Beginners Guide to Electronic Cigarettes
Maybe you’ve seen our adverts on the back of a bus. Maybe you’ve spotted our eliquids and vape kits in a high street shop. Or maybe you’ve been told by your GP to swap your cigarettes for an ecig, and you don’t know where to start. No matter why you’re here, this is our Beginners Guide to Electronic Cigarettes.
And in this guide, you’ll find, well, guidance. Because starting vaping can be a confusing time for any (hopefully) ex-smoker. After all, the first time you walked into a corner shop and asked for a pack of fags, nobody turned round with questions about Ohms law, or pods vs pens, or MTL v DTL.
Because vaping’s a hobby, it’s generated lots and lots of slang and jargon. And nowhere is this more clear than with ecigarettes themselves. Or ecigs, vapes, vape pens, mods, box mods, pod vapes…The list goes on.
So first things first, you need to know about vaping devices. The things you buy, fill with vape juice, pop in your mouth and inhale from. We call them ecigarettes. And this guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started.
What is an Ecigarette?
Aka: ecigs, electronic cigarettes, vapes, vape kits, vape hardware, vaping systems
It’s easy to be confused by ecigarettes. After all, they come in all shapes and sizes. But then so do cars, and if we ask you what a car is, you’ll know what we mean. So let’s do the same for ecigs.
Purpose: Just like a car is something you drive to get in from point A to point B, an ecigarette is something you use to inhale flavoured vapour.
Components: All of the types of ecigarette we’ll discuss in this guide have the same basic components, just like a car has wheels, seats and doors. Those components are:
Tank: the bit you fill with liquid
Coil: the bit that heats the liquid and makes vapour
Battery: the bit that powers the coil
Now the types of tank, coil and battery you get will differ from one ecigarette to the next. Sometimes this is an entirely cosmetic issue – like a different coloured tank. But sometimes it’ll change the way a vape functions – a combined coil and tank that you’ll find in a pod vape, the more powerful sub ohm coil you’ll get in a box mod.
We’ll get into all of that later on in this guide, but for now you just need to remember the basics. An ecigarette is a device with a battery, tank and coil that you use to inhale flavoured vapour.
Now that’s clear, we can look at the various types of ecigs.
Types of Vaping Device
See how we’ve used vaping device? That’s because although electronic cigarette or ecig is a catch all term for any vape, it mainly refers to two main types. No wonder this gets confusing.
So what we’ll do next in our ecigarette guide is take you through the types of vaping device, explain what they are and how they work, and make sure you know what they are. And don’t worry, we won’t just stick to vaping devices that 88Vape make or stock.
Aka: ecigs, electronic cigarettes, cartridge ecigs
You won’t see many of these around anymore, but for a while the average ecig was the size and shape of a tobacco cigarette – and it was designed to look like a traditional cigarette too.
The “filter” end of the cigarette would be a sealed cartridge filled with tobacco or menthol liquid, the tobacco end would be a battery, and there’d be a little LED that lit up when you took a drag.
If you ever used them, you'll probably be cringing at the thought of it.Thankfully, cigalikes are almost a thing of the past. But you might find them in the odd train station newsagents.
It goes without saying that we don’t make a cigalike.
Aka: cartridge vapes, pod systems, mini vapes
The natural successor to the cigalike is the pod vape, of which there are two main types. Sealed pods and refillable pods.
Sealed pods are basically a restyled version of your old-fashioned cigalike. A slimline battery, with a connector at one end to pop in a sealed cartridge tank containing a coil and your eliquid. When you’re out of eliquid, you bin the cartridge and pop in a new one – even if the coil’s still working. Seems wasteful, right?
Well, it is. Which is why more and more manufacturers are making refillable pod vapes, much like our own Zillion pod vaping system.
With a refillable pod vape, you get a battery unit and a refillable pod tank containing a coil. You refill the tank when you run out of juice, allowing you to produce less waste (you’re throwing away fewer tanks), and to change your flavour at will (by putting in a different juice).
It’s easy to see refillable pods like the Zillion as a step up from cartridges, especially when it comes to flexibility. After all, with so many PG and 50/50 eliquids to choose from, why limit yourself to the ones that come in a prefilled cartridge?
Aka: electronic cigarettes, pen vapes, clearomizer vapes, standard vapes, vape kits
As the vaping industry grew and people turned away from cheap and cheerful cigalikes, they turned to vape pens. That’s because a vape pen is simple to use. You grab a clearomizer, a pack of coils, a battery and a handful of eliquids and off you go.
Even better, manufacturers like 88Vape packaged these together in off-the-shelf vape kits to make life even simpler for vapers.
Now, vape pens can sometimes be more complicated to use than a pod vape because of the separate coils (also known as atomizer heads). As you vape, the cotton wick of the coil eventually gets clogged. This makes it harder to inhale, and mutes or muddies the flavours of the liquid.
So every week or two, you need to change out the coil. It’s not quite as simple as popping in a new pod, but most vapers get the hang of it after a week or so. Especially when they’re as easy to use as the spare coils in our deluxe vape pen.
Aka: mod vapes, box mods, sub vapes
Now while your average ex-smoker was choosing an off-the-shelf cigalike, cartridge vape or early vape pen, vaping hobbyists and cloud chasers were doing something different. They were looking at electrical theory, and they took particular interest in Ohm’s law.
