Vapers largely started vaping to quit smoking and underwent common experiences during their initiation phase. Subsequently, vapers tended to adopt one of two dominant identities, that of the ‘cloud chaser’ or the ‘substitute’, which some users moved between during different stages of their vaping career. The social and symbolic meaning of e-cigarettes and vaping varied and involved concepts of harm reduction, addiction, pleasure, stigma, and community, and for some, connection to the vaper subculture.
Understanding the complexities of vaping, and the nuanced differences between ‘cloud chasers’ and ‘substitute’ vapers may have important implications for health communication, research, and policy. E-cigarette users within this sample were not a homogeneous group and differed in their motivations for use, association with the vaper subculture, and relationship with the vape community. These findings provide new insights into the socialization process and subsequent identity adoption of vapers within the unique regulatory environment of Western Australia.
E-cigarettes were originally developed as an alternative form of nicotine delivery and potential smoking cessation device. However, over the short period since their inception, they have transformed into high-tech nicotine delivery devices appealing to both non-smokers and youth, an outcome largely stemming from increased investment by the tobacco industry. This investment has contributed to their use moving beyond their touted role as a nicotine replacement and tobacco cessation device, to a social, recreational, and sensory delivery device associated with new rituals and social practices.
Smokers cite numerous reasons for starting vaping, these include: to ease nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms; to quit smoking or avoid relapse; to use e-cigarettes where smoking is prohibited; reduce cost; and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco. However, recently, research has investigated the rise in ‘alternative’ e-cigarette use behaviors such as dripping (i.e. applying e-liquid directly on the atomizer) and vape tricks (i.e. creating shapes from an exhaled aerosol) which may contribute to the perception that e-cigarettes are ‘cool’ or to be used for recreation.
Participants were predominantly introduced to e-cigarettes through work colleagues, friends, and during their time abroad in locations where e-cigarettes were more readily available (e.g. the UK). For the majority of participants, this introduction marked the first occasion they had seen or heard about e-cigarettes. Subsequently, participants asked if they could “have a go on that” or the e-cigarette user suggested they try their vape. No one spoke of being pressured into trying their first e-cigarette with experimentation occurring spontaneously, either alone with the user or in the company of friends. Rarely did participants report communal experimentation where the vape was passed around to multiple people, rather it was most commonly a discrete encounter. Participants were mostly curious to try this device which in most instances functioned like a cigarette, however, were told it was not. Participants regularly reported coughing upon trying their first vape which could be attributed to several factors including the type of device (e.g. first/second versus third/fourth-generation device), device functionality (e.g. variable temperature, wattage, airflow or resistance), nicotine concentration, and the users smoking history, if any. Those who were smokers described this experience as being similar to that of their first drag of a cigarette, whereas non-smokers had difficulty articulating their experience as they had nothing to compare it to.
In general, users referred to their device as a vape, themselves as a vaper, and the practice as vaping. Some felt the term ‘e-cigarette’ too closely aligned with smoking discourse and supported associations with negative connotations of death and disease. Vape products were generally not considered to be tobacco products, especially with the evolution of vaping devices and how they no longer resembled a cigarette, as earlier generations had.
If you want to know more, you can continue reading. The following is about “how”.
There are many types of e-cigarettes, and beginners do not have to spend a lot to get a quality product. Different types will provide different smoking experiences, but all have a range of options for different budgets and experience levels
- Minis, or so-called “cig-a-likes,” look like cigarettes and use pre-filled cartridges. They come in rechargeable and disposable varieties and have limited flavor options and battery life.
- Advanced Personal Vaporizers (AVPs), or “Vape Pens,” allow you to control the power level, and subsequently can produce more vapor. AVPs can also hold more liquid and have a longer charge.
- MODs are a higher vapor, lower nicotine system that is designed for the user to customize. They are usually used by experienced vapers, as the user should know how to define factors such as the amount of vapor and battery strength.
- Many users start out with disposable e-cigarettes to make sure they enjoy vaping before moving onto larger setups.
Whether you’re a newbie or a dab hand at vaping, there are very few people who know what is actually in vape juice. Vape juice – also known as e-liquid or juice – is a fluid that is placed in the tank of an e-cigarette or vape that creates vapor. This is what you inhale and exhale as part of the vaping process. When the liquid is heated, depending on its composition, its nature changes. We know, for example, that when water is heated to a high temperature it evaporates, doing so by changing from liquid to steam. Vaping juice acts in a similar way. Depending on the vaping kit you have and your own temperature preference, vape juice is heated to anything between 90°C and 200°C causing it to change from liquid to vapor. As it does so, you inhale, giving you a hit of flavor when you need it most.
E-liquid, or e-juice, is what goes into the e-cigarette to create the vapor. Currently, there are 2 common carrier liquids: propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin(VG)
- Propylene glycol is a thin, odorless, colorless liquid that is effective at carrying flavors. It is the most common fluid used to suspend flavors and nicotine. Some users claim PG provides a sensation most similar to smoking tobacco
- Vegetable glycerin is a derivative of vegetable oil and is vegetarian friendly. It is a thicker liquid that has some natural sweetness and produces a much smoother vapor. Due to its thickness, vaping high VG liquids can clog coils faster and reduce the life of some atomizers.
- VG and PG can be used on their own or mixed. Experimenting with ratios and finding the right mix for you will provide the most rewarding experience. Try buying different mixes from your local vape store to see what you like best.
- Flavor and nicotine strength can also be changed using e-liquid. Try a higher PG percentage for a stronger flavor, and a higher VG percentage for more vapor.
