This guide is designed to give first-time vapers and potential switchers the relevant information to get started with vaping and to quit smoking for good.
Vaping has been designed as a less harmful alternative to smoking. Vape kits use nicotine-containing liquid (known as e-liquid) which is heated up, turning it into vapour and is then inhaled as you would when smoking a cigarette.
Cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemicals, of which over 70 are known carcinogens. The major cause of smoking related illness is the tar produced when you burn the tobacco. With vaping there is no tobacco, no combustion and no tar. There is a far smaller number of components, all of which are regulated to ensure that any cancer-causing chemicals are not present.
But dont take our word for it. Public Health England has conducted a full review of all the research available on vaping and concluded that it is at least 95% less harmful than smoking. Vaping has also been backed as a reduced harm alternative to smoking by the likes of Cancer Research UK, The NHS, The British Lung Foundation and the Royal College of Physicians.
Vape kits are made up of three key components, a battery, a tank / pod that will hold e-liquid and a metal heating element known as a coil.
The battery provides power, which travels to the coil in your tank / pod. Power is converted into heat which vapourises the e-liquid.
There will be variations on names but all vape kits will basically work in the same way.
This is the quickest and simplest way to start vaping. These devices come with a pod which is pre-filled with e-liquid. To get started you just need to insert the pod into your device and begin vaping.
Once your pod is empty there is no need to refill or adjust the kit, simply throw away the empty pod and replace it with a new one.
Pods come in a range of nicotine strengths and flavours to suit your needs, and there are a number of kits available that can be selected based on your budget.
Similar to prefilled devices, the key difference is the pods are empty when purchased. This gives the user a far greater choice of e-liquid flavours and nicotine strengths, however they must be purchased separately and are not usually included in the kits.
The pods can be refilled a number of times (often up to 5 or 6), but eventually you will notice a drop in vapour production and the taste of the e-liquid may degrade. This is how you know it is time to change your pod.
Although you will need to purchase both replacement pods and e-liquid separately, in the long term these kits work out cheaper than using prefilled pod systems.
These kits work in the same way as a refillable pod kit. The main difference being, when you notice the drop in peformance, rather than replace the whole tank you just replace the heating element known as the coil.
The coils are usually available to purchase in multipacks so you always have a spare when you need one.
Although less simple than pod-style devices, in the long run, these types of kit do work out as the most cost- effective option.
As well as containing nicotine and flavourings, e-liquid is made from a base of PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (Vegetable Glycerin) that produces visable vapour when heated. Both of these liquids are used widley in food and medicines.
By using different proportions of these liquids, e-liquid can be made in various thicknesses. The higher the amount of PG, the runnier the e-liquid; the higher the amount of VG the thicker the e-liquid.
It is important to know what thickness of e-liquid works best in your chosen device.
This information will generally be in the user manual, however as a general rule:
Most low-powered starter kits work best using thinner e-liquids with a PG content of 50% or higher. For example 50% VG & 50% PG, 40% VG & 60% PG or 30% VG & 70% PG.
The high-powered, more advanced kits work best with thicker e-liquids. For example 70% VG & 30% PG, 80% VG & 20% PG.
You will need to pick a nicotine strength high enough to satisfy your cravings, but not too high or you may find it too harsh on your throat. This will largely be related to how many cigarettes you smoke per day. Please note, high-powered kits produce more vapour and because of this, they should should not be used with an e-liquid higher than 6mg in strength.
|Cigarettes Per Day||Nicotine Strength|
|5 - 10||3 - 6mg|
|10 - 15||6 - 12mg|
|15 or more||12 - 20mg|
Nicotine strength is down to individual preference. So if you find that your e-liquid is not satisfying your cravings, try a higher strength. If you find it too harsh or you are getting too much nicotine and feeling nauseous, decrease the strength.
A shortfill is an underfilled bottle of e-liquid, for example, 50ml of e-liquid in a 60ml bottle. Shortfill e-liquids have no nicotine in them, but each bottle has room to add 10ml nicotine booster shots.
Nicotine booster shots are unflavoured e-liquids with a very high nicotine content, usually 18mg or 20mg. When you add a nicotine booster to a shortfill, the nicotine will be diluted by the 0mg e-liquid. The end result is a nicotine containing e-liquid.
Salt nicotine e-liquids work exactly the same as normal e-liquid, the only difference is the type of nicotine it uses. Salt nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream quicker and stays around for longer, so it will satisfy your cravings at a faster rate and for a longer time.
Unlike freebase nicotine (the traditional form of nicotine), salt nicotine provides a much smoother throat hit. Salt nic e-liquids are most commonly available in a 10mg or 20mg nicotine strength, in a 50% VG concentration.
Salt nicotine may not be for everyone, heavy smokers may find that they still want to experience a noticeable throat hit as they would experience with a cigarette. Light smokers may find the high nicotine concentrations and fast absorption rate too much for them, especially when they first make the switch.
We recommend that you try both freebase and salt nicotine e-liquids to see what suits you best.
|Salt Nicotine Pros||Salt Nicotine Cons|
|Faster absorbing nicotine||May be too strong|
|Smoother throat hit||High nicotine strengths|
|High nicotine strength||Too smooth of a throat hit|
Refilling your tank or pod is largely the same across all models and is simple when you know how. Always refer to your device user manual for best results.
To fill a top filling tank you should first unscrew or slide the top of the tank.
Take your e-liquid bottle and drip e-liquid into the space between glass and the coil.
Once filled reassemble your tank and leave upright for five minutes, to let the e-liquid soak in.
Locate and open the filling port on your pod.
Insert the nib of your e-liquid bottle into the port and fill.
Once filled, close the port and leave your pod upright for five minutes.
It is important that you keep your tank or pod two thirds filled at all times where possible, to stop your coils from drying out and burning.
Fact: Popcorn lung is a disease that has been linked to inhaling Diacetyl (a common food flavouring). Since 2017, no e-liquid sold in the UK can contain Diacetyl by law and in 2018, Cancer Research UK commented that there is no good evidence linking vaping to popcorn lung.
Fact: The adictive element of a cigarette is the nicotine, vaping has proven to be a less harmful alternative that will still deliver enough nicotine to satisfy cravings. Over 1.5 million smokers have quit the habit completely by making the switch to vaping and studies have shown it is more than three times as effective as traditional NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy).
Fact: Vaping will actually save you money in the long run compared to smoking. Once you factor in the one time cost of a vape device, you only have to account for buying more e-liquid and coils or preferred pods when needed.