With a wealth of options being offered by trusted vaping brands electronic cigarettes seem to become a more integral part of our society every day. That said, even as we see them every day, you may still be unclear about exactly what are ecigarettes. If you’re curious about that delicious vapor pouring from doorways and and passing car windows and whether it can help to change your life, it helps to have a rudimentary understanding of the functions and terms surrounding vaping before rushing into a vape shop or gas station and picking one up.
For former smokers who are new to ecigs, the vaping marketplace can seem like a confusing place with overwhelming options, especially when they begin hearing technical words like cartomizer, atomizer or vape mod. It can be a lot of info to take in as a beginner, even while much of society is embracing vaping as part of every day life without understanding the fundamentals that make it valuable to our future.
Walking into any vape shops near me or doing research and comparison to buy vapes online, the number of product options available and the endless information overload is staggering, even for someone with a solid background in vaping. Additionally, with so much misinformation, rumors and negative press out there, confusion about what are ecigarettes is almost guaranteed.
What Are Ecigs Doing to Change How The World Gets Nicotine?
Beginning your search in the vaping market place without experienced guidance can be like buying a pair of sneakers with rockets on them; they may be comfortable, they may look cool, but what happens when the rockets kick in? Local vape shops can be helpful, some are more interested in education and clarifying the truth about the dominant myths being passed as fact rather than selling new users expensive equipment. However, they are only able to stock so many products, and aren’t able to directly compete with online retailers price wise because of their overhead as a brick-and-mortar location.
Add to this developing technological breakthroughs in vaping such as customizable vape mods and devices optimized for nicotine salts and what you end up with is an endless stream of knowledge that can rival the functional wisdom of seasoned hot rod mechanics or academic professionals who have ready every book on their subject of expertise. Reflexively, the internet is an invaluable resource and it seems that information as well as the insights of those with hands-on experience are offered everywhere to make your search for the perfect vape starter kit, easier than its ever been.
Initially, it helps to start the process of discovering what are ecigarettes offering their users by learning the technical jargon, the vape shop lingo, some basic terminology that will help you understand what you’re searching for without asking a hundred questions before your vaping friends get to the end of a sentence.
If you’re a regular reader or experienced vaper, feel free to share this article with your friends, family, colleagues who you feel might find this information helpful, it may be immensely helpful in learning the vaping basics.
What Does Vaping Mean? — Vape Definition and Other Terms
Let’s begin with some of the terms that are frequently used by ecigarette users to describe devices, accessories and slang terms. You may feel instant relief and confidence upon understanding what each term refers to or means. Here is a list of some of the words that you often hear vapers using or read on websites:
- Vape – to vape is to use an electronic cigarette or it may refer to a device as in “a vape” or eliquid when called “vape flavors”. Essentially, vape is the word vapor turned into an abbreviated noun or verb depending on context. Additionally, when you are in the act of using an ecigarette it is frequently referred to as vaping, which again is a conjugation of vape or vapor.
- Cig-a-like – a cig-a-like is an ecig that looks like a cigarette used for smoking. Many of the vaping devices you find at gas stations and convenience stores fall into this category. They are meant to ease the transition to vaping predominantly through image or appearance as it may appear that users are simply smoking, when in fact, they’re vaping.
- Mod – this style of vaping device involves a modified design from the original ecigs that upgrades the battery and vape juice capacity. Frequently, common vape mods are a tube mod or box mod design with integrated or external vape batteries attached to a separate atomizer tank, which contains eliquid. Joining the battery to the tank is the heating coil which is responsible for converting ejuice into vapor. Some atomizers are replaceable, rebuildable or come as blank “decks” upon which DIY vapers can build coils to their preferences.
- Vape Juice, eJuice, and eLiquid – all of these terms and their disambiguations refer to the liquid used in an ecigarette that is vaporized by a heating coil. Some vape juice may contain liquid nicotine, while others may use nicotine salts.
- Atomizer – the part of an vape device that houses the coil which converts ejuice into vapor through heating at a set temperature.
- Cartomizer, pod or refillable ecig cartridge– a cartomizer is a combination of an atomizer coil and vape juice tank in a compact cartridge containing eliquid all within a single closed or refillable unit. Pod mods, also called AIO or all-in-one vape mods like the Juul starter pack, use replaceable ecig cartridges sometimes called pods that are essentially upgraded versions of the original cartomizer.
