A Complete Guide to Vaping
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as of 2023, around 6.6 million British adults still smoke cigarettes. This equates to 13.3% of the adult population.
While this is the lowest proportion of current smokers since records started, that's still 6.6 million too many smokers in our opinion, because, despite the decline in smoking, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in the UK, causing around 78,000 deaths each year, as well as being the major cause of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease.
Even though everyone from Cancer Research UK to the NHS advise smokers to switch to vaping, people still smoke. So we asked ourselves a question; one question: Why?
It's not because cigarettes taste better (they don't), cost less (they don't), or are healthier (they aren't); it can only be because people don't understand vaping.
So, as one of the UK's leading manufacturers of vaping products and most popular vape brands, we decided to set things right - to give you the information you need to ditch smoking and start vaping.
Welcome to the 88Vape Complete Guide to Vaping: Everything You Need to Know!
Pay attention, because there will be a test at the end...
But before we get there, let's go back to the very beginning.
What is vaping?
For some, vaping is a hobby. For others, it's a way to quit smoking that's easier than using gum, patches or willpower. And for the team here at 88Vape, vaping is a way of life. But none of those tell you exactly what vaping is.
So let's get a little bit technical to begin with.
Vaping refers to the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol, commonly known as vapour, produced by an electronic device, often called e-cigarettes or vape pens.
Much like smoking, you're inhaling something into your lungs (although the way many people vape is entirely different to the way they inhale cigarette smoke, as you'll see in this article about vaping techniques). However, unlike smoking, you won't inhale nasty, life threatening things like tar or formaldehyde.
And it's for this reason - because there's no tar and fewer chemicals in e-liquid vapour than in cigarette smoke - that even the NHS say that vaping is far healthier than smoking.
Which leads us nicely onto our next question.
Is vaping better than smoking?
Listen, we're biased. Of course we'll tell you vaping is brilliant. We sell vape products all over the UK and in all kinds of high street stores.
So for this part of the guide, we'll hand you over to a few impartial experts:
An NHS landmark study says: “Long-term vaping 'far safer than smoking'
Public Health england says: “For the main carcinogen in tobacco smoke, levels in e-cigarette users were close to that of non-smokers.”
The UK government says: "E-cigarettes don't lead to smoking, aren't full of deadly chemicals, and are regulated for safety"
Those experts would seem to suggest that vaping is better than smoking, but feel free to do your own research. Or, carry on reading and we can take a look at the types of vape kit on offer. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves on our vaping journey.
What other benefits does vaping offer?
Vaping offers several benefits compared to traditional smoking:
Fewer harmful chemicals. As mentioned above, one of the significant benefits of vaping is the elimination of combustion. Unlike traditional smoking, which involve burning tobacco and inhaling smoke, your vape device operates by heating an e-liquid to create vapour. And e liquids typically (at least all the ones you'll find at 88Vape) contain no chemicals and toxins associated with combustion, such as tar and carbon monoxide.
Variety of flavours. Variety is the spice of life, and baby, we have hundreds of different flavours for you to choose from. From traditional tobacco and menthol, to fruity, dessert-inspired, or even unconventional flavours like coffee. You don't get that with cigarettes.
Nicotine control. If you're trying to kick your nic habit, vaping offers greater control over nicotine consumption. E-liquids come in various nicotine strengths, ranging from nicotine free to 20 mg, and everything in between. This flexibility empowers you to personalise your vaping experience and potentially work towards nicotine reduction or cessation (if you want to that is).
No stinky, lingering odours. Traditional smoking leaves behind strong, lingering (foul and unpleasant) odours on clothes, hair, and surroundings. In contrast, vaping produces vapour that dissipates quickly and leaves behind minimal, if any, odour.
Cost savings. Vaping can potentially be more cost-effective in the long run compared to traditional smoking. While the initial investment in a vaping device may be higher, ongoing costs for e-liquids and replacement coils can be lower than purchasing cigarettes regularly. For example, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is currently around £12, while the average cost of a disposable vape is around £5. And considering one of our disposable vapes has 600 puffs in it, and a packet of cigarettes has 200-300 puffs, you're getting twice as much bang for your buck vaping, than smoking.
