How To Start Vaping

You want to try vaping. Maybe you want to give up smoking, maybe you just want to get your nicotine fix without going outside in the cold, maybe you just think it looks cool. You're going to wonder what you should buy, and there are a lot of confusing bits of equipment and no guidance around. So here is my take on the cheapest, most cost-effective and simplest introduction to vaping for the beginner.

Firstly, maybe you have a vaping shop around your town. Check Google and find out. It's good to talk to knowledgeable people about what you need, and it is good to feel the devices in your hand before you buy them. But maybe the shop is full of sales-clones with no in-depth experience, or maybe you can't get to a shop. In that case, this is my advice…

Buy the Minimum

But buy good quality stuff that will still be useful when you move on.

Find a place that does pre-filled cartomisers in the same flavours as the eliquid they sell. That shows a commitment to quality and it will let you move on to refilling later on. Get yourself a cheap eGO/5101 battery, a charger and a minimum number of pre-filled cartomisers. If you are still smoking, as I recommend, then one pack may be sufficient. If you are dependent on them for your nicotine then you will want enough that you are never in danger of running out.

Learn to Vape

Vaping is not the same as smoking.

Remember when you took your first puff of a cigarette, and then you coughed while your mates laughed at you? It's going to happen with e-cigarettes too. E-cigarettes do not give the same sensation in the lungs, so they are designed to give a stronger throat hit. So, at first, you are going to want to take small puffs. Do it like this: hold the button down, take a gentle mouth-draw for about a second, release the button. Then inhale or not, according to habit. When you've stopped coughing, try it again. Once you've done that a few times, you won't be coughing any more and you will start to make longer puffs.

Vaping is done with a more gentle but longer draw than smoking. A four or five second draw is normal with an e-cigarette, but would be almost impossible on a cigarette. I regularly find myself taking ten second draws.

You will not find an eliquid that tastes the same as your favourite tobacco. You should be able to get something close enough to satisfy your craving. I've certainly found some of them horrible and everyone has different tastes; something I love might revolt you. The only way to find something you like is to try different eliquids. Many vapers don't use tobacco flavours, whereas I use a tobacco as my all-day vape, and only visit fruit and desert flavours when I fancy something different.

Don't Stop Smoking

Time enough for that once you're sure about vaping.

Don't try to give up smoking cigarettes yet. Just try out the e-cig a bit. Maybe use it instead of a cigarette now and again. All you are trying to do is to learn to vape, to get nice big clouds of vapour, to get a feel for the flavour and the experience, and to start to teach your subconscious that this is a good source of nicotine.

Each cartomiser is worth about six cigarettes, whatever the man in the shop or the writing on the pack says. So even as an occasional puff, they won't last long. As soon as you notice the flavour change to something a little smokey and acrid, stop and change to a new one. Do Not Throw The Old One Away. If you were to keep buying cartomisers, then every three of them, about £5 worth, would be the equivalent of a pack of 20. You're already saving money. But it will get even cheaper.

By the time you've finished all the cartomisers that you bought, you will probably know if vaping is for you. Or at least if you're willing to give it a bit longer to prove itself.

Once You're Happy, Get a Little More Committed

You like it, so it's worth a few pounds more, right?

If you like the flavour, buy a bottle of it and refill the empty cartomisers. It's dead easy and there are tutorials all over youtube. Eliquid costs about £10 for 30ml — that's 30 refills or about 180 cigarettes-worth. That's equivalent to £1 for a pack of 20. The coils in the cartomisers have a finite lifetime, so sooner or later they will wear out, but you've got five of them, so you probably won't need to buy any more for over half a year. Just keep refilling the same one, trying not to let it run dry, until it doesn't work so well anymore.

You'll probably want to get a spare battery, so you've always got one charged.

At this point, you're probably still smoking. I waited a year before I took the plunge and I still needed a kick in the pants to do it. I'm not telling you whether or how to give up; that's up to you. Once you have a stable nicotine supply from e-cigs, you might want to start to consider it. Anyway, every time your e-cig replaces a cigarette, that's a cigarette you didn't smoke.

Somewhere around this point, maybe sooner or later, you will be curious to try different eliquid flavours. Get some 5ml bottles to try out. Don't splash out on 30ml without trying a flavour first, even though it's cheaper in bulk; you will find some of them truly horrible. (Someone must like them, of course.)

Also, now you've got experience refilling cartomisers, you might want to experiment with clearomisers instead of cartomisers. They are a higher maintenance technology — you get leaks and gurgles and dry-hits — but those are easily dealt with, the flavour makes up for them and one tank-full of eliquid lasts all day.


This is my current favourite stockist. They test all the efliuid that they sell and they hold a wide range of equipment and spares.

Here's another site who contacted me. Their range is large and they also test their eliquid.

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