- Tank – the atomizer tank is the section of a vape mod that contains vape juice that are often external, detachable or interchangeable with a standard connection called a 510 connector. Typically, the atomizer coil, or head is contained within the vape tank and draws ejuice through cotton wicks into the heat source.
- Throat hit – a sensation that specifically targets the users throat that is similar to a feeling created through smoking tobacco. Throat hits are often the result of using vape juice that has higher propylene glycol (PG) or higher nicotine content.
- Nicotine salt – variety of nicotine that is not liquid and derived from a more direct source as it occurs on the tobacco leaf which is largely attributed to providing higher nicotine levels without a severely harsh throat hit, sometimes referred to as Nic salts.
- Vape battery – an external battery sometimes referred to as a 18650, the standard power supply for most advanced vape mods.
- Auto draw – a function of many entry level electronic cigarettes that activates the heating coil as the user pulls air through the device. While many mods have fire buttons that activate the heating element, this method of vaping simply requires puffing on it to activate the atomizer.
- Coil – a misleading term that does not necessarily refer to a circular wire configuration, some vape coils may be ceramic, but essentially coil refers to the heating element itself, the part of the device that conducts temperature for the purposes of vaporization
- Drip Tip – mouthpiece of a vape mod
- Dripping – this is a method of applying vape juice directly to exposed heating coil of RDAs or drip atomizers. Dripping is largely the preferred method of advanced vapers comfortable with building their own decks and repeatedly keeping their wicks saturated with eliquid.
With a working knowledge of basic vaping terms and a few advanced pieces of ecig lingo you may hear thrown around by your friends, you’ll have more of an insider’s perspective on what they’re talking about. Obviously, certain words like puff and disposable are self explanatory, while others may require explanation. Keep in mind, when we discuss puff counts in our ecigarette reviews, we are talking about the number of functional draws that you get from a single filled cartomizer or a fully charged battery. It’s important to remember because can be an important indicator of ecig quality. For comparison, a pack of cigarettes is understood to provide roughly 200 puffs. A high quality vaping device will reach at least that many in equivalent vapor draws to help you stay smoke free longer.
What Is In Vape Juice? — eJuice Ingredients in eCigarettes
You may already know the main vape juice ingredients, but what is PG and VG and why do they seem to be in every eliquid available? First off, we’ve already covered that electronic cigarettes convert a liquid into vapor to be inhaled, but how does the nicotine and flavoring make its way from a fluid state to a dense cloud? Essentially, this is due to the presence of PG or propylene glycol and VG or vegetable glycerin.
Instead of inhaling harmful tobacco smoke, which contains thousands of toxic chemicals and carcinogens, vapor is produced from a combined solution of VG, PG, flavoring and nicotine. Vaping simply created a method for getting your necessary nicotine levels while shedding all of the toxins that are byproducts of burning tobacco and cigarette smoke. PG and VG act as binding agents, since the flavoring and nicotine aren’t able to be carried in vapor on their own, these two non-toxic, food-grade additives act as carriers or messengers to deliver them in a cloud of tasty and satisfying vapor.
To explain, propylene glycol is a common food additive that is approved by the FDA and generally recognized as safe to use. Propylene glycol may have an intimidating sounding name, however, it’s a natural substance that you most likely encounter and ingest on a daily basis already. Look at the ingredients on that box of cake mix in your cabinet or ice cream in your freezer, more than likely you will find PG among the ingredients. While there are plenty of rumors surrounding propylene glycol, it is a product your body has been regularly processing your entire life (unless you don’t eat cake or ice cream. Seriously? Like, never? But you know the rest of us like those things right?)
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is another common additive also recognized as safe by the FDA for consumption. Vape juice can be found as either PG dominant or available in max VG eliquids. However, commonly they found as a mixture of the two in 70/30 or 80/20 VG/PG blends. Since VG is largely attributed for generating big vape clouds and PG for delivering more intense flavor, the balanced blend is meant to give vapers the best of both worlds, maximum flavor with massive cloud production.
You may have read a lot of articles about how vaping vs smoking doesn’t have any actual benefits as far as harm to the human body. That said, much of the scientific data gathered may suggest otherwise. Understand, a lot of powerful interests including Big Tobacco have an invested desire to see vaping fail and be fazed out. The truth is, any negative health effects of electronic cigarettes are generally limited to the negative health effects of nicotine or poorly made devices without temperature control. Remember, it is not nicotine that causes cancer but tar and carcinogens. You have a higher chance of getting cancer as a result of drinking hot beverages that burn steeped material like tea or coffee, or eating burnt bacon than using nicotine alone. To explain, it is the byproducts of combustion that lead to the release of the toxins in treated tobacco which is bathed in a slew of chemicals designed to make it more addictive.
