Electronic cigarettes are small vaporizers, essentially; machines that use electricity from a battery to turn liquid into vapor. Either by puffing or by pressing a button, consumers light the atomizer and create vapor. Clearly, using an e cig is not the same as smoking so it would be incorrect to call these consumers smokers. Two new words were coined after electronic cigarettes emerged: vapers and vaping.
If you are inhaling smoke from a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, you are a smoker because you inhale smoke and the thousands of chemicals and toxins found therein. As an e cig user, you are no longer inhaling smoke: e cigs do not burn materials but heat them enough to change their state.
You are now inhaling a much cleaner substance containing a few chemicals, although their exact nature has yet to be scientifically determined, but you certainly are not inhaling 4,000 deadly toxins.
Vapor is relatively clean and often smells lovely. It usually contains nicotine, but that is an optional substance since most e cig vendors and e liquid makers carry zero-nicotine products.
There are a lot of different names for the various vaping devices available. Here are three of the major categories:
These are most often the introductory device that people try when they start vaping. These resemble an actual tobacco cigarette in size, and some can be quite close in flavor as well.
These are typically mid-sized devices, also called eGo style pens, which are usually the next step for people who want a more powerful device than a standard e-cigarette which is shaped like an actual tobacco cigarette. Many vape pens are also used for vaping dry loose leaf products, oils and wax, as well as e-liquid.
Vape pens would typically fit into this category, although these are usually a larger device, and most often is used for vaporizing dry herbs.
These are typically the next step for vapors after eGo-style vape pens, although some people start with these. Vapor mods usually are adjustable in some way, whether you can adjust the electrical currents (in watts, volts or joules), although they may not be adjustable, but one can add other parts that have variations (the atomizer), for changing the performance. These come in a number of different shapes and sizes, and are usually larger than typical eGo pens, and more powerful.
How Does an E Cig Create Vapor?
An electronic cigarette is really just a covered battery and an atomized cartridge or tank screwed or snapped together. The battery warms up a coil (the atomizer) which heats e liquid at an unregulated rate of 3.7 to 4.2 volts: enough to turn liquid into vapor. Adjustable voltage mods provide higher voltage which the vaper regulates.
From a hole in the cartridge tip or through a mouthpiece attached to a tank, vapor is released a little at a time. The user draws vapor through this portion directly emulating what he once did as a smoker.
Vaping Like a Smoker
For someone who smoked ten or fifteen years, his reliance on cigarettes is more than chemical; it is behavioral as well. Predictable movements provide relief when one is tense or prevent anxiety through the repetition of routine. Smoking is a habit associated with certain activities. Take it away and the smoker feels something important is missing. That simple hand-to-mouth movement becomes as critical as stimulation from nicotine.
Smokers hold cigarettes a certain way: usually between the forefinger and middle finger where it balances neatly. Cigar smokers might use thumb and forefinger if a cigar is thick, in which case eGo electronic cigarettes are about the right size. For smokers, cigalikes (also known as cigarette-like e cigs) closely mimic features of a cigarette.
They are about the right size in length and width. Cigarettes vary from regular to kings; from kings to slims, but they are always light with a glowing tip. They are also either all white or white and tan. For an electronic cigarette to effectively copy the look and feel of a cigarette it must be light and narrow. It can’t be too long or too hard. Many e cigs fail to replicate the softness of a cigarette with their hard plastic shells, but some are rubberized and velvety. Several brands supply two or three battery sizes.
Many of the major e cig companies give consumers a choice between colored batteries and cartridges or items authentic to the real cigarette look. A light at the end glows when a vaper puffs: he can’t see it, but others can, and it glows orange, blue, green, or white. Vapers feel like they are smoking in many small ways until they finally realize that e liquid tastes better than cigarette smoke and they like not coughing all the time anymore.
At this point, vaping can become a hobby to replace smoking. Like any interest in electronics, an interest in e cigs leads consumers to more complicated devices with complex features. First, there are eGos with bigger batteries. Next they move on to rebuildable tanks. Later, a vaper will develop an interest in variable voltage/wattage products (tubes or boxes) before possibly graduating to mechanical mods. It does not always happen like this. A consumer might use e cigs for a little while until he doesn’t need any kind of “cig” anymore. He could stop with an 1100-mAh eGo battery when he realizes this provides a day or more of power before having to recharge.
The Costs of Vaping
Consumers have heard how ex-smokers have saved thousands of dollars by choosing e cigs in place of cigarettes. This can be true, although they save even more if they phase e cigs out too. But as an alternative, eGos in particular make excellent financial sense. Even vaping good-quality e liquid, consumers have watched their bank balances grow by making the switch.
As a hobby, however, vaping can suck a person in the same way RC cars and antique book collecting sucks them in. Neither of these is a bad hobby, but the price of one’s passion can be enormous and can even put a person into debt. When a vaper gets deep into this activity, he wants the best of everything and collects limited-edition pieces because they were created in small batches. Such items (mechanical mods, rebuildable atomizers, and even drip tips) cost from $75 to $300 with rare exceptions priced even higher. They are undoubtedly beautiful, but people with less money will frequently buy much cheaper clones.
The same clients buy the most expensive e liquids which might or might not be superior-tasting. They should be for the price.
Vaping in Public
Some people do not get it: what is in that tank of yours? Is it a drug of some kind? Bystanders are sometimes perplexed, but their understanding grows with every news article depicting the controversy over e cigs.
It would be worse to vape and have someone accuse you of smoking. That is one good reason vapers choose black, pink, rhinestone-encrusted, or designer e cigs over the usual white and tan format. They don’t want to be accused of lighting up a cigarette in public. For this reason, they also prefer e cig LED tips to be colored white, blue, or green, to have a crystal tip, or to be covered with a stealthy grey cap.