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A Beginner's Guide to Vaping


Over the past decade, the number of people vaping has grown rapidly, with around 3.6 million people in the UK now vaping.

Vaping has helped many people to switch from smoking and start their journey to a smoke-free life. Vaping is now supported by the NHS as an effective method to stop smoking.

If you are thinking of transitioning to vaping to help you quit smoking, then you may be a little unsure of where to begin. In recent years, the vaping industry has seen great growth in terms of the types of products and vaping styles available.

While this is excellent news for vapers, for newcomers, it can make starting out a bit overwhelming. To help you out, we have collated a guide that covers everything you need to know about vaping!


What is Vaping?

Vaping is an alternative way of satisfying nicotine cravings. To vape, you will need an e-cigarette (aka a vape) and E-Liquid. The E-Liquid can contain nicotine of varying strengths, including zero nicotine.

The vape device heats the E-Liquid and converts it into a vapour, which can be drawn into the mouth and lungs and then exhaled, as you would cigarette smoke.


Why Choose Vaping?

There are many reasons that vaping should be considered over smoking cigarettes and other nicotine replacement options.

Vaping is Safer Than Smoking

One of the biggest reasons for using a vape is how much safer it is in comparison to smoking. In fact, Public Health England has deemed vaping to be 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

This is because cigarettes contain over 7,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful, and around 70 of which are carcinogenic. These harmful chemicals are not present in E-Liquid, meaning that you can sate your nicotine cravings without putting yourself at risk.

The chemicals in cigarette smoke can lead to cancer, heart disease, lung disease and increase the risk of stroke. By switching to vaping, you can reduce your risk of these conditions to that of a non-smoker, without having to give up nicotine.

The added bonus of vaping is that you can also gradually reduce your nicotine intake over time, by using lower-strength E-Liquid, until you do not have a nicotine addiction any more. This is not something you could do with cigarettes.


Vaping is the Most Effective Way of Quitting Smoking

Public Health England reports that 52% of current vapers have stopped smoking completely. On top of this there are over 1 million people who have given up smoking, with the help of vaping, and then gone on to quit vaping too.

Vaping is considered to be the most effective method of quitting smoking. As only 3 in 100 people who go cold turkey on cigarettes are successful in quitting smoking for more than six months, using a replacement form of nicotine is recommended.

Vaping has been found to be three times more effective as a form of quitting smoking than nicotine patches or gum.

Vaping is Cheaper Than Smoking

Another benefit of vaping is the price. On average, those switching from cigarettes to vaping save around £3,000 per year!

Aside from the upfront cost of buying a vape device (which can still be very reasonable), E-Liquid is a lot cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and lasts a lot longer!


Which Vape Device Should You Choose?

There are a few different options for the type vape device you choose:

Vape Pods

Vape pods are considered to be one of the best options for beginners, as they are so simple and easy to use. They are made up of an E-Liquid pod and a battery. The pod simply slots into the battery, and you can usually start vaping straight away (or with the press of a button!).

There are two kinds of pods available:

  • Closed pods - these are pre-filled pods of E-Liquid. You simply use the pod until it is empty, then discard it, and replace it with a new one.
  • Open pods - these are refillable pods of E-Liquid, which can be filled with the E-Liquid flavour and nicotine strength of your choice. They can be refilled multiple times until the E-Liquid starts to taste bad, or it stops producing vapour properly.

Aside from the ease, vape pods are also very discreet and compact devices. They also typically use nicotine salts, which allows for a better vaping experience at higher nicotine strengths.


Vape Pens

Vape pens or open tank kits are one of the most recognisable vape devices. It comprises a battery and a tank, which is filled with E-Liquid. Before pod devices reached the market, vape pens were the recommended option for new vapers.

They are still suitable for new vapers but do require a little more maintenance. The tank needs to be refilled with E-Liquid, and the coil and wick need to be changed every so often when the performance starts to deteriorate.

Vape pens offer great choice in terms of flavour and nicotine strength. They are good for mouth-to-lung vaping and give a similar experience to smoking a cigarette in terms of throat hit and exhalation.


Vape Mods

Vape mods allow for more control over how you vape, as they have buttons to adjust the wattage and temperature, giving you the option to customise your vape.

As such, vape mods are probably best left to the more experienced vaper, who already knows what they’re after from their vape and has the technical know-how to achieve this safely!

Vape mods are good for direct-to-lung vaping and for making huge clouds of vapour.


MTL vs DTL Vaping

Above we have mentioned both mouth-to-lung (MTL) and direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping. So what does this mean?


