Ahhh…The smell of fresh plastic. A shiny new vapouriser. It’s pretty darn satisfying unwrapping a new gadget (especially when it replaces a dirty smoking habit).
But, without basic vaping knowledge, your new toy may turn into a headache. Liquid spitting out of tanks, foul tasting and harsh puffs can quickly put a damper on things. You may even quit vaping because you're unwittingly operating your device wrong.
Learning a few basic ins and outs of vaping will ensure you operate your electronic cigarette like a boss.
Once you unpack the box, you may discover your vaporiser is disassembled.
You’ll need to put the parts together.
Your electronic cigarette will come with three main components:
Carefully follow the user guide to assemble your device.
Despite vapourisers coming in different shapes and forms, they all operate in the same way.
In our guide, how electronic cigarettes work, we go into great detail about how vapourisers operate. But for the meantime, here’s a quick overview:
Before you start puffing away, you will need to charge your new device. Most electronic cigarettes come standard with a three point USB port for charging.
However, some e-cigarettes require you to remove the batteries from the device to charge them.
A good, long, first time charge will condition the battery and make sure it lasts longer.
The screen or a light on your device should indicate once it is fully charged.
Next up, you’ll need to fill your device with e-juice.
In the middle of your tank, you’ll notice a wee metal doohickie – the atomiser. This contains a coil and wick. The coil and wick needs to be replaced every week or so depending on the device and how often you vape. Most people refer to the atomiser as the coil.
Pictured: a replaceable coil which contains a cotton wick inside.
Before you fill your tank with e-juice, you need to make sure you have a new coil screwed in. Your e-cigarette's user guide should instruct you on how to do this.
Once your coil is in place, you can fill the tank with e-juice. If you are unsure about what kind of e-juice to fill your device with, you can read our comprehensive guide on choosing the right e-liquid.
Before you fire up your device, you will need to wait a couple of minutes to let the wick soak up the liquid. This technique is called priming the coil.
The wick will soak up the e-juice and carry it to the coil. The coil heats up when you fire your device. If there is not enough liquid on the wick, you may burn the coil out. This is not fun. Your puff will taste like crap. That’s why it is important to let it soak first.
The best power settings for your device mainly depends on the resistance of your coil, measured in ohms (Ω), and personal preference.
Your electronic cigarette’s manual should guide you as to what coils you should use and the appropriate power settings.
If your vapouriser comes with disposable coils, the resistance should be listed on the side of the coil, as pictured below:
Anything lower than 1 ohm, e.g. 0.4 ohms, is considered sub ohm vaping.
Your electronic cigarette may work with coils of difference resistances. So it’s up to you to choose what you like best.
The lower the resistance, the more electricity flows through. This means you will need to vape at a higher wattage/voltage. With more power, the more vapour and flavour your device produces. On the flipside, your battery will drain out faster.
When you screw in your coil, your vapouriser should automatically read the coil’s resistance. If your vapouriser has a screen, it should display the resistance. Which may look like this:
You can adjust the wattage/voltage as per your vapouriser’s user guide.
You have waited ever so patiently for your battery to charge and coil to prime. Finally, it is time to fire that bad boy up and start vaping.
The technique for inhaling an electronic cigarette is a little different to smoking. Firstly, you don’t take fast and short drags. Instead, you want to inhale for longer. This can take a little getting used to.
There are two ways to inhale: mouth to lung and direct to lung. Which technique you should use depends on your device.
Mouth to lung is like a traditional drag on a cigarette. Where you draw the aerosol into your mouth before your lungs.
Use this method for electronic cigarettes with atomisers that have a resistance higher than 1.0 ohms. Usually, these are smaller devices.
The direct to lung technique is inhaling with force, straight into the lung. For smokers, this feels a bit odd. It can be strange relearning how to inhale after years on the fags. If you start coughing and wheezing, never fear, your lungs should get used to the sensation after a few days.
Use this method for vaporisers with atomisers that have a resistance lower than 1.0 ohms. These devices usually run at a high wattage or voltage, like mods and large vape pens.
This gets a special mention because you can burn out your coil if you chain vape. By chain vaping, we mean vaping one puff after the other over an extended period of time. The constant heating puts strain on your coil and will make it burn out.
So after several puffs, put the e-cig down! Let the coil cool for a couple of minutes.
Knowing when it’s time to change the coil is not always obvious to new vapers, so here’s some clues.
It’s probably time to change your coil if:
The rule of thumb for keeping your tank topped up with e-liquid is not to let it get too low. Basically you want to keep your wick soaked in juice at all times.
With most coils, you can see where the wick is. If you peep through your tank, you may see little white holes in the coil. This is where the wick meets the liquid. The trick is to keep these holes covered in liquid, always.
If you keep vaping when your tank is running low on liquid, you run the risk of burning out the coil.
Yes, even your vapouriser needs a clean every month or so. This is because gunk can build up in the tank.
Likewise, some e-liquid flavours are pretty pungent. They can hang around in your tank and taint the next flavour, even after changing your coil or topping up with a new e-juice flavour. Coffee, tobacco, and mint flavours are generally the culprits.
To keep your vapouriser fresh and clean, unscrew all the parts:
Set the coil aside. Rinse all the other parts under a tap to get any e-liquid residue off. Place the parts (except the coil) in a ceramic bowl and fill with boiling water.
Stir the parts around with a spoon. Tip the boiling water out and repeat.
Pour the boiling water out and fill with cold water. Give the parts a shake to remove excess water.
Next, you will need to dry out the parts to make sure all the water is gone. You can either put them in the sun. Or, if time is not on your side, you can dry them in the oven on bake at 100°C – just make sure to exclude the plastic drip tip or any plastic parts.
Some vapers like to wait for when a coil is due for a change before cleaning. This way they can top their tank up with a new flavour.
Now, we don’t want to get all fancy pants on you. But there is, kind of, an unspoken vaping etiquette among vapers.
Because vaping is pretty new, not all of the rules have been set out yet in dear old New Zealand. Currently, there are no restrictions from the NZ Government about where you can vape. This is likely to change however as the Government is in the process of drafting new laws.
Some Local Councils in Aoteroa have clearly set rules on whether or not you can vape in public, but others don’t. So you will need to check with your council about regulations around vaping in public spaces.
Likewise, businesses are free to decide whether people can vape in their establishments.
Unlike smoking, vaping produces a lot of vapour. You may love that new Pop Shots Key Lime Pie flavour, but dear old Dorris waiting next to you at the bus stop? Not so much. Be mindful of local bylaws set by councils and where you blow clouds in public.
I know, I know. There’s a heck of lot to learn when you start vaping. Don’t let this information overload put you off. Changing coils, filling your tank, and charging your vape will soon become second nature to you. Like it has for the millions of others across the globe who have replaced their smoking habit with vaping.
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