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Ask the Veteran Vapers

August 22, 2015

Beginners, Listen – Words of Wisdom From 10 Master Vapers

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Written by: vapeadmin

The online vaping community is… expansive, to say the least. There are blogs, websites, social media accounts… if you wanted to, you could read about vaping for the next month straight and never come close to running out of new material.

But chances are, you don’t want to do that. Instead of investing a ton of time into a hobby you’ve barely picked up, you just want to learn how to get the most out of vaping immediately.

That’s what this post will help you with. We interviewed 10 different leaders in the vaping community – some own their own shops, some run popular vape websites with significant followings, etc.

Here’s what we asked:

  1. Knowing what you know now, what would you do different from when you first started vaping?
  2. What tips/advice would you give to beginner vapers or people thinking about starting to vape?

Basically, we’re getting rid of the learning curve for you. If you’re relatively new to vaping (you’ve been at it two years or less), you’ll find this post helpful. Read on.

Nick @ GrimmGreen

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The problem is, back when I started vaping in 2009, we didn’t have any of the cool tanks or mods that we have now. in 2009 we could use little cigarette sized stick batteries and that’s it. If you didn’t like it, then oh well. There was nothing else to use. Thankfully I was able to quit somehow using those small underpowered batteries and china made disposable atomizers.

There is literally no better time to start vaping. The technology has got so good that anyone can get a satisfying vape experience at a reasonable price. Some things to keep in mind are what you want your device to do. High voltage? high wattage? boxes? tubes? do you want to rebuild? do some homework. Getting into vaping is like making any other purchase. Don’t just buy a Ferrari because you want one, do some research and see what fits you best. There are thousands of videos on youtube. Find a local shop and let them help you pick a good starter device.

Summary: Vaping has never been easier, and the materials for it have never been more affordable. Think carefully about what you want, then go to a local shop for some personal assistance.

Steve K. @ Steve Vape (vape blog/review portal)

SteveKWhen I first started out, I went with a bunch of cheap crap to save a buck. Granted, my choices were limited back then (eGos were new to the market), but rather than getting a cheapie kit, I should have gone with something a little more high quality. Instead, I went through a few different cigalike kits before moving up to an eGo and then box mods.

For new vapers today, I’d say don’t get caught up in the escalating hardware game. You don’t need to learn how to build coils or even get a sub ohm tank and some kind of high powered device. Whatever works to keep you off the coffin nails is a great start.

Summary: Instead of getting the cheapest kit, get one that’s slightly better and you’ll have a much better time. At the same time, though, don’t get too caught up in hardware – as a newbie, as long as your stuff is decent, you’re set.

Meaghan C. @ Vape Me Stoopid (comprehensive vape resource)

VapeMeStoopid on Facebook

I wouldn’t have bought the first kit I found. When I went looking, I just googled “electronic cigarette” and picked up a cigalike from some unknown company. I should have searched a little more and got as much information under my belt as possible before purchasing.

I think my best advice would be to warn people that this is a whole new world. Vapers learn an entirely new language with words they had never heard of before. Join a community, whether it be a forum or a facebook group and ask lots and lots of questions.

Summary: Do your homework before purchasing your first kit because your first kit will have a big impact on whether you continue vaping or not. Once you have your kit, make sure to join a community for help.

Nathan S. @ Vaping Cheap (discount vape resource)

VapingCheap on Facebook


Nothing! Since I first started vaping at the end of 2008 there wasn’t a huge selection of e-cigarettes and ejuice available. I did a bit of research and picked the DES901 for my first device, it was widely known as the best device at the time.

I would advise them to buy older well know devices with good reviews and to avoid buying something just because its trending. Someone just switching from tobacco cigarettes does not need a sub-ohm tank and a 150 watt box mod. Start out with a basic eGo type starter kit or if you want something a bit more advanced try an Aspire Nautilus Mini and an iStick 20 or 30.

Summary: Nathan wouldn’t have done anything differently because he was smart and went with a good kit. When buying your first kit, go with one of the older, reliable ones over a hyped-up newer one.

Charles Y. @ The Vapers Table (vape guides & other help)

Have multiple devices with a variety of juices.

I’ve helped over 100 people transition to Vaping and it’s different for each individual.
But mainly- Multiple devices, 3 or 4 flavors including tobacco and vape as frequently as you can.

