So, you are ready to make the switch from smoking to vaping. What do you do?
After a bit of online research, you will probably head right down to your local vape shop and ask for a vaping kit. The next thing you hear maybe this: “Are you looking for a mouth-to-lung vape or a direct-to-lung vape?” If you are not sure how to answer this question, then this guide is for you.
Is Inhaling When Vaping Different Than Inhaling When Smoking?
While vaping is modeled after smoking, there are notable differences between how you would inhale when smoking and how most vapers inhale when they vape. The way one inhales when vaping depends on the type of tank you’re using as well as what you want to get out of the experience.
One of the biggest differences between inhaling when smoking and vaping is the length of the inhale. Generally, vapers take longer inhales than smokers. And this can be easily explained:
With cigarettes, the harder you puff, the more smoke you get; with vaping, things don’t work this way. The only way to get more vapor with electronic cigarettes is to inhale for longer.
As you just start vaping, this may feel a bit unusual and may take some time getting used to.
Holding in Vapor
There is also a difference in how long vapers and smokers hold the vapor/smoke before exhaling it. Because of the longer inhale, vapers will also hold in vapor for longer than smokers do. This makes the whole process of vaping is generally longer than smoking and may take some getting used to.
What is “Priming Puffs?”
Back in the early days of vaping when a lot of vaping kits were automatic (the coil activated on inhaling and you didn’t need to press any buttons), you would need to take primer puffs before starting to vape. Priming puffs is basically taking little draws from your vaping device (just like you would with a cigar). This gave the coil time to heat up and get ready for a proper vaping session.
These days, the majority of e-cigarettes available on the market are manual — so you won’t need to prime puffs. However, with some devices, it may be a good idea to press and hold the fire button for a while before you actually start inhaling as the coil may some time to heat up to vaping temperature.
Different Inhaling Styles
Vaping is very versatile: you can choose between different e-liquid flavors, nicotine strength, etc.
And there are also different inhale styles that work best for different devices. The main factors to consider here are the type of tank the vaper is using and how much airflow it has.
The general rule is this:
With tanks with restricted airflow, the draw is very similar to that of a traditional cigarette and they are best suited for a mouth-to-lung inhale. When it comes to the tanks with an open airflow, on the other hand, vapers often inhale directly into their lungs.
What is Mouth to Lung Vaping?
Mouth-to-lung, often abbreviated to MTL, is the type of inhale that would come most natural to ex-smokers.
-How To Do It?
A mouth-to-lung (MTL) inhale is when you inhale in two stages: you first take vapor into your mouth and then inhale again to take it further into your lungs. So, here’s what you do: you press the fire button on your device (or activate it by inhale), release the fire button and then inhale again for the vapor to reach your lungs before exhaling.
As mentioned above, the MTL inhale is ideal for smokers just switching over to vaping as this is very similar to what they used to do when smoking. MTL inhales work best with lower power settings, higher-resistance coils, and higher-nicotine liquids.
Compatible devices: pod style vape kits like iQ AIR are perfect for MTL vaping. These types of kits are also generally recommended for beginner vapers.
Recommended e-liquids: liquids with a higher nicotine level are generally best for MTL vaping. This is by no means a requirement for an MTL inhales, but because you will be getting less vapor with each puff, higher nicotine levels will make your vaping sessions more satisfying.
Nic salts generally have higher nicotine levels and would work best for MTL vaping.
Pros and Cons of Mouth to Lung Vaping
Pros: similar to smoking, works best with starter vape kits, requires less power, consumes fewer e-liquids, makes for a stronger throat hit and a more intense flavor.
Cons: won’t work well with modern tanks, small cloud production, needs higher nicotine level e-liquids.
What is Direct to Lung Vaping?
Direct-to-lung vaping, or DTL, is quite a different process. Instead of the two-stage process described above for mouth-to-lung vaping, direct-to-lung vaping is a single step inhale when you take the vapor right into your lungs. This type of inhaling is quite different from smoking but it is the best way to get the most out of modern tanks.
-How To Do It?
DTL inhales are quite easy but get ready for a coughing fit the first time you try it. What you do is this: you take one big inhale from your device and take it straight down to your lungs with one breath. DTL works best for large clouds and is typically meant for larger tanks and high power settings.
Compatible devices: sub-ohm tanks and mods that have more airflow. Out of starter kits, you can try the iQ ONE, which is meant for both DTL and MTL inhales.
Recommended e-liquids: this is not a requirement but it’s best to practice DTL inhales with lower nicotine vape juices as you will be vaping on devices with the large vapor production. It also works better with higher-VG e-liquids.
Mouth-to-lung and direct-to-lung are the most common types of inhaling practiced when vaping. However, there are other ways to inhale as well. For instance, the cigar inhales: when you inhale the vapor into your mouth without taking it into your lungs. While this type of inhaling is not particularly popular among vapers, you will still be able to get nicotine into your system as it is absorbed through the upper throat rather than the lungs.
Why Does an MTL Inhale Make for a More Intense Flavor?
One of the pros of an MTL inhales as listed above is a more intense flavor. Why is that?
When you use a mouth-to-lung inhale, you will typically use a device with a smaller airflow (compared to the devices used for DTL vaping). With less air mixed in with the “essence” of
your e-juice flavor, the taste will appear more concentrated — but you will be making smaller clouds.
Why Do You Cough When Vaping?
There may be many reasons why you may cough when you vape — and the way you inhale may be one of these reasons.
For instance, your inhale style maybe not a good match for the vaping kit that you are using. If you are using a DTL inhale on a vaping device with restricted airflow, it will probably result in a coughing fit. In much the same way, inhaling MTL with a big tank designed for large clouds can make you cough just because of the amount of vapor hitting your throat at once.
Does the Way You Inhale Affect Your Health?
According to Public Health England, vaping is around 95% safer than smoking. This is a strong factor that makes smokers switch to vaping if they have trouble quitting smoking cold turkey. But vaping is not 100% risk-free.
Most of the danger associated with vaping comes from what happens to e-liquids when they are heated and the way certain elements in flavors reach high temperatures. This is why it is important to purchase your vape juices from reputable suppliers and make sure that any flavor ingredients that could cause harm are not present in your e-liquids.
Some speculate that one of the ways to minimize the risks related to vaping would be to inhale less vapor. In this case, the MTL vaping style would be technically safer because you will be getting less vapor into your lungs: and this would include less nicotine, less flavoring and so on.
The cigar inhales, in this case, would be the best option. The downsides, however, are obvious: as you will be getting less-liquid, you may find the process less satisfying.
How to Find Your Vaping Style?
This is totally up to you. If you are an ex-smoker, you will probably find MTL vaping easier and more familiar. DTL inhaling would be the best choice for those who love blowing large clouds and appreciate the versatility of large box mods. The most important thing here would be to make sure your inhale style matches your vape gear — and it’s always a good idea to consult your local vape shop to find the best fit.