I bought my first e-cigarette in January of 2010 and just celebrated my eighth anniversary as a vaper. My first e-cigarette was an L88 model with plastic sponge-filled disposable cartridges. Its vapor production was awful. Its flavor selection was – well, very Chinese. Shaking the e-cigarette was enough to trip the overly sensitive puff sensor. Nevertheless, I was resolved to make it work. I quit smoking and never looked back. Your story might be similar.
While millions of people around the world have successfully switched from smoking to vaping, there are others who either vape sometimes – and still smoke – or tried vaping, didn’t like it and never tried again. It blows my mind how often I hear statements like these:
- Vaping is awful. The vapor tastes burnt and hurts my throat.
- They said it would taste just like a cigarette. It didn’t taste anything like a cigarette.
- Vaping is fine, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to smoke.
- I always end up getting the liquid in my mouth.
Today, the online vaping community does a better job than ever of educating newcomers – but many people don’t bother researching online. They try e-cigarettes after seeing them in the local convenience stores, and it doesn’t occur to them that vaping becomes a hobby for many. They try an e-cigarette and expect it to “just work.” That’s what cigarettes do. E-cigarettes aren’t just nicotine delivery systems, though – they’re also gadgets. As with other gadgets, there isn’t only one way to use an e-cigarette – and some ways of vaping can result in a downright terrible experience.
After some trial and error, I ultimately figured out how to have the best possible vaping experience for me. There are people, though, who may not have friends who vape and who may lack the initiative to research vaping online after an initial negative experience. As an industry, we can do a better job of educating those people and helping them understand why vaping is better than smoking in every way. These are the things that I wish I knew about vaping before I started.
An E-Cigarette Doesn’t Just Have Five Flavors
I’ve tried just about every mainstream e-cigarette that’s available in the convenience stores. Functionally, they are all infinitely better than the e-cigarette that I used when I first started vaping. I think that the mainstream e-liquids also taste better than the e-liquids of the past, but I wouldn’t trade my bottled e-liquids for any of them. How would you feel if you tried an e-cigarette like the Vuse today and didn’t realize that there are hundreds – possibly thousands – of other flavors out there?
If you didn’t like the few flavors available for your chosen e-cigarette model, you might give up without ever knowing about the incredible variety of e-liquids on the market. When people give up on vaping because they don’t like the flavors available for their cigalike, it’s sad because those people are missing out on the greatest aspect of vaping: the incredible variety of flavors. It’s also sad because cigalike manufacturers aren’t exactly forthcoming about the fact that their “tobacco” e-liquids don’t taste anything like tobacco.
You Can’t Vape Like You Smoke
If you vape, you’ve already learned the inhaling technique necessary to get vapor – rather than e-liquid – in your mouth. Did you know how to inhale correctly, though, before you started?
Plenty of people have given up on vaping after the first couple of puffs because they thought that you should use an e-cigarette in the same way that you smoke – with short, firm puffs. That, of course, is an excellent way to get e-liquid in your mouth. Every beginner’s e-cigarette kit on the market should have a few words in the instruction manual explaining that puffing harder on an e-cigarette does not make it generate more vapor.
Vaping Affects the Body Differently Than Smoking
Did you stop smoking when you bought your first e-cigarette? Did you feel strange for the first few days – even though you knew that you were still getting your nicotine? Some people tough it out for those few days, and before long they start to feel normal again. Others end up smoking and vaping concurrently. Tobacco cigarettes are extremely efficient at delivering nicotine to the bloodstream – but that’s not all they do.
We are still learning more about the many ways in which cigarettes affect the body. For example, scientists learned relatively recently that tobacco smoke affects the body’s chemistry by reducing production of monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and MAO-B. Tobacco smoke, in other words, is an MAO inhibitor like certain drugs prescribed for clinical depression and other conditions. Nicotine alone is not an MAO inhibitor, so e-cigarettes don’t affect the body in that way.
In 2005, the Journal of Neuroscience published a study showing that rats, when given MAO inhibitors, are more likely to want to consume nicotine than rats who aren’t on MAO inhibitors. It is logical, therefore, to conclude that cigarettes are not only addictive because of the nicotine they contain. Perhaps that’s why a 2017 study found that e-cigarettes are less addictive than tobacco cigarettes.
For many people, though, transitioning fully from smoking to vaping isn’t easy. Detoxing from the other chemicals in cigarettes isn’t easy, but those few days are a blip compared to the rest of one’s life as a non-smoker. If more people knew why switching from smoking to vaping isn’t easy, there would probably be more people willing to power through those few difficult days rather than becoming part-time vapers.
An E-Cigarette Should Never Taste Bad
When I started vaping, I wasn’t aware of any e-cigarette attachments that one could refill. Tanks and cartomizers weren’t widely available, and the eGo e-cigarette hadn’t been released yet. Today, though, cigalikes aren’t the only vaping devices appropriate for beginners. There are plenty of simple vape pens that are appropriate for novices, which is great – filling your own tanks means that you’re exposed to the best e-liquids that the industry has to offer right from the start.
The problem is that the instruction manuals included with many of those vape pens do a poor job of explaining basic things, such as:
- You can’t just fill your tank and start vaping. The cotton has to saturate first.
- If your device has adjustable wattage or voltage, you should start low.
- A device with extremely small juice channels doesn’t work well with high-VG e-liquids – and those are the only e-liquids that some brick-and-mortar vape shops sell.
Some people get a burnt taste when vaping for the first time, and they don’t realize that they’re doing something wrong – or worse, they singe the cotton and get a burnt taste no matter what they do. If I were to tell a person one thing before he or she vaped for the first time, it would be that e-cigarette vapor should never, ever taste bad – and if it does taste bad, there’s always a simple fix. If we can do a better job of explaining that to new vapers, we can help more people switch successfully and rid themselves of tobacco for good.
About the Author
Jason Artman is the owner and author of eCig One. Jason is a professional freelance writer who offers content writing services to vaping companies around the world.