In our beginners guide to vaping, we reveal how to choose your perfect e-liquid, vape mods and e-cigarette kits and discuss everything you need to know to start vaping. You must have caught glimpse of thick clouds of smoke emanating from a small cigarette-like device used by revellers at your local club or hangout. This is the newest trend in social gatherings, where smokers are substituting cigarettes for electronic vaporizers.
Vape is defined as inhaling and exhaling water vapour, usually flavoured or laced with drugs like nicotine, which is produced by a non-combustible cigarette. This process attempts to provide users with the relaxing sensation of smoking, without the negative effects that accompany it. The act of inhaling and exhaling nicotine and other drugs in the form of vapour rather than smoke is known as vaping.
Vaping can be traced back to as early as 500BC where ancient Greeks placed hemp-seed on red hot stones to achieve a sweet smelling vapour that served as a relaxation tool. Fast forward to the 16th Century in Afghanistan, Sheikh Ifran invented the first vaporizer that was used to smoke flavoured tobacco; it was known as hookah and is accredited with being the first step towards the development of modern day vaporizers.
Technological advancements coupled with a smoker’s desire to rid himself of the harmful habit led one man, Hon Lik – a Chinese pharmacist, to develop the first modern day portable vaporizer. This invention spearheaded several manufacturers’ efforts in developing a wide variety of vaporizers; from large desktop sized units to small pocket sized units that are now widely available in stores around the world. Throughout the evolution of vaping, it is evident that the basic tenets of the art were observed; natural herbs, sweet smelling flavours and tobacco were infused and consumed in the form of vapour using various implements with the sole purpose of relaxation.
So how does vaping work? The basic science behind vaping is that a flavoured liquid, infused with nicotine and other ingredients, is heated beyond its boiling point consequently turning into a gaseous form that can be inhaled. Vaporizers are usually made up of the following parts;
Put together, these components form a basic modern day vaporizer. Some manufacturers have however made customized adjustments to their models by adding sensors, replaceable mouth pieces and led lighting. These fancy modifications appeal to users who prefer flashy or edgy vaporizers.
Vapes were designed for smokers who want to enjoy the relaxing sensation that a puff brings but avoid the nasty smell, suffocating smoke, tinted teeth, bad breath and health risks that tobacco cigarettes carry. Most vape users are smokers on the path to quitting but need the once in a while nicotine boost or relaxing feel of a puff. Some users are active smokers who carry around vapes for when they encounter situations where smoking is not allowed but they need a quick nicotine fix. Very few users are non-smokers; people who vape for the fun of it, to fit in to a crowd or to pass time.
Vaping cuts across all age groups with most users falling in the youth bracket (18 to 35 years) whilst the remaining users are mostly elderly smokers trying to kick the habit. There is limited information showing that there are vapers above the age of 60; most smokers in this age bracket have either totally kicked the habit or continue to use tobacco rather than its alternatives. This age trend is accredited to the hype surround vaping and the social implications it holds; it is associated with young individuals who still enjoy partying and raving more than elderly smokers who are rarely active in social scenes.
Vaping has been recommended by several researches and health specialists as one of the surest and safest ways to help cigarette smokers quit smoking. Unlike other cigarette alternatives like patches, gum and e-cigarettes, vapers have a lower tendency of creating new addictions. However, being that vaping bears many similarities to smoking, it is still socially unacceptable in many countries and across many age groups. Non-users view vaping as a gateway to smoking for teens, given the fact that many young revellers have taken up the habit as a pastime activity. This is however not true since, as earlier mentioned, vapers are mostly active smokers or smokers on the path to recovery; less than 1 percent of vapers are people who have never smoked a cigarette.
Whilst it is rated the best alternative to cigarette smoking, the initial cost of purchasing a vape kit tends to be quite high; about 20 times higher than buying a packet of cigarettes. However, long term comparison of the two, say over a year or month, shows that vapes are actually cheaper than cigarettes. They present a long-term saving effect for cigarette smokers. In addition, there is a better social acceptance of vaping due to the fact that the vapour is safe and mostly sweet smelling, it can be used indoors and around anti-smokers as it is not offensive. There are more vape-friendly public areas around the world than smoking zones; this is a clear indication that it is more socially accepted.
Like all drugs, nicotine is hazardous. The e-liquid used in vapes is laced with nicotine which can be poisonous if ingested. Although not largely popular, there are nicotine-free e-liquids that provide a safer alternative for vapers. Nevertheless, vapers are discouraged from vaping around animals, pets, or non-vapers.
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