In detail, tobacco companies are notorious for mixing in additives that cause the tobacco to burn faster. In addition, they also like to add chemicals designed to rush nicotine into your system so that the effects of nicotine addiction become all the more powerful. Additives such as ammonia aid the trajectory of tobacco smoke, bringing it deeper into the lungs than would normally be possible without its presence.
To put it into a perspective, consider the fact that ecig vapor is produced from three ingredients, none of them known for being carcinogenic. Tobacco smoke contains in the range of over 7,000 known toxins and carcinogens as defined by controlled studies. The scoreboard would read; tobacco 5,000 and e-cigarettes 3, if, in fact those three ingredients were proven to be harmful, but as yet, they have not. It seems safe to say that vaping reduces your exposure to harm through it’s ingredients and process alone.
Smoke and Vapor — What’s the Difference Between Vaping and Smoking
This is a valid question since they appear very similar to the naked eye. However, there are no burning tobacco leaves involved in vaping vs smoking which is completely a process of setting fire to material that is inhaled. Generating vapor involves zero combustion, no fire, nothing that creates carcinogenic particulates. That said, nicotine itself is a tobacco derivative, especially when we’re talking about nicotine salts which take the form of nicotine crystals found on the actual leaves. In fact, the term nicotania refers specifically to the entire tobacco plant family, even though nicotine itself is naturally occurring in the entire nightshade family which includes foods we consumer regularly like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. That’s right, some of the vegetables you eat may contain trace amounts of nicotine.
Before tobacco makes its way into a cigarette, it goes through a number of processes and refinements. Once upon a time, those processes involved several months of drying, curing and handling, and some still do. Originally, as the tobacco leaves dried, they could be cut in certain ways to separate the sweet parts of the plant from the more stout parts. Tobacconists were known as experts in their “field”. While there were a variety of ways to cure the tobacco, most often smoke from an open fire was used to create ‘fire-cured’ tobacco. At one time, it was almost considered an art form, at least a craft. However, times have changed and much of the tobacco consumed throughout the world is mass produced, gone are the craft curers and expert tobacconists of the past.
Today, tobacco companies generate billions of dollars cranking out a towering volcano of fuel ready to be burned to ash. As a result these massive conglomerates that own much of the tobacco brands you’re familiar with do not tend to have the patience of 19th century tobacconists. Modern cigarette tobacco is processed much more quickly thanks to an endless list of additives designed to dry the tobacco faster, help it burn faster, help nicotine get into your system faster etc. Basically, any additive that speeds up the tobacco processing presently, Big Tobacco puts there by design.
As stated, the CDC has determined that there are over 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. As high as that may seem, statistics that come from the centers for Disease Control and Prevention are based on data and research gathered from scientific studies, and rarely from speculation. Imagine that, we know for a fact that smoking produces this many harmful byproducts and they still remain popular, their addictive properties truly can’t be denied. In fact, if you take a look at the list of tobacco additives some of them may literally take your breath away. In detail, there are more than 1000 tobacco additives that are knowingly being used right now, today, in the tobacco being sold near you.
Fortunately, none of these additives are found in vape juice. The only byproduct of the tobacco plant that is used in vaping is the nicotine. The nicotine can be extracted from the plant separate from any other substance and does not carry any of the particulates from burning.
In fact, no combustion is involved in the process of extracting the nicotine from the plant either, including the isolation of nic salts. The top trusted vape juice brands utilize pharmaceutical grade nicotine that is safely derived form the plants through a laboratory process.
How Does Vaping Work?
Early development of the electronic cigarette can be traced to a single technological advancement, in particular, the lithium ion battery. You may know this same technology is also responsible for the rapid growth of smart phones and electric or hybrid cars. The same technology that gave rise to vaping is an electronic breakthrough you likely use everyday in one way or another.
In detail, the lithium ion battery allows for the storage of large amounts of energy in a very small space. Lithium ion battery cells are also very conducive to quick and efficient recharging thanks to the smooth transfer of energy within the battery cells themselves. While they can be volatile when exposed to conductive elements like loose change or items made with certain kinds of metal, using and storing them responsibility protects users from these dangers.
