First of all, let me explain that I can’t and won’t make any health claims, and explain why. Electronic cigarettes are classified as a tobacco product, so technically you’re not “quitting” anything. I’m not allowed to speak to whether or not electronic cigarettes are a smoking cessation aid, not even by posting other people’s thoughts on the matter. So I’ll say, find someone who’s upgraded to vaping from smoking, and ask them to tell you their experiences. I wish I could say more.
There are some claims I can make though:
- Upgrading to an electronic cigarette means no more smoke. There’s no combustion. The odor of the vapor from an e-cig is mild and dissipates quickly.
- There’s no tar, because nothing burns. A liquid is heated by electrical current, turning into vapor which the user inhales.
- You know exactly what’s in the e-liquid of an electronic cigarette. The same can’t be said of a traditional cigarette.
(You know what? I’m going to lay down some definitions here, because it’s driving me crazy. We vapers don’t really use the word “e-cig” very often, because the devices aren’t much like a cigarette. We usually call them personal vaporizers, or “PVs”.)
Using a PV involves charging the device, adding e-liquid, and activating it. Some activate by inhaling from it, others use a button. The user gets nicotine and the hand-to-mouth sensation of smoking. The vapor has a significant density to it (especially with the right liquid), and so the sensation of smoking is essentially mimicked.
Here’s one kind of PV. This one doesn’t look much like a cigarette. (It’s displayed on one of my wife’s chainmaille lanyards.) The bottom blue part is the battery. The silver part is the carto, which holds and atomizes the liquid. The light blue tip is just a mouthpiece. She’s very big on coordinating her PVs.
Here’s another PV, this one more cigarette-shaped. My wife uses this one when she’s out and about. The PV itself is a small cigarette-style unit. The case is a personal charging case, which recharges the (smaller) batteries on the go.
Some people want a device that looks like a cigarette — some don’t care. I personally recomend that heavier or longer-term smokers try a larger unit, because they produce more powerful vapor.
Once you’ve got a PV, you need e-liquid (or “juice”) to vaporize. This juice can be obtained from a number of vendors (I am one). Juices are largely differentiated by taste, as most any juice will contain PG, VG, and nicotine. The flavorings used can be almost anything used in food, or tobacco flavorings. People often are very loyally either tobacco vapers, or non-tobacco vapers. For instance, my wife mostly uses fruit and chocolate flavors. I go for tobaccos and smoky, rich caramels.
The liquid contains PG (propylene glycol), VG (vegetable glycerin), nicotine, and flavorings. PG is used in a number of applications, including hospital air sterilization and fog machines. VG is found in many foods such as cake icing. Nicotine, well, that’s both the controversial element and the (arguably) essential one. Not that you have to vape with nicotine in your liquid — you can choose a number of nic levels, including zero.
I hope this has gotten you started. I’m happy to answer any additional questions you have. I’ll explain more in this series, either here or on Pinterest.