Less environmental impact. A study by the University of California, San Francisco found that vaping generates about 95% less waste than smoking. How? A single cigarette butt can take up to 10 years to decompose, and they are the most littered item on the planet, with about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts littered every year. The main waste products from vaping, on the other hand, are the cartridges or pods that contain the e-liquid, and the batteries, and all of these products can be recycled.
Which leads us neatly onto...
How does vaping work?
A typical vaping device is made up of multiple components that work together to create your vaping experience. Even if you prefer to use a disposable vaping device over a mod, it's always useful to know how it works. So, let's delve deeper into each component:
Battery: The battery is the power source of your vaping device. It provides the necessary electrical energy to heat the atomiser and vaporise your e-liquid. The batteries used in vaping devices can vary in size, capacity, and power output. Some devices come with built-in rechargeable batteries, while others use removable batteries.
Atomiser: The atomiser is responsible for heating the e-liquid and transforming it into vapour. It contains a heating coil (or coils) that heat up when the battery is activated.
Tank or cartridge: The tank or cartridge is where the e-liquid is stored. Tanks are commonly found in modern vaping devices and can hold a larger amount of e-liquid. They are usually transparent or semi-transparent, allowing users to monitor the e-liquid level. Cartridges, on the other hand, are typically used in cig-a-like or pod systems and come pre-filled with e-liquid.
Coil: The coil is a vital component within the atomiser. It consists of a wire, often made of kanthal, stainless steel, or nichrome, wrapped around a wicking material, usually organic cotton. When the coil is heated, the e-liquid absorbed by the wicking material is vaporised, creating the vapour that you inhale.
Wick: The wick is the material that absorbs the e-liquid and delivers it to the coil for vaporisation. Organic cotton is commonly used as a wicking material due to its excellent absorption properties and resistance to heat. Wick materials can affect the flavour and performance of the vaping device, and some vapers prefer alternative materials like hemp or ceramic.
Mouthpiece: The mouthpiece, also known as a drip tip, is the part of the vaping device that you inhale from. It's typically made of plastic, metal, or heat-resistant material. The mouthpiece can vary in shape and size, offering different levels of airflow and comfort. Some devices allow for interchangeable mouthpieces to further customise the vaping experience.
What types of vape kits are there?
There are three main types of vape kit, that we'll outline here. Don't worry, we've linked to a more in-depth discussion below, but for now we're teaching the basics.
Pod vapes. In a pod vape, the mouthpiece, tank and coil are a single unit called a pod. When the coil burns out, or when the tank is empty (in sealed-tank pod vapes), you replace the pod. They're not very flexible, but they are easy to use.
Vape pens. In a vape pen, the coil can be replaced separately. They're a bit more fiddly to maintain, but a separate coil is cheaper to replace than a pod, and being able to replace individual coils, tanks or mouthpieces means you will invest in spares more often than replacement kits.
Mod kit. Basically, a mod is a vape pen for experts. It's got bigger batteries, more powerful low resistance coils, and higher capacity tanks meaning it can vaporise lots of eliquid, especially thicker e-liquids made with lots of VG (hold on, we'll explain...)
Nearly every vape kit on the market is one of these types. If you're wondering which is best for you, we'll give you a recommendation at the end of this article!
What is e-liquid (and choosing the right one for you)
Also known as e-cigarette liquid, e-juice, vape juice and cloud juice, eliquid is the fuel for your vape kit. It's where the flavour, the mouthfeel and yes, the nicotine come from. Without eliquid, you may as well just chew on a pen.
E-liquid is basically a viscous flavoured liquid that vaporises quickly when heated by the coil in your vape kit. You then inhale the vapour, enjoy the flavour and exhale the cloud, which then dissipates in seconds.
But regardless of the flavour or the strength, the e-liquids made at 88Vape contain just the same four ingredients in various ratios.
Which leads us on to our next point, which is also a key safety concern for many of our customers and especially first-time vapers…
How is eliquid made?