One thing to keep in mind, the quality of a lithium ion battery is directly linked to the purity of the lithium being used. The quality of materials used is one of the main reasons to think twice before you buy cheap ecigs. When it comes to vaping products, like most things in life, quality counts, and in some cases, it may just save your life.
In addition, poor quality products or components often lead to poor or underperforming vaping experiences that lead to people falling victim to tobacco cigarettes again. Not to mention, there are endless stories of first time vapers that tried a gas station cigalikes on a whim only to decide that vaping is all hype and can’t offer them a helpful smoke free tool. In fact, it is not too much of a stretch to say that quality is everything when it comes to investing in vaping, as one negative experience and wasted investment can lead users who would find value in the switch to believe that it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
In summary, electronic cigarettes utilize a small rechargeable battery that can provide power for an extended period of time paired with an atomizer used to process vape juice. Within the atomizer the battery’s energy is used to heat a coil. That coil comes in contact with a cotton wick that is soaked in vape juice and the result is delicious, satisfying vapor.
Delicious By Design — What Are eCigarettes?
The story behind the invention of the modern ecigarette is quite interesting. While the original patent for the “smokeless cigarette” is attributed to an American named Herbert Gilbert in the 1960s, it would take decades for the lithium ion battery to make this design feasible. Eventually, the design that most modern vaping technology is based on, is manufactured in China, in part, because that was where it was engineered.
Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and inventor, was a heavy smoker who had previously lost his father to lung cancer and had a nightmare about drowning. In the dream, he struggled to get to the surface and when he made it, suddenly he was surrounded by smoke. At that moment, he realized that the smoke was actually mist and he could suddenly breathe again.
True or not, it makes for a good story! Ultimately the success was the research that Hon Lik used to devise a way to mimic smoking in a mobile compact device. As a result, he was able to address the nicotine craving and eliminate the terrible toxins he was knowingly inhaling through smoking tobacco.
Are eCigs Safe? — Vaping Safety
Vaping safety begins with proper handling of each component individually. Always follow the manufacturers guidelines for proper use of items like batteries, coils, wattage, temperature and . Do not modify your e-cigarette. Make sure to take precautions with your nicotine e-liquid, especially if you have small children in your home. Avoid getting e-liquid on your skin and don’t charge your battery in freezing temperatures. Most importantly, stick to reputable e-cigarette brands like those on our top-ten ecig list.
Recently, there have been a couple of sensationalized accounts of e-cig batteries exploding. This is an incredibly rare occurrence and can be avoided by following the manufacturers guidelines. Plugging a battery into a charger that it was not made for is a recipe for problems. E-cig battery safety is simply common sense.
If you are regularly handling e-liquids, it is important to keep in mind that nicotine is easily absorbed through the skin. In fact, many tobacco field workers have experienced Green Tobacco Sickness, which occurs when handling tobacco plants and nicotine is absorbed through the skin. This is why tobacco workers wear gloves and protective clothing.
What Are The Best Electronic Cigarettes To Buy?
This is much like asking what is the best car to buy. There are a lot of good answers! You need a reputable brand that uses high quality materials and e-liquids.
Next, you need enough vapor to satisfy and the consistency to make sure that you avoid frustration and the temptation to light up a cigarette. Read about the four e-cig brands that we feel are very effective.
Expert Vaping has thoroughly tested all of the e-cigarette brands that we recommend. We have no agenda and our recommendations are the result of honest evaluation alongside the reviews of consumers that have first hand experience with the products.
Most review sites are exclusively designed to generate a commission, which is not what Expert Vaping is about. We have built our reputation of honest vape reviews. We view trust as our best commodity. We believe that e-cigarettes truly have the potential to save millions of lives.
We don’t want to see people write off vaping as some kind of novelty rather than a true alternative. We sincerely want you to find a true alternative that really works.
The absolute last thing that we want to happen is to see someone be misled into trying a lousy e-cigarette that will have you back on tobacco cigarettes before you know it.
There have been a number of studies that indicate that the more closely that you mimic the act and rituals involved in smoking, the better your chances of avoiding tobacco. For that reason we do recommend beginning your vaping journey with a cig-a-like model. It looks like a cigarette and behaves like a cigarette.
Read our e-cigarette reviews, do some research and then make an informed choice. Also, memorize the terms mentioned earlier as there may be a pop quiz at some point. Just kidding!
We hope that this has helped you understand e-cigarettes a little bit better. We are happy that you visited us and we encourage your feedback. You are also welcome to come back and visit Expert Vaping. We are always adding new e-cig information that can help keep you informed so that you can make clear choices.