Summary: If you’re switching from cigarettes to vaping, make sure to make an investment and get a few different machines/flavors. Charles argues that a proper setup will prevent you from going back to old habits.

John M. @ SpinFuel (leading vape publication)

Spinfuel-LogoProbably skipped the whole cig-a-like thing and started off with better vape gear. Nothing worse than wasting money on cheap ineffective cig-a-likes that do not last very long or taste very good. Since I began vaping in 2011 I probably should have started with a Lavatube and maybe a Vivi-Nova tank.

If you decide to try vaping do it by quitting cigarettes completely, don’t try to cut down on smoking while you vape. Pick a start date and then ditch the smokes from that moment on. Buy a couple of disposables just to see if it curtails your desire to smoke. If you can’t stop smoking cigarettes while using the disposables you’re not ready to stop smoking, period.

If the disposables do work for 24 hours then you’ll know you’re ready. Buy something similar to a Kanger Subox Mini, or exactly that, a good battery charger, 3x 18650 25a batteries so you can easily switch them out when you need to, and spend a little money buying several small bottles of eliquid from trusted brands (see Spinfuel eliquid reviews), and find some flavors you enjoy vaping. Monitor the nicotine content closely and lower it to the lowest amount that keeps you off cigarettes. Avoid high PG eliquids because you will vape more than you ever smoked and PG can be a throat irritant. Higher VG eliquids are better for your throat, and produce more vapor, which as a new vaper you’ll discover that more vapor is always preferred over less vapor.

Summary: Try a (good) disposable first, if you make it 24 hours without a cigarette you’re ready to make the switch, if you can’t, you’re not ready. Don’t vape and smoke. If you’re trial run was successful, then just do it, stop smoking and buy the right gear. Buy something like the Kanger Subox (or an eGo ONE), something that will provide plenty of vapor and flavor for under $50, skip the cig-a-like altogether. Try several eliquid flavors at the beginning by purchasing the smallest bottles you can. Find a couple flavors you enjoy. Stay away from High PG eliquids because they irritate the throat. If you can stop smoking for 24 hours then vaping will be successful with right gear

Lindsay F. @ E-Cigarette Reviewed (resource for accurate, in-depth reviews)

VapingCheap on Facebook

e-cigarette-reviewed-logoThe main thing I would do differently would be to not worry so much about things being “”like smoking,”” including the devices I got started with and my unfortunate tendency to focus on tobacco and menthol e-liquids. Not that it didn’t work for me, but there’s a huge, wonderful world of variety out there that I wish I’d explored a lot sooner. I’d have gone straight for a higher-end device and got into the dessert flavors much sooner!

For anyone just thinking about starting to vape my advice would be: go for it! Vaping, if it appeals to you, is much more enjoyable than smoking, not to mention more affordable and safer. But for anybody just getting started, my biggest advice would be to branch out in your flavor selection – tobacco options ease the transition, but the true pleasure in vaping is exploring all of the different e-liquids available to you: once you’ve gotten used to enjoying nicotine that tastes like banana nut bread, smoking starts to seem much less appealing as a habit.

Summary: Nicotine is nicotine – if you’re switching from cigarettes, don’t think that you won’t be able to quit if you don’t get the ordinary tobacco flavor. In general, vaping is cheaper, safer, and more fun – go for it.

Jerry R. @ Seven Report (vape stories, videos, reviews, and much more)

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SevenReport on Facebook

My very first stab at vaping was with a Blu starter kit. Looking back, I definitely would not have wasted my money on that. At the time the nicotine level was way too low, the vapor production was mediocre and the whole unit died after a couple of months. The worst part of it though was that since it didn’t satisfy me I was continuing to smoke while using the Blu. (And I later discovered that Blu is owned by big tobacco, the same soulless bunch who contributed to and profited from my addiction in the first place.) A few months later I bought a Kangertech EVOD 2 kit. That was much better. I haven’t had a tobacco cigarette since the day I bought the EVOD 2. Still, looking back and knowing what I know now, I think I would have been better served with a slightly more sophisticated device. I eventually moved up to an Innokin MVP2 and Kanger Aerotank and that was much better than the EVOD.

