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What is Vaping? How to Vape and Inhale Properly

Key Takeaways

  • Vaping is the term for inhaling vapor produced by heating a liquid solution in an e-cigarette. The solution (called e-juice or e-liquid) is often flavored and can contain nicotine, Vegetable Glycerin, and Propylene Glycol.
  • E-cigarettes are available in many different styles, shapes, and sizes, but all of them are comprised of the same core components. These include a battery, an e-liquid tank or pod, a heating element (coil), and a mouthpiece. 
  • The vaping experience can be customized in several ways to suit individual needs. There are easy or complex devices, a wide range of nicotine strengths, and many different flavors of e-liquid. 
  • The two main vaping techniques are mouth-to-lung (MTL) and direct-to-lung (DL). MTL is more suitable for beginners using small, low-power devices, while DL is most often seen as more complicated. 

If you are new to vaping, it can be hard to know where to start. There are different technical terms, techniques, and countless options.

Here at Versed Vaper, we want to make it easy for you. For that reason, we will explain what vaping is, how it works, and how to do it properly, so you can get a good result straight out of the gate.  

How does a vape work?

Vaping is the term for inhaling vapor produced by electronically heating a pre-prepared solution.

This solution (called ejuice) is often flavored and can contain nicotine (but this is entirely optional). This is achieved through an e-cig or vaping device, of which there are many different types.

And here’s the thing — a ‘vape’ is a catchall term, and countless options are available. 

Which is ‘the best’ depends on user preference and what you try to achieve. The general premise behind each type is generally the same.

Let’s look at the common components of a vape and explain how a vape works:

The Battery

As we said, vaping works by using electricity to heat ejuice. And for that, we need a reliable and portable power source. This comes in the form of a battery or ‘mod’. There are many different types of vape batteries available, from small ‘pen style’ batteries with few options to substantial ‘box mod’ style batteries that are very customizable. 

It is recommended that beginners opt for an ‘all in one’ or pen-style battery to start with. They are very simple to use.

An E-juice Reservoir

Most vapes will have a method to store and provide a steady supply of ejuice. You will encounter many different types of juice reservoirs. While the names can be different, they all generally do the same thing. You may hear them referred to as:

  • Pods
  • Cartridges
  • “Carts”
  • Cartomizers
  • Tanks
  • Atomizers 
  • Clearomizers

The Coil

The coil is a vital piece of equipment in your vape. It is a heating element. When power is supplied by the battery, the coil heats up significantly. When it comes into contact with the ejuice, it causes the liquid to turn into vapor, which you will then inhale. 

Coils can be replaceable. In some devices, such as pod-style vapes, the juice reservoir and coil are integrated as a single unit. You can replace the coil in other devices while keeping the same ‘tank’.

The Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece, as the name suggests, is the part where you put your mouth to inhale the vapor. While it might not seem too important, the mouthpiece’s size and shape can dramatically affect your vaping experience. How so?

Thin, smaller mouthpieces create a tighter draw. This can give a more intense flavor but only permits a small amount of vapor per puff. They tend to be favored by vapers who prefer a mouth-to-lung style draw.

Larger mouthpieces give a large ‘airy’ draw. These are favored by vapers who like bigger clouds and enjoy ‘direct to lung’ vaping. 

Wait, what’s “mouth to lung” and “direct to lung” vaping? Here’s a handy guide on the difference between MTL and DL vaping.

How to vape

What is Vaping and How To Vape Properly - 1

Getting going with vaping can be a little daunting. The good news is that, provided you choose a suitable device and learn how to use it, it’s actually pretty easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting going with a vape. We’ll keep it simple to give you a great starting point:

Step 1: Decide on What’s Important to You as a Vaper; Choosing a Vape

You may already have a good idea about what you are trying to achieve through vaping. However, all devices are not created equal. You must choose the right kind of device. 

Want help?

Take a look at the table below, and see if you can identify the areas that are most important to you. We’ll provide some suggestions as to which type of device would be most suitable:

What’s Important to you?Vape to Choose
Low initial cost/commitmentDisposables Vapes
PortabilityDisposable Vapes, Pod Vapes, Vape Pens
Big CloudsBox mod kits
CustomizationBox mod kits
Ease of UseVape pens, Pod Vapes, Disposable Vapes

Once you have reviewed the above, you’ll be better positioned to choose your first device. If you still aren’t sure, we have a great article for all-in-one vape kits for beginners over here. 

Step 2: Choose a Vape Juice; Which Nicotine Strength is Right for Me?

Now that you have a device on the way, it’s time to decide what you want to put in it! 

And here’s the cool thing. 

If you can think of a flavor, there’s a good chance somebody somewhere has made it!

However, it isn’t all about flavor. You need to consider nicotine levels too.

One area beginners struggle with is knowing which juice strength to go for. Go too low, and you’ll find that your vape doesn’t satisfy you. If you choose a too-strong liquid, it can make you feel pretty unwell (temporarily).

Luckily, we are here to help. If you are looking to use vaping to quit smoking, here’s a handy guide to what strength of ejuice you should choose:

Type of SmokerSuggested Nicotine Strength
Social/Occasional Smoker0 – 3mg
Light Smoker3 – 6mg
Average Smoker6 – 12mg
Heavy Smoker20 – 50mg Nicotine salt ejuices

Step 3: Charge Your Battery

Rarely do vape devices arrive fully charged. While some residual charge may remain, it is worth giving your battery a good charge before your first use. By doing this key step, you will also increase your battery’s long-term life span.

