The beginner’s guide to vaping

A woman using an ecigarette

Over the past few years it’s more than likely that you have heard the term ‘vaping’ crop up time and time again, whether on TV or films, in newspapers, listening to the radio or generally through word of mouth.

But what is vaping and how exactly does one ‘vape’?

Vaping describes the process of inhaling and exhaling vapour that is produced by heating e-liquid in a handheld vapouriser (also known as an e-cigarette).

Simply put, it’s an alternative to smoking that alleviates many of the health risks associated with burning and smoking traditional tobacco. There’s also no smoke, no ash, no smell and no immediate fire hazard. Pretty good, right?

Does vaping involve any tobacco or nicotine?

Unlike regular smoking, vaping does not involve burning tobacco whatsoever. Instead, a mixture called e-liquid (or vape liquid) is heated in a vapouriser to produce vapour that can be inhaled by the user. The resulting plume you see when exhaled is vapour, not smoke.

E liquid comes in an increasing variety of flavours to suit all tastes. There is a tobacco-flavoured e liquid, but again this is only a flavouring and not actual tobacco.

Most e liquids do contain nicotine, however there are many more options when it comes to choosing the exact strength of nicotine. The Flavour Factory manufacture e liquid bottles ranging from 0mg to 18mg of nicotine. The ability to reduce the strength of nicotine over time is one of the main reasons why vaping is considered to be a fantastic quitting aid for those with a nicotine addiction.

Are there any health risks associated with vaping?

Although they are a relatively new invention compared with traditional cigarettes, there is already a huge body of health research out there on the topic of vaping.

So far, short term evidence suggests that vaping e-cigarettes is comparatively safer than smoking regular cigarettes, largely due to the fact that the biggest danger from smoking tobacco is the carcinogenic smoke it produces.

Studies suggest that the composition of e liquid (mostly propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and additional flavourings) is significantly less damaging to the body than the tar and carbon monoxide involved in smoking tobacco. But as with any relatively new subject of study, there is still plenty of ongoing research into the long term effects of vaping.

Vaping also avoids the dangers of secondhand smoke. A recent French study revealed that vapour dissipates within 11 seconds  on average; whereas cigarette smoke lingers in the surrounding air for approximately 20 minutes on average. There is therefore far less, if at all any, public risk involved with vaping.

What do I need to vape?

An electronic cigarette is the main piece of hardware you need to be able to vape. E cigs contain a rechargeable battery that powers an atomiser coil. When this coil comes into contact with the e liquid in your bottle, it vapourises the liquid to produce the vapour that you inhale.

The Flavour Factory stocks a range of high quality hardware, from e cigarette starter kits to premium e cigarettes that you can customise with changeable atomisers for a fresh style and colour combination. All of our e cigs come with a USB charger, perfect for charging while you’re on the move. Simply plug it into a USB port and you’re away!

Of course, you will also need an e liquid bottle. There are plenty of delicious flavours to choose, so that means plenty of tasting ahead to pin down your favourite vape. Once you’ve found your flavour, it’s also worth noting that the cost of refilling an empty bottle can be far less than buying a new one – good news for your back pocket.

When was vaping first invented?

The first modern e-cigarette was invented by Chinese scientist Hon Lik in 2003, inspired by the death of his father following a battle with smoking-related cancer. The now-familiar e-cigarette design launched in the UK in 2006. By 2011 there were over 700,000 e cigarette users.

As of November 2015, that number had skyrocketed to 2.8 million ‘vapers’ in the UK alone – a figure that shows no sign of slowing any time soon.

Top tip: careful when exhaling!

Many vapers prefer to exhale through their nose to maximise the flavour hit they get when vaping their favourite flavour. For most people this is fine but, like regular smoking, if you notice any dryness or irritation to the nostrils by exhaling regularly through your nose then you should look to exhale through your mouth.


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