First thing I always tell people who are interested in learning more about vaping, especially as a means of quitting smoking, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM A GAS STATION OR CONVENIENCE STORE. Go to a vape shop and talk to people. Read websites like Vape-Resource and Search for vaping on Twitter. There’s a growing, vibrant community of vapers who were once where you are now and they would like nothing more than to see you quit smoking.

I also tell them to not let the upfront cost of a decent starter set up keep them from getting into vaping. You can get an EVOD2 or similar introductory kit for around $50, which is about the cost of a carton of tobacco smokes, so it’s really not that much of a stretch, and you will save money by vaping and get a lot more enjoyment from it.

Give yourself the best chance at succeeding with vaping, choose an ejuice that you’ll like, at least to start with. For many, that’s a tobacco flavored ejuice. And make sure you’re getting an ejuice with a nicotine level that’s going to satisfy your cravings. Folks at most local vape shops can help you out there.  I published an article and video, “Choosing An EJuice Nicotine Level” that may also be helpful:

Summary: Your setup is everything. Don’t buy from a gas station and don’t be afraid to switch around between units – it will still be much cheaper than smoking. As far as long-term success, the most important factor is choosing a juice that you enjoy at a nicotine level that’s right for you.

Sam L. @ Vape Core (vape deals, tutorials, and news)

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I had my first foray into vaping way back in September of 2009. An ad for Blu Electronic Cigarettes caught my eye, and as a smoker since the age of 13, I was fascinated at the concept of a “safer” alternative to traditional cigs. At the time, Blu e-cigs were a newer product and some quick research lead me to discover that they were having problems fulfilling orders in a timely fashion. A little more research lead me to Volcano E-Cigs, and I purchased a starter kit which at the time was a basic cigalike product with some replacement “cartridges”.

When I received the kit, I was intrigued by the fact that they actually worked, however I was also underwhelmed at the result, and they weren’t enough to get me off regular cigarettes. Within a couple weeks I had pretty much given up on the kit and it was relegated to my junk drawer.

In January of 2012, I decided to give it another try. By this time Volcano had introduced the Lavatube and a couple devices that were similar to the early Ego batteries. Again I placed an order with them. This time, I found the devices worked a lot better, however they still weren’t quite giving me the performance I needed to get over the hump and give up smoking. Again, I slowly stopped using the devices completely and ended up relegating them to my junk drawer.

By the time January of 2013 rolled around, I was busier than ever with work and things were getting more and more stressful – as a result, I found myself smoking more cigarettes than I had in years. I started getting desperate to find an answer that would help me kick the habit forever. I resisted the temptation of ordering from Volcano again and spent some time researching other options. I finally ended up ordering an Ego kit from Madvapes and a variety of different atomizers and clearomizers. When I received them, I noticed a marked improvement over the devices I had previously ordered. Additionally, this time I had a plan – instead of vaping and smoking at the same time, I resolved to make my 2 packs of American Spirits I had on hand the LAST packs of cigarettes I would ever buy. For the first couple days, I continued smoking like I normally would. Once my supply started to dwindle down, I started consciously choosing to vape at times when I felt like going out for a cigarette. When my friends all went out to smoke, I went with them but vaped instead. By the time I was down to my last couple cigarettes, I was at the point where I felt I didn’t even need to smoke them at all, and after I snuffed out my final cig in early February 2013, I haven’t had the urge to smoke since then.

Looking back, although the technology was very new when I was first introduced to vaping, I have no doubt that I could have quit smoking had I been smarter about using the devices.

The 2 primary things I would have advised myself would have been:

1. Don’t give up – if one device or juice isn’t cutting it, try something else.
2. Start with the highest nicotine level possible and work down, rather than trying to start somewhere in the middle. Even crappy cigalikes can still pack a decent punch with a good 24mg juice.

People venturing into vaping now have a lot more luxury than was available back in 2009. There are as many brick and mortar ecig shops now as there are smoke shops, and you can easily go into your local B&M and try out different devices and juices for yourself. The selection has also exponentially improved, to the point where look and feel is actually becoming more important than functionality because the functionality is so good now.

If you’re thinking about starting vaping, here’s what I strongly recommend:

· Only start vaping if you are doing so to quit smoking. While I haven’t had any negative health effects in my years of vaping so far, I still don’t think it is worth the risk to get involved if you aren’t vaping as a substitute for smoking.

