find it in the list of ingredients for vanilla extracts, food colorings, and even pharmaceuticals.
Vegetable oil, VG, is basically what the name says: a thick vegetable oil-based liquid that is often used as a sweetener or as a sugar alternative.
As we can see from above, PG or VG make up the main component of e-juice, while the other ingredients account for about 10%.
What is the difference between PG and VG?
On the market of vape juices, you will find both PG liquids and VG liquids — as well as mixtures of the two. So what is the difference and which e-liquid would work best for you?
Propylene glycol e-juices are typically compared to vegetable oil-based liquids. Because of that, they leave less residue in the tank. PG vape juices are flavorless and do not affect the original taste of e-liquids. They are also known for a stronger throat hit — the more nicotine is in your e-liquid, the harsher the said throat hit will be.
Note that some vapers are allergic to PG-based e-liquids. Statistically, about 4% of the population can develop a PG allergy that will typically manifest through the following symptoms:
sinus problems, dry mouth, sore throat, headaches and nausea, and, occasionally, hives. The same symptoms can be associated with nicotine withdrawal — especially if you used to be a heavy smoker. To check if you are allergic to PG, try switching to 100% VG (vegetable glycerin) e-liquid and see if your symptoms go away.
Vegetable e-juices are thicker and more viscous. Thus, they leave more residue in the tank and can affect the lifespan of your vaping device. VG liquids also have a light flavor of their own, which is a little bit sweet, and it may slightly affect the taste of your e-liquid.
What makes vegetable glycerin juices popular is their ability to produce large clouds — and this is something many vapers enjoy. If you want to blow rings of vapor or try out any other vape cloud tricks, it’s best to go with an e-liquid with a high VG concentration. Additionally, vegetable oil juices produce a softer throat hit compared to PG vape juices. And, as mentioned above, VG e-liquids have not been reported to cause any allergic reactions.
Choosing among PG, VG or mixed liquids, thus, mostly comes down to what you want to get out of the experience. For a tougher throat hit, go with a PG-based liquid. Want to blow huge clouds? Try vaping VG. You can also check with your vaping device maker as to what liquids would go best with a gadget.
Nic Salt E-liquids
Whether you are a vaper or not yet, you have probably heard of the nic salt craze. And as you experiment with e-liquids in your first month of vaping, you are sure to come across plenty of tempting nic salt juices. So what makes them different from other e-liquids?
There are two methods of nicotine extraction used for making e-liquids: free base and nic salts.
Freebase extraction is the method that tobacco companies have been using since the early 60’s and it basically means that the nicotine is in its purest form and is much more potent when heated.
Nic salt, on the other hand, is the natural state that nicotine is found in tobacco leaves.
Nicotine salt is much more stable and not as volatile as the freebase form. Nic salt e-liquids also take higher temperatures to vaporize and, in its pure form, they are not the most effective way to deliver nicotine to your body (compared to free-base e-liquids). So why are they so popular?
The first company to use nic salts was Pax Labs. They found a way to use nicotine salt to deliver a high concentration of nicotine — 50mg. The goal was to give vapers the sensation that was as close to smoking as possible while avoiding the harsh throat hit that usually comes when vaping freebase e-juices that are high in nicotine. The company has also been able to make 50 mg nicotine palatable and more bioavailable than ever before on the vaping market. How as that possible? As in many great recipes, there is a secret ingredient involved: in this case, it’s benzoic acid. The chemical helps nic salts vaporize at lower temperatures and lowers the pH levels in the e-liquid, which results in the aforementioned smoother throat hit.
Thus, if you are an ex-smoker who used to smoke a pack or more a day, nic salt e-liquids may be the best option to mimic that experience and deliver more nicotine into your system.
Nic salts are designed to be used in lower wattage devices due to the higher amount of nicotine absorbed as well as lower temperatures required to turn them into vapor.
Using low wattage devices comes with its own set of benefits that would appeal to ex-smokers. They tend to be smaller, sleeker, more discreet, easier to use and most of them are draw-activated.
What to expect in terms of costs?
Naturally, this depends on what vaping gear you use, how much you vape and what e-liquids you prefer. A pod vape would be the least expensive way to start and you will be able to find starter pod mod kits for as low as $20-$30. While these are definitely affordable, inexpensive pod mods would also come with a limited lifespan and would probably serve you from 6 months to one year (provided you take good care of them).
Of course, there are more robust devices on the market. These might cost you around $150 but their life span is also extended greatly. Their batteries last longer as well: while the smaller kits can get you around 300-400 puffs per charge, pricier kits can deliver upwards of 1,000 puffs per single charge and allow for up to two days of vaping.
The next cost you should consider is purchasing e-liquids. There are plenty of brands, flavors, and blends to choose from — and this can be quite overwhelming at first. While vaping has been proven to be way more cost-effective than smoking, vaping juices are not cheap.
A vile (100ml) of high-end e-juice can cost you from $15 to $30 USD and, depending on how much you vape, may last you from one to four weeks of vaping.
If you are using a pod mod device, the costs may be slightly higher. For instance, a 4-pod pack may cost you from $10 to $30 — and most vapers tend to go through pods much faster than e-liquid bottles. With that, nic salt pods are typically available in very high nicotine concentrations — and this means you would probably use less of them to achieve the same effect.
Another cost to consider is vape gear maintenance. Your coils, tank, and battery may require regular replacement. For instance, most coils need to be replaced every two to three weeks (depending on your vaping habits) and can cost from $1-$6 per coil.
In general, it’s much cheaper to vape than it is to smoke. However, every expense can be handled better if you plan ahead and set a budget. This can make your transition to the new habit even smoother and after you’ve chosen your vaping style and the gear to match, it’s a good idea to do some research into cost-saving techniques and best practices.
We hope this mini-guide has been helpful in kicking off your first month of vaping. While this may be a challenging period and you are sure to have plenty to learn, things will only get easier from here on. Your first month of vaping is an exciting time to try new things, experiment with gear and e-liquids and build towards lots of perfect vaping sessions.