It was fortunate for me that several of my friends had already begun vaping by the time I was looking to switch over from smoking.
Through their own experiences, I was able to get past my first few days of vaping without too much of an issue. That being said, everyone is going to end up with a dry hit sooner or later.
Still though, if you do your best to mitigate any problems, you’ll end up sailing way smoother.
Here are a few things I wish I knew before I started vaping that might end up helping you out in the future.
Coils Need to be Replaced
The first time I looked at a vape, I thought all you had to do was charge it, fill it up with juice, and ‘smoke’ it. Then after a little more learning, I started wondering about how long coils would last.
And after that, I slid down the slippery slope of internet research into how different types of wires were best used for so and so resistance.
Without getting into all that, the long story short is that coils need to be replaced. Since most newer vapers tend to use all-in-one devices, all you need to do is find a place that sells the coils for your tank type.
Installing a premade coil isn’t difficult, it’s the part that comes after that often leaves people coughing and desperately rasping for water.
Fresh Coils Need to be Primed Before Use
This right here is probably the largest reason so many new vapers run into their first dry hit. It is incredibly important to allow the wick of the coil to absorb your e-liquid.
If you don’t give the cotton enough time to properly saturate, you’re going to end up burning the absorbent fibres into straight-up carbon.
Ask pretty much any vaper and they can tell you how horrible it is to get a throatful of what feels like searing heat. That and your e-juice is going to taste burnt from the get-go.
There are two methodologies you can employ to properly prime your coils. The first is to simply replace your old coil with a fresh one, fill it up with your e-liquid of choice, and wait about 20 or 30 minutes. That’s it.
The second way is speedier but is a somewhat more involved process. You’ll be jumpstarting the absorption process by adding little droplets of e-liquid on every available source of cotton visible.
After doing this several times, replace and fill up your tank as normal, but for one more trick.
After opening up your airflow to full, start taking very deep draws of your device without running power through it.
The purpose of this is to pull in as much juice into the cotton as you can and jump-start the process of absorption. Do this about 15 to 20 times and you’ll notice that there are fewer air bubbles being made.
Put your vape down, give it five minutes, and you’ll probably be safe to start blowing clouds.
Vaping is Going to Feel Weird
I mean this in a very literal sense. The consistency of vapour being drawn into your lungs is going to be very different from what you’re used to.
There’s no getting around it, most people end up coughing their first few days, or even weeks when initially vaping.
As the majority of smokers utilise a mouth to lung style of drawing, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the lack of a ‘filling’ sensation when you inhale the vapour.
This might end up leading to you drawing way too much at once or attempting a direct lung inhale when you aren’t ready for it.
While some smokers might end up acclimating easier, the difference in its texture between smoke and vapour might end up tickling your throat. Prepare for some coughing, and drink plenty of fluids.
You’re Going to be Thirsty
Like smoking, vaping is going to dehydrate you fairly quickly, but the ‘feeling’ is going to be different. Propylene Glycol (PG), an ingredient in e-juice, is a hygroscopic liquid.
These types of liquids absorb water from their surroundings, and you’ll start to notice your mouth feeling dry fairly quickly.
You’re eventually going to get used to it, but keep a pitcher of water handy for the first few weeks. It’s going to come in pretty handy until your body learns to adapt. But speaking of drinking, here’s a fun one!
The Hangovers Aren’t as World Ending
I’m not sure what it is, but it feels like immediately after I switched from smoking to vaping, my hangovers have gotten much easier to manage.
Instead of fighting what feels like the life and death decision of groaning painfully in bed, or trying to choke some food down, the pain is almost refreshingly tolerable.
A few months after I first started vaping, I decided it was time to conduct science and ended up drinking two packs of whiskey and smoking a bottle of cigarettes as a control group. The morning, afternoon, and evening that followed were greatly undesirable.
A week of recovery later, I went to the same place, ate roughly the same food, and drank a close approximation of what I did the week before.
The birds were still chirping the next morning, but I wasn’t wishing for a swift death to end my suffering.
Try it out, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at how human you feel after drinking and vaping instead of smoking.
I touched further on this in a separate article on nicotine strengths, but basically, you need to satisfy your body’s demand for nicotine if you’re going to successfully transfer over to vaping.
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you’re psychologically going to be craving cigarettes even if the nicotine from e-juice is meeting your requirements.
Too much nicotine strength and you might find the experience too harsh to continue. Too little and you’ll probably be chain vaping until your batteries or juice runs out.
Sharing e-liquid and devices among friends might also grow somewhat problematic.
As everyone has their own preferences regarding nicotine strength, you might end up getting lightheaded from taking way too big a draw from someone else’s Hulk juice.
Those days are long gone, but I remember the first time I smoked a full Cowboy Killer (Marlboro Red).
I had to sit down on the curb, I couldn’t even walk for a few minutes until the nicotine rush got metabolised by my body.
While a reaction like that is incredibly unlikely for people already used to nicotine, but a burst of something strong could inflict some familiar side effects such as the following.
- Increased heart rate
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to avoid situations such as these. Just check how much nicotine a bottle carries, or ask your friend how strong their juice is before partaking.
There is an Ocean of Flavours on the Market
Try and get yourself some sampler sets of e-juice bottles. Taste is such an important aspect of vaping that I can’t tell you to go for anyone flavour or brand.
If you have an opportunity to order a special sale of multiple products, I would recommend doing so.
Some of my most beloved e-liquid flavours were from promotional purchases I made for juice going on sale. You never know what you might find on the market.
On a tangentially related note, try experimenting with juice that uses a different PG/VG makeup. You might find that you enjoy the throat hit of a higher-PG blend, or you might find yourself captivated by the sheer volume of clouds you can produce with a high VG fluid.
Look Around Before Settling on a Device
While I wholeheartedly recommend most beginner vapers to start with a pen-type device, there are tons of excellent quality vape starter kits on the market.
A good pen device is going to last you a long while, more than long enough for you to get your feet wet, and figure out the direction you wish to go.
Will you be sticking primarily with pen or pod-style devices? It’ll be pricier overall, but it’s probably the most convenient method of vaping.
Are you thinking about upgrading to rebuildables? This is the path that most vape enthusiasts end up moving towards.
Beyond just getting your nicotine fix, this is the point where you start getting into monster rigs that can produce clouds for days without being recharged or filled.
Most Importantly, Stay Positive
It’s tough to switch entirely from smoking to vaping in the span of a single, momentous decision. There are plenty of people who do both or even quit after a single bad experience.
The key to making the switch is to almost treat the change as if you’re actually quitting smoking and not moving to an alternative. The first few days are going to be strange and off-putting.
This is a very normal experience to have. You’re going to have to want to swap habits and maintain that mental fortitude.
The temptation to go back to smoking is always going to be there, but eventually, you’ll begin to forget about smoking and embrace vaping instead.
A few months down the line, you might find yourself craving a cigarette, or bumming one off a friend just to try it out again.
You’ll probably be quite surprised when you end up scrunching your nose, grimacing, and looking down at the cancer stick with no little sense of betrayed disdain.