Many devices come with a charging wire included. You must use the supplied wire. It is also important that you don’t plug your device into ‘lightning’ style chargers. While these might be quicker to charge, they will significantly degrade your battery’s life over time.

As a good general rule, 0.5 amp chargers should be used to charge your vape battery.   

Step 4: Read the Instructions and Assemble Your Device

Many vaping devices (disposable and all-in-one vapes notwithstanding) will require a little assembly. This will depend on the type of vape you have chosen. Most options contain instructions with diagrams on how to assemble your vape. 

While we all hate reading instructions, it is well worth spending a few minutes familiarizing yourself with how your vape works to ensure you get a good result. 

Step 5: Fill your Vaping Device and Prime Your Coil

This is a vital step that many vaping beginners get wrong. They either fail to fill their device correctly or fail to prime it. Most vapes will have a small hole or filling port that will allow you to fill the reservoir with juice.

Want a top expert vaping tip?

The mouthpiece hole will rarely be used to add liquid. So, don’t pour liquid into the mouthpiece!

And now, onto priming…

Wait, what does ‘priming’ mean?

Remember how we said vaping works by the e-juice coming into contact with a hot coil? It gets there by ‘wicking’ — normally soaking into cotton that is in permanent contact with the coil

E-juice takes time to soak into this cotton. Priming your coil is simply the act of allowing the juice time to soak all the way through.

Don’t skip this vital step. Once you have filled your tank or reservoir, give it around 10 minutes, so the wicking gets all nice and saturated. 

Step 6: Take a Hit on Your Vape

Ok, you’ve done the difficult bit. Now it’s time to enjoy. Turn on your vape and take a hit!

Never vaped before? Unsure how to take a hit? It’s really easy. Here’s what you need to know…

How to inhale a vape

While vaping shares some common actions with smoking, it is an entirely different experience. A good experience will mean you want to do it again. A bad experience may leave you wanting to give up! 

Here’s how to use a vape utilizing the most common ways of inhaling:

Mouth to Lung (MTL) Technique

Generally Used With:

  • Pod Vapes
  • Pen vapes
  • Disposables
  • All-in-One Vaping Devices
  • High Nicotine Vapes

Mouth-to-lung vaping is more suited to devices with a relatively tight and restricted draw. If you are used to smoking cigarettes, this is most likely the technique that will be most familiar to you. If you suck on your device and feel mid to high resistance, this will be the technique you want to use. 

Some devices are draw-activated, meaning when you suck, the coil begins to heat and produce vapor. Others will require you to press a button. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place the mouthpiece between your lips and suck like you would with soda and a thin straw. If your device has a fire button, it is time to press it.
  2. After a few seconds, remove the device from your mouth and hold the vapor by closing your lips. Release the fire button if fitted. 
  3. Open your mouth and take a breath, taking the vapor into your lungs
  4. Hold the vapor for a couple of seconds, then exhale normally 

Direct to Lung (DTL) Technique

Generally Used With:

  • Box Mods
  • Tube Mods
  • Low Nicotine/High Vapor Devices
  • Some ‘Airy’ Pod Vapes

Direct-to-lung vaping is a little different. If you want to envisage it, think ‘snorkel’, not ‘straw’. The aim of DTL vaping is to breathe through the device, using the negative pressure of your lungs to pull air through your vape. 

This technique only works with devices that have a ‘roomy’ airflow. Generally, it is used with lower nicotine-strength juices. Using high nicotine with this method can be too harsh on your lungs and throat. 

On the plus side, it’s a great technique if you like blowing big clouds. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Position the mouthpiece between your lips, ensuring a tight seal
  2. Press the fire button (if applicable) and inhale through your mouth as if taking a deep breath.
  3. Once you have filled your lungs, remove the mouthpiece and exhale.

What is Vaping: Frequently Asked Questions

New to vaping, or simply not sure? Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about vaping.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape?

The minimum age to vape varies from country to country. As of 2020, the minimum age to vape in the United States is 21. This also includes the purchase of vaping devices and even nicotine-free E-juice. 

How Much is a Vape?

There is a huge variation in price depending on the type of vape you choose. Disposable vapes can cost as little as $5. Premium box mods can often retail for over $200. It is all down to user preference. If you are looking for a cost-effective solution, check out the best cheap vapes under $50. 

Is Vaping Worse Than Smoking?

While a polarizing opinion, vaping is generally considered safer than smoking. The tars and carcinogens caused by burning tobacco are not present in e-juice or vapor. In fact, some health authorities prescribe vaping as a better alternative to smoking.

Why Does Vaping Make Me Nauseous?

Vaping delivers nicotine into your bloodstream efficiently. Often, new users aren’t used to the nicotine ‘hit’ and may suffer from a feeling of nausea for a short time after vaping. There are several things you can do to prevent feeling nauseous while vaping:

  • Take frequent breaks
  • Take fewer or softer draws on the device
  • Opt for lower-strength nicotine in your e-liquid
  • Drink plenty of water while vaping
  • Reduce the power on your device if you have the option
  • Check to see if you are using nicotine ‘salts’… These are much more potent than standard ejuices.

The bottom line

Vaping’ properly’ is very subjective and down to the individual. The beauty of vaping is that you have plenty of options to find a method and style that suits you. Learning how to vape properly and understanding how vaping works will ensure that you have the highest chance of continuing. To learn more about vaping, check out our learning section and guides here.

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Versed Vaper Team

The Versed Vaper team are a group of passionate and experienced vapers who take pride in writing helpful, quality content about vaping. From deals, to news and reviews, we've got you covered on all things vaping. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

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