If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve heard something about vaporizers, vapes, or electronic cigarettes, and it’s also pretty likely that you have some questions. That’s understandable, vapes and electronic cigarettes are pretty new products and there are many different varieties that all function differently. So what’s the right product for you? How do they work? How safe are they? This series of articles will answer these questions and more. So sit back, relax, and prepare to enter the world of vapes.
What Are Vapes/Vaporizers/Electronic Cigarettes/E-Cigs?
“Electronic Cigarettes” or “E-Cigs” are terms used to describe electronic alternatives to tobacco products. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and work in at least 2 different ways:
- Devices That Heat Liquid In Pre-Filled Cartridges To Produce Vapor – These are typically only referred to as ”Electronic Cigarettes” or “E-Cigs”. Their cartridges are usually not refillable, but they are available in many gas stations and convenience stores. These devices usually contain nicotine and may also contain different combinations of other chemicals with little consistency between different brands. There has been little to no testing of these devices by groups such as the FDA, but there are several groups accusing these devices of containing harmful chemicals. Well known brands include: Green Smoke and blu eCigs.
- Devices That Heat Liquid In Refillable Cartridges To Produce Vapor – These are also referred to as ”Electronic Cigarettes” or “E-Cigs”, but are typically referred to as “Vapes” which is short for vaporizers. This term is used primarily to avoid confusion with vaporizers used for plant matter. Their tanks are refillable and use a liquid commonly called “Juice” or “E-Liquid”. Vape juice can contain nicotine or be nicotine free, and can be purchased in specialty shops, ordered online, or made at home. These devices are also largely untested by groups such as the FDA; however, nearly all vape juice contains up to 4 ingredients (in addition to any nicotine content) which are all deemed safe for consumption in food by the FDA: Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), flavoring additives, and water. There are many different brands of vapes and vape juices, but since they are not usually sold in gas stations and convenience stores there are no brands well known by people who are not already vapers.
So Why Do I Want A Vape ?
Vapes are a great way to quit or replace smoking/tobacco product use. If you are looking to replace some or all of your tobacco use, vapes provide a consistent and controllable dosage of nicotine which keeps cravings away and are far healthier then using tobacco products (and cheaper). If you’re looking to quit, the ability to control the nicotine content of your juice allows you to ratchet down your dosage until you no longer feel the nicotine cravings and can quit completely. Some people when quitting cigarettes don’t necessarily experience nicotine cravings/withdraw but have a mental habit of smoking on something (an oral fixation) or just enjoy the act of smoking. Nicotine free juice is a great alternative to smoking if you fit in this boat.
How Do Vapes Work?
Vapes heat liquid known as “Juice” or “E-Liquid” to produce vapor and function via 3 main parts:
- The Battery – This is the most straight forward part of the vape. The battery powers the vape and are usually rechargeable lithium ion batteries similar to those used in many everyday devices such as cell phones and laptops. There are some different types of batteries such as “Variable Voltage” batteries, but these are for experienced vapers looking to customize their vape. For beginners it is recommended to buy a complete vape kit which will include an appropriate battery for use with the other parts of your vape.
- The Atomizer – This is the part of the vape that heats the juice and creates the vapor. Atomizers contain a part called a “Heating Coil” or “Heating Head” and a wick or cotton fill. In most modern vapes the atomizer is not a separate part, but rather merged with the final part of the vape: the cartridge. In these atomizers, the heating coil is usually separate and replaceable.
- The Cartridge/Cartomizer/Clearomizer/Tank - This is probably the most confusing part for new vapers, but in reality it’s pretty simple. Known by several different names such as “Cartridge”, “Cartomizers”, “Clearomizers”, or “Tanks”; this part is where you put the juice in your vape. There is some confusion in the vaping community as to the specifics of what each different term means, and some vape manufacturers label their products differently than others. Usually, the meaning of these terms are:
- Cartridge – These are simply containers for juice and have a separate atomizer. This setup is usually found only in very early vapes and was part of the evolution of the modern vape.
- Cartomizer – A combination of the cartridge and the atomizer. Cartomizers are usually pre-filled with juice and may not be refillable. It is also important to note that some manufacturers call their products cartomizers when they are actually closer to what are usually referred to as “Clearomizers”.
- Clearomizer – The next step in vape technology, the clearomizer is basically a cartomizer that is usually transparent and refillable. Clearomizers usually have replaceable heating coils which contain the wick. This is the best choice for new vapers and is usually what is included in vape kits.
- Tank – Tanks are more geared towards experienced vapers. They are refillable and have replaceable heating coils with separate wicks. Replacing/creating wicks is a more involved process then simply replacing heating coils containing wicks, which is why tanks are mainly used by experienced who want to customize their vape. It is not uncommon to see tanks made from higher quality materials such as Poly Carbonate (PC) plastic, Poly Propylene (PP) plastic, metal, and Pyrex glass.
Why Should I Believe Anything Written Here?
It’s true, we here at Kahuna Vapor sell vapes so of course we’re biased towards them; however, what we want most is to give our customers quality products that are safe. This blog is meant to provide the information needed for our customers to make informed decisions, but it shouldn’t be your only source. There are many good sources of information on vapes on the internet, which hopefully agree with what we write on this blog, and there are also many sources of misinformation out there. We know that our customers and other members of the vaping community are able to tell the difference and make up their own minds. A great place to go to ask questions is the sub-reddit for electronic cigarettes or if you want to ask us something directly check out our forums.