Before we tackle how e-liquid is made, please let us explain where we make ours. There's this common misconception that cheap e-liquids must be manufactured overseas, using who-knows-what ingredients in factories who-knows-where, with no safety or hygiene standards.
This isn't true.
All of the e-liquids available from 88Vape are made in the UK. In Greater Manchester, in fact. Trafford Park, if you want to get really specific, just across from the Trafford Centre. Every liquid we sell really is born in the UK.
They're made in our vape labs, by chemists in clean suits, who use powerful equipment to test each batch for safety, quality, and adherence to EU and UK government rules.
And each batch is made the same way. By combining four ingredients in various ratios:
Propylene Glycol (PG) – the ingredient that gives vapour its texture and “throat hit,” and that lets the flavours dissolve and vaporise.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) – the ingredient that gives vapour its thickness and mouthfeel, and that creates the big clouds.
Food-safe flavourings – the ingredients that give the flavour, all of which are the same quality as those used in food, drinks and sweets.
Nicotine – the ingredient that stops you wanting to get your nicotine fix from a cigarette.
Various ratios of these ingredients – specifically the balance of PG to VG – creates the various types of e-liquid that we (and other manufacturers) produce.
What types of e-liquid are there?
There are four main types of eliquid, and at 88Vape, we make 'em all. They are as follows:
What are each of these and how do they differ from one another? Glad you asked!
These make up the majority of our famous £1 vape range, and they're widely considered to be the standard e-liquid on the market today.
Because they work with most of the standard vape pens and refillable pod vapes that you can buy, with no need for a sub ohm coil or a high powered battery.
A PG liquid, as the name suggest has more propylene glycol than vegetable glycerine, at a ratio of 70/30. That means it's 70% PG. Why would you want an e-liquid with a higher PG ratio? Because PG carries flavour more easily than VG, allowing for more flavourful, great tasting vapes. Because other ingredients dissolve in it, it also allows for higher concentrations of nicotine and a more satisfying throat hit.
That means that of all types of eliquid, PG liquids give a vaping experience closest to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes.
For VG liquids, the ratios are flipped around. At least 70% VG to 30% PG, but sometimes as high as 75/25 or even 80/20.
Again, why would you want a higher VG ratio? Well, while PG carries flavour and nicotine, VG gives a sweeter, thicker vape making it perfect for dessert flavours. And because you inhale that deeper, for longer, you don't need as much nicotine at all.
And then there's the clouds.
If you're a cloud chaser, a high VG liquid delivers clouds. Lots of them. Big, thick billowing clouds that can fill a room. Making them perfect for vape tricks.
50% PG, 50% VG, this combo essentially gives the best of both worlds. These liquids work with almost any device, and give an experience that's half way between a PG and a VG vape.
It's perfect when you want flavour and clouds. And with a variable battery, you can use the same bottle for anything from a zero vape to a huge reverse waterfall cloud.
A short fill is just a nicotine free VG liquid. But because it's nicotine free, we're not forced to use a smaller bottle by TBD (Tobacco Products Directive) rules. So we use a big bottle and leave space for you to add your own nicotine in the form of a nic shot.
You set the strength, and because it's in a big bottle, you'll enjoy it for longer. There's a reason sub ohm vapers are flocking to short fills in huge numbers!
OK, that just about covers it, the only thing left in this beginners guide to vaping is to find you the best vape kit for you.
Which is the best vape kit for you
Well, remember right at the start when we said there'd be a test? This is the test. We'll ask you a handful of questions, look at your answers and recommend a kit from the 88Vape range.
Don't worry. There are no wrong answers.
Q1: How often do you smoke?
a) Only when I'm out with my friends
b) When I get up, after a meal, on the way to work… I guess all the time.
c) Oh, I don't smoke. I just want to try vaping
Q2: Which of these things is most important to you?
a) Vaping or smoking without people noticing
b) Getting my regular nicotine fix
c) Big billowing clouds!
