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So you want to start vaping, but aren't sure where to start. Will all the options available now, it can get pretty confusing. This is a quick guide to help you get started. Before you continue reading, please note that this may not work for everybody. Different people get into vaping for different reasons. Some do it to quit smoking, some see it as a social activity and have friends that vape, and some just like the aesthetic or the tech. In any case, it's good to do your research and know what you're getting into before diving in head first, possibly spending a lot of money and maybe even deciding that it isn't for you after all. Let's get started!
1. Why do you want to start vaping?
This is a question I ask on a daily basis with new customers that come into the shop I work for, Diamond Vapes in Duluth, Ga. I get a lot of the same answers, which are either "I want to quit smoking" or "My friends vape, and I want to get my own device, instead of constantly hitting theirs". Both are 100% valid. For those that are transitioning from cigarettes, I often recommend a pod system, a small device that uses refillable pods and has a tight draw similar to a cigarette. They are made for high nicotine eliquids, and deliver a smooth, familiar and satisfying sensation to the user. They are easy to use, and the battery normally lasts all day.
For those that want to get a vape, because their friends are tired of them using theirs, I tend to ask a couple more questions to make sure I am giving them the proper recommendation. I use questions like "What type of device are you used to? Is it similar to a cigarette, or are you looking for something that will deliver an airy draw and large plumes of vapor?" From there, I may suggest a wide variety of devices, all depending on their comfort level and budget.
2. Can I afford it?
I see customers ask themselves this question regularly. Some people may have a tighter budget than others and can't afford the fanciest device in the shop with all the bells, whistles and features on it. Want to know a secret? That's okay! Vapes come in a wide variety of features and price points to fit your needs and preferences. Take a look at your budget, and figure out roughly how much you're willing to spend on your device while talking to an associate. They should always be understanding and respectful of your budget and personal preferences.
3. OK! You've selected your first device! What's next?
The next step is crucial; selecting the perfect eliquid for you. If you're using vaping as a way to stop smoking, I would recommend getting salt nicotine juice. This type of juice will deliver the amount of nicotine you're used to, and will be smooth and flavorful. From there, you can gradually wean yourself to a lower nicotine strength at your own pace. Remember, you don't have to rush this process. Some people take longer than others, and that's okay. If you're going with something that is made to deliver larger plumes of vapor, it's not recommended to use liquids with a high nicotine content. This is because you are inhaling larger amounts of vapor directly into your lungs, and therefore more nicotine per puff. I normally recommend something in the 0-6 mg range, depending on the customer.
The next factor to consider is flavor. There has been a ton of controversy surrounding ejuice flavors and the FDA, but that's another article for another day.
Think about some of your favorite flavors. Do you like fruit? Candy? Desserts? Maybe something with menthol is more your speed? No matter what your flavor preference is, it's always good to take a good look at what is available at your local vape shop. If they have a juice menu, don't be afraid to look through it, and see if anything catches your eye. Talk to the person behind the counter, and see if they recommend anything. Most shops let you taste the different eliquids before you buy them, so you don't make the mistake of buying something that sounds amazing, but tastes terrible. Remember, the more questions you ask, the more your vape shop can help you make the right selection.
Another thing to consider is batteries. If your device requires separate batteries, it is always recommended to research the best brands. Ask the staff at your local vape shop what they recommend. My personal favorite batteries are MXJO. They have a pretty long battery life, charge well and have a solid wrap on them. Not everyone is going to recommend the same batteries, but it's always good to ask what is available and ideal for your device. I'd also recommend purchasing a charger for your batteries. This will help prolong the life of your batteries, and will charge them faster than using the USB that came with your vape. If your vape came with a built in battery, you don't need to worry about this step.
4. Awesome! You are the proud new owner of your very own vape!
Great! You now own your first vape! What now? Well, this is where the fun begins. But, before you start puffing away and perfecting those O's, take a moment to look at your device's instruction manual. You may have gotten a quick tutorial on your setup back at the shop, but it's always good to get hands-on and familiarise yourself with your device before puffing away on it. Read the safety disclaimers, care instructions and setup instructions. I know it can be easy to completely forget about that handy little booklet that came with your device, but hold your horses for just a tiny bit longer, and give it a good look. For further help, here are a couple tips that have helped me keep my vape safe and running properly:
- Never leave your device in a hot or cold car. This is because you can cause some serious damage to the battery. If it's really hot out, your battery could begin to break down and malfunction. Some refer to this as "thermal runaway". Basically, it could cause your device to malfunction beyond repair, and in worst cases, they could explode. Safety first.
- Keep your device clean. Nothing feels more gross than a vape covered in a thin film of eliquid. I keep a small bottle of rubbing alcohol in my bag for when this happens. Because of the way I vape, I can often get condensation on my device, which can make it uncomfortable to hold. I simply spritz a little alcohol on a paper towel or microfiber cloth, and gently wipe it off, you can also use alcohol wipes, but I prefer a spritz bottle from the dollar store. It can also help with accidental drips or leaks, which happen from time to time.
It's also important to observe "Vaper Etiquette", a simple, unspoken set of guidelines every vaper should be familiar with.
- Make sure that vaping is allowed in the space you're in, before you start puffing away. This is important, because not all public places or even homes allow vaping indoors. It's not exactly smoking, but it can still be bothersome for others around you.
- Be mindful of the people around you. Some people are sensitive to vapor. It's always a good idea to ask those around you if your vapor bothers them before you take a big hit off your vape. Often, people will say it's not a problem, or to simply exhale in a direction away from them.
- Don't be obnoxious. There can be a bit of a stigma when it comes to vaping. Some may say that people that vape are loud, obnoxious or even downright rude. The best way to combat this is to just be polite. You don't have to talk about vaping to everyone you meet. Trust me, if they're interested, they'll ask. Don't blow clouds in people's faces if you don't know if they're okay with it. Some people enjoy it, and even bask in the cool, deliciously scented clouds, but everyone is different, and we as a community should respect that. Remember, don't be that guy blowing self-righteous clouds of strawberry and loudly bragging about it. It's not cool.
5. So... are there risks with vaping?
To be completely honest, not really. You can potentially run the risk of taking in too much nicotine, but that can be avoided by simply monitoring how many times you puff on your device, and listening to your body. Starting to feel a little woozy or nauseous? Take a break and drink some water. You may even want to consider reducing your nicotine level if this happens often. Another risk that can come with vaping is one that was discussed above in my personal care tips. Be sure to take good care of the battery. This somewhat depends on if you have an internal or external battery. With an internal battery, you don't really need to worry about the outer wrapping on it, because it is built into the device. However, if you have a device that takes a separate battery, make sure to pay attention to the wrapping on it. If it's damaged, you run the risk of it overheating, breaking down and potentially exploding. Take the extra few seconds to check your batteries before inserting them into your device. If the wrapping seems damaged in any way, don't use it! There are some shops that can help you with this. Some will rewrap them for you, to save you money on buying a brand new battery. Remember, vaping is supposed to be a fun and pleasurable experience. Take good care of your device, and stay safe.
You did it!! You can now start your vaping journey confidently, and with the basic knowledge needed to get started. There is a lot more to learn out there, but one of the best ways of obtaining that info is simply by going to your local vape shop and asking questions. The employees there will be happy to help you, and you might just make a new friend and find a new hangout spot.
Now, go forth and vape!