· Have a clear plan – don’t let yourself keep vaping and smoking at the same time. Resolve to stop buying cigarettes and carefully ration out the remaining cigarettes you have on hand. When you feel like going out for a smoke, consciously choose to vape instead.

· Start out at a high nicotine level – no lower than 18mg at the absolute lowest. One thing that took me a while to grasp is that throat hit is basically directly tied to nicotine level. In short, at 12mg or less nicotine, you are going to get a much weaker throat hit regardless of what kind of device you are using. Additionally, the more you vape in a short period of time, the more your lungs get used to it, so as a result your hits are going to get softer and softer. Having a higher nicotine level will help keep the hit stronger as you continue to vape throughout the day. You might find a 24mg juice is almost unvapable based on your first hit, but keep vaping it for a half hour and you will absolutely notice that your lungs quickly adapt and the hit becomes much more bearable.

· Understand how your devices work. Taking the time to learn how to set up a coil and wick on a basic rebuildable atomizer alone will give you a lot of insight into how just about any atomizer works. Having this knowledge will give you a lot more control over your situation at any given time by helping you easily troubleshoot problems and really dial in what works best for you. It isn’t expensive and you can start from square one and learn to coil an atomizer from scratch in about 30 minutes if you put your mind to it. It might seem daunting at first but it really boils down to wrapping a wire around a drill bit or screwdriver and threading a piece of cotton through it. Anyone can do that.

· Don’t give up. If you aren’t getting exactly what you feel you need right away, keep trying. There is enough selection out there to satisfy just about any kind of need, you just need to find what’s right for you.

To boil this all down, I have 3 best friends that also all smoke and also all tried vaping in January of 2013. Everyone failed miserably except me, and 2 of them still smoke to this day. The primary reason I believe they failed is because they refused to vape a higher nicotine level than 12mg – in fact most of the time they were buying 6mg juices. These juices weren’t enough to satisfy their cravings for cigarettes and as a result they were never able to fully kick them, and ultimately ended up shelving the e-cigs in favor of smoking. My one friend who finally quit smoking in favor of vaping only gets ejuice from my personal supply, which are all 18mg and over. Coincidence? I think not.

Summary: Quitting cigarettes with vaping isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Ideally, try to slowly replace individual smoke breaks with individual vaping sessions – eventually, don’t smoke any cigarettes at all and you’ll solely be vaping. Everyone needs a different level of nicotine to successfully quit cigarettes, and if you’re having trouble, try adjusting the level so that you’re satisfied.

Agis @ VapeORama (vaping t-shirts & gifts)

Vape-O-Rama on Facebook

Vaporama Link IconWhen I started I went into vaping forums and read everything I could before getting my first starter pack. I was pretty much informed so there’s nothing I would do really differently. Except maybe getting into mods sooner -but the choices were less and more expensive back then.

OK, I’ll get my “”old, seasoned vaper”” mode on:

1. If you smoke you should really get into vaping and leave your cigarettes behind. It’s both healthier and more enjoyable. If you’re not a smoker but you’re looking into vaping maybe you should reconsider: vaping is not totally risk-free -and nicotine is addicting. Are you sure you need such a habit in your life?

2. Get all the info you can beforehand rather than buying something on a whim. The vaping community is huge and overall helpful and friendly. Communicate your needs and questions and they’ll guide you to right devices, good e-liquids, trustworthy vendors and safe practices.

3. After you start… don’t get caught up on trends. Update your gear only when it doesn’t cover your needs anymore. Don’t get overexcited about the new “”amazing”” thingamajig or technique people are talking about, the one you “”just have to get/taste/check out””. You don’t “”have”” to do anything. Take your time and just enjoy vaping. It’s not a race or a competition.

Summary: Do your research on kits, believe you can quit cigarettes, join a community, and don’t buy into trends just because everyone is talking about them.

If you’re new to vaping, the above advice should act as your temporary handbook – by listening to the experts, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and hassle when you’re just starting to figure everything out.

What do you think? Good advice? Anything to expand on? Perhaps you have your own unique tidbits to pass onto beginners? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you a “Master Vaper”? Contact Us, if you would like to be included in our next Ask the Veteran Vapers piece.



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