Q3: Which of the following appeals to you more?
a) Being able to try many different kinds of liquid
b) Finding a great flavour I can stick with for a while
c) Having some nicotine-free fun with vape tricks
Q4: How much would you spend on a bottle of Eliquid?
a) A couple of quid
b) A pound
c) As much as it takes to get the biggest clouds!
Mostly a's: Sounds like you're a social smoker who wants something discreet, pocket-sized and flexible that you can use to have fun with while you're out on the town. We'd recommend starting with the Zillion Pod Vape, a spare pod or two, and a selection of £1 eliquids. If you enjoy that, the Zillion can also handle a 50/50 vape juice.
Mostly b's: So, you're looking to quit smoking and save money? We can't blame you. Most 88Vape customers have been where you are, and they all swear by our deluxe vape pen, with a £1 e-liquid. As a soon-to-be-ex-smoker, why not start with a mid-strength tobacco e-liquid?
Mostly c's: Hello cloud chaser! If you're looking for fun, grab an 88Vape ProMod and a nicotine-free short fill bottle. We love the New York Cheesecake liquid as a first vape. And if you're trying to get a little bit of nicotine, add on a nic shot for an extra pound.
So there we have it. Hopefully you'll now be a little clearer on the ins and outs of vaping, and be ready to try your recommended first vape kit. Here's to years of smoke free happy vaping!
FAQs about vaping
Is there such a thing as vaping etiquette?
Yes, there most definitely is. Vaping etiquette is a set of guidelines and considerations to ensure a respectful and considerate vaping experience, especially in public spaces. For example:
Familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations of where you are: Before vaping in any public space, be aware of the specific rules and regulations regarding vaping. Different establishments, such as restaurants, airports, public transportation, and offices, may have their own policies regarding vaping. Always respect these guidelines and refrain from vaping in areas where it's prohibited.
Practice common courtesy: Be considerate of those around you, especially non-vapers. Just as with smoking, avoid blowing vapour directly towards others or in crowded areas. Be mindful of personal space and ensure your vaping doesn't infringe on the comfort of those nearby. If in doubt, find a more secluded spot.
Dispose of your waste properly: When disposing of used e-liquid bottles, cartridges, or other vaping-related waste, make sure to do so responsibly. Use designated bins or recycling facilities whenever possible.
Be mindful of sensitive environments: Certain places, such as hospitals, schools, or public transportation where individuals may have specific sensitivities or health concerns, should be approached with extra caution. Even if it's not explicitly prohibited, in these environments, it's probably best to refrain from vaping altogether.
What are the potential risks and side effects of vaping?
Although vaping is generally considered safer than smoking, it's not without risks. And there are some potential risks and side effects that have been documented in studies and reported by vapers, for example:
Nicotine addiction: Vaping devices can contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance. If you are not already addicted to nicotine, vaping can lead to addiction.
Allergic reactions: Some people may experience allergic reactions to the ingredients in e-liquids, such as flavorings or nicotine. These reactions can range from mild skin irritation to more serious respiratory problems.
Lung irritation: Vaping can irritate the lungs, leading to coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. In some cases, vaping has been linked to more serious lung conditions, such as EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury).
Can vaping help me quit smoking?
We know that vaping can help you quit smoking, and now there is evidence to support this:
A study by Public Health England found that vaping is around 95% less harmful than smoking. The study also found that vaping was more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in helping people quit smoking.
Another study, published in the journal "Nicotine & Tobacco Research", found that vaping was associated with a 60% reduction in the risk of smoking relapse.
The study also found that vaping was more effective than NRT in helping people quit smoking for at least six months.
If you are considering switching to vaping to quit smoking, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits of vaping and make the best decision for your health.
Here are some tips for quitting smoking with vaping:
Start with a low nicotine strength: If you are new to vaping, start with a low nicotine strength. This will help you avoid nicotine addiction.
Set a quit date: Choose a date to quit smoking and stick to it.
Tell your friends and family: Let your friends and family know that you are quitting smoking and ask for their support.
Get help from a professional: There are many resources available to help you quit smoking, including your doctor, a smoking cessation clinic, or a support group.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is possible. With the right support, you can quit smoking and improve your health.