Vaping allows you greater control over how much nicotine you get, and your choice of e-liquid and smoking device will help determine how much nicotine you want. E-liquid nicotine is measured in mg/ml, and different amounts provide different experiences. Keep in mind, though, that increased nicotine levels may present an increased health risk
- You could mix smoking with vaping but with smoking increasingly expensive and the health concerns too, it’s no wonder that Nic Salts are increasingly popular as an alternative. ·The ‘salt’ in Nic Salts alters the PH of the liquid meaning it to be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, giving you an instant, enjoyable hit and one that lasts longer too. ·But there are other reasons why people opt to use Nic Salts; As well as better nicotine hit, Nic Salts are a better option for people who don’t vape regularly as they give longer-lasting nicotine hit. They can be an effective ‘nicotine replacement’ option for people who smoke more than one cigarette a day. ··Some users say that Nic Salts offer a smoother vape that is also more flavorsome. ·Nic Salts are compatible with many mods and vapes, making them a cost-effective option too
- ·0mg/ml means there is no nicotine in the liquid. It can be used to get a fuller flavor and to satisfy the residual habits of those who have quit smoking. It also provides a safer way for people who have never smoked to vape ‘for fun’.
- ·3mg/ml to 6mg/ml is a light level generally used by light to moderate smokers, or people who want some nicotine but more flavor from their liquid. 3 mg/ml is generally preferred for systems with rebuildable atomizers.
- ·12mg/ml to 18mg/ml is a level generally comfortable for heavy smokers. It provides more nicotine and is preferred by those using a cartomizer.
The throat hit (also called lung hit) is the feeling of satisfaction you get from the nicotine against the back of your throat and in your lungs. Changing how you smoke your e-cigarette can greatly improve that sensation, especially for tobacco smokers.
- ·Take longer, slower drags than you would with a cigarette. Allow the vapor to build up for 3 to 5 seconds.
- ·Once you have a good drag, hold the vapor in longer before you exhale. This allows more of the product to get to the back of the throat and down into the lungs.
- ·Pick a flavor that replicates tobacco. If you are looking to replicate the experience of smoking a cigarette, sweet or fruity flavors may diminish the experience. Try a tobacco flavored e-liquid instead.
If you are not a former smoker, or if the throat hit does not appeal to you, try not inhaling the smoke. Nicotine can pass through the tissue in your mouth and nose, meaning you do not have to inhale to get the effect of the nicotine.
- ·Hold the vapor in your mouth for a few seconds before exhaling to allow the nicotine to pass through the tissue.
- ·Enhance the experience by exhaling through the nose, where the nicotine vapor may also be absorbed.
Learn about sub-ohm vaping if you want to produce more vapor
Standard atomizers generally have coils between 1.0 and 3.0 ohms. Sub-ohm atomizers are those under 1.0 ohm. Sub-ohm vaping allows for larger vapor clouds if vapor production is your main goal.
- ·Sub-ohm vaping does present some dangers because of the wattage needed to power the device. It is important to use only sub-ohm compatible clearomizers with sub-ohm atomizers and make sure the device has a high enough wattage to handle sub-ohm vaping. The exact wattage depends upon the ohms of the atomizer.
- ·Sub-ohm vaping is not recommended for new vapers.
Stepping, or stepping down, is the process of gradually decreasing nicotine amounts to help smokers quit. Stepping allows for a gradual transition from an addictive amount of nicotine to little or no nicotine.
- ·Starting and ending nicotine levels will be very personal. Start with a nicotine level that keeps you satisfied, and gradually decrease from there.
- ·Many start from the 12mg/ml to 18mg/ml range, and gradually decrease to 3mg/ml before reaching the 0mg/ml or quitting steps.
- ·There is no set protocol for how long you should take at each nicotine level. Many experienced vapers recommend waiting until you adjust to a given nicotine level and stop craving a higher level before you take a step down.
- ·Stepping is often cited by former smokers as a method that helped them break their habit, but there is currently a limited amount of scientific research investigating vaping as a long-term means of effectively quitting smoking.
- ·Some studies show that most people who try vaping in order to quit smoking end up continuing to use both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes
.Lithium-ion batteries commonly used for vaping can be extremely hazardous if not properly handled. You’ll want to ensure that your batteries stay clean and free of any residue, including any leaked e-liquid.
When you clean your e-cigarette, remember to charge the battery as well. A fully charged battery ensures that you get the maximum life from your e-cigarette.
- ·Charge the battery simply by using the charger provided with the purchase of your e-cigarette. Try to only charge completely dead batteries, as this helps extend their lifespan.
- ·Allow the battery to charge fully before you reassemble your e-cigarette. This gives the most life possible in between disassembling.
Replace the parts as necessary
You should not need to replace too many parts of your e-cigarette too often, but any electrical device will experience some wear. Replace parts as necessary to keep your e-cigarette functioning efficiently.
- ·Most batteries will last no more than 300 charges.
- Cartridges should be used no more than 10 times prior to replacement.
- ·If liquid drops out the bottom or bubbles up in your mouth, the atomizer coil may have burned out. Check to see if it needs replacement by taking it into a vape shop for a professional opinion.
Wear is inevitable, but damaging your e-cigarette will make it happen much faster. Do not throw it around or store it in an area where it might get damaged, such as the bottom of a purse or backpack.
- ·Invest in stands and holders for your e-cigarette so that it has a safe place no matter where you take it. This will provide a longer life for your e-cigarette, and a more enjoyable vaping experience.
Here are some other tips for keeping your device performing
optimally: ·Make sure that your e-cigarette is clean and dry, removing any e-liquid or condensation with a rag or tissue ·When not in use, leave your device upright to avoid the coil drying out or over-saturating ·Stay within the wattage range recommended on your tank’s coil to promote consistent performance