Last updated on February 27th, 2018
Vaping isn’t exactly difficult, but it isn’t easy compared to the activity it replaces. Lighting a cigarette and inhaling is so easy that you can do it without really thinking about it. That’s one reason why people get hooked on cigarettes in the first place.
If you’ve made the decision to switch from smoking to vaping, you deserve to have the best experience possible. Compared to smoking, though, having the best possible vaping experience requires a little effort. We’re here to help! Make your switch to vaping great by avoiding these 11 common newbie vaping mistakes.
Without a doubt, this is the most common newbie vaping mistake because nearly every e-cigarette user does it on his or her very first puff. Everything about the design of a cigarette is optimized for highly controlled burning. If you puff harder on a cigarette, the rings in the paper make the cigarette burn more quickly. If you puff firmly on an e-cigarette, though, you won’t get more vapor.
Depending on the design of your e-cigarette, you may actually get less vapor because the air tube leading out of the cartridge or tank will fill with e-liquid. Eventually, you’ll get e-liquid in your mouth. If you want to get more vapor out of your e-cigarette, take longer puffs – not harder ones. Use gentle, even air pressure to avoid sucking e-liquid through the air tube.
An e-cigarette with a refillable tank can only work reliably if there is enough e-liquid in the tank to keep the coil wet. The heating coil in a tank has a wick – usually cotton – wrapped around it. As you use the e-cigarette, the wick draws e-liquid from the tank to the coil.
If you look at your e-cigarette from the side, you can probably see the coil’s wick holes. If the level of e-liquid in the tank doesn’t remain consistently above those holes, the wick won’t remain wet. You’ll start to experience burned, harsh “dry hits.” Refill the tank before the level of e-liquid dips below the wick openings.
Whether you buy your first e-cigarette online or in a local vape shop, you’re likely to encounter a bit of sales pressure. An overzealous salesperson – especially one who doesn’t know a lot about vaping – might try to get you to buy a large, powerful device because selling a more expensive device will generate a larger commission.
If you’re a beginner, though, there are two problems with buying a powerful and complicated vaping device. The first problem is that complication is the last thing you need when you’re trying to switch from smoking to vaping. Smoking is easy. If vaping isn’t easy for you, you won’t want to do it.
The second problem is that most large e-cigarettes aren’t designed for the same inhaling pattern as tobacco cigarettes – they’re designed for inhaling directly into the lungs. If you smoke, you most likely inhale the smoke from your mouth to your lungs. You need an e-cigarette designed for the same inhaling pattern – that’s what smaller e-cigarettes are for. Don’t let a pushy website or salesperson pressure you into buying an e-cigarette that isn’t right for you.
When you buy an e-cigarette for the first time, it’s likely that you’ll buy a tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-liquid to replicate the smoking experience that you currently enjoy.
It’s natural to want to mimic the smoking experience as closely as possible when you first switch to vaping. One of the greatest benefits of vaping, though, is that you’re no longer tied to just one flavor.
No tobacco cigarette can taste like strawberry ice cream, pink bubble gum or salt water taffy. Only when you explore the other e-liquid flavors available will you begin to realize how much better than smoking vaping truly is.
Remember what we said earlier about how an e-cigarette can only work properly if the wick wrapped around the coil is wet? The most likely reason why you might detect a burned taste from a new e-cigarette is because you didn’t allow enough time for the e-liquid to saturate the wick after filling the tank.
Before you fill a new tank for the first time – and each time you replace the coil head – place a bit of e-liquid on each of the coil’s wick openings. Install the coil and fill the tank as normal. Wait several minutes before using the tank for the first time. If you’re waiting several seconds between puffs for the wick to re-saturate, you should no longer notice a burned taste. If you do notice a burned taste, the next tip on this list probably applies to you.
An e-liquid has two different carriers – propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin – that dilute the e-liquid’s nicotine and flavors to the proper strength and hold the ingredients in suspension.
PG and VG have different properties, and adjusting their ratio in an e-liquid alters the e-liquid’s characteristics. An e-liquid containing mostly VG is thicker and generates bigger vapor clouds, but it may be too thick to flow through an e-cigarette coil with very small wick openings. If you have a smaller e-cigarette, look for thinner e-liquids containing at least 50 percent PG.
Unless your e-cigarette has a locking fire button, you should never carry it in your purse or pocket – and even if your e-cigarette’s fire button does lock, it’s generally wiser to transport vaping equipment in a dedicated carrier.
Unsafe transportation of an e-cigarette could cause the tank to leak. If your e-cigarette doesn’t have a locking fire button, transporting it in your pocket could lead to the device turning on accidentally – which could wear the coil out more quickly or cause the e-cigarette to overheat.
Safety Note: If you have an e-cigarette with removable batteries, you should never carry spare batteries in your pocket. If the batteries touch other metal objects such as loose change or car keys, a short circuit could result. During a hard short, a battery can vent hot gases or explode.
When you vape, e-liquid – your supply of nicotine – is the one thing that you can never be without. That’s especially true if you plan to stop smoking and vape full time.
If you prefer to order your e-liquid online, you should always remember to place an order well before you run out of your current supply. Thankfully, most neighborhoods have at least one local vape shop. If you’ve never visited your local vape shop, though, you don’t know yet whether you like the shop’s selection. Its better to find out while you still have plenty of your favorite e-liquid left.
Do you ever detect a bit of cotton mouth after a vaping session? It’s not your imagination. PG and VG – the two most plentiful components of any e-liquid – are both hygroscopic, which means that they both absorb water from the surrounding environment.
When you exhale the vapor from your e-cigarette, you’ll lose any water that the PG and VG absorbed. Over time, you’ll notice dryness in your mouth, throat and lips. Although vaping isn’t likely to cause serious dehydration, you’ll need to increase your water consumption when vaping to keep your body in balance.
If you’re new to vaping and are starting out with a typical small e-cigarette, you’ll likely require an e-liquid with a nicotine strength of at least 16 mg. Unless you live near a well-stocked vape shop, though, you may have difficulty finding the nicotine strength you need unless you order it online.
Many experienced e-cigarette users move up to larger e-cigarettes with greater vapor production – and people typically lower the nicotine strengths of their e-liquids when upgrading to larger e-cigarettes. Many local vape shops cater to those people and primarily carry e-liquids with lower nicotine strengths. Choosing an e-liquid with a nicotine strength that’s too low is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a new e-cigarette user because you won’t get enough nicotine from your e-cigarette to feel satisfied. You’ll also exhaust your supply of e-liquid much too quickly.
No vaping coil lasts forever. Eventually, residue begins to collect on the cotton and the coil. When the residue – e-cigarette users call it “coil gunk” – becomes thick enough, it begins to burn as you vape. The burned taste will permeate every puff of vapor until you replace the coil.
Coil gunk forms especially quickly if you use sweetened e-liquids; sweeteners such as sucralose leave deposits on your coil because they don’t vaporize cleanly. Although an e-cigarette coil can potentially last for weeks with unsweetened e-liquids, sweet e-liquids will reduce the life of a coil to just a few days.
If you aren’t happy with the flavor of your e-cigarette – or you can see that the cotton has begun to darken – it’s time to change the coil.