How Vaping Works: A Beginner’s Guide


Every year, thousands of smokers across the country make the decision to switch to vaping.

E-cigarettes are the UK’s post popular quit aid and have been shown to be three times more effective than nicotine replacement therapy.

Here’s how it works.

What is Vaping?

The term ‘vaping’ refers to the inhilation of a vaporised liquid containing flavours, a carrier agent and, usually, nicotine.

Individuals vape to simulate the smoking experience without the risks associated with combustible tobacco.

Other substances such as CBD can be vaped for various purposes, but today we are focusing on vaping nicotine e-liquid to quit smoking.

How Does Vaping Work?

The device is activated in one of two ways: either by a physical button or a pressure switch inside the device which is triggered when the user inhales.

An internal or external battery powers the heating element or ‘coil‘ which heats the e-liquid in the tank.

This produces the vapour which is inhaled, completing the vape process.

What Types of Vape Devices Are There?

Cigalikes: These small devices look a lot like regular cigarettes and can be disposable or rechargable.

Mods: These are the largest vape devices and are powered by long-lasting, rechargable batteries. The refillable tank and variable power give the user maximum flexibility.

Vape Pens: These small tubular vapes are kind of an intermediary between a cigalike and a mod. They come with a rechargable battery, refillable tank and replacable coils.

Pod Systems: Pods have usurped cigalikes as the entry-level, mas-market vape device. They are small, light, rechargable and come with either pre-filled or refillable e-liquid cartridges.

AIOs: All-in-one (AIO) devices offer a little more flexibility than pods as you can use replacement coils (the heating element in a vape) rather than a disposable pod, should you so wish. You can also adjust the power output of the device to tailor to your vaping and flavour preferences.

How Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?

Vaping provides a way to consume nicotine without inhaling the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Nicotine patches and gum follow the same principle, but they do not provide the ritualistic, tactile experience that smoking does.

Some people who switch to vaping go without nicotine altogether, but most prefer to start with a higher nicotine e-liquid and gradually reduce nicotine concentration over time.

It is common for new vapers to ‘dual use’ e-cigarettes and tobacco initially. They may have one cigarette in the morning and one at night and purely vape in between.

The jury’s out as to whether this method provides many health benefits. To get the most out of vaping you should aim to go completely smoke-free.

How Do I Get Started?

A starter kit could set you back as little as £20 and can be picked up online, at a vape shop or in a supermarket/convenience store.

And be sure to read our feature on freebase nicotine vs nicotine salts to help you find the right e-liquid to set you on your journey to a smoke-free life.


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