Without going into a science lesson, they found that by lowering the resistance in a coil, they could heat it more, which would vaporize more of the VG they find in eliquids.
Basically, special coils + thicker liquids + more power = bigger clouds and sweeter flavours.
They called these modified vapes “mods” or “box mods.” And eventually manufacturers cottoned on and made high wattage, low resistance vape kits to buy off the shelf. But the name 'mod' stuck, which is why even our unmodified 50w Mod Pen is called a mod.
Now mod vapes also need a special kind of eliquid, but for that we’ll direct you to our Eliquid Guide. Because now we need to move on to how to use these ecigarettes.
How to Use an Ecigarette
Wait one second! This electronic cigarette guide isn’t here to patronize you. This is a genuine thing you need to know. Because believe it or not, vaping isn’t just a case of “drip tip in the mouth, push the button, inhale.”
There are two ways to vape. Mouth to Lung and Direct to Lung.
Mouth to Lung
You take a drag, hold the vape in your mouth for a second, and then inhale into your lungs. This is exactly how you smoke a cigarette, and it’s the way most vapers start off. When you vape this way, it provides a smoother throat hit and a less intense experience.
It also boosts the taste. You’re holding the vapour on your tongue for longer, which means you have more time to savour the flavour.
Direct to Lung
This is how cloud chasers do it, and we only really recommend it with a sweeter, low-nicotine VG liquid.
With a direct to lung vape, you don’t pause. The vapour is inhaled all the way from the tip of the ecigarette to the pit of your diaphragm. To begin with, it’s quite intense, but the pay off is experiencing deep and complex flavours along with big fluffy plumes of vapour!
Want to know more about mouth to lung or direct to lung vaping? Take a look at our blog post here.
STAY SAFE: How to Charge an Ecigarette
Up to now, our guide’s focused on how to enjoy vaping, choosing the right kit and even inhaling in the most enjoyable way. But we need to take a minute to give you a few safety tips. Because charging your ecigarette in the wrong way can damage your battery.
And a damaged battery is a dangerous battery.
So before we continue and tell you about how to choose the right vape kit from the 88Vape range, we’d like you to take note of the following bullet points:
- Charge the battery via a PC or laptop, NOT the mains
- Don’t charge your battery overnight
- Don’t use a battery that feels hot
- Replace your batteries every few months
Oh, and while we have your attention, here are a few more vaping safety tips for you:
- Do NOT vape while pregnant or breastfeeding. Nicotine and babies don’t mix.
- Do NOT use if you are under 18. This isn’t a toy.
- Do NOT use if the battery or tank feel hot. Let it cool down first.
- Keep away from animals and small children. And small animals.
Always vape safely.
Choosing the Right Electronic Cigarette
So now you know what an ecigarette is, what the various types of ecigarettes are, how vapes differ and how to use one. You even know a few things about staying safe while you vape.
So that means it’s finally time for you to decide on a new electronic cigarette for yourself. Now this is going to be a matter of personal preference, but we’ve been selling vapes for years. So we’re usually quite good when it comes to recommendations.
And here they are.
Best Vape for Ex-Smokers
Most first-time ecig buyers are ex-smokers. Breaking that habit is as much as finding something that feels right in your hand and offers a similar kind of inhale, as it is finding a device to provide you with nicotine in a less damaging way.
While you’d think a cigalike might fit the bill, these cheap devices are often unreliable and unsatisfying. If you want to switch for good, you’ll need something a little more enjoyable.
For an ex-smoker, we’d recommend something affordable and easy-to-use that’s suitable for mouth to lung vaping. A vape pen is a great fit, and we think it’s hard to find a better, affordable entry-level vape pen than the 88Vape Classic. Pair it with a tobacco eliquid, and you’ll be happy to wave goodbye to traditional cigarettes for good.
Best Vape for Social Smokers
We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve quit after a long time but you always end up “borrowing” a cigarette or two in the queue for a nightclub. Maybe an afternoon in the beer garden ends with an evening chuffing away on a packet of cigarettes that you’ll bin half of tomorrow morning. Or maybe you’re just that person who likes one cigarette on a big night.
For you, we’d recommend something small, sleek, and great looking. Something that’s simple to use and cheap to fill. Something like the Zillion pod vape.
The Zillion may as well have been designed for social smokers and occasional vapers. What it lacks in long battery life, it makes up for in style, functionality and flexibility.
And let’s face it. The Zillion looks like a zillion dollars.
Best Vape for Cloud Chasers
When it comes to cloud chasing, you need a sub ohm vape that can work with our VG and short fill vape juices. Something high performance, with a battery that won’t quit.
And all the better if that vape looks just as good as it works.
Balancing performance and style, we’d just have to recommend that direct to lung cloud chasers go with the 88Vape 50W mod pen. It’s more affordable than other sub ohm mods, but it doesn’t compromise on style or performance.
Any Questions? Ask The Writers of our Ecigarette Guide
We’ve tried to make the 88Vape ecigarette guide as comprehensive as possible, but it’s impossible to boil our years of expertise into a single post. So if you’ve got a question that’s not covered here, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line on social media.