MTL vaping is most similar to smoking a cigarette. The vapour is drawn into your mouth first, and then into your lungs. You then exhale.

DTL vaping brings the vapour directly to your lungs, without holding it in your mouth first. DTL vaping usually requires specific types of vape devices, with sub-ohm coils, and certain E-Liquids.

It isn’t recommended for beginners, as the feeling of the vapour going straight to your lungs may be too unfamiliar and uncomfortable. However, DTL may be something you explore as your vaping journey develops.

What is E-Liquid?

E-Liquid is what is used to create vapour. It contains a base of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), as well as flavouring, water and nicotine (unless nicotine-free).


Which E-Liquid Should You Pick?

There are a few different types of E-Liquid you can choose.

Freebase E-Liquid

This is the standard type of E-Liquid. It comes in 10ml bottles and will be a set strength. There is a wide variety of flavour options, and each will come with nicotine strength options between 0mg and 20mg.

Freebase E-Liquids give a good throat hit but can become a bit harsh as you reach higher nicotine strengths.

Nic Salts

Nic salts are another type of E-Liquid made from freebase nicotine with added benzoic acid. This helps to neutralise the pH of the freebase nicotine, which provides a neutral flavour and gentler throat hit.

They allow you to vape higher-strength E-Liquids (around 20mg) without such a harsh throat hit. Nic salts also absorb faster, giving you a quicker and more satisfying nicotine hit.


Shortfills are larger bottles of nicotine-free E-Liquid that you can add a shot of pure nicotine to (called nic shots). By law, nicotine E-Liquids can only be sold in 10ml bottles, so by separating the nicotine from the E-Liquid base, you can create a much larger amount of E-Liquid for less money using a shortfill.



Which E-Liquid Strength is Right For You?

It is important to get the strength of your E-Liquid right. It is suggested that you work out the right strength by relating it to the amount of cigarettes you typically smoke each day.

Light or social smokers may only need a low-strength E-Liquid, like 6mg E-Liquid. Whereas those that smoke a pack or more a day would benefit from an 18-20mg E-Liquid.



You’ll know if you are getting the strength wrong, as too low a strength and you’ll experience nicotine cravings, too high, and you’ll likely feel dizzy or sick.

VG vs PG

E-Liquid contains an amount of VG and PG; this will usually be displayed on the bottle as 50/50 or 40/60 - meaning it contains 40% VG and 60% PG.

Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are used in food and medicine and are used as a base to hold together the nicotine and flavourings. PG offers a stronger throat hit, while VG is smoother, sweeter and produces bigger vape clouds.



What Are Vape Coils and How Do They Work?

Vape coils are found in tanks and pods. They are a piece of wrapped wire covered with a cotton wick. The wick soaks up the E-Liquid from the tank or pod and brings it to the coil. The battery heats up the wire coil and turns the E-Liquid into vapour, which comes out through the mouthpiece.

If you use a pod vape, you don’t need to worry about coils, but if you use a pen or mod device, then you will need to change the coils. You will know to change the coil when the E-Liquid starts to taste bad, or it stops producing vapour properly.

Coils come in different resistances, depending on whether you want to MTL vape or DTL vape. MTL coils register above 1.0 Ohm in resistance and create smaller amounts of vapour.

Coils for DTL vaping, known as sub-ohm coils, have a resistance of less than 1.0 Ohm, hence ‘sub-ohm’. Sub-ohm coils need more power but produce more vapour.


How to Store Your Vape Device and E-Liquid

E-Liquid bottles should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place away from direct sunlight.

If you have an open tank device (vape pen or mod), then you need to store it in an upright position so that E-Liquid doesn’t leak from the tank.

Make sure your device is turned off when not in use so that it doesn’t activate accidentally. Some pod devices don’t have an off switch, but you can simply remove the pod from the battery if possible for the same effect.


Where Can You Vape?

When vaping, remember etiquette and to follow any no-vaping rules that a business has enforced. The decision as to whether or not vaping is allowed in a particular premises or space is up to the owner of that business or space. Look out for no-vaping signs and be sure to abide by them.

Vaping is generally banned on public transport and on planes.


If you would like to see if vaping can help you quit smoking, then you can find everything you need to get started here at RED Box Vape, including a range of devices and a vast selection of E-Liquids!

If you need more advice about how best to transition to vaping, then our expert team is here to help. Many of us are ex-smokers ourselves, so we are well aware of the challenges that this transition can bring. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or need support.

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